Stand with your feet about six inches apart, or less than the width of your shoulders. Bend your knees slightly. Notice how solid or wobbly you feel. Lean forward just a bit so that your weight falls closer to the balls of your feet rather than the heels or middle.
Now, relax and allow your body to make a circle. Clockwise or counterclockwise doesn’t matter, but it is interesting to attend to which way your body naturally moves. Notice if the movement feels smooth or “jerky” as it circles the center line, which you can imagine begins exactly between your feet and is drawn upward to a point above your head when standing still. Change the width of your stance and relax more to smooth unsteadiness.
When you are comfortable with the movement, let the circle get smaller by degrees, spiraling gently toward your body’s center line. As it shrinks, the movement will also get a little faster, like a ball spinning into a funnel. Notice that while the body moves physically faster, there is also a matching feeling of spinning that you can imagine also shrinking toward a center point in the exact middle of your body: head to foot, front to back, side to side.
Eventually, you feel the circle change into a sideways rocking, but imagine that the spiral is funneling deeper into your body, while growing smaller, smaller … smaller. Even when your body stops as it finds its physical center, let your imagination continue the spiral inward to a point of infinite smallness about 2 inches below your navel.
This is your Center, your point of perfect Balance of both body and mind.
Here you discover that both your body and mind are more still and present. You also quickly realize that you can stand for longer periods of time than usual, and that this pose is more restful than shifting from foot to foot or leaning from side to side in long lines.
Become an observer in this place of physical and mental balance. Your visual and auditory attentiveness improves, your senses of touch and smell becomes more keen. In short, you are more present than usual. You are in the moment, in your body, at your Center.
Balance in Motion
You may find this centering practice relatively easy to do and the state of awareness generally easy to sustain while still. However, once you disturb the equilibrium by taking a single step, maintaining that state of awareness becomes much more challenging. This is the central lesson of “moving meditation.”
Challenging, yes, but not impossible. Imagine as you are walking that your movements originate at your Center, that infinitely small point in the very center of your body. Rather than moving toward your intended destination, be it across the room or across town, imagine that the destination is pulling you forward by a thin, luminous thread connected to that Center point.
You may find that the thread pulls you in different directions, out of your ordinary path from here to there. Experiment freely with the interactive dance of “ordinary reality” and inspired imagination. However, stay awake and aware, especially if you are crossing a street!
Changing your usual way of perceiving a simple walk across the room shifts your awareness into a new and wondrous encounter with your everyday routines. And that shift keeps you more in the present, in the moment and aware of the clarity that being balanced in your Center affords.
Using the dance of ordinary perception and inspired movement throughout your day, meeting challenges with equanimity becomes increasingly easier. The more practice you have in knowing what being balanced in your Center feels like, the more quickly you can return there when faced with difficult circumstances.
In reality, you are just a breath away from that calm, focused, alert, and balanced state of awareness in any moment. Simply take a breath and feel that infinitely small point in the very center of your body.
You will know exactly what to do.