Keeping Centered

by Kathy Custren

The urgent challenge in keeping centered caused me to compile the words in this message that come from a number of sources. Please keep this in mind as we review what is presented. There is a real need to find healing, oneness, balance, and peace. This is true at any given moment; it is something we all seek, deep within, and that can be found.

We may first ask a very good question: Is there a difference between finding and discovering? These are two different words, clearly, so it may be a good idea to take a quick look. The best way to spell out the difference is to say that we ‘find’ when we ‘discover.’ Curiosity leads us to ‘discovering’ truth; we find it by staking claim to it in a personal way, by ‘finding’ it within ourselves. We need to ‘unmask’ our truth, find alignment with who we really are, and come to terms with our inner, spiritual strength—without fear.

Anyone who recognizes any bit of maturity will then see that what we ‘find’ as truth, or what we use as a gauge of understanding (knowledge that underpins our existence), is just as likely to change from one moment to the next. There is always a state of flux, of change or movement, with which we must once again ‘find’ ourselves. It can be a small thing or a big deal; yet, we realize at some point that no matter how things may appear the same, the world and our experience in it changes constantly.

Small changes are usually able to be withstood and understood easily. Just as we may find it easier to step over a smaller puddle than a larger one, as we may recognize in a physical sense. What about when it is something larger, though? What do we do when we encounter an ‘extreme’ of some sort—a life-rocking, major change…a health issue that knocks us for a loop…an angry neighbor who makes our life miserable…the death of a loved one…maybe our own demise--a multiple number of changes converging at once in a scenario of overall collapse?

It is at times like these when we are asked to take stock—to ‘discover’ the strength that may remain hidden inside. We are, in a very real way, asked to process these extreme energies in a way that is at odds with precisely what is going on. How does one stay healthy in the midst of disease, calm or at peace during a time of war or stormy strife, buoyant in a time of deep, emotional sorrow?

There is an element of focus involved—and there we find another good word to use, “involve.” As much as may be happening on the outside, it is the strength we hold on the inside that helps to see us through. When we look, really and deeply within ourselves, we ‘discover’ the power that we hold; we tap into and find that inner-strength that will, by its own very real word-name, create the path of understanding upon which we walk.

For all the extremes and craziness that can happen all around us, when we look within meditatively, honestly, wholly, and with that very real curiosity that leads to discovery and finding ourselves, we are able to understand the process. We process so much that we take for granted; things that we overlook and may not give a second thought to, or that we pre-judge as insignificant—like those little puddles we can handle easily.

When life knocks us for a loop, we can find ourselves at a loss in more ways than one. How best to handle this “big thing?” We become set adrift; lose connections; feel ungrounded—maybe at a time when we need to feel secure the most. We recognize this feeling of anxiety and discomfort.

We can certainly understand the emotions involved when we undergo such a trying and difficult time. Perhaps, we can even equate the physicality of it by comparing that easy, smaller puddle to a much larger ocean—of pain, despair, illness, or whatever other label we might attach to it. How does one deal with an ‘ocean worth’ of extreme?

Surely, we sense the ‘impossibility’ and frustration of it all. We have this monumental mountain of a problem that looms before us. The old questions arise on how best to tackle it—over, around, under, or through? Each of us must discover and find the answer within ourselves, based on the individual situation and our experiential circumstance.

We must allow and let go at the same time, permitting ourselves the ability to apply our own personal energy to the problem at hand. Although, it is around this time that some of the light by which we understand things tends to kick in. In sorting through the matter, we begin to question the very labels by which we see and have categorized this extreme. We start to see that maybe the ‘problem’ comes by labeling the extreme as a ‘problem,’ in the first place.

How much of life’s frustration can be alleviated by changing what we call a thing, how we approach an ‘enemy,’ and seek to understand all we can about not only the ‘other,’ but ourselves as well? It is a process, a change, a transformation that we all undergo—knowingly and unknowingly—throughout life.

There are a number of ways that we come to this realization—this centered point of understanding. Not to discount any person’s experience, but it really does not matter what it is. Matter is a label for whatever is created, and when we find ourselves in alignment with our spiritual energies, the creative power to handle matter comes from another place, another side of ourselves, and a different realm of possibility.

The best advice we are given, by others who have been through difficulty and survived, is to surrender—to dive into that ocean of hurt, pain, and frustration. Seek to discover what we have inside of ourselves—our reserves of spiritual strength—and apply that ‘nothing’ here in our material world. We have this ability to find the calm in the middle of the storm, in order to weather all sorts of dramatic changes that life itself throws in our path. We do need to seek it out within, to discover and find it.

Many people who have come before us, who have had their time and experience, did leave us clues to understanding how we can process and use our spiritual energies to overcome and understand the many things we may encounter in life. We are encouraged by their example to focus on wellness and positivity while all around us may be categorized as negative and dark. We are enjoined to seek oneness and inclusion through the illusion of separation; to seek light as a beacon in a dark time; and to know we are not alone when we may feel our loneliest.

We find greater unity when we recognize our commonality; we find peace when we balance the extremes; we see clarity and focus amid what many may categorize as ‘chaos.’ It is all within our power—and, vice-versa—our power is within our All. We are just as much one as the other; no difference, no extreme; we are whole, no matter what kind of time cycle we happen to exist. We are the timeless Now, and then, and what is to be—and each of us has the power to choose how best we seek to exist.

The idea that life happens ‘to’ us, can be seen as a different mindset from the idea that we have a choice in the matter. We do. We have many choices and many possibilities from which to choose. It is usually the projection of others that limits our thinking—the illusion that ‘makes us believe’ that we can “only be” a particular way.

Over time, maybe we have found it easier to go along with that story than finding and creating one of our own? Clearly, we are creatures of convenience and habit—just look at the many ways we have devised over time to make our lives easier and keep ourselves entertained! Of course it is easier to step over a puddle than dive into the ocean—look at how huge that is!

Yet, our species has managed to survive many movements of change through the millennia to bring us to this point. Once we recognize that we owe it to ourselves to utilize our inherent power, rather than surrender it for others to use, we might understand greater support overall. It is the same as those of us who have been through a difficulty and mindfully choose to be compassionate and help others going through a similar circumstance.

We see mutual cooperation as the way to go. We see giving of ourselves as right and natural. We see sharing and love are more than just words—they are active choices in our everyday lives. We see forgiveness and letting go of what does not serve us is a beneficial act of kindness.

As I have come to expect, a number of reasons have caused these words to come together. Along with these come additional words to support and illustrate this process of finding this grounding, zero point within. None of the following are ‘my words,’ so it is with great thanks that I share them here [emphasis added]:

  1. When you meditate, it is essential to create the right inner environment of the mind. All effort and struggle come from not being spacious, and so creating that right environment that is vital for your meditation to happen…. When humor and spaciousness are present, meditation arises effortlessly.

  2. Mystic poet, Sant Kabir, said it so beautifully: ‘fish in the water is thirsty; I laugh seeing it.’ Yes, that is what we do all the time—a fish in the cosmic ocean of pure bliss, we are complaining all the time about what we have and what we seek!! Always keep your heart open to the showers of Divine Grace that is perennial. Don’t seek Grace, just bask and bathe in it. You are the Grace, your lie is Grace! You are inseparable from Divine Grace. Affirm with utmost joy that ‘I am blessed and filled with Grace.’

  3. AHA MOMENT ~ I had a lovely moment tonight, in response to someone’s comment about being upset because his students didn’t follow “his” instructions, imposing his path on others. I finally understood how to be the example for others and honor their Free Will at the same time. I have no desire to argue with anyone. The example that I chose to be is of One who supports Peace, Free Will, and the amazing growth of our Souls. Wow! I feel like I just discovered the key that unlocked the door to the next level.

It is with these words that we can be encouraged to take the time we need to recognize the process and what it takes to deal with change and making things better. Stay well and happy, (((All))). Namaste ~ Blessings!

About the Author

Kathy Custren is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include advocacy, the arts, communication, education, health, humanity's cosmic origins, nature, philosophy, spirituality and wellness. Visit her page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook, and her site at kathyc-mindblogger.blogspot.com.

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Comment by Bill Lee on August 6, 2014 at 10:51am

Great article -- full of profound concepts. Inspires courage, acceptance, and surrender. _/\_

Comment by Kathy Custren on July 31, 2014 at 10:13am

Thank you, Trevor! <3

Comment by Trevor Taylor on July 31, 2014 at 10:08am

Thank you Kathy, excellent and from a deep perspective. Recommended to the publishers for inclusion in one of the forthcoming multi-media editions of OM Times

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