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Living from the Centers - Part 1

Roxanne Howe-Murphy
May 28, 2008
We talk or hear about the importance of being centered in order to not get swept away as we lead our daily lives in our ever-changing world. And, it's easy to agree to its importance. We know how uncomfortable it is to feel 'off-center.' But how does this platitude become a felt reality in life? What is this experience of "being centered?" Being centered, afterall, suggests that there is something around which you center yourself. What is that?

The Enneagram teaches that humans have three primary centers, what we can call "Centers of Intelligence." These include the Belly or Instinctive Center, the Heart or Feeling Center and the Head or Thinking Center. Most of us are not taught to know, access or to use the wisdom of these centers in life, at least in the sense that I refer to here. And yet these centers are central to experiencing ourselves as whole human beings; to experiencing our true aliveness; and to being fully present. Deepening our contact with each center is one of the keys to inner change, to transformational shifts.

In this note, I will focus on the Belly Center. This center is a place of "gut knowing," of inner strength and aliveness, of substance and of inner authority. No doubt, you have had a 'gut reaction,' a time you intuitively knew that something was right-or not- for you. What did you do with that knowing? Dismiss or override it with seemingly apparent logic, reasonableness, a sense of 'what I should do,' other mental activity or swayed by the input of others. When you have not followed your gut's knowing, what was the usual outcome? How many times have you said to yourself, "I should have listened to my instincts!"

We are not typically taught to honor our belly knowledge or to look to this center for information.
We are not used to 'centering' ourselves around the belly. Yet, it is a source of knowing that is far beyond that of our busy minds. It is a Trust Walk to listen to and follow its messages. And without direct contact and experience of the body, it is impossible to be present! Impossible. Our body is what is here on this earth now. If we're not in contact with our body's intelligence, then our thoughts or emotions are determining how we experience life, and the ego has taken over.

I went for a long walk this morning and inquired how I might convey a sense of what it is like to 'live in the belly center." It has been a long journey for me to find my way into my belly. When I started, it was a totally foreign undertaking. Today, it is still an ongoing learning. As I walked, all kinds of kinesthetic information came to me, some of which I will try to share here. In a sense, my body is talking to your body.

What I have found to be most helpful is to not think about the body, but to let the energy drop so that the sensations that are always in the body begin to come into awareness. A mantra is "where do I experience sensations now?" You might want to start with standing and use the following statements to help guide you into a more direct experience with your own precious body. More important than thinking about each of the steps is to take the time needed with each statement until you experience some new sensation in yourself. Allow yourself to take in the sensation. You may find this fun, strange or perhaps a little scary. I invite you to be curious and see what you learn.

I breathe.....and experience how the breath moves in and out of my body........
I allow the breath to move more deeply within me....perhaps all the way to my belly.
I experience the sensations in my body associated with the in-breath......and the out-
I experience my feet. I feel the weight of my body in my feet as they contact the ground.
I experience the sensations of my body's length.
I experience the sensations of having my back and my backbone.
My body takes up space. When I walk, I am aware that I take up space. I notice the
sensations in my body as I move through space. I experience that my belly
guides my movement. I walk from my belly.
As I experience whatever sensations arise now in my body, I can look and see what is
around me, in my environment. Perhaps I see things from a fresh perspective.
I have substance.
I am landing in my body.
I reside here....in my body.

You may find that these above processes provide a regular practice for moving into deeper contact with your body, and your instinctive center. One other recommendation here is to Relax. It's a revelation to recognize that by relaxing tensions in the body, you to come into contact with sensation. If you haven't downloaded my free body-based audio meditation from my website, you can do so by re-registering for this newsletter on my homepage at www.lifewisecoaching.com. This mediation is also designed to help you come into contact with center of intelligence. By the way, you will not receive a duplicate newsletter.

If not now, when?

I invite you to join me in upcoming programs. Each one is oriented toward relaxing into and experiencing more Wakefulness, Truth and Love. I'd love to have your presence.
About the Author
In her second ground-breaking book, Deep Coaching: Using the Enneagram as a Catalyst for Profound Change, Roxanne speaks directly to coaches and allied professionals who wish to give their clients tools they can use to transform their lives. Roxanne earned her doctorate from the University of San Francisco. An authorized Riso-Hudson Enneagram teacher, she directs the Enneagram Institute of the San Francisco Bay Area and founded Lifewise Learning Institute, an Enneagram-based executive coaching company in 1997. www.lifewisecoaching.com Howe-Murphy is a veteran coach who continues to pioneer and teach new applications of the Enneagram to help increase individual and collective consciousness.
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