There’s a great deal of interest right now in mindfulness. And an increasing interest in meditation – a closely related topic. So, what, I’ve been recently asked, do they have to do with Centre Edge work?
In this first piece I explore a little about the connection between Centre Edge and developing or deepening a meditation practice. In the second, I suggest some ways in which Centre Edge approach can highlight aspects of mindfulness practice that may not always be emphasized enough.
First, it should always be emphasized that Centre Edge work – certainly in the way it has been taught to me and the way I present it, is always intended eventually to be integrated with some sort of awareness / meditative practice. The Nine Principles of Centre Edge must get into us on a deeper level than just as a conceptual framework or another set of intriguing ideas we pick up (though they certainly are intriguing). The invitation, eventually, is for these principles to quite deeply affect our day to day experience and interactions with ourselves and the world around us. Some sort of meditation or awareness practice is, eventually, going to be invaluable for that.
a) Centre Edge as a first step into meditation
The interesting thing I have found, is that people learning about Centre Edge quite often do seem to have experiences where their awareness or consciousness naturally alters. In other words by attending a workshop and exploring this material through a combination of dialogue, reflection and physical exercises – where we basically ‘map out’ real life situations in terms of Centre Edge principles, people sometimes have an experience rather similar to if they had been doing lots of meditation. This is very interesting to me – it is one of the main things I am researching at present – what is actually happening there (since we don’t actually meditate in the workshops)?
The point here is that for some people exploring real life situations in terms of Centre Edge principles is a good way of getting a first taste of meditation. Centre Edge introduced as a way to develop insight into real, complex, often messy situations in our lives and work, can lead to an experience of meditation and from there an interest in learning more about it.
b) Centre Edge exploration can deepen one’s understanding of meditation
A complement to this, is, rather surprisingly at the time, I have also had feedback from an experienced Zen meditator, who explored a personal issue by physically mapping a situation on the floor using Centre Edge principles and then walking around and through it (an approach we use a lot). Afterwards she said, ‘I have just understood something about meditation which I’ve never understood before!’
This was of course lovely feedback to receive, and also very interesting – since the issue she was exploring had nothing explicitly to do with her meditation or spiritual practice, it was simply an important question in her life at that point. What is it, I wondered, someone who had a committed meditation practice for 20 years could have ‘got’ by walking around a room, encountering representations of different aspects of her own inner world? This raises two general observations:
a) First Centre Edge seems to be a very useful way for people with existing meditation, mindfulness or other spiritual practices to deepen their experience and insight into whatever they are working with already in those practices. It may augment or illuminate some aspects of their approach in new and helpful ways.
b) Second, there seems to be something about physically moving around a space that we have set up to represent Centre Edge principles – whether a space representing our inner world (e.g. ‘my relation to my anger’) or the outer world (e.g. ‘my client organization’) that brings insight and embodied understanding, in a way that just talking about a situation – however relevant the conversation, doesn’t manage to do.
 This of course has many connections to systemic constellations work which some readers may be aware of.