There’s a great deal of interest right now in mindfulness and an increasing interest in meditation – a closely related topic. So, what do they have to do with Centre Edge?
First, it should be emphasized that Centre Edge work – certainly in the way it has been taught to me, is always intended eventually to be integrated with some sort of awareness or meditative practice. The Nine Principles of Centre Edge must become more than just as a conceptual framework or another set of intriguing ideas we pick up (though they certainly are intriguing). The invitation is for these principles to quite deeply enter into our day to day interactions with the world around us. Some sort of meditation or awareness practice is sooner or later going to be invaluable for that.
For beginners Centre Edge can be a first step into meditation
People learning Centre Edge principles do sometimes have experiences where their awareness or consciousness naturally alters. At workshops we explore this material through a combination of dialogue, reflection and physical exercises. We map out real life situations in terms of Centre Edge principles and when we do this people sometimes have experiences or insights rather similar to if they’d been doing lots of meditation. This is very interesting to me and 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 is that for some people exploring real life, practical 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 an interest in learning more about it. For those who do become interested then Centre Edge can eventually become a very far reaching way of developing deep understanding of meditation and our minds.
For experienced meditators Centre Edge can deepen one’s understanding of meditation
A complement to this is that Centre Edge can also deepen the understanding of even quite experienced meditators. An experienced Zen practitioner at a workshop explored a personal issue by physically mapping a situation on the floor using Centre Edge principles and then walking around and through it. This is an approach we use a lot to get a feel for the principles in real life situations. Afterwards she said, ‘I have just understood something about meditation which I’ve never understood before!’
This was 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 was 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 arranged in a particular way?
This raises two general thoughts:
- 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 can augment or illuminate certain aspects of their approach in new and helpful ways.
- Second, there is something powerful about physically moving around a space that we have set up to represent these principles. The space may represent our inner world (e.g. ‘my relation to my anger’) or the outer world (e.g. ‘my project within this client organization’). It brings insight and embodied understanding, in a way that just talking about a situation – however relevant the conversation, doesn’t manage to do. In workshops we notice how day to day language describing our sense of our lives and situations we find ourselves in, is often about space and movement. For example we say, ‘I’m feeling stuck’, ‘in flow’, ‘blocked’, ‘on my way’, ‘edgy’, ‘centered’ , ‘moving forward’ etc. These and very many other everyday phrases suggest that a very natural way that people experience life relates to a sense of movement in space. Centre Edge principles refine and describe this deeper sense of everything being in some way a movement in space. This becomes very helpful for illuminating and shifting our movement through the journey of our life.
 This of course has connections to systemic constellations work which is certainly one influence on the way this work is developing.