6 + LESSON: Re-visiting & Re-visioning the Center

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We just learned that fate is defined (in our language here) as the consequences that result from relationships between spirits.

We talked about how adjusting a relationship (or even a relationship to a relationship) is a kind of fatework, meaning work that has life-changing consequences. We also made special note of our relationship to our Center, as we have many times before.

[ 3.05.02 Morning Practices ] “Choosing is about making a choice as far as which spirits sit at and near the center of our being.”

[ 2.4.6 Self-Possessed ] “As spiritworkers we can sit on the inner throne at the Center of our being; we can be self-possessed.”

[ 3.05.05 Get Dressed + Choosing ] “In our inner-world, in our spirit, the center has always been and will always be wherever we say it is.”

[ 4.08.04 The Seat of Manifestation ] “Outside of spiritwork, in your day-to-day life, where do you feel like your Soul is usually centered?”

[ 5.11.02 Identifying my Purpose ] “But now, Phase Five, we have another way of locating our Center… [ … ] We observe through high-contrast consciousness the parts of our identity that are expressive.”

Our relationship to our Center has also played a key role in our initiatory workings thus far. What am I? Who owns my Soul? What is my Purpose? These questions all relate to our Center.

I didn’t give a definition for the Center until late in Phase Four. We were able to talk about it without a definition for a while, because most of us have an instinctual sense of the Center’s reality and importance. Most of us, too, have a sense of its elusive depths and mystery. If the Center is wherever I say it is, why do I so rarely feel centered?

Elderhood, like its counterpart Betweenhood, is a paradox. It’s a time for both mastery and for mystery. We can start working with aspects of spiritwork, like daily centering meditation, that will have the Fiend barking up a storm. And, we can trust that the Fiend’s howling won’t distract or deter us. Or, it might, but we also trust ourselves to pick back up what we drop without the angst and hyperbole of our Betweenself.

So, in the spirit of that blend of mastery and mystery, let’s move towards a truer grasp of the nature of the Center by re-working our definition. It’s the perfect time to do it because, at this point, you might finally be starting to remember the definition. And, my goal, always, is to shake things up right when you’re starting to feel like you’ve got hold of them.

(Not to frustrate you, but so that you can practice a kind of holding that’s more fluid, more soulful.)

Besides, definitions are maps; they are not the territory.

[ 0.02.07 Understanding the Otherworld ] “A topography map looks different from a traffic map, but both express truth.”

Definitions are words that help us communicate as a community. And, in our personal study, they are words that help us locate the tip of a tall tree in the flooded valley of the Hidden Realms.

So, what is our current definition of the Center:

[ 4.08.04 The Seat of Manifestation ] “…our Soul intersects our Spirit and our Body at a place we’ve been calling the Center.”

We know that Soul is life’s force and Spirit is life’s forms. But, what is a Body? Is a body not comprised of force and form?

Yes! A body is nothing more than spirit and soul, but it’s a certain kind of spirit and soul. A body is manifest spirit and soul.

[ 4.08.04 The Seat of Manifestation ] “Manifestation is defined as an event, action, object, or experience that embodies, demonstrates, or makes tangible something that had previously been abstract, theoretical, or noncorporeal. In short, manifestation is a flow from hidden to visible, from the Otherworld or Inner-world to the Outerworld.”

If we add this to our definition of the Center we get:

A Center is a place where the manifest Spirit and Soul of a being intersects that being’s un-manifest Spirit and Soul.

Let’s recall our map to the Otherworld from way back in Simple+Spiritwork. We imagined a forested valley that had flooded. Everything above the water comprises the Surface World or Manifest Realm. Everything below the water comprises the Hidden World or Un-manifest Realm. So, in this map, the tree’s Center is that exact slice that aligns with the surface of the water. That’s where un-manifest meets manifest.

[ 0.02.04 A Simple Map of the Otherworld ] “Your body is the tip of a great tree. Your city is the tip of a great tree. The snail on the garden wall, he is the tip of a great tree below the surface. Everything we see around us and perceive as existing in the surface world is upheld by something deeper. Nothing is solid above the surface that does not exist below.”

But, if every manifest spirit is the tip of a great tree… And, if every identifiable, nameable, thing in the manifest realm is a spirit… Then, does everything have a Center?

I mean, I can imagine that the city might have a Center. The snail has a Center. Sure. Animism. But, we’ve been thinking of ourselves as having one Center, maybe two or three depending on what we’re doing…

[ 5.11.02 Identifying my Purpose ] “For our workings, thus far, we have practiced Centering into a single point in the heart. [ … ] But, imagine what your Center looks like when you stand in your Heart Home and Hood your Hands.”

But, if every cell in my body is a spirit, then they’re all the tips of great trees. Doesn’t that mean every cell in my body has a Center? Every atom has a Center? If I have nearly infinite identifiable manifest spirit-parts, don’t I, in fact, have infinite Centers?

In short, yes, every single manifest spirit has a Center. You have nearly infinite Centers inside of you. If you were looking for the threshold that divides the Surface Realm from the Hidden Realm, you could find it anywhere—everywhere.

But, as for the question: do you have infinite Centers…the key is: who are you? Which you are you talking about?

When I say me I don’t mean my left toe. Me is shorthand for the single spirit that is the sum of all of my parts, manifest and un-manifest. The fact that this spirit is divisible is irrelevant here. If I ask: where is the Center of the town where you live—where is the energy and identity concentrated, where is the fate of the city decided, and from where does the city’s magic arise?—it isn’t relevant to point out that your neighborhood also has a Center, or that your house has one, or your body, or your left toe.

When it comes to Centers, scale matters. So, moving forward you can be clear that when we’re talking about your Center that we’re talking about the Center of the single spirit who is your Whole Self, your Holy Self, your Hallowed Self.

Let’s add this to our definition:

A Center is a place where the manifest Spirit and Soul of a being intersects that being’s un-manifest Spirit and Soul.

My Center is the place or places where my manifest Self* intersects my un-manifest Self*.

*Where Self is shorthand for the Whole Self, the sum of my Spirits and Soul.

Now, that still doesn’t really explain why my manifest Self and un-manifest Self only intersect at a few points, much less why they intersect wherever I say they do.

[ 3.05.05 Get Dressed + Choosing ] “In our inner-world, in our spirit, the center has always been and will always be wherever we say it is.”

And what about all of the religions and spiritual systems that talk about the body’s energy-centers? Those don’t move around by our will, do they?

Ah, you always ask such excellent questions! (Ren, you wrote the questions.) Yes, but you showed up to sit here with me and give them life. And that is most excellent.

So, yes, there are systems that believe in and work with certain fixed cords that connect our subtle body to our physical body. (That’s fixed in terms of location, not in terms of motion.) Some of these maps are ancient: meridians, chakras, cauldrons of poesy. Some of these maps are recent: polarity fields and pineal gland vortices!

These maps offer a kind of spiritual anatomy and often are taught in combination with healing practices to address imbalance or disease. Working with or developing your own spiritual anatomy maps is valid. In fact, in Phase Seven, I’ll invite you to envision how the subtle body might appear during our dying process, as some aspects of our spirit and soul which have been manifest, which have existed above the surface of the lake, start to sink, dipping back below the waves. You might, in this vision, encounter something a bit like fixed energy-centers, portals through which certain aspects of our manifest Self are draining back into the un-manifest.   

That said, these fixed energy-centers are not what we’re talking about in the initiations when I ask: Who owns your Soul? Or Who will give you Purpose?

We just learned that fate is the consequences that result from relationships between spirits. Here in Human+Spiritwork, the Center that determines our fate and initiatory progress is the Center with which we share the deepest, most profound relationship.

And what determines the depth and impact of a relationship?

Our conscious presence.

How aware am I of this Center? How much of my focus does it receive? To what degree do I feel its influence, its touch?

Now, it may seem a bit unlikely that the Center we focus on and feel is going to have a greater impact on us than all of those fixed energy-centers that comprise our secret skeleton, our spiritual anatomy.

Yes…it is unlikely! Hidden and unlikely. And what is another word for a hidden and unlikely relationship between things?

Ah, yes. Magic.

[ 3.03.07 Introduction to Magic: The Hidden Path ] “Magic is a hidden relationship between spirits.”

All this time that I’ve been working with my Center, what I’ve really been working with is my Magical Center.

This is the moment when I realize that Magic isn’t just something that I do, it’s something that I can be—something that I am. Am I? I am.

It’s our Magical Center that is the Seat of Manifestation; the throne upon which I can consciously sit and shape the direction of my life. The Magical Center is the center that is wherever I say it is, meaning, it’s wherever I direct my conscious presence.

So, a final new definition:

My Magical Center is the place or places where my conscious presence influences the intersection of my manifest Self and my un-manifest Self.

We’ve got a new definition, so let’s try out a new map!

I’ll invite you to close your eyes and treat this next bit as a mini-working if you like. If possible in your space, you may want to stand.

Take a deep breath. Bend your knees a little. Let yourself feel a little heavy, stable, rooted. Am I? I am. Can I? I can. Close your eyes as far as you can without affecting your balance. Turn your gaze inwards.

Imagine yourself at the flooded valley, miraculously standing upon the surface of the lake. You feel still, stable. The tips of tall trees breach the gentle waves around you. You’re far from the shore. The cool water brings your attention to the bottoms of your feet.

You look down and can almost see another you below the waves with arms extended up, hands open. You stand upon the hands of this other you below the waves.

You lie down upon the surface of the lake, looking up at the sky. The sky shimmers and fades, and your eyes open just a little, hooded. But, even as you see the physical realm before your eyes, you can still feel the surface of the lake on your back, and a hand on your shoulder as well. Your Hidden Self stands behind you, with one arm outstretched, their hand upon your shoulder.

Feel your Hidden Self’s hand upon your shoulder. That touch, that area of contact, is your Magical Center. Your Hidden Self lifts their other hand and places it on your other shoulder. Two points of contact. Two Magical Centers.

Your Hidden Self steps closer, you can feel their chest touching your back, right at heart level. Three Magical Centers.

You break the connection for a moment by turning to face your Hidden Self. You place your hands upon their shoulders. Embracing, the whole front of your body, the inside of your arms, the Magical Center.

As you embrace, you feel something magnetic, drawing the two of you closer, closer. Your manifest Self and un-manifest Self start to over-lap, to merge, to become one body. The whole of your body, the Magical Center.

Take a deep breath.

Now, you can start to return from this vision. Change your body position. Open your eyes. Start doing some gentle trance breaking while I finish up this lesson with some words!

So, we just worked with this map where our Manifest Self and Un-manifest Self are like twins. And, where these twins touch, we find our Magical Center. Even when they aren’t touching, the twins are always connected by cords of relationship, perhaps like those fixed energy-centers I mentioned. But, the Magical Center exists where there is touch—where there is conscious presence.

Now, there’s a lot to un-pack in this vision, so I suggest playing with this one a bit over the next few days. Both of the twins are you, but what does it feel like when the un-manifest me reaches out to touch the manifest me? What does it feel like when the manifest me reaches out to touch the un-manifest me? Where do I feel like we often touch or connect? What does it feel like to be turned away from each other, upheld, supported like a hand on our shoulder? What does it feel like to be facing one another in focused contact? In times when we’ve felt un-Centered, what might that have looked like for the twins? One running away from the other? Both running away from each other? What does that feel like in my body, to temporarily have no direct contact with my un-manifest Self? What does self-possessed look like in this vision?

When the twins become as one, an embrace, how does this create common ground with other Embracing Spirits, like we began working with in Phase One.

You might have been thinking of the embrace as something that surrounds us. You might have been picturing the Blade, our Edge, as something like a skin that surrounds us, an exterior, outermost surface by which we can touch and be touched.

But, in truth, there’s a secret in our Magical Center. There is an Edge in the Center—an innermost surface which, too, is a point of contact with the Outer Realm.