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Staying Centred at Christmas

December 22, 2007 by Lightwaves
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senses_arti.jpgWith the demands of the Christmas season and all of the stimulation, how can we stay centered?

Christmas is a stimulating time with the lights and decorations, the excitement around all the Christmas events, as well as shopping, family gatherings and office parties. All of these things demand the attention of the senses. When the senses are bombarded like this, discrimination becomes challenging. It can become difficult to know what to pay attention to and where to use your energy. Without awareness, the meaning behind Christmas gets lost in all the sensory stimulation.

So how can we stay centred at Christmas time? Becoming aware of how we perceive the world around us starts with the senses. Below are some thoughts from Swami Radha about the senses.

“The impact of our sense perceptions on us, which are usually coloured and controlled by the emotions, keeps us out of the Garden of Eden where intuition and knowledge flower. Some people seem to prefer toiling outside the garden, and in that struggle minimize and ignore the forces of intuition.

It’s your emotions that fire your senses and exaggerate things. When this is happening, you don’t see what really is. And later you say, after the catastrophe, “How could I miss that?” It is very difficult to clarify how emotions can do this unless we are quite persistent and pay attention. So, writing daily reflections can help us clarify: “What did I see? Was it correct what I was seeing, or was my imagination coming in, fired by my emotions?”

What do you know about your senses? You use them every day. Did you ever recognize that they were in competition with each other? When you look at a person’s face, your eyes tell you one story, but what your ears tell may be quite different. What about the other senses? All the senses need to be cultivated.

So developing sensitivity is important, but we have to make the discrimination not to be sensitive to our own ego. This is being touchy; it is not true sensitivity. What is the value of sensitivity if we are heartless, selfish, greedy? There is no sensitivity in that. So what we have to do is cultivate our five senses, becoming more and more aware.

Try to watch your senses as they manifest. You can walk around in a room and stretch your arms out, and repeat, “I am functioning from my center, from my inner being, from my inner Light.” That inner Light is also represented symbolically as the third eye, as sight, you who can see.”

If you find your senses taking you away from your centre, here is an exercise to help you return to centre. From Swami Radha’s classic text Kundalini Yoga for the West, instructions for the I am functioning from my centre exercise:

senses_function.jpg “Start by standing with the palms up just above the navel. Smoothly lift the hands up to the heart center as if lifting the emotions up to the heart. Then extend the arms out full length, forming a circular movement with the arms. As you do so, say aloud and listen to your voice reinforcing, “I am functioning from my center.” The reinforcement of hearing this repeated aloud is very effective. Doing this exercise 10 times, even once a day, will bring a reminder on occasions when you may be off-center, that it is possible to return to the center at any time it is so decided.”


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  1. I love using “I am functioning from my center”. Great article and tip for the holidays!

    Comment by Sairah Walsh — December 23, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  2. I have been using “I am functioning…..” this season to remind me to return to my centre. At the end I stand quietly for a while feeling the effects of the practice. This season is very demanding on me as a minister in the church and I am so extremely grateful for the many practices that keep me focussed. Louise Skibsted

    Comment by Louise Skibsted — December 25, 2007 @ 9:52 am

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