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Being in one’s center



The Chinese philosophical text the Tao Te Ching, attributed to Lao-tzu, has extraordinary passages about mindfulness (and emptying the mind).

Te meaning  Virtue, and Tao meaning the Way. These texts were found with one of the earliest forms of the I Ching, The Book of Changes and are written in a similar style.

For me,  I find these texts helpful to elucidate the need to be in the middle – in one’s center –  seeing both figure and ground, diminishing the need to control or push the river, and increasing the philosophy that going with the flow while remaining connected to virtue and one’s center, is of the utmost importance in creating success in life – the Way – or what I call The Path to Grace.

To understand others is to be knowledgeable;

To understand yourself is to be wise.

To conquer others is to have strength;

To conquer yourself is to be strong.

To know when you have enough is to be rich.

To go forward with strength is to have ambition.

To not lose your place is to last long.

To die but not forgotten – that’s true long life.

Chapter 33 Lao-tzu, Te-Tao Ching from the Ma-wang-tui-Texts

I think of standing in the middle of the river, fly-fishing, the water as it rushes by me drowns out all other sound so that it is like a deep and true silence; the water ripple ahead looks like white birds flying off the water.  It is a moment of now.  Me in my center, the world around me without meaning.   I experience the deafening sound of the water as the beauty of the white water transforms me into a middle place where two pictures of the world can be seen simultaneously:  the water flowing by me and over the rocks  in white rapids and the vision of the white birds flying off the water toward the sky.  I feel my heart pounding in my chest, my breathing, and a true sense of peace.

This is the picture of a meditative state for me, where true clarity is at my mind’s fingertips and I am in complete connection with spirit, nature, and my authentic self.  In that moment I notice that I am in joy and that my natural state is joy.

Being in one’s center allows a peaceful joy to take center stage and all decisions and actions from that place are in one’s best interest.

May you find your picture of being in your center so that you may access it easily, and completely –  at will –  so that joy is ever-present in your daily going and coming.

See you tomorrow.


Author: instinctivehealthparenting4u

Author, Integrative medicine practitioner, psychotherapist. Albuquerque, NM practice, focus on return to balance and the integration of spirit, mind, and body through meditation and mindfulness. Monthly trainings, & professional and personal development coaching. Find more on my website Read my books, Turning NO to ON: The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness, Turning ME to WE: The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness (, for increased internal wellness and alignment with your spiritual purpose, and to activate joyous love and light, bg

2 thoughts on “Being in one’s center

  1. This post evokes two other texts for me. One is Pirke Avot–“The sayings of the Fathers”– which states much of the same wisdom of Tao-Te Ching that you share above, albeit in the much less linear fashion that is typical of Rabbinic texts.

    But more vividly, the phrase “push the river” and your exquisite imagery of finding your centeredness brought to my mind the poetry of Zelda that I was reading last week while on vacation in Utah:
    Sun-startled pines
    wafted a wild fragrance–
    the same stunning strength
    from the inmost flowering
    made the world my home again
    but did not reveal the core,
    the divine intention
    in budding and wilting plants.
    And the point of my life
    and the point of my death–
    I will not know in this world.

    This is what mindfulness is to me….to be aware and awake to the world and to be content in the face of the mysteries that surround and imbue us. While this is no doubt a more theistic approach than the Taoists would have, I think the end result of alert calmness in both approaches is similar.

    Most of Zelda’s poetry was written after the death of her beloved husband. They did not have any children, and much of her writing expresses the balance between her grief and her love of life, an eloquent statement of the human conditon;
    I awoke–the house was lit,
    but no one was there with me–
    And what sadness
    and pain–
    Yet surely the joy of the sun
    is an everyday matter,
    and surely a mountain,
    and surely fire–
    Oh, beauty sticks like a knife
    in the heart.

    • I am not as educated as I should be in these texts. I agree that my interpretation is more spiritual and theistic than the Taoists would have. Yet that is my inner harmony, spirit and mind. These examples are exquisite and apropos. Dealing with death and grief has a way of clarifying what is beautiful in life. Thank you so much for sharing!

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