Centering

The first thing you learn in a martial art is not a throw or a hold, but a stance. The first thing you must master is the ability to find and hold your center. If you are off balance it will be easy for your attacker to knock you over. When you stand with your knees slightly bent and feel the inertia of your solar plexus as the seat of your power you become so rooted that you cannot be moved.

Just as we find safety and power in knowing our physical center, we also discover security in knowing where we come from emotionally and mentally. We become adept at conflict resolution largely by nurturing a keen awareness of who we are.

The position of Creative Conflict Resolution is that we have an equal responsibility for the welfare of all, but we don't have an equal ability to act on behalf of all. The bulk of our effort should go where we can do the greatest good. The person whose needs I can best understand and am in the best position to address positively is myself. I will not be much good to others if I am not getting what I need. So we must act in our own behalf without it being at the expense of others.

Thus, our first responsibility is to take care of ourselves. This comes across to many as profoundly self centered, so I want to offer a distinction between being self-centered and being centered in your self.

Creative Conflict Resolution is a martial art for relationships. We don't know what sort of challenges the relationship will throw at us, but we want to respond from a place that is strong and centered and from which we can take care of ourselves without harming others.

The more we move our awareness toward our own center, the more power we have to create a positive effect on ourselves and others. We will see many examples of this as we move forward but I hope this is a premise that is simple to understand. When we are off balance, we fall over.

It is essential then that we find our center and we come from a place of being centered. Our life circumstances can easily knock us off balance so we need to be good at restoring our center. We have to have mastered certain centering skills.

This is clearly true for us physically as material beings with bodies, but it is also true for us in our non-material aspects. We have an emotional center, a relational center, and even a spiritual center. Each of these different centers is available to us and we do well to seek them in the four realms we have already described:

  • my physical center and the place of my body (the personal or material),
  • my place in my family, community and culture and my sense of belonging in my primary relationships (the interpersonal or relational),
  • my awareness of my own sensations, emotions, thoughts, wishes, intuition, and imagination (the intrapersonal or internal), and
  • my awareness of my place in the grand scheme of creation, awareness that I am an insignificant nothing and the most precious and powerful being in the universe (the transpersonal or spiritual).

Our capacity to be conflict resolution masters depends completely on our ability to find and hold each of these centers. Indeed, we are at our best when all of these centers are in alignment.

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