Experience isn’t a place; it’s a focus of attention. You can live there, at the still point around which everything revolves. To be off center is to lose focus, to look away from experience or block it out.
To be centered is like saying “I want to find my home in creation.” You relax into the rhythm of your own life, which sets the stage for meeting yourself at a deeper level. You can’t summon the silent witness, but you can place yourself close to it by refusing to get lost in your own creation.
When I find myself being overshadowed by anything, I can fall back on a few simple steps: I say to myself, “This situation may be shaking me, but I am more than any situation.” I take a deep breath and focus my attention on whatever my body is feeling. I step back and see myself as another person would see me (preferably the person whom I am resisting or reacting to.) I realize that my emotions are not reliable guides to what is permanent and real. They are momentary reactions, and most likely they are born of habit. If I am about to burst out with uncontrollable reactions, I walk away.
As you can see, I don’t try to feel better, to be more positive, to come from love, or to change the state I’m in. If you can observe the mechanism at work without getting wrapped up in it, you will find that you possess a second perspective, one that is always calm, alert, detached, tuned in but not overshadowed. That second place is your center. It isn’t a place at all but a close encounter with the silent witness.