When you’re off-centre you’re at the mercy of the storms that rage around you. When you’re centred you can harness those forces.

David Labuschagne

January 18th, 2018

You are the centre of the universe. (sorry Galileo, you were wrong.)

Christ, Buddha and Lao Tzu declared that each of us has a “still-point” within. This point is a centre of calm and serenity comparable to the eye of a cyclone.

Buddha perceived this eye as “emptiness” or “void”, a sanctum within the cyclone of endless suffering and ephemeral manifestation.
Christ articulated the eye as the “Kingdom of God” or the “quiet voice of the Spirit within”, as a place of refuge and salvation.
Lao Tzu described the centre as the source; as the point of origin and return for all beings.

For these transcendent souls (and their followers) the way to enlightenment – to being cool, calm and collected – was to find that still-point, and then to become one with it through prayer, meditation, renunciation, or sacrifice.

This centre point is in actuality a “void”. Lao Tzu describes it in the Dao de ching as follows: We put thirty spokes together to create a wheel; but it’s the empty space in the centre that makes it useful. We shape clay to make a vessel; but it’s the space within that makes it useful.

Riding the whirlwind.
Life is a dynamic process, one in which the only constant is change. At times, despite our best efforts to the contrary, the events and circumstances of our personal lives become tumultuous, plunging us into chaos, confusion or even despair.

To avoid this – or at the very least to minimise the damage – many people work hard to shield themselves from the storm by building ever thicker walls, both physical and psychological. Failing that, they seek shelter from the storm by battening down their hatches and hiding in the basement. Let’s not forget that there’s always the option to buy an insurance policy – comprehensive of course – against fire, theft, misadventure, and even “Acts of God” (heaven forbid!).

Frequently though, these bulwarks against the vagaries of fickle fate and fortune prove to be a house of straw. The only real protection from the whirlwind lies not in resisting the elemental forces, but by being fluid, responsive and adaptable; by residing in the eye of the cyclone.