THE CENTER POINT AND THE CIRCUMFERENCE

THE NINTH KEY

THE CENTER POINT AND THE CIRCUMFERENCE

 

Visualize a point with a circumference all around it.

 

In the central point we are our true being,

 

in a state of infinite love, ecstasy, vision and conscious

immortality, one with the Divine,

with all and all things.

 

a) The issue is introduced by noting that

 

at the center of our being we are completely free,

 

but on the circumference we are nowhere:

 

in our ego, personality, character there can be no freedom and we are like

puppets pulled by too many tangled threads,

all dreaming sleepwalkers.

 

There is no half way between the two: none of us can be 10%, 40%, 90% free. It is either all or nothing.

 

The center is the eyes of the cyclone

 

The circumference consists of a crowd, a typhoon of unquiet ghosts from the past.

 

On the circumference all thoughts, actions, reactions are almost totally

determined by our conditionings.

 

it is always absolute freedom at the center

and none at all outside it.

 

Where would YOU rather be?

 

We must leave the circumference at last, go deeply within until we finally discover the Way to the centre.

 

The mind exists can only operate in the circumference,

therefore by remaining in our Center

we are already beyond it

 

As Wu Hsin noted,

 

The circumference merges into the center.

What there remains?

Surely no circumference,

no center.

 

What remain is what was

prior to either.

 

What was prior to either?

Only one thing.

 

b) There is in each of us a subliminal memory of paradise,

 

of a time when we did not need to read a book or listen to a Teacher’s words to know, did not need an embrace to feel loved, to eat to feel full.

 

Whoever remains on the circumference has like a black hole

inside himself that whatever the does

he can never quite fill;

 

a feeling of lacking something but not knowing what. An energy of desire pulls him towards X, a certain possession, person, accomplishment, so they naturally he assumes that it is X he lacks.

By getting it he feels happy, but in reality is not happy because of getting it and anyway the next moment another energy draws him towards something else all over again.

 

He is happy because by getting what he wanted has exhausted

the energy of inane desires carrying him

around the circumference,

 

and for a little while to some extent has gone back to his center,

where he has always been happy.

 

Then it is clear that

 

The circumference itself as a whole

is our prison.

 

In a certain sense,

 

it is also the Veil.

 

If you have really understood this

 

you will never again look for happiness outside yourself,

in the circumference ever again.

 

As Vivekananda pointed out,

 

Man is an infinite circle whose circumference is nowhere,

 

but the centre is located in one spot; and God is an infinite

circle whose circumference is nowhere,

but whose centre is everywhere.

 

But then

 

as the circumference is nowhere, while we are dwelling in it…

WE ARE NOWHERE AS WELL.

 

This is a most serious issue.

But you can always go back to your center.

If you want to intensely enough, that is.

 

DO YOU?

 

How?

Of course,

 

by letting go of your ego

and old self-image.

Shams Tabrizi has a warning:

 

Either you are in, at the center…
either you are out, yearning.

 

Living it:

From a letter to a friend in Australia:

 

Beloved, you are doing, thinking or feeling something then a thought takes over your consciousness and for a moment it is all you are aware of, only the thoughts is there, NOT YOURSELF, while your body keeps going on its own.

What happens at that moment is this:

 

you have fallen from the center of your being, from the central point

into the original undifferentiated state

 

in which we merge into the collective human mind and are no longer in the Here and Now in any real sense

But then in that moment only that thought is there,

 

and where does this leave you?

Nowhere at all.

 

I know only too well what you are passing through, for I also went through it some years ago, the awareness of being lost in the circumference, so far away from who I really am that it made me so giddy: no center to hold to!

 

The Way:

Leaving the circumference for the Center

 

means leaving the external world

for the inner one,

 

from the ephemeral dimension of names and forms to reality, from the mind’s chaotic noise to silence,

 

from multiplicity to Oneness, from limited space

to infinity, from Time to Eternity.

 

Follow Nisargadatta Maharaj’s advice:

 

Just like a wheel turns around a fulcrum, you must always remain

at the center, not rotate around the periphery.

 

Wu Hsin adds that:

 

Moving from the circumference to

the center is the enemy of fear.

 

Fear cannot exist at the center;

there is nothing to fear there.

 

Practice:

 

1) Realize that:

 

All that you really have to do

is to take a firm step within.

 

When you finally take it, at first you find nothing there, but do not give up yet.

As you are accustomed to be always occupied with something in your mind – a thought, a craving, a sensory perception, etc, at first

 

you will not remain too long in this nothing before beginning

to perceive its vastness and wonders.

 

and then you will never want to go back to the restless superficialities that you always knew.

Being impatient with this initial nothing would be like taking but a few steps towards, for example, Benares, and then say: “Benares is not there!’ and turn back, for then of course you will never get anywhere.

 

No, you must go much deeper into this apparent “nothingness”

until you break through.

 

See also the chapter on Emptiness – Nothingness in the Path to Immortality section of this text.

 

2) Meditate on this passage from the Quest:

 

We can only live on the circumference or at the very centre of our being, for there is nothing in between.

 

Of course, living in the circumference seems much easier because we are so accustomed to it that it seems so natural, as if there was no alternative to it.

 

Living at the centre of our being is a conquest

requiring quite a lot of inner work,

 

and at first also requires a firm determination, courage and of patience, which not many can find in themselves.

It is quite a challenge, because as almost everyone else in still on the circumference we will be all alone.

 

The circumference is governed by something like a centrifugal force drawing us

away from the center of our own true being, towards

superficial, inane and harmful things

 

What will you DO about it, if anything?

 

3) Meditate also on this passage of Vivekananda:

 

Each soul is a circle.

 

The centre is where the body is, and the activity is manifested there.

You are omnipresent, though you have the consciousness

of being concentrated in only one point.

 

That point has taken up particles of matter and formed them into a machine to express itself.

 

That through which it expresses itself

is called the body.

 

You are everywhere. When one body or machine fails you, the centre moves on and takes up other particles of matter, finer or grosser, and works through them. Here is man.

 

When we can get out of the limited centre of body,

we shall realize God, our true Self.

 

Contemplate:

 

– These words of Mère:

 

For a long time I have stopped asking myself this. What does it matter?

Is it necessary to know whether one is at the centre or on the circumference?

 

Provided that entirely consecrated to Thee, living only for Thee and by Thee,

I carry out better and better the task Thou givest me,

all the rest has no importance at all.

 

What else has much importance to you?

Don’t be deceived.

 

Haiku:

 

In the circumference of our lives

a centrifugal force keeps driving us

into the inane, but in it abides as well

the Way Out meant for each of us.

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