An Introduction to Centering - Disidentification
by John W. Cullen
This is an introduction to a very basic psychosynthesis exercise that builds on
the observer exercise. There are several necessary
steps. First, sit comfortably and relax the body, keeping your arms and legs
uncrossed to symbolize bodily your openness. Do not slouch down as there may be
a tendency to fall asleep. Try to sit relatively straight without being rigid,
and put your body in a position of relaxed alertness.
The next step is called disidentification. The idea is that you have a
body. It is a very precious instrument, but you are not your body. You are
more than your body. If you think that you are your body, then when your
body changes, you lose your identity. The process of disidentification and
identification goes on automatically throughout life often with painful
consequences. Psychosynthesis teaches us that we can control this process
and be in charge of our identities. We can participate in our own
evolution by practicing disidentification.
The next step is disidentification from your emotions. Our language tends to
reinforce emotional identification. I am angry. I am afraid, etc. You
do have emotions, and they can overcome you with their intensity, but they are
not you. They are constantly changing, but you remain. This can be a most
significant management tool. As you are able to disidentify from your emotions,
you are more able to experience your own center.
Disidentification is not suppression but a recognition that you have these
emotions, but you can choose how you wish to express them. This is different
from the normal management attitude of repression of emotions. From the centered
position you can observe your emotions, consider the alternatives and express
ourselves appropriately. There is a great sense of power associated with this
experience. This is not the usual form of power where you control others or
suppress yourself but a sense of power of the self who is in charge. One is no
longer victim of someone pushing your button.
The next step involves disidentification from the mind. For many managers this
is the most difficult step. Our minds have been very available to us. Our ideas
are so important that we tend to believe that we are our minds. Any assault upon
our ideas is seen to be an assault on us. For people who have not experienced
their own mind, this can be a valuable identification. As many people are
identified with their emotions, a step in growth for them is to begin to identify
with their minds. At the level of management that we are dealing with, where the
mind is well developed, the next step in growth will be to disidentify from the
mind and identify with the personal self. The mind has been in charge, and now it
is time to tell it who is the boss. "I affirm that I have a mind, but I am
more than my mind. I value it. I use it. I can choose to think the way that I
wish to think. I am not ruled by my ideas about life, but I keep an open mind,
integrating new awarenesses about reality when they conflict with familiar
long-held beliefs. I can let go of old ideas if they become limiting or
inaccurate in the light of new experience."
As we complete this process of disidentification, we begin to identify with the
personal self. We experience our self--our own center. Surrounding you are your
instruments for functioning in the world. We choose our actions, our feelings,
our thoughts. This is the essence of personal psychosynthesis, and a major trait
of the self-actualizer.
Take the time to center yourself and focus in. We will do this basic
psychosynthesis exercise. Quiet yourself and sit in a comfortable position. Close
your eyes. You are going to disidentify, stepping back from the various parts of
yourself in order to get to the center--the personal self--the observer that is
beyond any of your individual parts. This self is the integrative factor that
coordinates all aspects of the personality. So just step away from the parts
starting with the body.
I have a body, but I am more than my body. I am the one who is aware: the self,
the center. My body may be rested or tired, active or inactive, but I remain the
same, the observer at the center of all my experience. I am aware of my body, but
I am more than my body.
I have emotions, but I am more than my emotions. Whether I feel excited or dull,
I recognize that I am not changing. I have emotions, but I am more than my emotions.
I have an intellect, but I am more than my intellect. Regardless of my thoughts and
regardless of how my beliefs have changed over the years, I remain the one who is
aware, the one who chooses--the one who directs my thinking process. I have an
intellect, but I am more than that.
I am a center of pure awareness. I am the one who chooses. I am the self.
Through the process of disidentification you become more and more your own manager.
You find yourself becoming more free from concerns about the expectations or judgments
of other people. The self is the inner director.
Another effect of disidentification is the development of a discrimination between
being centered versus being off center. Most people cannot do this because they do
not have the experience of being centered. As you begin to experience being centered,
there is a tendency to experience a sense of permanence. At the center there is
stability. Even though the environment is changing you are identified in that stable