[Mandala by Clare Goodwin]

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.

Centering Exercise
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 center.

URL= http://two.not2.org/psychosynthesis/exer/ctr-di.htm
Last revised: November 18, 2004.