Excerpt from Being Centered by Roman Oleh Yaworsky
Second Edition, Copyright © 2021 by Roman Oleh Yaworsky. All rights reserved.
$24.95 US, 292 pages
In a series of revealing and penetrating chapters, Roman Oleh Yaworsky traces how we give away our uniqueness, our joy and our power. This book is a blue print for reclaiming your life.
To Thine Own Self Be True
There is a fundamental principle that governs how we live our lives and experience the world around us. That principle is our connection to our core, our sense of who we truly are, on the inside. Our connection to our own core, our ability to be in the moment, to be in our feelings and in our hearts, is where our power, joy and enthusiasm come from. When we have this connection, we are centered. Each of us has experienced that connection to our own core. We crave it. It makes life worthwhile.
Playing the drum is one way that I have experienced a connection to my core. I remember when I ﬁrst started learning to play the drum, it was a new experience and I practiced for hours and days on end, pushing myself to learn all of the rhythms and to get it right. When I began to play in a group, in front of people, I would start out so seriously, with such a sense of responsibility. I was careful not to make mistakes, and so I concentrated on being a good musician. Unfortunately, I was trying to play the drum from my fear. I felt like someone holding on tightly to the reigns of wild horses, afraid to let go. It was my own fear that I was about to make a mistake, that stalked me and held me back.
Then, after a while, I took a risk. I relaxed. I let go. I stopped playing from my fear, and I began to play from my heart. The things with which I had learned to hold myself back, vanished. In their place was the spontaneity of the moment. My ﬁngers would play rifts and rhythms I had not even heard before. The playing ﬂowed. It took me deeper into the moment.
Taking the risk of playing from my heart, of choosing the courage of being in the moment, also had an effect on others and soon a feeling of immediacy and power would ﬁll the room. Time changed. I was no longer playing the drum, my heart was playing. Not just my heart; I could feel every other heart in that room. The playing was effortless, transformative and full of joy and heart.
It is to re-experience this state, to be fully centered and immersed in my heart, and to share that passion with others that I love to drum.
There is magic when we play or act from our heart. It doesn’t even matter so much how much skill is being expressed. What matters is that connection that we make within ourselves. That is what the audience comes to feel. People are drawn to experience the transformative power of a performance that arises from the heart of a musician or actor. This is what we are willing to line up for and pay money to experience. We seek that connection and courage in others to help us reconnect to our own center, heart, joy, immediacy and power.
There is magic when we live from our hearts, when we experience life by being open to it and when we are able to fully receive what is offered to us. That openness, that trust, extends to the world around us and also to ourselves. The magic of that trust in the world is that it invites grace and luck. It helps to align us with the experiences that we need, and it helps us to recognize what we need when it comes along in our lives.
The magic of that trust in ourselves invites faith in our own spirit, in our own core. It helps to align us with the experiences that we need on the inside; the answers, revelations and visions that help us live greater lives. It helps us to reconnect to the ‘universal heart,’ to that sense of deep connection with the world around us. That magic is positively contagious.
Being centered saves you from giving your life away. Centering is vital. There is no choice in being alive other than to be centered in something. The ideal center is you. In this book I will stress that the heart is the means to regain that center.
When you are not in that ideal center, when you are offbalance, when you are not in your heart, the need to center pulls you to center in things and people that do not connected you to your core, that do not connect you to your heart.
Bob Dylan wrote a song entitled Gotta Serve Somebody.1 Some of you may be familiar with it. The song says that you may be this or have this or that, but that ultimately you still have to ‘serve somebody!’
One way of interpreting what the song said is that no matter whom or what you identify with being, you serve what you center on. Where you center can take you to your highest, or it can bring you down. It is your choice what you center on, but you can’t escape the fact that you have to center on something. And that is what you serve, that is what you place your energy behind, and that then determines your fate.
Therefore, center on your own highest good, and to get there, start with your own heart.
People often confuse being centered with being selﬁsh.
Being centered, means taking care of ourselves and being responsible for our own happiness. Who else is going to be responsible? Being centered is about being honest and real. It is about being real with ourselves and with others. It is about being real with our feelings and with what we want.
Selﬁshness is about trying to ﬁll a void. It is about trying to ﬁll a need by not taking into account the honoring of others, nor the honoring of oneself. It is about putting the need ahead of the heart. It happens when you’re not in your heart. It happens when you are not honest or real with yourself because you are disconnected from your heart.
When you are centered, you are in your heart, you do not identify yourself with a void, and so there’s nothing to ﬁll.
Often children get confused over selﬁshness when their intentions are misunderstood or misrepresented by their parents. This can occur when a child asks for a toy and instead of the parents saying “We don’t have enough money for that” they say “You are being selﬁsh.” Now the child has come to understand that if they ask for what they want, they are being selﬁsh. This is very unfortunate. We need to clear this misunderstanding, so that we can act for own best interest. We must be centered, so that we can be in our hearts, in our true feelings, and open to being in the moment and to the experience of joy.
To an ever-increasing extent, we experience being pulled away from our center in today’s modern world. We are at risk of being bombarded by so much information and noise in the form of advertising and bias from publications, television, the internet and other media.
We are told that we will be happy if we buy this soft drink, that we will be sexy if look a certain way, if we buy this car or use this deodorant.
We are told that we are suffering because we are not taking this drug. Advertising is not only information; it is also often designed to mold us, to turn us into consumers, and in that process, to pull us away from what we wanted and towards what others want. Often the advertising is designed to pull us off center.
Ironically, our own culture praises success, but underscores failure. We are rarely told in television commercials that we have enough, or that who we are is ﬁne. Instead, we are told that we lack this to be happy, or if we get that, we will avoid embarrassment. We are willing to work long hours for a chance of joy in two week stints once a year. We are asked to postpone joy, until we can afford it, until we get married, have children, get an education, or retire.
We have to be very careful not to become a victim of being molded and pulled away from being centered. The path to being centered does not come through watching more television, by buying more products, or by trading what we want or who we are for something that might be in the future. We do not live in the future and although some of us try, we do not live in the past either. We live in the present. We live through our hearts and in being centered. This we have to protect. Otherwise our experience of living is diminished.
Why would anyone want to pull anybody else out of his or her center? It is the way most people argue, ﬁght, confront or engage in most conﬂicts. It is what works most of the time!
Pulling someone out of their center is a classic way of defeating an opponent in martial arts or in a business confrontation. If you have ever watched two people grappling each other in a judo contest, you will see them trying to knock each other off balance while seeking to maintain their own. Each competitor will repeatedly try a move to throw his adversary when he senses that there is an opening, that the other is caught off guard. It is only when the opponent is actually out of his center, through losing his concentration, focus or balance, that the throw is successful.
High stakes business negotiations can be the same way. Each ‘opponent’ tries to show their own strengths while at the same time taking advantage of the weaknesses of the other. This is why the three-piece blue business suit or wearing black is important! It is a show of strength.
We tend to encounter many of these strategies of knocking the other off balance among kids. Children apply leverage through name calling, threats of exclusion from the group and by making fun of the other. In a sense this is done to establish who
is important and who is off balance. The winner of this conﬂict becomes the leader of his pack.
The loser’s defeat through loss of their center and connection to their core becomes a demonstration of the leader’s power. Being centered is the best defense. The degree to which children are successful with their friends and peers has a lot to do with how centered they are, how they have been encouraged to be themselves and how they have resisted losing center and adapting to the wishes and needs of others. The enormous need that children have to ﬁt in with peers and friends, challenges their inner strength and faith in themselves. How successful children become in retaining their center and faith in themselves has great bearing on their future choices and success in the world.
When we are not centered, when we are not aligned with our nature and we do not experience that connection in our hearts, we also do not experience connection with the hearts of others. We move out of alignment with our friends, family, the people we interact with, and with the rest of the universe.
The consequences of this disconnection, are that we attract experiences that tell us the universe does not support who we are. When we are confronted with this lack of support, rather than addressing the dis-connection to our own hearts, we tend to act as if our feelings are a consequence of the actions of other people. In this way we begin to center on them and what they want in order to gain their support or we may blame them as the cause of our pain and disconnection.
Either way, our stance automatically makes others more important to us than we are to ourselves. We place ourselves in a reactive posture to the power of other people to affect us. As a result, not only do we give away some of our personal power, we also give away some of our sense of aliveness in the process. We make others responsible for our own hearts!
This is what happens when we are not centered. When we don’t center in our own being, and in our own hearts, we are pulled to being centered to the needs and actions of others.
Hint 1: You seek others to be your center. When you lose connection to your own core and heart, you seek others to be your center. When you seek to lean on the people in your life instead of taking responsibility for your own healing, you leave yourself open and vulnerable to be manipulated by their needs and for them to deﬁne your worth and who
Hint 2: You start to feel powerless. When you lose your center, you feel powerless. You start to feel that you cannot change your situation for the better, or to say what you feel or what you want. You begin to believe that you are not important, that you don’t matter. Then it becomes okay if someone ignores your best interests, or if you do not get your needs met.
Hint 3: You try to adjust to the needs of others. You try to please them or make them like you, because in losing your center, the hearts of others become more important than your own. You then center on their approval and their acceptance of you.
Hint 4: You begin to blame other people. When your attempts at adjusting to others fail, or you make them responsible for your loss of center, you begin to blame others in your life.
Hint 5: You become irresponsible with your heart. You begin to honor others more than yourself. You may act totally responsible in your duties at work and seemingly in your dealings with others in your need to be accepted, liked or approved of. At the same time, you ignore your own best interest and feelings.
Hint 6: You begin not to take care of your feelings, your heart or your best interests. Instead your focus shifts to taking care of other things. You begin to put inconsistent value on the people and things in your life in direct proportion to their hold on you. You become more reactive and more easily rufﬂed and you increasingly act out of your fear.
Hint 7: You begin to be more pessimistic about the future. Your experience of losing your center is a contraction. As a result, there is less expansiveness towards the future.
Hint 8: You often ignore what happens inside of you. When your focus is on your reactions to others, you tend to ignore yourself. However, what happens inside of you is far more important.
Hint 9: You begin to lose trust in yourself as you become disconnected from your center on the inside. You often experience that separation in your heart, in your own sense of value, your sense of worth and in your own will.
Hint 10: You begin not to like yourself. Having lost your center, you begin not liking the choices you are making with your life. In time you may experience difﬁculty in liking yourself and whom you have chosen to become.
All of these things happen as a result of losing your center. In this way, you become contracted to your own spirit and to your own energy. These inward disconnections are primary. When you do not address them, you form emotions and negative emotional states. And then you begin to deﬁne yourself by these very disconnections.
You never lose your core. You never lose your center. You never lose your heart. What you lose is your connection. And in order to regain your center, you need to regain your connection. How do you do that? You do it by reconnecting to the place where that relationship was ﬁrst lost, where that separation was ﬁrst felt, and that place is in your heart.
In order to reconnect to your heart you need to stop avoiding your heart. What do I mean by that? Well, we often edit, ignore, avoid, or try to control what comes from our hearts.
Have you ever had the experience of being asked how you feel about something, and you ﬁnd yourself lying because the truth is not what someone else wants to hear? When you start down this path, you often begin to lie to yourself also. Then your own internal dishonesty begins to separate you from your true feelings.
We have to learn to stop doing that. We have to become aware of our feelings and of what our heart is trying to tell us. And we have to learn to take care of our heart. As we do these things, our connection to our heart will increase and this will pull us back to center.
The process of returning to center and the means to do it through our heart forms much of the basis of the rest of the book.
In this chapter you were introduced to the importance of being centered in your life and in today’s world. We looked at the consequences of not being centered. In a very real way, being centered is being alive as yourself, in your energy and in your heart. It is not selﬁshness. In fact, selﬁshness occurs when people are not centered.
In this chapter, we received 10 hints that can alert us to times when we are not centered or not taking care of our feelings.
We are often told to smile and look good in order to be liked and accepted. When you are centered, the smile is genuine.
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