Last week I talked about some tips to meditating. Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about what meditation really means, and how we practice it in our everyday life.
I’m taking a pottery class at a local potter’s studio. I spent my final semester at college in the pottery studio every morning from 6am until my first class at 10am throwing and trimming on the wheel and trying to get my pieces to look nice. Then, I spent the rest of my day beating myself up over how I never managed to take the class until my very last semester.
I bit the bullet and shelled out about $300 to sign up for this class and I sat back down at the wheel and covered my hands in clay and felt a sense of ease.
The act of throwing clay on a wheel is difficult, no matter how many YouTube videos make it look painless. You have a pound lump of clay on the center of a spinning plate and your main goal before you start pulling on the sides is getting it even and in the very center of the wheel.
This is called centering. You physically center your clay by using your two palms to squeeze the clay together into a perfect ball.
While I’m centering my palms are shaky and a one to two pound mass of clay is pushing me around. It’s difficult for me to get centered. Last class I started thinking if maybe what was keeping me from centering my clay was my lack of centering within myself.
I know it sounds cheesy, but when I’m at the wheel I’m focusing on things the same way I’m focusing on things when I’m at my mat. My legs are strong, my shoulders and arms are relaxed, and my fingers are gentle. I have a center focal point and I’m constantly joining my palms together. My mind is often wandering but it’s not long before I pull it back to really focus on keeping my body steady.
There’s no doubt that centering my clay is an act of centering within itself. Often times when I shape my hands into the anjali mudra I’m brought back to my intention of my practice. Just like when I press my palms closer together with the clay in between, I’m brought back to my intention of centering my clay. I’m consistently pushing myself to have a centered mind, which to me means focused and purposeful with my thoughts.