Saturday, January 24, 2009

THE HOUSE OF THE POTTER, PART II: CENTERING


Thomas Kelly, 20th century Quaker writer and visionary, writes about life at the Center: “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return.”[1] When working on a pottery wheel, if you can’t center the clay, you might as well hang up your apron. Centering clay looks so easy when an expert potter is at the wheel. Then you sit behind the wheel yourself and the fun begins. Finding the center of the spinning wheel is easy. Wet your finger and place it on the wheel. Move it slightly until you see a small dot on the wheel. That’s the center. Now, throw your prepared clay ball onto that dot, cone it up, press it down, cone it up, press it down. This process is the way potters center the clay. Potters, pastors, prophets and poets all have a nose for the Center. They are not afraid of finding the Center and heading in that direction. What is central to your life? What motivates me to do what I do? Another way of finding the center is asking, “What is my purpose, focus, balancing point?” There is a Center to life. The labor of centering involves learning to yield, to allow our life to be shaped by unseen “hands”, experiencing the pressures from opposite sides of our life pull and press us toward that unseen Center. Spirituality is all about this re-centering, of allowing our lives to be moved towards the Center. Habits that help humans move towards the center include prayer, meditation, breathing as focusing, and releasing our need to control by yielding. Kelly calls this spiritual movement of the heart a “centering down, when life is lived with singleness of eye, from a holy Center where the breadth and stillness of Eternity are heavy upon us and we are wholly yielded to Him. Some of you know this holy, recreating Center of eternal peace and joy and live in it day and night. Some of you may see it over the margin and wistfully long to slip into that amazing Center where the soul is at home with God” (Testament, 74).
[1] Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941), 29.

1 comment:

Darland said...

Thank you so much for your writing on Centering. I loved the descriptive words that helped me draw closer to "my center" and to remember fondly my previous struggles in a "pottery class" May God bless you as you create for Him.