How I Discovered That I Wasn’t the Centre of the Universe (and Neither Are You)

While getting centred feels like a relief to those of us who are scatterbrained meditators, it can also serve as a natural starting point to explore the art of decentering and tap and elusive state of being centerless. Here, Founding Editor Barry Boyce takes us on a mindful tour of these mental vantage points.


“I need to get centered.”

We’ve all heard these words hundreds of times. Perhaps we’ve said something like this hundreds of times. It’s also something that, in a cynical mood, people like to make fun of: the airy-fairy mindfulness-spouting person who is so “in touch with themselves” that they’re out of touch with everyone and everything around them. You know, “Excuse me, what did you say? I was finding my center.”

When we talk about getting centered, though, what do we really mean? Is there any value to it? And is “getting centered” the be-all, end-all when it comes to mindfulness and meditation?

Centering on Getting Centered

In the context of mindfulness—the innate human ability to be aware of where we are and what’s happening inside and out—“centering” connotes the opposite of being scattered, distracted, unfocused, carried away by the next thought when we would like to be attending to what is at hand. It’s a good thing. 

And we have lots of practices—such as mindfulness of breathing—that can address the need to come into focus. 

In bodily terms, centered conveys a feeling of being in balance. If we are in a yoga pose or aikido stance, for example,…


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About the author

Barry Boyce

Barry Boyce is Founding Editor of Mindful and A longtime meditation practitioner and teacher—as well as a professional writer and editor— he is the editor of and a primary contributor to The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life. Barry also worked closely with Congressman Tim Ryan, as developmental editor, on A Mindful Nation and The Real Food Revolution. Barry serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for a Mindful Society and the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto as well as on the advisory board of Peace in Schools, in Portland, Oregon.