I have been thinking a lot about focus lately. In yoga, there is the term, drishti which is Sanskrit for focused gaze and is used to develop more concentrated intention. One of the very many things I love about yoga is the time taken at the start of every practice to set an intention for yourself, lately my intention has been to work on my drishti.
It is very easy to become distracted on the mat by others around you, by the noisy fella three mats up, the woman in front who wobbles in your view, the person on the other side who might be able to do more than you, the 90’s band T-shirt the guy diagonally from you is wearing… and on and on, and that’s before you have even got to your own, powerful, intrusive thoughts, self-doubt, to-do lists and ego. I am trying to work on this need to cultivate a more focused practice, that requires me to be fully present and focused on my experience and my being whilst having an external gaze that can see beyond the immediate situation. Like all things yoga, it is very much a ‘practice’.
In Sanskrit, drishti can also mean a vision, a point of view, or intelligence and wisdom. The use of drishti in yoga asana serves both as a training technique and as a metaphor for focusing consciousness toward a vision of oneness. Drishti organizes our perceptual apparatus to recognise and overcome the limits of “normal” vision.
I am feeling similarly about my work at the moment. I am feeling a need to pull in my focus, to look at what I am doing and what I can offer clients to cultivate ways of overcoming the limitations of ‘normal vision’. In life, as on the mat, it is easy to become distracted. By shiny offers of things, you could do but you know your hearts not in, by others around you succeeding, by others around you struggling, by your own in built set of fears, doubts and introjected limitations from years ago. I was once told by my male boss to be ‘less sure of myself’, less ‘strident’ and in my writing… to add more question marks. Those particular introjects make me look back with a kind of wonder and bafflement and smile, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t leave a small dent when they impacted and there are many others to uncover yet.
Getting past these mental blockers to success (whatever that means to you) is no mean feat. I think the greatest lesson I have learned through yoga, meditation, therapy – formal and friend based, is to accept. To allow these thoughts, introjects and fears to be, to acknowledge them and then to move on. To recognise what’s useful and what will only serve to distract. And so, I am setting the intention for myself, to see what is around me, to look, to learn, to practice and to hold a steady focus on what I am doing and where I am going and what I want to achieve.
To stay curious, not questioning.