The meditation mantra of the month is the word “drishti” which is a focal point or the direction of your gaze. I will often give cues for how to turn your head; directing your gaze to the corner where the ceiling and the wall meet or finding something to focus on that isn’t going to move. I can feel the difference the drishti makes especially in a pose like Warrior 2, where your gaze is directed past your extended finger tips. The direction of energy & focus in my body are in alignment, and it feels strong and fluid as if across my arms & chest is a garden hose that I am directing with my focused gaze and the water is rushing out my fingertips at just the right pressure. When I’m distracted by talking to people, fidgeting with my clothes, looking around, or just tuning out, I feel that too. <— That feeling is like the garden hose across my arms and chest has holes poked all through out so the water just seeps out everywhere without any sense of direction or momentum.
That second version is how I am currently feeling mentally & spiritually. I am distracted, not by the sight of puppies or butterflies, but by my own skimming and searching for something to focus on. I want to feel that pull of a good book, or interesting show. I want to lose track of time in my own curiosity, wondering what happens if I do this or go there or do that. My energy & focus are not in alignment. I don’t feel that momentum or sense of direction. I know some Master Gardener reading this is going to tell me that when you really want to soak a garden you do want a billion little holes in the hose so that it just seeps out. I know. But, that’s not what I need right now. I need to find my way back to feeling the focused, flexible, stable, resilient, and directed garden hose of a mind & spirit.
My default reaction to such distraction would be to pull out all the tricks of the trade to stay focused….special music, repeating a mantra, counting backwards & alphabetically, all while rolling a small stone across my fingers. I will stay focused! I will lock my brain into the present moment, damn it! Enough already, Rachel.
Here’s the 1 trick I’m going to use to shore up my mental & spiritual mud puddle…Hand Mudra — there is a hand posture called “dhyana” for focused concentration (bring it on!). You place your right hand on top of your left, palm face up, and connect the tips of your thumbs. Hand mudras help you stay focused and aware of what you are doing. I wouldn’t normally sit like this, so it is just enough to keep me awake.
The 6 a.m. Wake the Heck Up Yoga class this morning was the first time I practiced it. I kept my mind focused on the sensation in the tips of my thumbs…and wondered if the squirrels were digging up my flowers, and what I would eat for breakfast 2.0, and where all my kids clean underwear is hiding? Whenever I got distracted I brought my attention back to the tips of my thumbs. Even though I did not flow sweetly down the river of contemplation this morning, I am going to trust that the very act of bringing my attention back to the present (over and over) – to the tips of my thumbs – is strengthening, renewing, making more flexible and resilient my sense of focus, and the direction of my energy.
That’s It. Go for it. Tell me how it goes. How are you, anyway? Are there some practices that are working well for you right now? Let’s hear it. For real. Let’s conversate.
peace on your head, you.