One of the most powerful tools in my yoga practice is Drishti. Drishti is a Sanskrit word that means focused attention. The practice of Drishti is a gazing technique that develops concentration and teaches you to see the world as it really is, not as your meaning-making and wild imagination paints the world to be. In yoga, drishti is a point of focus where the gaze rests during a posture and meditation practice as you gaze outward while bringing your awareness inward.
The other key to creating powerful drishti is to take your awareness off what you don’t want, or to notice when you’ve allowed your gaze to drift aimlessly.
On the mat, I find that I can no longer get deeply into poses or hold poses for more than a split second if I’m not fixing my gaze point by point as I go. And in my life off the mat, I find that when my awareness – my pervasive thoughts and energy and actions – have drifted from being on what I want to what I don’t want, my days become overwhelming, chaotic, unproductive and exhausting. I find that when I have slipped into complaint or even depression, the root cause most often is that I’ve taken my attention off what I want and let it get wrapped around the axle of what I fear, places I feel lacking and into that old pitfall of comparison and competition.
When I consciously focus my awareness, by creating my to-do lists and goals for the day and week from what I want, I find that all the energy I need rises up to the occasion. My sometimes long days of work begin to feel effortless, and even nourishing and energizing. I’ve started to practice taking the must-do tasks that I don’t like, such as paying bills or handling client accounts, and remembering the ultimate purpose of those things: creating a business and life that I love and deeply care about. When I do, I find I am able to break habits of procrastination and move through my day with substantially increased gratitude. This seemingly subtle shift of drishti has a sizable impact on my daily outlook on life.
When I focus on what I want, I get excited and creative and taking sometimes scary steps into the unknown become thrilling. When I stop worrisome thoughts about what others will think or about what “everyone else” is doing or not doing, I get a huge space of freedom and joy in which it feels natural and good to do what it takes to make my dreams come true. And I have found that after a few weeks, sometimes months and sometimes years, depending on what it is that I want, those things appear in reality and that I have enjoyed the creating of them. When I look back on the events of my life it’s pretty damn clear that they are all an outward manifestation of my inner predominant thoughts and the places that I’ve spent my time.
When you take your awareness off the problems, complaints, failings, and road blocks and put it consciously on what you want, doing more of what you want and less of what you don’t every single day, you will feel the energy of living life on purpose. You will break through the inevitable drift of things and have the power to make happen things that seem surprising. And you will begin to delight yourself
Where are you mired in wasting energy daydreaming or feeling sad because you don’t even dream anymore? Where are you comparing your path to others? Where are you fighting with reality? How can you get grounded in a first small step to getting your awareness back on track. Your own personal stepping stone, no matter how small?
The wonderful side effect of putting your drishti on what you want more of, is that you will, as in your yoga asana practice, get a correspondingly deeper gaze inward to the truth of you. The more you’re anchored in your truth, the more courage you gain to keep moving forward in action in the outer world.
When your outer world becomes more aligned with your inner landscape, peace, freedom and a spacious life of wonder are the result.