I am lucky. I am OH. SO. LUCKY. I am fortunate, blessed, charmed, bright, content, and lucky. I am 27 years old and I can truly say that I LOVE my job. I love the people, the places, the mission, the transformation that I get to see on a daily basis. I care deeply about what I do, and who I work with.
I love it so much that it’s often hard to put it down, set it aside, and love my life too. I think sometimes that I might be missing things. I think sometimes my focus is too narrow, and some of what’s most important may not be within it’s range. Am I missing relationships, experiences, and sensations that are waiting for me just outside my view? If I widen my focus, will I lose sight of my dreams, my goals, my progress?
In Yoga, we talk frequently about Drishti, or one pointed focus. Drishti is your gaze during a Yoga asana or meditation. It fosters concentration, determination, and existence in the present moment. It creates balance, moves energy, and your body follows where it goes. The few times I’ve felt as though I’ve really tapped in to this gaze, I’ve gone further into postures than ever before. Why is it so hard to find? It’s just staring, right? I mean I’m pretty great at staring. I’m constantly staring – at my eyes in the mirror (hmm…puffy today), at the interesting faces around me (what are they thinking?), at the wall (oooh a bug!), at my laptop. Can’t be THAT challenging. But it is.
There’s something important to remember about Drishti. While you are focusing on one point, there must be a certain softness to your gaze. There is no strain, and you are still aware of the environment around you. Rather than being narrowed, your field of vision is expanded. There is the sense that you can see MORE of what is in your periphery, rather than less. There is a serenity, a calm, that both mirrors and strengthens the determination and conviction in your gaze. There is a sensation that you are no longer seeing with your eyes, but with something deeper, wiser, and more open.
Perhaps this is what I am missing in my life off the mat. It’s not a bad thing to be focused on your career, your love life, your education, your family. It’s not a bad thing even if you ignore the other aspects of your life for a while in order to take care of what seems most important. You can achieve great things when you direct your attention unequivocally to one single-minded path. Visionaries, artists, dancers, writers – ANY career – can be catapulted to a certain level of mastery if there is enough energy pointed directly at it’s progress. However prosperous the people who find this concentration may be, I think there must be some sort of sacrifice – a certain sensation of lack, something missing that keeps them (us) from the fullness of life.
Yes, you may attain great success when you focus so much on one thing that the other parts of life fall away. But…can you achieve even greater things when you soften that resolve? When you widen your viewpoint? When you allow MORE into your field of vision and consciously and continually make the choices necessary to find and keep a sense of balance? Awareness is at the root of all solutions, all problem-solving, all questions and all answers. It seems obvious that the more of which you are aware, the more you will achieve.
Life is not a partitioned conglomeration of separate realities. There are no boundaries between your family life, your career, your love life, your friendships. You are present in all of them, and they are all present in all of you. You learn from each of them and that knowledge effects your experience of the others. You can try to create separation, if you like. You can try to block things out in order to refocus your energies on what you think really matters. But does it really do you any good? Isn’t it better to experience life as a whole? Shouldn’t that be our natural state? Why is it so hard to find the balance?
I was surprised to find, when I looked in the dictionary, an incredibly broad, and ridiculously accurate definition of the word focus:
fo·cus noun \ˈfō-kəs\
1.The point where rays (as of light, heat, or sound) converge and intersect to give rise to an image.
2. A state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding.
3. A place of meeting; a rallying point, headquarters, or gathering place.
4. Collective order.
It was hard, as I read this, wide-eyed, not to gawk at my own stupidity for never thinking about it this way. I had a moment of pure wonder and celebration – a light bulb moment where something I already knew was defined, explained, and validated. My favorite definition is the first one. Since we are all energy, all vibration, I feel this definition directly correlates to a the broader spectrum of thought and experience that is life as a whole.
Where is the point where the seemingly different rays, vibrations, energies in our lives converge, and what is the image that arises when they do? What happens when sound, light, and energy congregate for the same purpose? The big picture, the whole, the connection between all of us becomes visible – even just for a moment. When that happens, what is possible?
I am lucky. I am OH. SO. LUCKY. I love my job. I love my family. I love my friends. So what am I missing?
I am missing absolutely nothing. However, I have to learn to find that focus – that place of convergence – that sense of unity, entirety, balance, and simplicity all rolled into one. I have found it on my mat, and because of that I know I can find it in life as well. Likely it is something, like meditation, not that you can grasp and hold, but that you must consistently and constantly practice and search out. Something that becomes easier to find with each moment that passes. Something that comes with experience, perception, and continuous awareness.
Stay motivated. Stay determined. Stay passionate. But broaden your view, soften your gaze, and let the rays of light and sound and energy combine to show you the the whole picture.
Nothing is missing. Everything is at our fingertips.
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”
― George Lucas