Focused Attention

When we find space for quiet reflection, for placing the mind on the object of silence and introspection we begin to see the truth of what it is we are seeking, what it is that will guide us forth. We find space to ask for help, to see what we already have, to feel grateful, to feel content and at ease with the current inner state of being. When all else falls apart is it crucial we know how to connect to this space that is forever ok. That space that nothing shakes out of center, no grief touches. In this space of silence We conceive what is next for the growth and development of the self.

After who knows how many years I am reading a book in Italian, which is my language of origin. I have however lost most of it, all I have left is a very basic vocabulary that I use with my family mixing in English words when a word doesn’t come to mind. Reading a book in a language you don’t use, or are learning is a great exercise in presence. I’ve noticed that my mind wants to guess words, rush on to the next sentence, turn the page, but in doing that misses the story itself. This has been of great insight on so many layers. How often in life we do things on autopilot thinking we know what’s next? Unable to be in the moment taking in one word, one action, one interaction at a time? physically here while our brain is already onto the next thing?

Living like this we miss out on what is here and then suffer greatly because we lack connection with ourselves, others and the environment around us.

When we read a book that is in our language we only really have to guess the words, all it takes is reading the first few letters of a word and the mind will fill in the blanks and skip forward onto the next three initial letters of a word. In yoga we often do this too. Until we hit an obstacle or a challenge that requieres us to be in the present moment with our full attention. That is why Ashtanga Yoga is so powerful, the challenge continues through the years as you advance and regress with the ebb and flow of life; it requieres for the practitioner to concentrate the mind, engage the body and the breath, becoming one with the object/challenge at hand. This is the experience of Dharana or active concentration, which then leads into Dhyana or full absorption of the mind with the object of concentration.

I invite you to take each day as a book in a foreign language, as a pose you haven’t mastered. See if you can apply your full presence, take it slow, spend time being absorbed in what you are doing, feel nourished by and connected to the fabric of the universe through that quality of presence. Notice when you have stopped and begin again.

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