A couple of months ago I wrote about drishti, and about how having somewhere steady to focus our eyes helps us keep our balance in the world. This thought came back to me in a class last week. One of my favorite poses has always been tree. My huge difficulties with meditation are well documented. For some reason, though, I’ve for years intuitively found myself repeating a small mantra when in tree pose. Reading Devotion, hearing Dani’s metta meditation mantra (May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be strong, may I live with ease) reminded me of this instinctive behavior in tree.
The words I’ve always whispered in my head, in tree pose in particular, are: Breathing in, I feel happy. Breathing out, I feel calm. In the past few weeks they have shifted, for the first time in years, to reflect something that has been tremendously on my mind. Last week, I spoke quietly to myself, saying, over and over: Breathing in, I feel safe. Breathing, out, I feel calm.
As I stood there, breathing in and out, my mind drifted to the idea of drishti again. I looked down at my hands, together at my heart’s center, as I have been taught to do in tree. And I was steady, and I stood there on one leg. But I thought about how the most challenging drishti in many poses is to look at a point inside ourselves: our fingertips, the end of our nose, our hands in prayer position. To find the internal still point is the ultimate challenge. To be able to be strong and balanced without need of an external focus point: this is the highest goal. And so I breathe, and keep refocusing my mind and my eyes, and I stand as steadily as I can.