Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finding Drishti - A Good Seat With Obstructed View

Lately at times it feels as though I'm in a theater but my view is obstructed and I just can't get or take in the whole scene from where I am. Meanings escape me, understanding comes haltingly and the scene shifts before I've been able to catch all the words. The direct antidote for this feeling is my practice. First, being open to what is there; second, acknowledging that what I perceive is subject to constantly changing conditions; third, not judging my responses and letting them come and go; and four, focusing my Drishti (gaze), my attention, whether it's an inner focus or an external one. The resulting clarity and calm helps maintain a willingness to stay in the theater, a good thing since, according to Shakespeare all the world is a stage, and we are merely players upon it.

I just returned from a visit with my elder family members during this period of particularly wild political, national and global news. This includes the on-going natural and human phenomenon in Haiti, the political story in Massachusetts, the rocking boat of national health insurance discussions, and the court's authorization for corporate money to jump with both feet on our political processes. Meanwhile I am absorbing the details of life among those living in the later part of life. The slower but in some ways radical events, feelings, meanings, and relationships are visible and invisible. Seeing through nonjudgmental eyes I feel a deepening in my ability to be connected and close to fundamental truths I share with them and all beings. This helps enormously in the wide world, and the very intimate one as well, where my reactivity can lead to sorrow, frustration and disquieting fears for the future.

There is no boundary that protects anything I know from what I might forget or re-imagine differently. There is no law that states this one set of positions or opinions is the only correct one. I can change my seat, but my view will remain obstructed as long as I am attached to the idea that "truth" is a particular story, or that "right" is a specific way of doing or being. This does not serve my being in the world. It seems obvious that memory issues change the way a conversation unfolds, the way a day winds through itself, the way feelings wrap and unwrap events, comments, relationships and decisions. In some very real ways all of history is subject to issues of memory, interpretation, point of view, and what a friend of mine calls "politics of location." I feel this quite personally, sitting at the table, or on the side of a bed, in front of a newscast, or on my yoga mat.

I find that focusing my drishti helps me recognize myself in each of my relatives no matter how different our situation or stage of life. I can find them in me. My openness to the whole stage allows me to see myself in shadows and in light. If I can know the shape of the obstruction, it helps improve my view. Meditation and yoga on a regular basis unfolds the eyelids and allows me to see the shapes more and more as I go along.

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