September 14, 2021 - An idea in yoga is the concept of finding a target, any target for the mind. Some people, including myself, have thought of that is clearing the mind. But, really, it’s not about that, it’s taking all the things possible in the mind, and choosing one thing to focus on.
My current analogy is being in a bar. Here you are, in a busy bar, looking at a wall in the bar that has all these posters and signs on it…the wall is your mind. One poster says, “DO THE DISHES!” Another says, “WALK THE DOG!” A big blinking neon sign says, “PAY YOUR BILLS!” But in the middle of this whole wall of thoughts is a dart board, and in the middle of the dart board is a bullseye. The idea of focusing the mind on a target, is to recognize the wall of your mind has all these poster and signs, but to consciously decide you are going to zero-in on just one thing, the target. That doesn’t mean all the other things go away, but they do become blurry and less distracting. And, of course, like any time you are in a bar trying to hit a target, there will be unforeseen distractions. Someone walks in front of you to go to the bathroom. There is noise. Of course you will loose the focus on the target, and maybe these other things on the wall will reappear. That’s cool. That doesn’t stop you from being at the bar, focusing on the target. :-)
Any easy target to focus on is the breath. It’s always happening and is easily accessible. Also, it’s moving, which helps. For today’s target, we will focus on the breath throughout the class, and as an extra layer of focus, as we are inhaling we will say silently, “inhaling”, and as we are exhaling we’ll say silently, “exhaling.” This helps to define the target.
I hope today’s practice helps you find clarity in the bar of your mind.