Tree Climbing

As many of you know, I wear glasses.  What you may not know is that I cannot see my glasses well enough to find them unless I am actually wearing my glasses.  My vision creates some challenges during my daily sadhana.  If I leave my glasses on, they have a tendency to slide down my nose, fly off my face or crawl up my forehead depending on what is happening at the time.  Distraction, distraction, distraction.  Because of this, I take them off and the world I see becomes very soft.  I find that soft and fuzzy vision allows for fewer visual distractions but it also creates its own brand of difficulty:  Balance postures.

One key to balancing for mere mortals like myself is the use of focal points.  A focal point allows one to anchor vision to a small point.  With the eyes fixed on a single point, vision remains steady and that helps maintain balance when standing on one foot.  I find that the smaller and more well defined the focal point, the steadier the balance is.  Can you see my dilema?

As I practiced in the Shanta Yoga studio this morning, I was facing the center of the blue door.  Even with my fuzzy sight, I could see the rectangles on the door well enough to focus on a fuzzy corner of one as I moved into vrksasana, tree pose.  As the arms went up, a tree like figure seemed to leap off the door, the mind engaged to think about what was happening and a moment later I fell out of the tree.  I turned 90° to my right and looked out the window and found a line of old rivets (I think that’s what they were, I couldn’t really see what I was seeing).  Focus moved to a blurred spot of a rivet, the leg came up, the arms came up and a tree stood there, steady but supple.

Life is like this sometimes as well.  We may feel focused but then a slight shift happens and the view changes dramatically.  This isn’t a bad thing, that shift often brings amazing new things into view.  Sometimes, however, that shift is unhelpful because it distracts us from our intention and we fall out of the tree we are climbing.  Instead of fighting to ignore the unhelpful shifts in perspective, try turning 90°, refocusing your vision and climb the tree again.

Jai Bhagwan


Check back tomorrow, I’ll add some pictures to show some of what I saw.

The “rivets” were actually the ends of the grooves in the metal wall of the window well.