The Very Best Benefit of Mindfulness is the One We Need Most Right Now
Of all the gifts of mindfulness, drishti is at the top of my personal list of favorite benefits.
“Drishti” is a gazing technique, fundamentally, with a point of focus. It might be most familiar to you as what we do with our eyes when we’re holding a yoga pose, to ground and orient our bodies and our concentration.
But even if you don’t do yoga, or if you’ve never heard the word drishti before, please stay with me here.
Because, as we get deeper into the holiday busy season, most of us are probably finding it more difficult to stay on task with our work, and to stay grounded and balanced in our personal lives too.
I know I am.
That’s why writing today’s post has been as much of a reminder to myself as it is a sharing of information with you.
So here we go, with the two best reasons why drishti is such a helpful benefit of mindfulness, especially at this time of the year.
First, drishti practices concentration, which makes it a whole lot easier and faster to focus when we need to focus. Like when a deadline gets pushed up unexpectedly or a long-term project is suddenly fast-tracked.
Second, drishti helps us to see things as they really are, and to make a level-headed assessment of the situation. Nothing is sugar-coated, and we don’t look away from what’s hard. It isn’t about judging; it’s a simple inventory of the reality. Which “builds in” an incredibly effective pause, especially at moments of high pressure or emotion.
So, how do you actually do it? And is it hard to do?
Here are my four favorite ways to practice drishti, none of which are hard but all of which exercise concentration, and the ability to see things as they really are.
Sometimes drishti is compassionate, like when you sit with a friend who is struggling and your role – the single and only thing you need to do – is to hold the space for them, let your gaze meet their gaze, and calmly listen while they talk.
Sometimes drishti is centering, like when you sit or stand with your hands near your thighs, palms open, and slowly, mindfully bring them together while you gaze down toward your heart.
Sometimes drishti is fierce, like in Warrior Two when your gaze is focused on the middle finger of your lead hand.
Sometimes drishti is soft, like when you gently open your eyes after meditation and gaze at the flame of a single candle.
Not so hard.
By fixing our gaze on an unmoving point, even with all of those nuanced variations, we become more stable and balanced.
Drishti does that.
But drishti is also about softening our gaze too. For me drishti is somehow also more accurate when our focus is less laser. Less all-encompassing. More atmospheric. With more softened edges.
That’s why drishti is one of the very best benefits of mindfulness, because it allows for all of those things. I hope you’ll find it especially useful, as something we all need right now.
Please let us know.
Meet the Tribe!
Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.
Life Coach and Owner, Thinking Seahorses marketing consultancy
Years in the industry:
Altogether about 25 in the liquor industry. I was the marketing manger of the spirits division of a company called SFW for several years, before going back into advertising. Then, while I was working in the fruit industry, I was asked to help develop a wine for the UK market. The brand was Arniston Bay, South Africa’s first post-apartheid big brand, and from then on, I was “hooked." I spent 13 years as CEO of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) before starting my own marketing consultancy. One of my current projects is designing the programme for the annual Business of Wine & Food Tourism conference. I qualified as a coach last year and am now coaching young managers in the wine industry.
My Biggest Challenge to Wellness:
When I was at WOSA it was the constant stress of trying to meet the diverse needs of all our wine industry stakeholders; the politics were quite intense. Running huge pavilions at fairs like Prowein and shows like Cape Wine on shoestring budgets was stressful because I was determined not to let anyone down. I also struggled with attending the many producer launch events - I can't work in the afternoon if I have had wine over lunch.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
What kept me sane during my WOSA years was my magnificent team who always supported me. Working with a personal trainer 3 times a week meant I stayed strong and could cope well with a demanding travel schedule. I try for less coffee, more green tea, less meat, more vegetables, and I’m strict about limiting how much wine I drink.
I wish I had known In my WOSA years about all the tools I have learnt in my training to be a coach. These days I bring balance into my life by meditating daily, doing yoga twice a week, walking at last twice a week and helping little ones with reading at our local township school. My cell phone is programmed to remind me every evening to think about gratitude, and that puts my whole life in perspective. I have so very much to be grateful for, especially in South Africa.
You can connect with Su online at her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
What We’re Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
Three Observations about Compassion from the Dalai Lama, by Ai Addyson-Zhang for Entrepreneur.com
“Expecting people to not show any vulnerability isn’t just unsustainable -- it’s nearly nonsensical.”
Five Easy Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Work Without Meditating, by Karlyn Andrews for Forbes
"It all comes back to knowing that you always have a choice, and empowering yourself to make the conscious decision to focus on things in a way that will enhance your experience, instead of in a way that will detract from it.”
Let’s Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you. Check out details on the Let's Meet Up! page over at A Balanced Glass.
Speaker at Australian Women in Wine Symposium in Sydney, Nov. 16 (Rebecca)
Co-presenter at Wine2Wine in Verona, Italy, Nov 26 to 27 (Rebecca)
Guest Lecturer at INSEEC in Bordeaux, Jan. 21 – 26 (Cathy)
Attendee at ProWein in Düsseldorf, March 17 to 19 (Cathy)
Attendee at MUST:Fermenting Ideas in Cascais, Portugal, June 26 to 28 (Cathy)