How the Simple Act of Watching will Change Your Life Forever

The purpose of spiritual evolution is to alleviate the blockages that cause you fear, and you can use the little things that happen in day to day life to free yourself. The next time you get frustrated from being stuck in traffic, or when it starts raining when you wanted sunshine, you can use something as simple as watching the breath to remain centered. Watch the mind regularly, and don’t get lost in your thoughts.

In yoga, the body is used as a tool to cultivate changes in the flow of energy and to create shifts in the heart. When used in this way, the body can remind you that you are the pure beingness that's watching. The outward nature of the mind will always attempt to distract you from beingness, consciousness or spirit. The tendency of the mind is to move your sense of Self toward thought and external objects and away from the light of awareness.

Right now, practice bringing your attention to the breath moving in and out of the nose. Watch the breath, allowing it to be calm, steady, deliberate and relaxed. Do this for a few moments.

Notice that you start to relax more deeply as you make the breath your single point of focus. This simple act of consistently watching your inhalations and exhalations will change your life forever. Why? Not because of the breath itself, but because your point of focus has shifted away from thought and towards awareness being aware of itself. When your attention moves towards awareness, you are not engaging with a disturbed and distracted mind; you are abiding in your true nature.  

In Shoshin Yoga, we practice deliberately directing awareness to the sensations of the body. In doing so, the sensations and feedback the body gives become the single point of focus. We learn to use consciousness to relax tension and rigidity that's being held by bringing it into the light of awareness. During this process, the sense of Self shifts away from the mind and thought, and towards awareness knowing itself. 

Most of the tension and resistance that we hold exists in the thoughts themselves, not in actual reality. However, the tension that exists in the mind can be reflected in the physical body. In yoga, the body is used as a tool to dissolve the tension that is being held. The more you relax, let go, and meet each sensation that arises with present awareness, the more tension can be released. When the rigidity and contraction in the body relaxes and releases, the mind automatically falls silent, and we experience our natural state of pure being, peace and ease. We see that what we are is beyond the body, thought and form; unbound, untouched, vast and free.

Work with this during your next home practice.

Ayla Sarnoff