A month ago, I was traveling in Colombia and spending evenings alone in my hotel room in a kind of personal retreat (no television, no alcohol, no distractions). I was doing pranayama, yoga and meditation, as well as reading and journaling. In meditation, I’ve often found it hard to focus so I’ve used techniques like a mantra or my breath as my target of attention. In meditation classes, I tried other technique, like focusing on my third eye (the point between the brows, associated with the anja chakra and enlightenment). I was told to focus on the bridge of my nose (with eyes shut) and then move up to the third eye. It’s still a tough task for me because it’s an imaginary exercise. I’ve never seen my third eye.
That evening in Santa Marta, I found myself befuddled as I tried to focus my attention on a single point. I asked myself whether it might be more feasible to focus my eyes on something more meaningful. What could I focus on that would instill a deep sense of wellbeing and stillness? Well, the object could be looking into the eyes of a loved one, I said to myself. But rather than referring to my wife or kids, I tried to raise the practice to another level: the Beloved. I settled into this mental stance and felt a groundswell of emotion. I then realized that the Beloved was like a mirror and I was looking into a pair of eyes — my own. This sudden stroke of wisdom hit me with a visceral truth in my core.
This event sealed a year in which my intention was self-acceptance as a necessary step in my personal development. It is so hard for me to accept and love myself without conditions or expectations. My work with yoga has been to come to terms with my physical body while with meditation and self-inquiry I’ve tried to tackle other realms.