The sense of sight, though very prevalent in modern life has a great capacity to be used to bring us back to the present moment and help ease anxiety.
Week 3: Mindfulness and the Sense of Sight
How does it work? Well, within the scema of our Yogic correspondence between the elements, chakras and senses, sight relates to the navel chakra and the element of fire. Sight has a very sharp and penetrating quality. And yet, when we move in the world, often we just breeze along without looking deeply at the things around us. But when you notice that buzzy, speedy or anxious energy dominating, one of the easiest things to do is to look around you and focus on five things you see in your environment.
Mindfulness techniques for grounding and anxiety often recommend focussing on:
5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you hear
2 things you smell
1 thing you taste
Why does the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 mindfulness technique start with sight? As above, sight corresponds to fiery, penetrating and discerning qualities. It is also related to the navel at the centre of our energetic system. For this reason, this sense may be the most accessible to us when we are feeling spacey or anxious. The sense of hearing may keep us in that same ‘not fully grounded’ etheric space, and smell and taste are such viceral, embodied senses that they may not be immediately accessible to us. And so, sight can be very useful as a tool to bring us back into a sense focus, before we begin to activate a mindful sense mini-meditation of all the senses in sequence.
And, if you want to explore the richness of the sense of sight, it is a great tool on its own from increasing our gratitude and sense of awe at the beauty of the intricate body and world around us.
Try gazing at a small object like a petal or a leaf and its veins and details. Or look at the crystals in a snowflake, the different flecks of colour in a rock, or even the network of lines on the palm of your hand. You can also explore gazing at something vast like an uninterrupted field like the blue sky above (if you happen to have a cloudless day). If you can, go out and look up at the stars at night.
These are examples of things I like to use to increase my sense of gratitude at the magnificent intricacy of the world of sight. But really, just allow yourself to notice more deeply, more often, the colour, texture, shape and detail or anything you meet on your mindful walk or in a sit in your ordinary environment. Through this practice, you will find new things or see the ordinary in a fresh way! This is part of what re-ignites our inner fire and our enthusiasm and passion for living!
I challenge you this week to:
- Look deeply at a few things in your room and list any new details you notice about them
- Go on a mindful walk and stop to look at the texture of the bark of a tree close up
- Gaze close-up at your own eyes in the mirror and meditate there for a while
Happy week of the savouring the intricate world of sight!
Do you have a friend or colleague who would benefit from learning about this wisdom? We are offering a bundle deal for the two Yoga Wisdom courses, and Radical Presence starts this Sunday!
Also, if you have questions about the Art of Teaching that’s coming up, please reach out!!