Dominic Speaks: “Focusing our Lens, Loving our Wounds”

Dominic Narayan Foti, Bound for Bliss Yoga guest blogger

Yoga is the practice of reconnecting with the ‘true self’ that dwells within each of us. In order to get to that true self, we must first learn to recognize and love the various parts of us that spawn from that true self. Doing this takes focus, compassion, and patients. 

An analogy:
Think of an illuminated light bulb seen through a camera lens. If the lens is not focused properly, the light bulb will appear to have rays of light spewing from it in every direction. However, if the lens is zoomed and focused properly, the light bulb will appear whole and illuminated without an outreach of rays.

Now think of the light bulb as the true self that dwells within each of us. And think of the rays of light as parts of us that are seen through an unfocused camera lens. While there’s nothing wrong with seeing the rays of light and recognizing their appearance, it is important to note that they only exist through an unfocused lens. For as soon as you focus clearly, the rays recede into the light and the essence of the true light is revealed as whole and complete without the need for an external reaching of rays. In its purist state, the light bulb is whole and content within itself.

Just as each ray of spawning light from the bulb represents a part of us that is impermanent and therefore ultimately unreal, we must treat it as if it were real while our lens is unfocused. After all, if we do not treat it as real, we’ll never know how to properly focus the lens to see clearly, because we will have nothing to compare ‘reality’ against, which will ultimately disable us from seeing our true self.

In other words, there are many parts of us. Some of these parts are wounded and painful so we often choose to ignore them, but this is not wise. We must learn to love all the

 parts of us equally, no matter how convenient or inconvenient they might be to our lives. We must do this because all the parts of us stem from our true self, and the only way back to our true self is through focusing on the different parts of ourselves both individually, and collectively. When we master this, we are able to focus on the ‘whole’ of us, and smile at the parts of us that manifest when our lens is unfocused. Once looked upon with understanding, compassion, and love, these parts (that may have once been thought of as ‘negative’) will become clear and eventually dwindle back into the wholeness that is the light, healed and fearless and no longer extended to the world alone, but rather peacefully humbled within the blissful contentment of the true self.

This is the essence of yoga. Constantly focusing and refocusing the camera lens in hopes to settle upon a peacefully whole inner light, all the while knowing that there are external factors at play making such efforts a lifelong adventure.

Sometimes we think we’ve have our lens focused just right. We feel happy and content within ourselves and within the relationships around us, but then something jolts the camera and we must refocus again. This is okay. Just remember to breathe while you refocus. Smile while you see the different parts of you flare up again. And repeat your gentle and compassionate routine of refocusing the lens with soft hands, clear eyes, and a full heart.

Om Shanti,

Dominic ‘Narayan’ Foti’s was raised by yogi parents of the Sivananda and Dharma Mittra lineages. He graduated from the University of Vermont with degrees in Philosophy and English, and is now in graduate school for Mental Health Counseling. Dominic is a martial arts instructor of 15+ years under grandmaster Young Nam Chung, and is a certified Sivananda yoga instructor under Swami’s Swaroopananda and Brahmananda.

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