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The Flip Side Of Focus: Give It Up To Get Free

Time for a pop quiz!
Who remembers what the studio theme was at Yoga One in January?
Don’t worry, you all get an A and the grades don’t matter anyway.

That’s right, Drishti!

Drishti is the beginning of the journey into power. It’s when you set your sight on something. It’s when you focus from the wide angle of your life to just one direction.

This is a moment of choice because as soon as you choose to focus on one thing, you have to give up putting your attention on all of the other things. This is the flip side of focus. 

Inherent in putting your attention on one thing is giving up the energy we contribute to other things.

This works at all levels. Physically we can only be in one place at one time, and while some of us may be able to pat our heads and rub our bellies at the same time, mostly we can only do one real thing in any given moment.

On the mental and emotional level, it’s similar. Thoughts and emotions can move much faster than our bodies, yet when we want to really get present to an idea or a feeling, we have to choose where to zoom in and what to exclude from our field of awareness.

It doesn’t mean that you’re not aware of the rest of your life while you’re washing the dishes. It’s about energetic impact. By choosing to go deep into what’s right in front of you, you’re giving up on all the little things playing tug of war with your attention.

In general, we as a species suck at this!

Seriously, we have FOMO. Fear of missing out. The world out there is designed to stir up that feeling. Marketing, social media, even the news speak right into the part of our brain that causes us to doubt ourselves and fear that we’re missing something big if we don’t buy now, go now, do this now or be there now.

It really takes vigilance to not get mired in that.

Our ability to process and interpret the sheer amount of information that pours into us isn’t really up to the task. We’re just not that good at internalizing every news headline or Instagram post in a healthy and holistic way.

Some people, however, have been able to transcend that state of being to create JOMO, the joy of missing out. There was a certain amount of giving things up that cleared the way for joy.

This is why we’re focusing this month on Give Up What You Must, where we look at what it takes to create joy by both by focusing on one thing AND letting go of all the rest.

This is a principle that takes practice.

Can you be aware of the tug of all of your life on your attention? Practice putting it on a shelf, letting it go, giving it up. That’s a muscle we don’t flex often enough. The “giving things up” muscle. It’s part of the wiring of the fear reflex.

Yet when we skillfully learn to let things go we are better able to unburden ourselves of the unnecessary influences of the world.

When we get good at giving things up, we get good a being free.

What it often takes to create joy is more clearing out than an adding to. When we get good at giving things up, we get good a being free. Malleability is an inherent quality of spirit. Just as we want to keep flexibility in our body we want that flexibility of spirit as well.

Giving up what must be given up is part of the pathway to spirit.

It’s a gateway to the practice of detachment, which is often collapsed with aloofness or ignorance. True detachment is neither.

True detachment is a boundary. It’s a choice of what events or people in my life I am going to let energetically impact me and, perhaps more importantly, it is a choice of what I’m not going to allow to disrupt my joy.

Written by Daniel McCall
Daniel has been creating leaders and teachers for over twelve years. He is Executive Manager of Yoga One Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina. He leads yoga teacher training, leadership seminars, and mind-body-soul retreats across the globe.


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