It used to be that I could read for hours, becoming completely absorbed in a book. Now, I notice my attention wandering away. I get up and take a walk to the kitchen. If I'm reading online, I scroll down the page to get quickly to the end, and read backwards. Sometimes even poems seem too difficult.
While I'm nowhere near achieving the eighth stage of yoga, over time, I've actually gotten pretty good at Dhāraṇā. I can find a drishti, or a point to focus my gaze. I can tune out sound, and I can be attentive to my breath. Sometimes I slip away, but I'm generally able to find my way back.
But somehow, I fail to translate this skill to my own life. My attention is divided between my phone, which continues to buzz cheerily throughout the day announcing incoming email from students and texts from others, my children's needs and demands, my shopping list, my mental list of chores, my ongoing list of things to put on my agenda at work, the dates of upcoming events and evenings when I'm working late or S. is traveling. I am a pro at multitasking, but I've become bad at sitting still.
How do you get out of this once you've fallen down the rabbit hole? Given that none of these things are particularly negotiable, how do we find a drishti in the everyday?
Nuts are notorious "brain food." Granted, adding sugar to them may not be the best way to boost your health, but at least you can tell yourself that you're getting choline, which boosts memory and brain development. My husband loves this recipe, and always makes a batch around the holidays. It's one snack that we're sad to see go.
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 egg white
4 c. pecan halves
Combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk egg white until frothy. Add the pecans to the egg white and toss to coat. Add the sugar mix and toss thoroughly. Spread in a single layer on heavy large cookie sheets. Bake at 350 until toasted and crisp (about 20-30 minutes). Use a spatula to loosen; cool, and store for less than 2 weeks in an airtight container.