Shift Into Beauty: Wisdom From John Friend

spring-clean-asian-woman-lavendar10038702“All actions are directed by one’s viewpoint.” – John Friend

This quote is in my notes from a training with my teacher, John Friend; the founder of Anusara® yoga. There is such wisdom to this. The way you perceive what you experience creates your understanding of it, as well as your feelings and actions.

One of the things that can become challenging about deepening your ability to be sensitive and open is that you can get rocked out of your center by the apparent horrors of the world. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I’d like to introduce you to two Sanskrit words:

Drishti – gaze, vision, where you’re looking

Darshana – viewpoint, connection

In yoga the concept of drishti is more commonly known as where you focus your eyes in a pose. Yet to really access the wisdom of this, the drishti must be focused inward, and the perspective, the darshana, must be informed by that inward gaze.

To see the world from an illuminated lens brings great power because it allows you to see past the ugliness of challenges, conflicts, disappointments, and other negativity. Instead, with your gaze ever focused on the goodness that is at the essence of all things, you see the beauty. You stay in your center.

It doesn’t mean you ignore or pretend ugliness doesn’t exist, but you choose not to live in it or let it rule you.

Training your eyes to see the beauty is called Shiva Drishti; literally, looking for auspiciousness. You can do this, and it can change your life!

Seek to see what’s right instead of what’s wrong. Notice the imbalance, but choose to concentrate on what is good instead of being swept up in fear or discomfort. Look at the same thing in many different ways. Focus on what is life affirming, and make that be the strength that keeps you centered.

“See the valley from the mountain top.” – John Friend


Train yourself to see beauty. Make a habit of connecting with that which is good, that which is auspicious. Let your world be lived from this viewpoint (darshana).

Start with this: each time you see a person – any person – notice something beautiful or good about them. When you find yourself judging someone (it seems we all do this) pause and switch your thought to identifying something beautiful.

Just get used to looking first and foremost for the beauty. When you practice Shiva Drishti, or looking for the good, your darshana shifts your experience. Your thoughts become uplifted, you feel more connected to the essential energy of life, and that which flung you off balance before no longer has power over you.

  • Do you have something to add to this? Please leave a comment below, and share your perspective.