Or what rap, sanskrit, and car shopping have in common.
I’ve always been a big fan of learning lyrics to songs. It’s upped my game on dance floors, karaoke stages, and road trips around the world. Rap and hip-hop to me are ‘next level’ when it comes to music. Slang terms and fast rhymes aren’t easy and require me to be focused and present on what I’m saying.
Kinda like sanskrit.
Yes, the 5000 year old language is even more of a challenge for me to learn than rap lyrics. But these two ‘languages’ are also rather similar.
At first listen, both can feel foreign, weird, and take some time to enunciate. But something about these words speak to you. So you give it some space, listen to it a few times, let the words marinate in your mind. Soon you feel you’re getting the hang of it, you find the words are becoming part of your lexicon, and you enjoy the power and meaning behind these words. Then you open your mouth and say the words out loud. And it kinda sounds like how you heard it. So you say it again…then string some more words to it and before you know it…
You’re spittin’ sanskrit like a spiritual gangsta ‘yo.
Now I’m not here to teach you sanskrit per se, but I do want to try and introduce the modern world (new school) to the ancient world (old school). And so, let me introduce you to…
Well, to start, it’s one of THE MOST powerful tools I’ve learned in my yoga training. It’s a visualization tool that basically details what you see yourself becoming. This is ‘next level’ when it comes to building your future. I’ve always been a big fan of setting goals and achieving a vision and writing bhavana’s has upped my game in my career, my relationships, and well, my LIFE.
Easier said than done.
What I love most about Bhavana’s is precisely that…that it’s not easy to do. It demands you to dig deep and ask for what it is you REALLY want. You see, the mind is a tool of perception – the more clearly you see something, the closer you are to it. And the clearer you are on the vision, the more likely you are to take the steps.
And it has to follow 3 rules, it always needs to be:
So let’s say you’re Jay-Z’s latest prodigy – “Lil’ Glitter”. And after a wicked meeting with Hova himself he’s challenged you to write a new hit song and have it on his desk by 9am Friday.
Easy right? I mean, you’re a lyrical genius….no problem.
So, you sit down with your pen and paper and just like Eminem here, you begin (what I imagine to be) the writing process.
You’d think of a topic. What do you want to rap about? Your new girlfriend? Your addicted mom? Your hard-knock life in Detroit? Or maybe how nervous you are to get up on stage and ‘dare greatly‘ in front of your peers?
Point is, you need to determine what it is you want (the topic), then visualize how you want it to go (the outcome). You need to see it, to achieve it.
Let’s use the example of ‘wanting more abundance in your life‘ and filter it through the Bhavana rules.
Abundance is great, but it’s too abstract. We need it to be CONCRETE. What does ‘abundance’ mean to you? Time off to do the things you love? A full fridge? 5000 friends on Facebook? I know for many it translates to money. And money is a concrete thing. So let’s focus on writing about that.
Now we need to get SPECIFIC.
How much money do you want/need? Figure out the SPECIFIC number that makes you feel good. Is it $30,000 to pay off your debt? $75,000 for a down payment? $200,000/year salary? And sure, it’s tempting to put $5 billion down as a specific goal but at this point it should be realistic and achievable if perhaps a little beyond your reach.
And finally, we need to ensure it has a POSITIVE tone.
Ok, so let’s go with ‘I want $30,000 so I can pay off my debt’. Awesome! But we need it to be POSITIVE. We don’t want to invite the word ‘debt’ into a future vision, so let’s re-word it something like ‘I want $30,000 so I can achieve financial freedom’. Doesn’t that feel better saying it like that too?
FYI – apparently these were Eminem’s notes while writing ‘Lose Yourself’. He’d definitely need some help if he wanted to convert this into a Bhavana, but you can see the power in getting specific and concrete although I wouldn’t want to invite puking pasta on myself.
Or if rap isn’t your thing, perhaps you’ve decided you need a new car. Maybe your current one isn’t working out for you and you want a new one. Or perhaps you don’t even have a car but have decided now is the time to get some wheels. The point is, you’ve taken the first step and decided that you want a car.
So let’s get specific and concrete. What does it look like? Is it a sporty car? 4×4 truck? Mini-van? SUV? What colour? What size engine? What type of wheels? What options are ‘must-have’s’ and what are the ‘nice to have’s’ that might be a little beyond your reach? What positive emotions does it make you feel? How do feel when you walk out of the mall and see your car in the parking lot? How do you feel driving it down the highway?
Or perhaps you’ve decided ‘I need a vacation!!’ You wouldn’t just show up to the airport without a plan right? You’d first need to decide on where you want to go. A tropical beach in the Caribbean or a historic pub tour of Ireland? An all-inclusive resort or will you adventure out on your own? Hmmm, tropical it is. Well, you heard Anguilla has pristine beaches but have also always wanted to sail in the Grenadines. Can you sail through the Grenadines to Anguilla?? Either way, you need to pack your lucky neon green snorkel and flippers….
You get the picture, you need to be positive, specific, and concrete if you’re going to have a hope in hell of getting what you actually want.
And Bhavana’s are kinda the same deal. It’s putting what you want out there so that you can begin to attract it into your life.
I’ve got multiple Bhavana’s written at any given time because they can be for near future desires or far-flung desires. Bhavana’s can be short (a few lines) or long (a few pages) and can be an over-arching vision for the future (i.e. how your perfect day might look) or for a very specific thing (how to nail this job interview tomorrow). For example, I might write one for a tough conversation I need to have that afternoon and one for how I’d like my career to look in 5 years. Another example might be for how you’d ideally want your dinner party to go that night or what the man/woman of your dreams is like. The point is that it gets your mind laser-focused on what it is you want vs. daydreaming about it. Because the brilliant thing is, once you write the Bhavana, you don’t think about it again. Nope, it’s written, it’s done. You put your wishes and wants out there and now you just have to trust the process. Trust that the signs will be shown so you know which next steps to take. Trust that it will come to you when the time is right. And know that it may not look exactly as you detailed in your Bhavana because in fact, it may be even BETTER than you could have ever imagined.
And let me tell you, this.shit.works. Earlier this year I needed to find a new place to live and I wrote a ‘new home bhavana’ about it. Here’s a snippet of it:
I put everything in there that I wanted my new space to have. I wrote it and never really thought about it again but I definitely knew what I was looking for. Then a couple of weeks later, I found my dreamy space that checked off 95% of the boxes on my list. It was a little higher than I hoped to pay but I knew I had to take it since it aligned with my Bhavana!
If you’re struggling a bit with writing your bhavana, pretend you’re writing it for someone else. Detailing all the things ‘they’ desire. I often write it from my future self, for example ‘My white and turquoise themed beach house is welcoming, airy, spacious, and filled with fresh peonies from my garden.’
Now I would attempt a rap about Bhavana’s to bring it all together, but instead I’ll remind you a few key things:
Positive. Concrete. Specific.
The clearer you are on the vision, the more likely you are to take the steps.
Don’t invite any sort of negativity or vagueness to the party. And that there is some straight up spiritual gangsta shit.