I love learning song lyrics. It ups my game on dance floors, karaoke stages, and road trips. But learning rap and hip-hop lyrics? That’s some next level shit. Slang and fast rhymes are harder to learn and it takes some serious concentration.
You can’t rap while your brain is all “do I want fish or chicken for dinner?” or “damn I forgot to renew my gym membership.” Your super fast slick words will quickly degenerate and before you know it, the rhythm and flow is long gone.
If you want to rap, you’ve got to focus, ya?
And we can learn a lot about manifesting from that. In a minute I’m gonna introduce you one of my favourite visualization goals, the Bhavana (bha-vah-what-now? Stay with me, all will become clear.) But first, I want you to try a little visualization exercise of your own:
Imagine you’re a rapper.
So let’s say you’re Jay-Z’s latest prodigy – “Lil’ Glitter”. And after a wicked meeting with the man 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 begin the writing process.
You start with a topic. What do you feel driven to share with the world? Your experience being the bullied kid in school? An anthem to female empowerment? A clever polemic on the current state of politics? If this rap is gonna hit the charts, you need an exact topic in mind, and then you need to visualize it playing out. You need a clear mental image so you can wrap (and rap) words around it and get your point across.
It’s exactly the same with manifestation. If you want it to become reality, you need to see it clearly.
Enter The Bhavana
Not to be confused with Havana, cabana, or banana, the bhavana is one of THE most powerful tools I learned in my yoga training. It’s a visualization tool that sets out in detail what you see yourself becoming, and what you see coming into your life.
This is next level shit, just like remembering or writing rap lyrics. You have to get ultra clear on what you want.
I’ve always been a big fan of setting goals. Let me tell you, writing bhavanas has upped my game when it comes to achieving my goals in my career, my relationships and, well, my LIFE.
A bhavana sounds deceptively simple. You write down what you want, in as much glorious detail as you can.
But just like rap seems to flow, yet takes mad artistic skills, bhavanas are easier said than done.
And that’s what I love about ‘em.
They demand that you dig deep and ask for what you REALLY want. And ya know what? That’s such a good thing because wow do a lot of us struggle with that. We usually know what we don’t want (toxic relationships, a job that leaves us feeling flatter than a freshly ironed shirt, to get sick right before our vacation.) But it’s harder to figure out what we DO want. Sure we know the rough shape (more money / good health / a job I love) but the specifics are harder.
Writing a bhavana challenges you to see clearly, and that’s why they’re so powerful. The more clearly you see something, the closer you are to achieving it. When you see things clearly, you’re more likely to take the steps that get you there.
Three Bhavana Rules
Each bhavana you write has to follow three rules. It needs to be:
Say for example you want more abundance in your life (and who doesn’t?) Abundance is great, but it’s too abstract. We need it to be CONCRETE (something you can see and feel.) What does abundance mean to you? More furniture in your home? A full fridge? 1M followers on Instagram? More money?
Now get SPECIFIC. If your concrete goal is more money, how much money do you want? What specific number makes you feel good? Is it $30,000 to pay off your debt? $75,000 for a down payment? $250,000 a year salary?
(I know it’s tempting to say $5 billion would make me feel good but resist – your goal should be realistic and achievable even if it stretches your comfort zone a bit.)
And finally, we need to ensure it has a POSITIVE tone.
Say your goal is $30,000 to pay off 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.’ Saying it that way feels better too, yes?
Building Your Bhavana
Getting specific is vital, so let’s do a couple more examples together:
Say 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.
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-haves’ and what are the ‘nice to haves’ that might be a little beyond your reach? What positive emotions does it make you feel? How do feel when you imagine walking out of the mall and seeing your car in the parking lot? How do you feel driving it down the highway?
All of those details belong in your bhavana.
Or perhaps you’ve decided ‘I need a vacation!!’ You wouldn’t just show up to the airport without a plan right? You’d decide 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 to invite your desires into your life. Writing a bhavana puts what you want out there so that you can begin to attract it into your life. Ideally, you’d write this out on paper as I believe the hand is the conduit between the head and the heart (and more personal than typing.) You can decide if you want to do it in your usual journal, or perhaps whip out that special stationary you’ve been meaning to put to use. When you’re done, tuck it in an envelope and put it in your sock drawer, or where ever feels best. Whatever feels good to you is great, just get it written down! I personally like to keep mine in my journal as I can reflect back years later and see what I was putting out there and what came back to me.
Let Me Tell You – This Shit Works
I’ve got multiple bhavana’s written at any given time because they can be for near future desires or far-flung desires. A few years ago I needed to find a new place to live and I wrote a ‘new home bhavana’ about it. Here’s a snippet:
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! And it’s honestly it’s been the best place I’ve ever lived.
Your bhavana can be as short as a few lines or as long as a few pages. You can write out an overarching vision of your future, or work on one very specific thing (like nailing that job interview tomorrow.) You might write one that paints a vivid picture of your career in five years, and another one for a tough conversation you need to have soon. It could be a description of the partner of your dreams, or a vision of how you want your dinner party to go this Sunday.
If you’re looking for an outcome, you can bhavana it!
Your bhavana gets your mind laser-focused on what you want, instead of just daydreaming about it.
Write It And Let It Go
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. We can’t be attached to the outcome, this is simply about putting out good energy, getting clarity on what we want, then letting it go and trusting that whatever happens is for the highest good of all involved.
Now I would attempt a rap about bhavanas to bring it all together, but instead I’ll remind you of the three 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 future-vision-making, ideal-world-creating badass spiritual artistry.
PS 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, letting her tell me ‘My white and turquoise themed beach house is welcoming, airy, spacious, and filled with fresh peonies from my garden.’ Let yourself dream – and then bhavana it into existence.
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 mom’s spaghetti on myself.