psychology, Spain

Silence, Meditation, Reflection: Super-Charging My Life Right Now

A few weeks ago I was invited to a WhatsApp group called the 21 Days of Abundance Meditation Challenge by Deepak Chopra. I know what you may be thinking: pyramid scheme alert! I wondered myself if it was legit and what on earth this was going to be about. But as a person who’s open to trying new things, I thought to myself, why not? At the very least I spend a few minutes doing meditations every day which is extremely beneficial for physical and mental health. The timing was also very good as I had just finished reading “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” – a book about simplifying and centering yourself rather than frantically chasing the next best thing. So I accepted the challenge, trying to do the meditation exercises before work in the mornings. The combination of finishing the book and starting these meditations, on top of already practicing a bit of yoga every day, made me feel like I was on the verge of turning into some bald yogui in a monastery. (But in a good way, those guys don’t seem to age at all!)

He’s at least 105, right?

A really important takeaway from the book was the idea of starting your day in silence, reflecting on the previous day and how you can improve your habits or behaviors. As I began the meditation challenge, I put at the top of my daily to-do list “Silence. Meditation. Reflection” – in that order – as I began to see how silence and meditating made my thoughts clearer and better primed for reflection.

The meditations are centered around attracting abundance into your life, and each meditation comes with some written exercises to do, like thinking about certain relationships in your life, your deep-seated attitudes towards money, retraining your mind to stop having a scarcity mindset, things like that. Then you listen to a 10 to 15 minute audio recording with zen-like music in the background, where you hear some affirmations and a Sanskrit “mantra” that you can repeat in your mind. Then there’s just music for a few minutes while you focus on your breathing.

A few ideas I’ve come away with after finishing the 21 days –

  • I had to come up with a list of 50 people who have influenced my development. Nearly 100% are women. You go, girls.
  • The province where I am now, quite by accident (Aragón), is a place I’d like to stay. This is a total mindset shift because I had been considering other places. But after some silence and meditation, allowing myself to visualize what’s really important, it was clear that this region has many things I look for in a place to live – the only missing piece is a coast. (I’m not sure how necessary the coast really is anymore.) Now with that decided, I’m really excited about future possibilities and I’m ready to jump in to what this region has to offer. Bike lanes! The Pyrenees! Borja and Somontano wines! Group sports or exercise activities!
  • I feel more financially secure after re-vamping my budget and saving during the last three months, and therefore not needing to jump at whatever professional opportunity presents itself. And this being an abundance meditation challenge, I have started focusing my thoughts more on attracting abundance rather than taking whatever I can get. Standards, girl.
  • I had a lot of strong feelings one particular day after spending hours on social media watching videos of police brutality against black people. My overall reflection the next day was that watching a bunch of videos wasn’t the most productive use of energy. Sitting over here across the Atlantic, I felt so useless and out of touch, like I’d never be able to do or be enough to help. Such a deep level of systemic change is needed and it’s going to take massive effort to pull off, something that won’t happen overnight. What can I do right now? Small things like contribute money or show solidarity, listen, and encourage others to do the same. Will this ever feel like enough? Probably not. This topic deserves its own blog post after I’ve sorted through my thoughts a bit more. Though really, it’s more important that we listen to the experiences of the Black people around us and not drown those voices out with our own opinions and feelings.

Ultimately, I believe that silence, meditation and reflection can be powerful tools to help us see our own privilege, listen better, enact change, and take care of ourselves.

  • Small businesses and eco-friendly shopping are super important and I’d like to run a business one day. I’m thinking about running a weekly series promoting local businesses.
  • Investing in oneself is a good use of money if it’s supporting my values and helping me grow.
  • I have a strong desire for connection, and I am in need of a supportive network of people to invest time and energy in. This is a clear intention that I have, rather than passively being kinda-friends with whoever crosses my path. Social media isn’t cutting it anymore, and online groups could be good, but I’m interested in finding people in-person who meet at least some of these criteria:
    • Are positive: Bring an attitude of gratefulness, optimism, laughter, who generally try to stay away from negative thinking and complaining.
    • Are supportive: Not overly competitive or critical, not putting others down.
    • Are present: They show up, they answer messages, they show they care.
    • Are reciprocal: They don’t take up all our time talking about themselves, and don’t only contact me when they need something.
    • Demonstrate values: Most importantly, respect, gratitude, openness, acceptance, freedom (financial and personal), confidence, optimism, authenticity, compassion.
    • Of course, shared hobbies will probably be the thing that connects us: Music, nature, exercise. I’m not trying to replace or change anyone who’s already in my life, but I think this criteria is a solid yardstick for measuring future friendship potential.

Through silence, meditation and reflection I’ve been able to clarify my values and intentions. I highly encourage anyone to try it. Have you found the time to do something similar?