Increase Your Financial Well-Being With Meditation
Back when I was just getting into this world of "new age" stuff - chakras, crystals and gemstones, Wicca, Shamanism, and all those wonderful things that give me peace now - I was not financially stable at all. If you know me, you know that I grew up in a family that thought living in abject poverty was "normal." That was partially because of the region of the U.S. that we came from, but also because my family had never done anything but work their asses off just to get by.
But I credit - at least partially - the practice of regular meditation in helping me get beyond my financial limitations. Am I a millionaire? Absolutely not. But I do have a house, a car (that's paid for), and I'm in the process of paying off student loans. So, no, I'm not super-rich. But I also don't have creditors harassing me (like my parents always did), and I always have enough left over to enjoy a night or two dining out, and maybe a movie at the theater every now and again, or a camping trip.
Find a quiet spot and put yourself in a comfortable position you can maintain for at least 30 minutes. A quiet place at home is easiest. With practice, you can learn to meditate on a noisy subway. Find a comfortable seated position.
Spend the first few minutes emptying your mind. This sounds harder than it is - or, rather, people make it more complicated than it is. The easiest way to do this is by placing all of your focus on your breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your chest. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep your attention on your breathing.
Another method is to only breathe through your nose, and to focus your attention on your nostrils as you feel the air entering and leaving your nostrils.
You might also focus on counting. One of the methods I often use to just get settled and empty my mind is, "Inhale, two, three, four, exhale, two, three, four, inhale, two, three, four ..." and so on. Alternating the inhale and exhale, but counting "two, three, four," is one way to maintain focus.
Focus on a financial challenge in your life. Notice the changes in your thinking. Notice the sensations in your body. Your mind might be racing to the future and imagining the worst possible outcome. Your heart-rate and breathing might quicken just a bit. The key is to detach from your emotions around the situation, and observe your reaction. This is "becoming the witness" to your thoughts, rather than letting them overwhelm you. Continue observing until everything subsides. The uncomfortable thoughts and feelings in your body will rise and fall.
You can also talk yourself through the bodily reactions that you're noticing.
- "Interesting. My breath seems to be speeding up a bit."
- "My heart has started beating rapidly."
- "But I'm breathing deeply. And focusing."
- "My heart-rate is getting back to normal now."
Really, all you're doing is stating aloud the things that you're observing. This helps refocus - it's a method of distracting yourself so that you can effectively become your own Wisest Guide.
Think about a financial goal. Lots of us have financial goals. Most of us fail to take any real action. Think about a challenging financial goal and repeat the same process above. Notice your feelings and thought processes. Continue until the noise subsides. Make note of the thoughts that arise.
- "I don't know how to accomplish it."
- "My ex will take any extra money I earn."
- "I don't know enough."
Remember that just because you have these thoughts doesn't mean you're required to internalize them. After your meditation, recall what these thoughts were to the best of your ability, and write them in your journal. Often, just the act of writing them down helps to start the process of releasing beliefs that no longer serve you.
Visualize taking the first step toward that goal. If there are one or two small things you can do (sooner rather than later) that could set you on the path to fulfilling your goal, imagine taking them. Once again, observe your thoughts and feelings. What comes up for you?
Keep in mind that if all of your thoughts and feelings were positive, you'd be aggressively and enthusiastically pursuing your goal. So you're going to have negative thoughts pop up around your financial goal. It's the negative thoughts and feelings that are holding you back. Meditation is an effective way for dealing with these roadblocks.
As an example: several years ago, I noticed that I would get angry every time my partner brought up money or finances or bills or anything of the sort. And every single time, I would walk away to do something else. I was practicing avoidance. I had to break that habit by being with my emotions, and figuring out what was going on with my relationship with money. I did that through meditation.
Making positive changes in your financial life isn't easy. It takes time and effort. Meditation is a way to help deal with the stress of making financial change. But don't forget that it's also a way to explore your beliefs around money, and to dig into your relationship with money, in order to change what isn't serving you.