Olá! My name is Marcio. I’m 26 years old and I’m from the Netherlands, yet last summer (2022) I made a big life change when I moved from Amsterdam to Portugal to become a resident at Avidanja.
In order to ‘deal’ with the challenges and turbulences of living in a Western city, I always felt a pull towards meditation and yoga. I remember well how I fell in love with the peace that I got in touch with inside myself through these practices, a peace of which I was convinced I would not be able to find it ‘out there’ in the chaos. Being slightly confused yet curious about this, I started to become interested in more than just the practice, and then discovered that I actually found resonating answers to many questions I had about life in spirituality. I soon became quite committed to give myself to the spiritual path, and eventually I ended up at the Awakened Life Project in Portugal as a volunteer. Here I started to learn about true meditation and spiritual freedom; or that peace is always here and now and that real freedom means embracing one’s experience of being alive fully rather than avoiding it.
Equally important though is that I here for the first time got in touch with what it means to live in communion: what it means to live in devotion to a higher purpose, what it means to truly care for each other and for the earth and, above all, what it means to simply BE together. If I look back now I would even say that all my life decisions up until that point had been guided by a longing for this, even though I was probably not really aware of it. I was so inspired by this unexpected encounter with this unknown lifestyle that it eventually made me come back to do my fieldwork research for my master’s in anthropology. This is how I ended up in Avidanja as, besides the Awakened Life Project, it also became part of the research field. I remember very well the feeling I had after I first arrived at Avidanja, as I soon fell in love with the place and the people and it started to feel like home within no time. During my research it also became more and more clear that ‘community’ was not just a research interest but was actually becoming a serious interest in how to live my life myself 24/7. When I was eventually blessed with the opportunity to move to Avidanja to become a resident myself I therefore did not have to think twice: my heart gave a big YES!