Most New Year’s resolutions are pledges to change what we do and even who we are. Goals are set and we imagine how happy we will be when we have what we want.
Resolutions usually come from the misguided desires of the ego. They almost always fail because they come from the belief that you’re not good enough, or that your happiness depends on acquiring material possessions. “I’ll be happy when….” If your attention is always on wanting something you might get in the future, you’ll remain in a place of wanting and waiting.
If your attention is always drawn to the future, how can you recognize the greatness that is within you right now?
An alternative to setting a resolution is the Yoga tradition of the practice of Sankalpa, or resolve. Sankalpa is a statement that draws the mind to our deepest intentions, and the qualities of the divine within. San refers to a connection with the highest truth. Kalpa means vow, a rule to be followed above all other rules. Sankalpa is a vow and commitment we make to support our highest truth.
A Sankalpa practice begins with the belief that you already are who you need to be to connect to your deepest intentions. You just have to follow the three steps of listening.
The first step is simply being willing to hear the message from your heart in a still, quiet place cultivated by meditation. The second step is to turn inward and allow the messages to come to you. When you hear the calling, be willing to sit with it, feel, and deeply reflect. The third and final step is being willing to do what the desire requires of you. It’s your call into action. You must respond to it.
Any goal can be the starting point to Sankalpa. Work with whatever arises. If you trust the process, it will eventually lead you to the essence of your being.
Work through the layers by asking yourself what is underneath the desire. How will you feel, how will you think, how will your life be when you achieve your goal? What is the beingness you are working towards? Your Sankalpa should honor the deeper meaning of your life.
Sankalpas can take a couple of different forms. First, your heartfelt desire, a statement reflecting your true nature, who you are. It comes from deep within and tells our mind the direction we need to take or are already taking in our lives, such as, “I am whole.” or “I am at peace.”
A Sankalpa can also be a specific goal or intention. Your specific Sankalpa guides you to do what you need to do and directs your energy to make progress toward larger life goals. To achieve your life’s mission, you must set milestones. What specific things need to happen while you journey on your path? Setting specific intentions help you make the moment to moment choices that are lined up with your desire.
By continually bringing your Sankalpa to mind, you become stronger in your resolve and become more mindful of choices you make day by day. Is this choice supportive of your bottom line? Will this choice support you achieving your goal?
The most powerful practice to plant the seed of Sankalpa is Yoga Nidra, a sleep based guided meditation. Yoga Nidra relaxes the mind and body so you can awaken to your true nature. Here we work with planting the seed of Sankalpa on a subconscious level. We are consciously creating the Sankalpa, then planting it into the subconscious where it can then grow and thrive.
Once you have created and planted the seed of Sankalpa, you can begin the process of taking the action required to support your goal. Strengthening the energy required to do this is called Sankalpa Shakti.
Every conscious choice you make is an opportunity to strengthen Sankalpa Shakti, transformative creative energy. Every day is an opportunity to review your choices, to sort through what is helpful and what is not so helpful. Observe yourself with compassion and keep moving forward.
The Sankalpa describes who you are and how you relate to the world when you are in complete alignment. Sankalpa is the motivating force that you are living and moving toward every day.
Everything you need is already within you. Just focus your mind, connect with your deepest desires, and channel the energy within.
Be content living between the goal and accomplishing the goal.