I see you are bustling about – hanging decorations, welcoming oodles of guests and finding the best gifts to bring grande grins to your loved ones. The frantic holiday rush doesn’t allow for ample space for inner reflection, does it? Perhaps the reason new year resolutions don’t come true is that of the overbooked holiday schedule. If nothing else this time of the year can be distracting and emotionally destabilizing, which makes it all the more difficult to know what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it and how it will be realized.
Since there is nothing casual about improving your life, let’s take the time to understand how to focus your self-effort and intentions so you can manifest your deepest desires. What follows is steeped in the ancient teachings of yoga and will provide clear guidelines to help you craft an impactful resolution.
The deeper meaning of resolve
“Power of resolve is where it begins.” -Rig Veda
The Sanskrit word for resolve is sankalpa. Breaking down the word provides more context:
san: a concept or idea formed in the heart
kalpa: the rule to be observed above all others
Blend these two parts, and sankalpa is the highest aspiration you authentically want to achieve.
This heart-centered rule is not random or can't be approached lightly since it requires the full force of your body and mind to achieve it. Knowing what is authentic also isn’t easy; so use the following questions to help you craft your statement. You should be able to answer these in the affirmative.
Will it significantly improve/change your life?
Does it speaks to your body on a deeper cellular level?
Does it create discomfort coupled with excitement?
Is it grounded and realistic? Are you trying to shoot for the moon without a moon suit?
Melting into the Inner Sea Change
“Intention drives our purpose.” – Rod Stryker
If all it took were to think, “hey, I want to lose 20 lbs.” and then you achieved it with few if any obstacles, then resolutions would be a thing of the past. But what we forget to acknowledge is the massive inner sea change that is required to overcome resistance and achieve your resolution. Choosing to create intention is the seed of purposeful living and using sankalpa is an ideal way to focus your actions.
Committing to a sankalpa awakens all your five senses and mind to create a deeper connection to all the positive and negative forces in the outer world. Your sankalpa will ask you to let go of old thoughts or actions and to welcome in new ones. I'd invite you to relax into this inner momentum shift. When you want something enough, obstacles will emerge. These strengthen you. Welcome the resistance. The inner tension you might experience in your body and mind is where transformation unfolds.
Striking a beautiful cord
“Become mad with an idea.” - Mani Finger
Your sankalpa is a concise declarative statement that speaks to the heart of a desire that will shift the landscape of your life in a significant way. If you are aiming to lose weight because the doctor told you to, how meaningful does this idea feel coming from another person? Going back to the gym because an advertisement is motivating you is more externally driven. Facts and stats are notable, but they rarely generate long-term change. Your sankalpa is born out of an inner desire that speaks to your heart and inner knowing, not purely external or intellectually driven.
Here are some other helpful reminders:
Feel the resolve coming from your gut or heart
Allow it to touch your breath, nerves, and heartbeat
Let it fill you with joy imagining you have already achieved it
If you don’t immediately know what you want to achieve, consider that a positive. January 1st is an arbitrary date. Sankalpa is meant for any time of the year. The extra inner reflection will assure that you and your heart are fully in synch. Remember, your resolve will require you to cope with change, make sacrifices and be courageous in the face of discomfort. Be completely ready for a journey of lows and highs.
“Your body and senses must function under the leadership of your mind.” -Swami Rama
Aiming your sights on a sankalpa is about strengthening the mind. The decision to go after a strongly held desire makes you more aware of your mind, particularly your negative thought patterns. The more aware you are of mental resistance, the more you can alter the architecture of the mind. Sankalpa aims to improve the quality of the mind, so you become more discerning. When the mind is fully on board, it makes it infinitely easier to achieve. Research illustrates that 30-35% of participants in research studies feel the positive outcomes of the placebo. This points to how important the mind is to your resolve. When you craft your statement, be sure your mind is 51% or ideally more convinced of reaching your desire, so your cells can feel the positive effects.
Join me next week as I discuss my sankalpa, how I discovered it, and more detailed steps to crafting sankalpa.
Take action now: Begin to brainstorm ideas of what you feel your sankalpa could be. Write at least three potential ideas and share them with me to get the ball rolling.