Sankalpa A heartfelt goal, desire, or truth.
San A connection with the highest truth
Kalpa Vow, a rule to be followed above all others
When you state a goal or intention, how do you phrase it? Do you say something along the lines of, “I want to be more ___”, or “less ___”. Do you plan to change your habits and thoughts to fit this new you? This usually comes up around New Years, and is a great way to tell yourself that you don’t want to be who you are now. Fortunately, who you are right now exactly the right person to accomplish these goals – and you can rewrite those goals completely to help you remember that fact.
You are a person. Above and beyond anything else, you reading this right now are a person. You possess all the qualities and capabilities of a person. Throughout the length of human history, that counts for quite a bit of ability! Sometimes it’s good to remember that you are all of this. Rather than focus on attaining a quality you already possess, you could instead remind yourself that these qualities are already there.
This is the purpose of a sankalpa. Rather than a normal resolution, which starts from the foundation of I am not yet enough, a sankalpa is a positive statement of affirmation. Rather than saying “I will,” you are declaring “I already am.” A sankalpa connects you with your heartfelt desire, your resolve, in a way that reminds you that you already are who you need to be.
I want peace in my life: I am peace itself
I want to be more grateful: I am gratitude
A sankalpa is useful any time, but is most powerful when deep in Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra is a deep state of relaxation – so deep that the sankalpa may be communicated straight to your subconscious. A Yoga Nidra practice will often start and end with a few repetitions of your Sankalpa, just to make sure it really sticks.
Be sure to check out my latest guided meditation – More than a half hour of relaxing Yoga Nidra. Enjoy!
Finding your sankalpa can take effort. It has a deep connection to your highest truth – not always an easy thing to figure out. Throughout the course of meditation, we slowly uncover our purpose and our connection to the divine. Due to this slow realization, we will sometimes change our sankalpa. From one day to another, you may find a different facet of yourself, a different truth in the sum of your person. To make sure this part stays uncovered, you’ll want to remind yourself that it’s there.
I’ve certainly been on a long journey to find my highest truth. Whatever form that enlightenment takes, its shape is not yet known to me (or non-shape and non-form, as the case may be!). My sankalpa has changed more than a few times over the past few years, and I have no doubt it’ll change yet more as I move further down this path.
A sankalpa often takes one of two forms.
In one form, it’s a heartfelt desire that reflects your true nature. It comes from you, not just your mind. It requires no change or action. You don’t have to go on a diet or lift weights. Instead, it is a statement of who you are, such as “I am love itself.” In this form, it’s quite broad and all-encompassing.
In its other form, a sankalpa might be more specific. Rather than trying to encompass the deep truth of you, it captures a step on the path to reach your true self.
Figuring it out
The process of uncovering your sankalpa takes a few steps. However you go about them is entirely up to you, but there are few common stages. The first is sravana, the willingness to hear the message of the heart’s desire. The second is manana, the willingness to let that messenger in, to sit with it, feel it, and contemplate it. The final stage is nididhyasana, the willingness to do what the heart’s desire requires.
To figure out a good sankalpa to start with, let’s start with one of your goals. Really, just about any goal will do if it’s something you want. I’ll go ahead and put one of mine in here, to show you how it breaks down: “I want to get fit.” To go a little deeper, I need to figure out where this comes from. My desire in getting fit is to feel good, to take care of myself, to show myself some love. In wanting to get fit, I’m wanting to show my body love. At the same time, by wanting to get fit, I am already showing my body love. I want to show love, and I am showing love. Eventually, this may simply become, “I love myself” and then “I am love itself.” The goal is to find the deeper desire that’s longing to be fulfilled.
It’s a curious thing to become what you already are. There’s a place between being that which you are and trying to become what you want to be – and the sankalpa sits firmly in the middle. It’s helping you (the part of you that still has room to grow) to become You (the you that is a part of the universe).
I wish you luck on finding your Sankalpa, and joy in uncovering each new stage of your unfolding. You possess everything that you have to be who you want to become.
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