It’s that time again! As we enter a new calendar year, we make promises to be better and do better to make this coming year the best ever!
The problem is, the basis for these New Year resolutions, is that we are trying to “fix” something about ourselves, which means that we believe we are “not good enough,” or we need to “repair” ourselves. To write our resolutions, we focus on our imperfections, defects, and those aspects about ourselves that make us “less than” we think should be. Then we put our energy into making ourselves fit this ideal image we have of ourselves.
Our intentions are good and our expectations are high. We’ve all been there. We start out eating better, maybe exercising more consistently, getting organized, stopping bad habits, etc., etc., etc. Have you ever been able to sustain these new behaviors? Do you know anyone who has? I’m sure there must be someone, somewhere, who has actually made the improvements necessary to attain their goals, but I never have, have you? Our resolutions almost always fail because they spring from the assumption that we are not good enough, and they reinforce the belief that our happiness depends on outside events, people, possessions, appearance, and the like.
BUT… what if we focus instead, on creating the life that we want to live, to examine ourselves and go within to find our deepest intentions, our purpose. What if we thought about our deepest desires? Could we realize not only WHAT brings us joy, but WHY? Then, our intentions would come from the heart and the soul and bring us closer to remembering our true nature. In yoga, such a promise is called a SANKALPA.
Sankalpa (Sanskrit: संकल्प) means an intention formed by the heart and mind — a solemn vow, determination, or will.
While the typical New Year resolution is abandoned within weeks, if not days, as enthusiasm and willpower fade, a SANKALPA requires none of the ego-driven willpower. When the true SANKALPA comes through, the energy and will are already there. The SANKALPA informs us of the action we need to take.
So how do you discover your SANKALPA? It’s a process of listening. Your heartfelt desire is already present, waiting to be seen, heard, and felt. It’s not something you need to make up. What if all you hear are the typical responses, new car, bigger house, quit drinking, and so on? You start from where you are and go deeper to find what’s underneath that desire.
Once this desire is identified, it is condensed into a simple statement that is repeated, and the seed is planted during Yoga Nidra, deep relaxation. Your SANKALPA guides you through whatever decisions arise in your life.