The Sanskrit word sankalpa refers to making a serious intention or vow, in which you resolve to take a specific action and/or to ensure that something will come to pass. When a sankalpa is made in clarity, humility and enthusiasm, it can be very powerful. It provides us with the vision, energy and momentum in realizing our goals. But how do you know if the resolve you are making is aligned with your highest good?
You may believe that a million dollars, a new house or car, or a new lover, will bring you happiness. You feel resolved that you will manifest such. But if these are not an expression of your deepest joy, your true soul purpose, the universe may not support them coming to pass – no matter how hard you try. The universe is compassionate, and compassion comes in many forms, one of which is by not giving you what you want, but providing you with what you need.
You may choose to direct a sankalpa towards your spiritual growth, such as, to meditate every day, get rid of extra possessions, release a painful tendency or simply do more acts of kindness. This can be an excellent idea. Yet, even then, you must be wise about the intention you set forward and understand whether it is in your highest good and whether you are prepared to follow through on it, or if you are just trying to be “more spiritual”. I describe such potential spiritual pitfalls at length in my book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie”.
If you have not yet read my article The Three Touchstones to Wise Decision Making, please take a look at it. You will find out how feeling rooted, vital and expansive will be a sure indicator that you are in alignment with your highest good. Whatever your sankalpa may be, the following exercise will help ensure that your motivation is grounded in your highest good.
Find a quiet place where you can be alone. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Go deeper within and become present with what is. See if you can move beyond the habitual thoughts you have about yourself and what you want.
For example, you may want more love in your life. You resolve to make that happen. Ask yourself, have you taken the time to touch the ways in which you don’t believe it possible? As you move beyond the ideas you have about love, you may touch the ways in which you feel unloveable. You can begin to love the inner you in this moment. Then, the love you seek starts to bubble within. The resolve for love flowers from an understanding that you already are love. When you are in the reality that you are love, then you attract love into your life.
Similarly, if you resolve to make money, is there part of you that believes you don’t deserve abundance? Or do you feel indignant or resentful that you don’t have more finances? Can you focus on the ways in which your life is already rich? By feeling abundant and grateful now, you draw wealth into your life. The resolve for abundance must be built upon abundance.
If you resolve to make a big change, like quitting smoking or losing weight, is there part of you that is not yet open, ready and willing to change? Are you willing to touch any resistance, fear, unworthiness, or self-loathing that keep you holding onto pain? Are you willing to see yourself as the being of light that you are now and in turn draw light into your life?
Use your body as a guide. A resolve that comes from wanting will feel partial, disconnected and tense. A sankalpa that serves your highest good will feel rooted, vital and expansive. Feeling relaxed and energized by it, you will sense it through your whole body/being.
Setting the sankalpa is just the beginning. Now, live by it. As often as possible, feel the joy in its possibility. Be in its reality. Act in alignment with it. In doing so, you get out of the way of wanting it all to look according to your ego. Your resolve will unfold more beautifully than you could imagine.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine and an internationally recognized Canadian musician, yogi and new thought leader. As a chart-topping touring musician, Parvati spearheads the Post New-Age musical genre with her independent success hit single “Yoga in the Nightclub”. She founded YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a powerful yoga method that combines energy work and yoga poses. Her debut self-help book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie – A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker” is forthcoming in 2016.