What is a sankalpa?
The word “sankalpa’ comes from the combination of san, a connection to the higher Self, and kulpa, a vow or heartfelt intention. Thus a sankalpa is deep statement about who we are or vow to be.
Unlike a new years resolution, which is usually something we want to achieve or obtain, a sankalpa is a robust reflection of who we want to be and how we see the world. A sankalpa targets our deepest desire, without presupposing how that desire will be fullfilled.
Often we can use a resolution to uncover our sankalpa. For example, take the following list of resolutions:
- I want to have a doctorate by the time I am 30
- I want to lose 20 pounds
- I want to make more money
- I want to win first place in a competition
- I want to be in a relationship
As you read each of the resolutions above, you can hear the mind at work. There’s judgments in these statements, like we need to be slim to be attractive, or perhaps that we need to be in a relationship. There’s potentially ego involved, like the need to win a competition or get an advanced degree. There may also be fear involved, like perhaps running out of money or of being alone. These resolutions are simply achievements, and possibly transitory ones at best. They are very targeted, as we have removed all alternatives and are focused on a single path to fulfill our desires. They are also perceived solutions to a need/desire…but what is the REAL need/desire? If we focus on the need/desire, we can arrive at the sankalpa. For example, potential sankalpas for the resolutions listed above might be:
- I have a doctorate by the time I am 30 -> I am a healer
- I want to lose 20 pounds -> I love my body
- I want to make more money -> I have abundance in my life
- I want to win first place in a competition -> I am valuable
- I want to be in a relationship -> My life is full of love
When we understand the root of what we are really looking for in our life, we can state it, as though it already exists, and let the universe and our own inner wisdom let events unfold to guide us on that path.
A sankalpa is a brief statement of our intent, stated in the present tense.
How Do I Choose a sankalpa?
The great thing about a sankalpa is that it will reveal itself to you, if you listen. We often believe we need to use our brain to process tough questions and arrive at a solution. The beautiful truth is that we already have deep wisdom and the answers that we seek are already within us.
Our brain is a pretty noisy place. Like a two year old toddler, it demands to be heard and, when we are not paying attention, it just talks louder. But where do the thoughts in the brain come from? Just like a computer, which only contains what has been programmed into it, so our brain contains only thoughts we have placed there over the years.
There is a whole other source of wisdom within us waiting to be heard: our intuition. Intuition is powerful, but it speaks more softly than the brain. So softly, that we often disregard it as just a feeling or our imagination. Where the brain’s language is large bold letters, intuition is like imprints within our heart or gut, places in the body where our nervous system is also processing and providing inputs. Our intuition comes from that place within us tied to the universe – so infinite new information is possible!
So the key to understanding your sankalpa is to quiet the mind enough to truly hear your intuition.
What Are The Next Steps?
There are a number of ways of allowing your sankalpa to arise.
- Start with a goal or resolution. Via journalling or mediation, explore the real desire behind it.
- Think about a deep fear, like running out of money. Channel that into a sankalpa that, if truly embodied, would eradicate that fear, like I have abundance in my life.
- Meditate and simply let the sankalpa arise. A guided yoga nidra meditation can work well for this.
Once you have arrived at your sankalpa, plant it deeply within you and revisit it often:
- Via meditation, like yoga nidra
- By stating it to your self before bed and upon waking
- By doing something, like brushing your teeth or opening a door, with the opposite hand and stating it to yourself.
- By writing it on a beautiful piece of parchment and putting it by an alter or other personal space.
- By mentally aligning with it before making decisions.
Over time, you will feel yourself evolving. Many sankalpas are so robust they can guide us for years or an entire lifetime. Sometimes, however, as you evolve, you will find a time when you sense you are ready for your sankalpa to evolve as well. When/if that time comes, listen to hear your next adventure!