Have you made a resolution this year? Do you know why you may have broken it already?
Every year we may begin with the statement ‘I will…’, we summon our willpower and set a goal (maybe unrealistic?) and we tell ourselves how happy we will be when we reach it (I will stop drinking alcohol, exercise every day, meditate every day, and lose a stone, then I will be happy… sound familiar?). This almost assumes that you are not good enough until you do these things and the ego drives us to think we will be happy when we do.
The Yogic idea of resolution is a practise called Sankalpa. It is a bit different to how we in western world typically think of resolution. Actually, the root of the world ‘resolve’ means ‘untie’, ‘loosen’, ‘release’, when you put it in these terms it means ‘surrender’, as opposed to ‘force yourself’.
Sankalpa is more ‘I surrender’ than ‘I will’. The idea is that we learn to stop ‘swimming against our internal tide’, we stop ‘going against’ who, or what, we naturally and intuitively are, and instead listen and surrender to the deeper inner voice. When we talk about the inner voice we are not talking the ‘mind-chatter’ – but the deep intuitive stuff that draws you energetically towards what you need. Perhaps it’s even listening to a voice bigger than ourselves, that of nature, or the energies around us.
There are lots of different interpretations of the word Sankalpa, but one interpretation is ‘San’ meaning ‘born from the heart’ while ‘Kalpa’ means ‘born over time’. An authentic Sankalpa comes straight from the heart and involves purpose, a heartfelt desire, a deep longing, a commitment that sits right, not just with our self, but with our self and all that is around us.
I know pretty deep right?
Let’s pull back and start with a traditional resolution “I’m going to lose a stone in weight”. The Sankalpa would delve deeper and ask why? What is your heart desire? It wouldn’t be negative and criticise the self for being overweight now, it would instead focus on a universal health, lightness, ability to move freely.
Or in the quest to meditate, it wouldn’t say “I am stressed, I need to meditate”, it would ask better questions like what is the deeper purpose? Why do you want to meditate? The answer to questions like these would help begin our voyage to discovering the calmness that has always been there inside us, and reunite ourselves with it.
Finding an inner longing that is striving to be nourished, surrender to it and nourish it, that’s the Sankalpa, and is more of a truth.
So first be real with yourself and contemplate what no longer serves you, what doesn’t sit right. Once you have consciously started to realise what this is, it might begin to lead to small positive changes: i.e. to give up on a ‘hobby’ you’ve been slogging away at and do something else, or it might lead to big massive shifts: in work, in location, in partner, in lifestyle. The thing is, about Sankalpa, is that you know what it is, you know what you need, you just have to listen, surrender, let go, and move towards it. The Sankalpa has always been with you, you’ve just not heard it, or turned your back on it. But know that the Sankalpa is never working ‘against you’, it IS you, the best you.
Maybe 2020 is the decade to surrender and move towards it, you may need to be brave, to be bold, or to be quiet and gently transition, however, whatever, start listening today and start finding the best version of you, that’s always been inside you and is just waiting to be set free…
By Jackie Heffer-Cooke, Orange Grove, ZenMuma and ZenKids founder
Jackie Heffer-Cooke runs yoga retreats, trains others in specialised yoga and offers private yoga sessions for people who would like to journey further into a yoga practise. You can email Jackie personally here [email protected] or for more info take a look here