Sankalpas from the Heart
Have you ever created a sankalpa?
Perhaps it was in a yoga class or a meditation workshop.
Or perhaps it is a new word altogether.
If you have never heard of sankalpa, it is the sanskrit word for intention. And I have been giving a lot of thought to this idea of sankalpa lately.
In my own life, I have come to realize for myself that there are different degrees of intentions that we set. Some intentions are a flittering thought soon to be forgotten. Some are short term, such as a moon cycle. You may set a long term one that carries you through several months. And then some reach the level of sankalpa. To me, this is the most sincere of intentions. These are the intentions that change your life forever.
Sankalpas arise from the heart space, not the mind, and this is where their genuine nature comes from. The strongest of intentions come to be from those moments of the heart opening and your Highest Self guiding you into alignment for your highest good.
I had such a moment just a few days ago as I came out of meditation. It first bubbled up as deep longing to be more IN the experience of Life. As this feeling rolled through me I explored what that would mean, how would that even look? All the aspects of my day that become rather mindless came up. And then the ways I act in haste, a hurry, or rushed. None of these awakened a feeling of alignment or ease. They reminded me of all the ways I operate in this world still half asleep instead of fully awake. They were pointing me in the direction of a new sankalpa that my heart was ready to inscribe on its hallowed walls …
In every action, both small and large, I move with intention.
In every action. My thoughts, behaviors, words, and movements.
Both small and large. From choosing a new book to read to the offerings I create to share, they deserve equal attention and intention.
I move with intention. This sankalpa is an embodiment practice. My heart asking to be a part of the experience of Life. She beats with an intentional rhythm, one that invites my whole being (mind included) to be fully awake in the spanda, or pulse, of life.
And leave it to my heart to put intention within an intention.
This is my intent. This is my highly aligned sankalpa. A new lesson, pathway, and connection within myself as I weave a life of simplicity and presence. Because both simplicity and presence are necessary for this intention to manifest and play out through me. To move from haste to slow paced, hurried to steady rhythm, from half asleep to fully awake I must design my life that allows the s p a c e for these things to happen.
My busy and distracted mind could not have created this sankalpa as it defies what the mind likes most- this is how I knew this was a deeply needed intention that would, and will, change my life. This is also a confirmation that the inner work and rebuilding of the life around me in the name of simplicity and presence is exactly where I am meant to be.
These are the gifts that the intention of the heart is willing to give when we tune in and allow her to speak.
What is your hearts sankalpa? Have you paused to listen lately? Below I share a practice that I have used in many a class to open the heart and quiet the mind so that you can listen for these deepest intentions, the calling of the Highest Self.
Find a comfortable seat (chair, floor, cushion), somewhere quiet, and where you won’t be disturbed
Begin by simply sitting and observing the breath for several inhales and exhales. Getting acquainted with where you are right in this moment. If the breath is shallow in the chest, bring it into the belly. And if it is already in the belly, invite the breath to go deeper and fill more of the abdomen. On the exhales, completely empty out.
Feel the sits bones and feet and back of the legs sinking into your seat. The shoulders drop and the chest broadens. The back is tall but not rigid.
From here, feel the heart space spiraling open. Perhaps like a flower unfolding its petals or a gentle swirl of green, golden, or white energy. Dropping your awareness into the heart space as you continue to breath deeply.
In this space of relaxation, with heart open and receptive, invite the heart to express its greatest intent, or sankalpa.
Without ‘working’ to create the answer, allow whatever that comes up to come up. And if the mind begins to wander or tries to get too involved simply invite the mind to observe and remind it that you are listening to heart right now and bring the focus back to your spiraling open heart space.
You can sit here until the sankalpa arises, or, sometimes nothing arises and that is OK too. Keep coming back to the practice- sometimes your tender heart needs coaxing and consistency.
Write down the sankalpa that arose or anything that may have come up for you- sometimes the heart will speak in clues and leave it up to you to create the language that will express it best.