Updated on: Saturday, January 01, 2022, 08:15 AM IST

Guiding Light: What’s your Sankalpa?


We live in a time where cut-throat competition is rife and kindness is scarce. It’s not just kindness for others, but kindness for self is also in short supply. And as we reflect on an already challenging year, our mind amplifies our limitations, slashing violently at parts of ourselves that we would rather not have to deal with, be it money, or weight or anxiety. And it’s in this violent chemistry that most new year resolutions are born. Small wonder then that less than 50% of us are able to stick to them.

When we want to effect sustainable change, the first step is accepting who we are holistically, including our shadow side and the unsavoury bits. We then need to realise that we already have everything we need to transform. In fact, that desired identity already exists, all we need to do is realize that our current habits or patterns are averse to our higher purpose, and allow the lotus within to bloom.

Kindness and gratitude are the cornerstones of any sustainable change. Kindness towards oneself, and others, and from kindness stems acceptance. Gratitude for everything that we have, be it our family, our job, our health or our talent or the money. When we operate from this constructive frequency, then we provide the most conducive conditions to plant the seed of change.

Sanatan Dharma, our ancient way of life, calls this seed Sankalpa. The best one can describe it in English is an affirmation, which is in the present tense and in resonance with our higher purpose, rather than the sometimes unrealistic and lofty language that we use to write our resolutions. A Sankalpa can be as simple as “I am calm in the face of challenges”, succinct, positive and effective enough to repeat to yourself each morning. Avoid using negative words like not or don’t.

Consistency is key, and the tradition recommends doing new things in mandalas of 40 days, because that’s how long it takes to sustainably adopt a thought or practice and make it an integral part of you. And if you can do it at the same time, at the same place, then this also adds to the shakti of the Sankalpa, the regularity helping your mind switch to that receptive zone. Meditation of course goes very nicely with this practice, helping create fertile ground for the seed of Sanaklpa to take root, as you water it with the power of your intention.

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Published on: Saturday, January 01, 2022, 08:15 AM IST