A Sanskrit term, when broken down, translates as such: The root san means “a connection with the highest truth,” while kalpa means “vow”. A sankalpa is so much more than a goal we set for ourselves, it is a vow that we make with our souls relating to our current human experience. A sankalpa does not use will power or discipline to manifest, it is a promise we make with ourselves to bring something into our reality so that we can be and have the best version of this existence.
This is a vow that needs to be woven into our unconscious mind so that we can experience it on a conscious level. So much of what we do, say and are in life is based off a program designed and buried into our unconscious. The bulk of the reality we live today is a manifestation of what our unconscious is playing on repeat without our conscious mind being aware.
There are so many ways that these programs come to be in our unconscious mind that we rarely recognize when a new one is formed, nor do we realize when it starts taking effect in our thoughts and actions. Although most of the programs were formed when we were too young to discern how we should relate to the experiences we were having, there are still other ways that programs arrive into our unconscious.
The unconscious is (oftentimes with unfortunate results) a much stronger and powerful space than that of our conscious minds. When we set a goal, our conscious mind starts outlining how it is going to accomplish that goal. This is a great skill to have and to use everyday, however, if the desire of our conscious mind is conflicting with a program in the unconscious, we may never see the results we truly hope to see.
When we use a sankalpa during meditation or yoga nidra, we plant the precious seed of our desires while in a theta brainwave pattern which gives us access to our unconscious mind and allows us (maybe for the first time ever) to intentionally set a program in place so that our thoughts, words and actions start to sprout from that seed.
Now, we must understand the logistics of creating a sankalpa before we start throwing phrases around willy nilly. A sankalpa is an affirmative resolution. The unconscious is very literal so we don’t want to trip it up with using any negative words. This is a place to set a positive course in action, let’s leave all of our no’s, nevers, nots, don’ts, won’ts and quits at the door. Sankalpas don’t take away from us, they give to us. We want to plant something to grow not to kill.
Another rule is that it must be phrased in the present. The unconscious only experiences the present moment. If you tell your unconscious that you “want” or “need” something, then you will always be in a state of “wanting” or “needing” rather than the state of having or being. Create a phrase for your desire as though it already exists in your life today.
Allow this to be a concrete and quantitative desire so that you can clearly see its fruits when they manifest in your life. Try to avoid whimsical and general desires like being more patient or more kind. These are terrific desires to have but they might not be as obvious to quantify.
Lastly, choose something you would like to manifest in the next 6 – 12 months. It may not take that long but even when our thoughts and words start to fall in line with our sankalpa, it may still be some time before we start to see the true fruits of our work. In other words, don’t pick something you need done by tomorrow or where you see yourself in ten years, you can leave that one for the guidance counselor.
Choose your words wisely. Keep the phrasing succinct and meaningful. There’s no need for colorful or flowery language unless it is a necessary part of the intention you are setting with yourself. It has to be something that is easy to memorize but most importantly, it has to feel right to you. If your conscious self already doesn’t believe it when you say it, there’s no chance of getting your unconscious on board.
Now that you have your mission, get to work! Create a sankalpa that will help you create the life you want to be living. Bring your sankalpa with you to your next yoga nidra practice and let the manifesting begin!
If you have a quick question while working out your sankalpa, feel free to email me. Should you find that this is much more challenging than expected, you can always set up a private lesson with me to help uncover your true desire.