The Power of Will
Sankalpa; Merging the Heart with the Mind & Spirit.
By Mary Grace
December 7, 2015.
“when the two become one, when you ask the mountain to move, the mountain will move”.*
It is more commonly found in the King James Bible
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
When the two become one, nothing is impossible.
What are these two forces that need to become one?
In our yoga practice and in its teachings, we are seeking to shift gears from our mental faculties to more deeply felt heart energies. It sure sounds nice, but what does this really mean?
According to the Yoga Tradition, there is a state of consciousness called Sankalpa. Sankalpa is the merging of the mind, connecting to the heart, and backing it up with the power of the spirit.
Sankalpa is living life from this union, or connection of these powerful aspects of the self. Sankalpa is a powerful state of consciousness which we are trying to create & connect with in our yoga practice.
Why do so many people want to change circumstances in their lives, yet they cannot commit to their goals?
Is it so simple to say that people just don’t have any will power?
Or is it that they have not found a way to add more power to their will.
Research shows that at least 80% of us do not achieve our New Year resolutions.
This statistic means that 4 out of 5 people who make New Years resolutions will eventually break them.
And add to that, a third won’t even make it until the end if January.
Other studies have shown that the number of people who do achieve their resolutions is a little as 8 percent.
Despite all of the motivational speakers and all of the self-help books filling up libraries and kindles everywhere, as little as ten percent of Americans actually achieve what they set out to achieve.
What is missing is what, according to Ancient Indian Texts, is a state called Sankalpa. This is the driving force behind your motivation. Sankalpa is to bring heart power to your will.
Sankalpa is the intention that will keep you going when life gets tough.
Sankalpa is also translated as a concept or an idea formed in the heart.
Sankalpa in practical terms is a declarative statement, a resolution or an intention in which you vow to commit to fulfill a specific goal.
Sankalpa holds a special & highly esteemed place in the ancient teachings. The concept if Sankalpa appears as early as the Rig Veda known as the most ancient of all Vedic texts. The art & science of applying Sankalpa was considered to be the foundation for achieving or becoming anything of real significance.
Throughout the Vedic and Tantric traditions it is made exceedingly clear that a student cannot make meaningful progress toward any worthy goal without first cultivating this state, what the yogic tradition calls Sankalpa Shakti.
“On this path you must first awaken your Sankalpa shakti, the power of will and determination” said the great Swami Rama.
This ancient concept of Sankalpa is predicated on the principle that your mind has measureless capacity to affect the quality and the content in your life.
In other words, the mind is the ruler of your fate. Practice using your will and empower your own personal power. This is the practice of yoga.
When your mind wanders around to whatever problems you may have, take the time to meditate on your resolve. Think of this state of Sankalpa as the resolve.
To identify and reinforce your Sankalpa, a deeply relaxed state is required. It is important to allow the mind to settle into stillness. A yoga practice followed by meditation will greatly assist one into the state most beneficial to enforce your Sankalpa. This practice is also very beneficial to perform while lying in bed trying to sleep. When you sit or lie down, calm your mind and follow your breath.
After a while of letting your thoughts just pass on by without going after them, the mind begins to settle into silence. In this quiet state, begin to focus on your Sankalpa, your resolve. Breathe into this resolve, whatever it may be. Use each breath to reinforce it with the organic, back up power of your hearts force. Keep breathing and repeating your resolve calmly and allow it to drop deep into your subconscious mind. Once you reprogram your subconscious mind, you will have more ability to stick to the new resolve. This is the reason we repeat the past habits, they are imprints in our subconscious. Take the time to focus your attention on your Sankalpa to give it power. With the help of the Sankalpa Shakti, after some time it will be imprinted in your mind. Imagine the old habits dropping away as leaves from a tree. When they are ready, the time has come and they are no longer receiving nutrition from the tree, the leaves drop. Similarly, when your habits no longer receive attention from your mind, they too will drop away, effortlessly.
Through this practice Sankalpa Shakti, it will give power to your more positive thoughts, and this will greatly assist your thoughts to have more power to move you into the direction YOU choose.
Once you have identified and planted the seed of your sankalpa, you can begin the process of strengthening sankalpa shakti, the energy to take the action required by your resolve. It is well known that every choice you make either supports or undermines your resolve. This is true even for the decisions that don’t seem directly related to your specific intention. “Let’s say you’re aware that sugar disrupts your energy and sleep. But time and time again, you ‘forget’ this awareness and eat sweets anyway. Each time you do this, you reinforce the part of you that says ‘screw it’ to awareness and intention. You’re giving power to the part of you that goes against your consciousness.”
Many of us have great intentions to create change, only to be transformed into our more powerful intentions to undermine our own efforts. This seems a little self destructive, and for many people it is. This is what leads many people into the vicious cycle of weight gain, addiction, and suffering.
Through the practice of yoga, one may assist in strengthening the healthy intentions, and through this positive momentum, and with more & more momentum, the healthy habits begin to stick. One begins to see the results, and the healthy habits get stronger then the weaker ones, and one may achieve their goals.
The Buddha stated several thousand years ago
“What you think you shall become”
If you can learn to get to the point where your desires and your will to accomplish them are no longer two separate things. They become one.
Then nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.
Whatever you perceive you will achieve. It starts first as a dream. It starts like one is faking it. The mind may go back and forth like a child, but through the practice of yoga, one realizes that they may have an inner child that needs some tough love. A good kick in the pants will help one continue to achieve those goals.
When your imagination is combined with your determination, nothing can stop you from your goals.
This is Sankalpa.
For Sankalpa exercises & to read more :
The Four Desires by Rod Stryker
*This is from the Gospel of Thomas. Apparently the Gosphel of Thomas may have been removed from many bible versions as it showed the more “spiritual” stories of Jesus.