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Intention vs. Resolution: Ego vs. Sankalpa

The new Year brings a kind of reflection, we often see our mistakes, and either resolve to do better, or worry that we won’t. This year, I don’t want that for you.

You are not alone, everyday millions of people wake up to worry. To thoughts about the past, and to anxiety about change. Often it is not the actual situation that is terrible, but it is our thoughts about it that make it so. We replay situations in our mind wondering about the what if’s… “What if my friend didn’t say that to me”… or “I should have acted this way”. We believe some day, in the future. when we have met all our desires, then & only then can we be happy, be our best selves, or be worthy of love etc.

Yogic texts purpose that at our core, we are pure, light, and whole. But if you take a look at society, the media, and sometimes even your friends and family, they don’t agree. You’re asked to buy this, & consume that to bump you up a level. Even with modern yoga… your expected to do some incredible feats like 108 sun salutations, or a handstand on a surf board in order to be deemed worthy. But true classical yoga, decided thousands of years ago, that this is an illusion. The Sankalpa is a tool to uncover your highest truth.

San Kalpa is a solemn vow to a truth that is heart centered. A resolution is often ego focused.

In my life, each year, for like 10 years, I told myself I would lose 10 pounds. A new year comes, & like everyone else, I went to the gym for 3 weeks and soon after fell back into old habits. It wasn’t that I was undetermined, lazy, or too busy, it was that these types of resolutions are simply scratching the surface of a deeper more heart centered desire.

Sankalpa is this heart centered desire. It is a purpose greater than the desires of the ego. Sankalpa taps into a deeper vision for a life lived with purpose.

Why on earth did I want to lose 10 pounds? Well, looking back, I can purpose that I wanted to look good, to feel better about myself, so that a certain person or opportunity would fall into my lap, or some bullshit like that. Looking into that notion deeper, it was connection that I desired, and everything in my outer world view told me I needed to be skinny in order to get that.

In comes the yoga. Yoga literally means union. Yoga taught me to connect with myself, become steady in my self worth, and through that steady and centered place connect with the world around me. Now, instead of trying to lose 10 pounds every year, I set an intention for connection. Through connection with my body, I find that I am always the perfect shape and I look at my curves with loving eyes. Though connection with the people around me, I feel myself giving from a place of recognition of myself in a another vs. wanting something all for myself.

Coming to those spaces of deeper connection takes time. It was through meditation, that I understood I had control over what thoughts I let dominate my world view. With meditation, we don’t immediately clear away all thoughts, but we learn to observe the thoughts for what they are. With practice, you can watch a thought, without becoming that thought. You can even hold that thought in space for a moment and decide for yourself if thats a thought that is worth deeper contemplation. You can also say adios to some of these thoughts that are holding you back.

Thoughts like “I’m fat”, “I’m no good at this”, or “I am not worthy of love”, may pop up, but through meditation, you end up catching these thoughts before they carry you off into a negative emotional space. You can even have a conversation with these thoughts telling them to f-off. More gently you can ask yourself if this is true, or a product of our conditioning in a society that doesn’t value truth.

Let’s practice traditional yogic meditation together. This April I will be hosting a yoga retreat with my life long friend Bethany Brown in Beautiful Guatemala. There, we will learn ancient traditional yogic meditation as well as guided meditation for deep relaxation. Follow this link to learn more about Yoga Soundscapes. 

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Traditional yogic meditation is the most effective meditation I’ve found for observing the mind. The Buddah practiced this meditation when he reached enlightenment underneath the bodhi tree all those years ago.

At first, with this practice, we aren’t going for enlightenment. We’re simply lightening the intensity of our thoughts. To reach enlightenment, we first have to lighten up.

As we progress with meditation, we notice that we lean towards stillness, towards positivity, and have ultimate control over what we let effect our emotional state. We connect to what is, rather than what we desire to be so. What is your intention for the new year? Share and let me know.

“Lokah Samasta Sukino Bhavantu” May all beings be happy & free.

Happy New Year!

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