Why are you here? I don’t mean visiting this website – it’s always lovely to see you and I like what you’ve done with your hair – but why are you here, in human form, on planet Earth. What do you, all stardust and consciousness, plan to do with your time here?

Are you going to live your wildest, most expansive life? Are you going to be the most ‘you’ that you can possibly be?

Because I can promise you one thing. You were not born to just pay bills and die.

Do you believe that only ‘special’ people find a calling, and that the rest of us are just worker bees, here to plod along, follow the script and not ask too many questions? Do you dismiss such lofty ideals as your life having a true purpose, convinced that’s just for artists, the superlatively gifted, the otherworldly will o’ the wisp types who, like smoke from a pile of burning logs, always rise above?

Do you believe that you’re not special?

You’re wrong, you know.

You’re every bit as special as everyone else. And you’re special in a way that no-one else can ever be, because you’re the only you who will ever walk this planet.

This blog post is all about you – let’s call it Project You.

So join me: let’s take a stroll down Self-Enquiry Street, tread softly into Intuition Alley, and we’ll see if we can’t sneak up on your dharma – your true purpose.

(You’ll need a pen and paper, and a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.)

The first thing we’re going to do is sit comfortably in an even, upright position. I’d like you to finish reading this paragraph, and then close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you for five minutes. (Have a watch or clock in front of you where you can half-open your eyes to see it – alarms will disturb the mind and we want to calm it.) Try not to get involved with the sounds, just let your attention move from sound to sound, like a butterfly visiting flowers. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to listening. After about five minutes, take your attention to the sound of your breath. Notice the motion of your chest and belly rising and falling…. keep your attention on the breath for five minutes.

You’ve meditated for ten minutes. In this quiet state, take your pen and paper, and write down your responses to the following questions. Don’t think about it or censor yourself, just write down the first things that come to mind. Write as much as you like, but put at least the bracketed number in each category.

 

– What are you grateful for? (3)

 

– What are you proud of? (1)

 

– What do you enjoy? (3)

 

– What would you like to invite into your life? (1)

 

– What do you do, which holds you back? (1)

 

– What would like to let go of? (1)

 

– What would you do if you knew you could not fail? (1)

 

– Picture yourself one year from now, in a situation you find enjoyable. (At a party surrounded by friends; alone in nature; enjoying time at home – anything you like.) How would you like to feel?

 

 

Close your eyes again. Take your awareness to your heart space, where you feel love and gratitude. If you were to listen to your heart, what might it say?

 

Keeping your attention in that glad place, invite a space for intuitive wisdom. We can distiguish between true intuition and the ego-mind’s chatter, by the urgency behind a feeling. With true intuition there is no sense of urgency – just a quiet knowing. If you were to ask the part of you which knows, what you truly need – what would that part say?

 

Close your eyes and sit with this space for intuitive wisdom. Without censoring yourself, simply notice what arises.

 

If words arise, let those words of heartfelt desire resonate…. If no words arise, know that simply to be here is more than enough.

 

Sankalpa

A sankalpa is a resolve, or a statement of intention. The word ‘san’ refers to a connection with our highest truth, and ‘kalpa’ means vow. So a sankalpa is a commitment to our highest truth and most heartfelt desires; a statement to which we can continually return, to guide our choices and remind ourselves of our true nature and purpose. It comes from the premise that you are already who you need to be in order to fulfil your ‘dharma’ or life’s purpose, and all you need do is connect to your most heartfelt desires, focus your mind, and channel the energy within.

A sankalpa is not a resolution. Though well-intentioned, resolutions tend to be future-based and often concentrate on what we want to stop doing. The problem with that approach is that it suggests that we’re not enough as we are, and it puts the answer out of reach, in the future. But more than that, the subconscious mind doesn’t recognise negatives. If you say ‘I will not smoke’, the subconscious mind recognises and responds to the verb that it DOES hear – smoke – and completely ignores the ‘not’!

Neither is Sankalpa an affirmation – affirmations have their place, but are often chosen purely to do battle against a negative belief, and so might feel hollow or even fraudulent.

At its best, a Sankalpa is a call to awakening – the very essence of our life’s purpose. It very often feels too big for us – it has the potential to release tremendous power by summoning our purpose from beyond the ego’s fears. (The ego is not ‘bad’ – we need an ego to function in the world. Part of the ego’s job is to protect us from harm, but in the process it also tries to protect us from life’s most extraordinary, expansive adventures. We can connect with these abundant experiences when we learn to walk alongside fear and leave behind our self-limiting beliefs.)

Your Sankalpa takes the form of a short, positively worded statement in the present tense, based on the premise that you already have all you need to live your most heartfelt desires. Once formed, it is intended to be kept secret. It takes time and soul-searching to uncover – I’ve been working with it for four years, and only very recently did mine take its final form – and it’s not something you can ‘think’ your way into. Rather, it’s a process of self-enquiry and learning to quieten the mind, so that you can hear that quiet inner voice: your intuition.

Steps to Sankalpa

Finding our true purpose is no mean feat, and it may not happen today! Sankalpa is really always one thing – a call to awakening. But to realise the deepest aspect of Sankalpa, we may have to go through some stages along the way, like stepping stones across a river.

The stepping stones:

  • Changing unhelpful habits
  • Improving quality of life
  • Creating real, lasting change
  • Realising true purpose

A simplified alternative to Sankalpa, whilst we are finding our way, is to use anchor words. These are words which trigger a positive feeling that we would like to cultivate. Examples of anchor words are:

Relax; peace; calm; ease; joyful; energised; inspired; healing; loving; free….. and so on.

Anchor words can be used at any time, by simply repeating the anchor word internally, like a mantra.

Wording your Sankalpa

We frame a sankalpa by using positive statements in the present tense, as though it is already happening. This is a powerful technique which works with the subconscious mind. For example, you might decide that you would like to be more patient and understanding with your loved ones. Your stepping-stone sankalpa could be ‘Compassion is my true nature’. Or you may decide that you want to improve your health, and so you will eat less refined sugar. You might say ‘I nourish my body with healthy natural food’. Or perhaps you feel unfulfilled and are struggling to find what you really want to do with your life. Your sankalpa may be ‘I connect with my deepest desires and trust my instincts’.

Positive statements – ie instead of ‘I will not smoke’, try ‘I breathe clean fresh air’.

Present tense: ie instead of ‘I will achieve my dreams’, try ‘I apply myself fully to achieving my dreams’, or even simply ‘I achieve my dreams’.

Significant: don’t waste your sankalpa on material things. However, if you perceive lack in your life, you might say ‘I receive limitless abundance and opportunity’.

Personal: we can only change our own behaviour and reactions.

Flexible enough to account for changing circumstances

 

 

Close your eyes again. Take your awareness to your heart space. If you were to listen to your heart, what might it say?

 

Keeping your attention in that glad place, invite a space for intuitive wisdom.  If you were to ask the part of you which knows, what you truly need – what would that part say?

 

Close your eyes and sit with this space for intuitive wisdom. Without censoring yourself, simply notice what arises.

 

If words arise, let those words of heartfelt desire resonate…. If no words arise, know that simply to be here is more than enough.

 

If a sankalpa (or anchor word, or stepping-stone sankalpa) has formed, or is forming, write it down.

 

If your sankalpa is not yet forming, you can continue to explore it after today – like all things worth having, it takes time. Here are some examples which you can try if you like – see if elements of these resonate with you.

– I receive limitless abundance and opportunity.

– I apply myself fully and I shine my light.

– I nourish my body with healthy food and mindful exercise.

– Compassion is my true nature.

– I achieve my dreams.

– I offer unconditional loving kindness to myself and all beings.

 

 “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Buddha