While you set your intention (called sankalpa in Sanskrit) at the beginning of January, it is now February. You, probably, had so much energy and excitement towards fulfilling your dream(s) this year. Perhaps, you even created a vision board? Now, however, you feel stuck, almost lackadaisical. Consequently, it seems like you don’t even care about the intention/aims that you set for 2017. What happened? Natural law- for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (called vikalpa in Sanskrit). In today’s post, you will learn 3 steps to challenge your need to play it safe. As a result, you will be able to plug back in to your heart’s greatest longing and stay the course.
Sankalpa Vs. Vikalpa
According to yoga philosophy, you are already perfect, whole, and complete. Therefore, setting an intention becomes a homecoming. It is an opportunity to connect to your innate wisdom, listen to your heart’s greatest desires, and, as a result, take action to fulfill your life’s purpose (dharma). In addition, through the power of sankalpa, you can challenge old conditioning and habits that keep you stuck in feeling separate, disconnected, and small. Ultimately, you extend beyond the typical grasping of the ego and connect to your divine nature and highest purpose.
By setting an intention, you are able to channel your energy and resources into a more focused direction. You begin to answer the questions: why am I here, what is my purpose, and how can I make a difference? You are, also, less likely to become distracted and overwhelmed when you encounter obstacles (vikalpas) along your path. Yes, those are part of the growth process!
The opposite of a sankalpa is a vikalpa. According to Rod Stryker, author of The Four Desires, “your vikalpas are the kinds of mental constructs or beliefs that split or separate you from your highest self and from the destiny that your highest self would have you fulfill. In the end, it your vikalpas that make up the inner obstacles- your false ideas, deep-seated patterns, and perceptions- that lead you away from your highest destiny.”
Now, and here is the kicker- if your vikapla is stronger than your sankalpa, then you will not be able to reach your goal or honor your intention for the year.
3 Steps to Challenge Your Need to Play it Safe
The first step in challenging your need to play it safe is to identify your vikalpa. While this can be painful, it is also extremely helpful to identify what you might be up against, subconsciously. For example, what are the false ideas you have about yourself or your path? Furthermore, what are your perceptions about the world you live in? For example, do you buy into the scarcity mentality?
The second step in challenging your need to play it safe is to identify small habits to begin with. For example, do you bite your nails or drink too much coffee? And does it give you heart palpitations just thinking about the prospect of giving one of them up? If so, there is a good chance that your subconscious thoughts, your vikalpa, is pretty strong. However, don’t despair because the purpose of this exercise is to build up your self-discipline muscles.
Finally, the third step in challenging your need to play it safe is to cultivate compassion and patience. At this point, it probably seems like you should be able to get over yourself and just do it. However, with compassion and patience, you are reminded that it took a lifetime to cultivate your vikalpa(s). Hence, they grant you the freedom to challenge your vikalpas over and over. And at the end of the day, this is what you need to stay the course and honor your 2017 sankalpa.
Which of the 3 steps to challenge your need to play it safe resonate most with you?