This is a good time of year to reflect on the past while making plans for the future. Many of us are making our New Year’s resolutions.
I recently read an article in the New York Times describing how Deepak Chopra spends his Sundays. Doing what Deepak does sounds like the basis of a good resolution for the New Year to me. What does Deepak do? “There is yoga, there is walking, there is meditation. There is mindfulness, there is reflection, there is detachment – and there is also coffee, lots of coffee.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/nyregion/how-deepak-chopra-wellness-expert-spends-his-sundays.html
Making a resolution is one thing but how do you keep it? Is there a way to have a better chance on keeping our resolutions?
Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word for setting intention or direction. Sankalpa is informed by both the heart and the mind and to me seems much deeper than our traditional use of the word “resolution”. Using Sankalpa – putting both our heart and mind into our resolution will give us a better chance of keeping it.
Making resolutions are all about change – changing things in our lives that no longer serve us. We sense that there is something needing to be changed, and make a resolution to change it. It may be to lose weight, to exercise more, do more mediation or yoga – really anything. Sankalpa is the informed way of choosing what you will do or change in your resolutions by making sure you really are committed to the change.
Sometimes we just know that change is needed in our lives. We know if we make the change we will live better and be happier. We know deep down that we must change but never seem to start on that path. So if you are making your resolutions to change in 2019, intend to keep them. Use your heart and mind to set your intentions.
Sometimes we really need to change something. If we do not, someone or something may cause us to take notice – perhaps not the best way to cause change for ourselves.
A little bit of Zen wisdom:
If we need to change and we do not do it in our own, oftentimes the world steps in and does whatever it must to make the change happen. One way invites grace, the other does not. Choose the way of graceful change. Do what needs to be done. (Zen Live by Daniel Levin)
On the other hand, you may be having trouble coming up with a resolution or finding your sankalpa. If you are struggling and want to make a resolution take again this wisdom from Zen:
It sounds so easy, and maybe it is: Stop doing the things that bring pain. Start doing the things that bring happiness. – Good advice from the ages for our time here.
Wishing you peace and happiness in the New Year.