Chapter 10: The Sankalpa Exercise
Rod Stryker’s Four Desire (4D) Virtual Book Club
This chapter clearly takes you through the 7 steps to formulating your sankalpa or resolution. In this post I want to clarify those 7 steps so we don’t forget any of them. We will also go over exactly how a sankapa should be stated, as this is key.
Step 1: Know the 4 Desires
Something that really helped me was to look back into the other chapters and clearly write down on a single sheet of paper the four desires and their meaning. Rod says to have the book handy, but I felt that writing the 4 desires down separately helped me start the process of creating a sankalpa.
Step 2: Bliss Meditation
This may be the most important step in the process, I don’t think you can really formulate a sankapa without it. The bliss meditation opens the door so you may step into that place of creativity and intuition. I really enjoy listening to this meditation on The Four Desires companion practice CD, as I feel it really gives you the time you need. I think if I did the meditation out of the book, I may have rushed though this; be sure to take about 15 minutes if you practice the Bliss Mediation directly from the book.
Step 3: You are Your Own Guide
This is a time, as Rod says, to “tune in to a feeling of knowingness and certainty within you.” This step took me a little time to develop, and it was helpful for me to physically feel a sensation in my body. This true knowingness is your guide in discerning which desire your sankapa will come from.
Step 4: Choosing Your Desire
“Which one of the for desires, if it was fulfilled in the next six to eighteen months, would best serve my highest purpose or dharma?”, asks Rod.
This is the question you ask yourself as soon as you open your eyes and look at the definition of four desires in the book. Your guide is that feeling of true knowingness from step 3, and it is important to answer this question from that guide.
Recently I Skyped with several other dedicated yogis (4D nerds) and we decided to take this step-by-step process together. We listened to the Bliss Meditation on the The Four Desires companion practice CD. When it was over and I settled into the feeling of my own guide, I opened my eyes and was surprised with my choice of desire. Of course my brain thinks it knows what’s best for me, but that sense of true knowingness just knows better. I ended up drafting my sankapa from a completely different desire that I had anticipated.
Step 5: Mind Mapping
This, I have to say, is my favorite part! I absolutely love mind mapping. It allows you to explore feelings and ideas that you normally wouldn’t. I am constantly amazed at what comes up in my mind map, and this one was no different. There is a level of spontaneity in this step. Have fun with it and don’t over think it. Take about a minute to write down all the words that you associate with the desire of your choice.
In the first mind mapping lesson I had at the Yoga of Fulfillment ParaYoga Master Training, Rod stated the following key element which has really helped me: set up the mind map on a horizontal sheet of paper. Our minds do not think linearly and our ideas have more space to be expressed when the page is horizontal.
Step 6: Short Description of Your Accomplishments
In this step, we visualize accomplishing our desire. This should be 2-3 paragraphs and take no more that 10 minutes. I feel that the most important part of this step is becoming aware of the feelings that arise. These feelings can also be incorporated into your final sankalpa draft.
Step 7: Writing Your Sankalpa
Using the short description from Step 6, write exactly what it is that you want to accomplish in the next six to eighteen months. The best way is by answering two questions:
What do you want to achieve or become?
What would it look and feel like to achieve?
When answering these questions it is important to make sure that the sankalpa:
~is a result you are seeking and/or expresses the attitude or feeling of that achievement.
~is specific with what you want.
~is achievable in the next 6-18 months, especially if it is your first sankalpa!
~is something you BELIEVE! 51% of you must believe that it will happen.
~is worded in the present tense. “ I meditate each day” vs. “I will meditate every day”
~is in your own words. This is coming from you, so these are words that you would actually say. Keep it simple and real!
Go and get your sankapa! It seems like a long process, but get friendly with it, enjoy the process, and allow yourself time to do this. You don’t want to rush something that is coming from your soul! With an authentic sankalpa, there is a different vibration in your every day life; let’s experience that and start manifesting our wants and needs in service to our soul’s purpose.
The feeling of accomplishing a sankalpa reminds me of one of my favorite sanskrit words Shraddha.
“The word shraddha is made of two parts: shrat meaning ‘truth’ and dha meaning ‘to hold’. Thus shraddha means ‘that which holds truth’…Shraddha arises from true experience. Belief is always learned from other people; it is not an outcome of realization of truth, but shraddha never fails. Shraddha is the first essential principle required by a student of yoga.”
–Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Did you follow the 7 steps to a successful sankalpa?
Tell us about your experience of the process.
Remember we are not sharing our sankalpas, just the process of writing them.
Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works