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Day 360: Intention and Goals

“In everything the ends well defined are the secret of durable success.”  -Victor Cousins

One of the most important practices that I have established during my year of the positivity quest is my daily meditation when I practice Sankalpa. The practice of Sankalpa, which means intention or resolve, is derived from an esoteric Himalayan yogic science, which was known and practiced 5000 years ago. Historically, it has been practiced by many of the greatest saints and sages in India because it combines the deepest meditative mind with the power or intention, a combination that is said to have the capacity to change the thought vibrations of humanity.

For me Sankalpa is a way of taking goal setting to the highest level and infusing it with my deepest knowing and connection to the divine. Deepak Chopra describes the practice: “Sankalpa is the subtlest level of intention at the cusp of choiceless awareness and thought. It is like the seed structure of intelligence around which time, space, and matter consolidate into a manifested event.” Basically, it is a way of infusing the practice of goal setting with the power of spiritual practice.

This is particularly useful when you consider how often we are misled by our own goals because most people who set goals usually think about and describe their goals in terms of situational outcomes instead of experienced outcomes. Ironically, many of the goals that people think will bring them happiness end up feeling very differently in reality. Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness provides extensive research and reasoning that as often as we selectively mis-remember our past, we often misinterpret our ideas of what will make us happy.

Focusing on the emotional and qualitative experience you are trying to increase in life rather than a specific situation that you believe will create it is key to manifesting what you really want. For example, losing 20 lbs probably could be translated into feeling healthier, vital and more active. Focusing on the sensory feelings and experiences of the goal is not only easier to manifest because it gives you a way to measure your process and not just the outcome, it also aligns the goal setting process to what you deeply crave in terms of your daily experience.

Other common goals like a better job or more money often surprises people when they get them.  New jobs often carry a lot of unanticipated stress and many people are surprised how little additional money changes their felt experience in life. Focusing on the goals of your heart, whether it is feeling relaxed, secure, confident, loved or joyful is where Sankalpa reinvents goal setting into the deep intentional work of living.

My Sankalpa is about being in service to the power of love, and in that offering, finding myself healthy, valued, prospering and positive. It is an intention that carries me forward daily because I can sense when it is happening. It also leaves room for the universe to surprise me and show me how to do my work better and more effectively.