The Sanskrit word sankalpa is loosely translated as determination, conviction, resolve. Sankalpa is a powerful technique which converts the dynamic mental force of willpower, iccha shakti, into a living entity. The form that is given to that mental force depends on the command or direction given to it by the one making the sankalpa.
Swami Satyananda has said that sankalpa is a science. It is not just a simple idea that I’d like something and if I do a little sadhana it will come about. No. In a sankalpa, the mental energy becomes stronger than matter; and with such a force you can achieve something that is virtually impossible to attain. So, know that we are not talking of a mere wish or an idle fancy related to our self-centred personality.
Allow your sankalpa to become the inspiration of your quest for spiritual upliftment. Make it something that will illumine your entire personality. Do not waste the powerful force of sankalpa to rid yourself of trifling habits or passions because those things will naturally fall away as your sankalpa becomes a reality in your life.
Choosing your sankalpa
Sankalpa is a plea, a message, from your soul to help liberate it from its bondage in your human form. And, therefore, allow it to be born from a yearning that comes from beyond any physical, mental or emotional need.
Only one sankalpa is to be in force at any one time, and to decide upon it, whether it is to be a short-term or a long-term sankalpa, you must go beyond your intellect. Of course, it is not something which anyone else can select for you. It is to be decided upon by you only.
Sankalpa should be allowed to originate from a moment of inspiration when you have been able to listen to the deepest desire emanating from within yourself. Allow yourself to become still and silent in body and mind. Ask your innermost source to reveal it to you so that it comes into your awareness in a clear, unwavering, precise manner. Tell yourself, “I will find my sankalpa.”
When such a sankalpa has been revealed to you from the depths of your being, and you have accepted it with humility and reverence, it can become your means to overcome any obstacle upon your spiritual path. With it you can achieve the impossible.
Give yourself plenty of time to decide upon your sankalpa, as once you have done that, it should not be changed until it becomes a reality in your life.
Shape your sankalpa into a powerful mental form; into the shortest, clearest, simplest, and most positive statement (in five or six words or less), beginning with “I will . . .” And remember, it is not to be revealed to anyone. This will help retain its potency.
Repeating your sankalpa
When your sankalpa has become a positive and concise statement, it is ready to be utilized as a constructive goal, to give a positive direction to your existence.
When you repeat your sankalpa, it should be as if all your mental and emotional energy, all your faith, all your sincerity and devotion have been concentrated into the form of a simple, positive statement. When you repeat it mentally to yourself, do so with full conviction that it will come true in your daily life.
The power of the sankalpa you have created can become such a mighty force that it may change the course of your destiny.
Any moment during the day or night can be an opportunity to reinforce, to intensify your sankalpa. Think of it, or mentally repeat it at any time. However, especially seek out the times when your mind feels most receptive to it, and then, consciously allow the message to go deep into the subtle realms of your being. For example: repeat it as your first thought upon waking; as your last thought, immediately before sleep overtakes you; in your dreams; at the beginning and end of your sadhana; at the beginning and end of yoga nidra; and before and after meals.
Once you have decided upon your sankalpa, never question it. Always keep a positive attitude towards it, without ever a hint of doubt or negativity. This will preserve the purity and force of it.
Sometimes you may feel that a huge gap exists between yourself and the realization of your sankalpa. At those times, repeat it mentally and visualize it, as if it has come true right there in front of you, in living reality.
The force of your mental energy is capable of tremendous intensity, and know that if you are able to harness that force, anything that you set your mind to will come true.
~ Swami Nirmalratna Saraswati