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SANKALPA: Sacred intentions that lead to happiness

29 Dec 2015   Shanti Gowans
Sankalpa is a yogic work which means 'intention'. Everything starts with intention. Intention is the greatest energy in the world. Make it your priority in life. Reflect on what matters, and before you do anything, ask youself "What is my real intention?"

You might think a higher-paying job, a better relationship, or a fancier car will make you happier. However, happiness comes from within you. Cultivating happiness has much more to do with appreciating what you have than with getting things you don’t. To live a happier, more joyful, and serene year, here are some suggestions. Choose one of these and embrace it intentionally in every day.
 
• I will take less and give more.
It’s not about what you can get. The more you can give of yourself, the more joy and happiness you’ll feel.
 
• I will work less and live more.
You will never regret giving up work that steals your joy, to do work that you are more passionate about. Your office won’t miss you. When you spend less time on what pays the bills and more time on what fulfills you, the trade-off is priceless. 
 
• I will do less and be more.
Quiet time, reflection, and sleep help you stay productive, focused, and peaceful. It is really important to have time off to recharge and come back with fresh legs so that you can put your best foot forward. Focus on doing less, and doing it better. Practice saying "no" to what doesn’t align with your vision, purpose and goals.
 
• I will speak less and listen more.
Listening is a practice in compassion. The more you listen, the more you understand. The better you listen, the more quickly the walls of conflict crumble. When you listen you ledarn. When you speak you teach.
 
• I will buy less and simplify more.
After the flurry of spending, gift giving and so on, how many people actually remember anything they have purchased or received? The less stuff you have in your life, the more room you’ll have for living. Commit to buying less this year. Give away what you no longer need and work on living with less. 
 
• I will have fewer distractions and more time for reflection.
The Internet is intended to distract. Resist by being mindful, present, and aware. A daily practice of silence, mindfulness and meditation can help you feel less scattered.
 
• I will be less realistic and dream more.
Quitting a career may be neither realistic nor practical. It may entail a pay cut and could also be been filled with uncertainty. But if leaving allows you to follow your dreams, then every day that you can do that is reward enough. 
 
• I will complain less and appreciate more.
When you think about what you don’t have, you’ll foster a sense of lack. On the other hand, when you treasure everything you have, even the smallest of things, your life will feel rich and abundant. 
 
• I will worry less and surrender more.
Worrying doesn’t change anything except your stress levels. Do you remember the first time when you had a computer problem and I went into a frenzied panic? The problem may have taken a couple of days to fix, during all of which you were anxious and frustrated. Lerning from this experience, however, the next time it happened, you stayed calm and resolved to surrender to the situation. You set an intention for the best outcome – and the computer was fixed within the day. Even if it hadn’t been, you would have enjoyed those two days and been much more productive in the knowledge that it was out of your hands.
 
• I will judge less and understand more.
You may judge someone else’s beliefs, opinions, or views in a subconscious attempt at a short-term self-esteem boost. This will inevitably make you feel worse. Instead, when you try being understanding, you will have something to be proud of, and that will increase your self-esteem in a real, lasting way.
 
• I will hate less and love more.
If we continue the cycle of hate toward others, we breed more hate in the world. Set the light of love within, but more importantly, be guided by love in the choices you make and in the way you treat others. 
 
• I will criticise less and praise more.
Find genuine things to praise in people. Compliment random strangers. Show appreciation to the people who serve you at restaurants. Kind words are worth much more than a good tip (although you should give that, too).
 
• I will follow less and lead more.
Groupthink is a recipe for an unhappy life. Do what’s in your heart. Lead the way, even if no one else is doing it. 
 
• I will fear less and act more.
All human beings experience fear. Aim to notice the fear, acknowledge it, and break through the fear. Thank your fear for encouraging you to be cautious, but proceed anyway. Courage is like a muscle, the more you use it, the better you get at overcoming fear.
 
• I will think less and go with my gut more.
Your instinct, intuition, and heart know a lot more than you might give them credit for. Listen to them when you are making a decision and follow your inner voice. 
 
• I will please less and stay true to myself more.
You think you’re making others happy when you’re trying to please them. Unfortunately, you’re not being true to yourself or others. It’s okay to say “no” with love and compassion. Choose authenticity and honesty over people-pleasing. People-pleasing precludes the possibility for anyone, including yourself, to get to know the real you.
 
• I will require less perfection from myself and accept where I am more.
Is perfectionism sabotaging your life? What is the motivation behind your perfectionist tendencies? Is it low self-esteem? Did you feel inadequate growing up? Acknowledge what’s driving your perfectionism, and accept that there is really no such thing as perfect. Find small instances when you can practice letting good enough be good enough. Let go, breathe, and see how it feels.
 
• I will hold fewer grudges and forgive more.
As you know, holding onto anger and hurt will only cause you more pain. Do not let that someone hurt you repeatedly. Forgiveness is key to finding peace of mind and being able to move on with your life. If you can’t forgive today, set an intention to forgive the person who hurt you, as you are able, over time.
 
• I wil practise moving my attention from the process of personality to the process of compassion.
 
• I will be kind to myself
 
• Once a month, I will dedicate an entire day to being ‘tech-free’. I won’t watch TV, use my phone or go on the internet. Instead, I will spend my time outside, walking and breathing in fresh air.
 
• I will express love, kindness and generosity to those I appreciate, as often as I can. 
 
• I will conquer a fear. 
 
• I will learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. 
 
• I will stand up for something I care about.
 
• I will reduce the amount of plastic in my life, and regularly go a day without buying anything containing plastic or plastic packaging.

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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography


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