Sankalpa or Resolution means conception or idea or notion formed in the heart or mind, solemn vow or determination to perform, desire, definite intention, volition or will. In practical terms, the word, Sankalpa, means the one-pointed resolve to do or achieve; and both psychologically and philosophically, it is the first practical step by which the sensitivity and potentiality of the mind is increased; it is known as the capacity to harness the will-power and the tool to focus and harmonize the complex body-mind apparatus.
The concept of Sankalpa was known to the Vedic Rishis. Sandhyavandanam includes Sankalpam and Japa sankalpa as parts of the said ritual. In the Rig Veda, Maya meant both the wisdom of the mysterious power of the will (sankalpa-sakti) that make the gods create the splendor of the phenomenal worlds, and the deceptive or illusory as bringing about realities that lack a certain degree of reality.
In Psychology and Philosophy:
In Indian Thought, Sankalpa has been variously defined as the great delusion, a mental and physical sickness, desire and anger, superimposition, all suffering, all faults, all blemishes, time and space, manifold forms, illusion of the world, universal nature, primal ignorance, numerous differences, nescience, pairs of dyads, all beings and all worlds, the body and such, listening and such, the thought of oneself, and all else as a variety of psychological reflection.
We can witness in Ramayana Lord Rama wanted to know about the mind which is of the nature of Sankalpa, dwelling in the body, inert and without an independent form. Here Sankalpa means Thought, which is the imagining of an object as pleasing or painful that leads to desire or aversion of the object. Rishi Vasishta explained that the enemy that is the mind rises by virtue of mere Sankalpa i.e. thought, Sankalpa needs to be destroyed to free the mind to dispel delusion, end all forms of misery and experience delight.
In the Yoga System, Sankalpa is the forerunner of any penance. In order to achieve a particular motive and to achieve a particular aim, a specific resolve in the form of penance is necessary which should be accompanied by Sankalpa. The daily practice of Sankalpa Mudra is recommended to make that resolve firm and specific. Then the body and the mind becomes charged with special waves that make a person self-confident, resolute and motivated. The practice of Yoga-Nidra allows the Sankalpa to go very deep in one’s psyche. Sankalpa is a call to awakening. It makes one able to direct consciousness through the chakras.
LOOK INWARD: for several days, set aside time to write in a journal and meditate. Mull over your typical resolutions. How do they make you feel? Anxious? Unsettled? Incomplete? Now contemplate how you would like to feel during the coming year. Is there any way you can reframe your results-oriented resolutions into something that will make this year’s journey more joyful and worthwhile?
REPHRASE IT: Create a short sentence or phrase for your Sankalpa. Be careful to avoid setting limitations based on fear. For example, instead of “May life brings me only happiness and joy this year” consider “May I be happy and open to what life brings me.”
BE FIRM AND FAIR: Change can happen overnight and over time. When you stray from the essence of your Sankalpa, bring your focus back gently without berating yourself. Instead, gently remind yourself of your intention. Each time be even FIRMER in your resolve—some find it a good idea to incorporate a Sankalpa into the daily routine.
Some see it as a mantra, during pranayama or a meditation practice. One can post it on their computer, phone, or mirror; or simply say it to yourself quietly before going to sleep.
Let’s have a meaningful sankalpa / resolution for a better society for tomorrow.