With the passing of another year, its natural to reflect on all that has happened.
What were your intentions for 2015? Were they realistic? Did you achieve them?
There’s a sort of love hate relationship when it comes to new years resolutions, with lots of talk about setting yourself up for failure and forgetting about resolutions after January, amongst the many list-makers and ambitious dreamers.
I personally feel it’s a beautiful time to reflect and see where you are in your life. To ask yourself whether you are happy, to ask yourself what you want from life and what you are willing to work towards. The skeptics would proclaim that we should be doing this everyday. The reality is that life takes us over and so to have a dedicated time of year to encourage this deep reflection can only be a good thing. It’s true that making a New Years resolution at the beginning of the year and then forgetting about it after January is a complete waste of time and energy…. so don’t do that! Man up and take it seriously…and I say that with love.
We’ve all been there; our hopeful little selves, wanting, dreaming and failing because we didn’t want it enough, thus losing faith in ourselves. We’ve all at some point handed over our autonomy and made excuses and provided reasons for accepting the mundane, slightly miserable status quo of our lives.
For the first time in my own life, I felt I’d achieved everything I set out to do in 2014 and 2015. Something had happened at that point in my life that jolted a fire in me. Lets call it a quarter life crisis. Anyhow, reflecting on just how much autonomy I actually had over my life these last two years felt somewhat surreal. The power of my own mind had become something tangible, something real that I could work with.
Know that your life is truly in your hands.
This time last year, I sat on the rooftop, meditating in a tiny yoga ashram in north India. I had recently left my respectable, stable and well paid career behind and set off travelling in search of new purpose. Everyday during my travels, my intention was to be in the moment, to be present, to listen within and find my intuition, to open my heart and keep it open, and trust that this will all lead to finding my place in the world.
Naturally, I did a lot of yoga and meditation; my intuition moved me from retreat to ashram to monastery and I loved every moment, in the moment. It was exactly what I wanted at the time. Despite not having a clear picture of my purpose and having the occasional anxiety about my future, I stuck with my intention, resolving to hold faith in the face of uncertainty. I truly believed that this was the right path and so I observed and let the worries pass straight through me.
During my yoga and meditation practice in this tiny north Indian ashram, I began to have visions with a strange vivacity, a projection, if you will. I actually ‘saw’ myself teaching yoga. I had of course thought about it many times and had made excuses every time. But this vision, this projection, was something different. It wasn’t mere daydream, wanting, craving or desire smoked with doubt. Rather, it was an actual reality that I knew would manifest itself if I continued on the path I was laying out everyday in front of me. It was going to happen, it was only a matter of time. And sure enough, it was also something I wanted deeply. So, here I am today, exactly a year later, a new yoga teacher. J
So what is the recipe for success with setting intentions and resolutions?
Here’s what I know from my own experience:
A successful intention and resolution embodies the following things:
1) Knowing what you truly desire.
This is largely a matter of nurturing and listening to your intuition over your ego’s desires and fears. My heart weeps when I see how so many of us suffer from not knowing what we want, not knowing what will make us happy. The inner battle can be heart breaking. It was for me. We’re fed so much mental garbage from society and we’re always seeking answers outside of ourselves; replacing our intuition with logic, external opinion, fear and doubt. We go through life blindly, because we’ve closed our third eye, the part of us that ‘knows’ what’s right for us.
So how to find our intuition?
Start to practice Meditation. To practice meditation is to calm down, learn about and improve the faculties of the mind, including your intuition. Just like through exercise we learn about and improve our physical body. The mind is a real thing that can be exercised. It’s a steady winding path to re-connecting to your self. If you just wrinkled your nose up at the thought of meditation, then start by taking long peaceful walks in nature and taking slow conscious breaths to calm the mind, and start to listen to your body in everyday life; it tells you in the subtlest ways what is good or bad for you.
When you finally tune in to your intuition and calm the mental clutter, you discover the things that are right for you, opening up your potential to move towards it…. You light an inner flame that becomes a real fire in the belly, driving you in the right direction.
There’s a paradox here.
To get what we desire, we have to let go of our desire and live fully in the moment. Whilst desire can point us in the right direction, if we constantly want, we are simply fuelling, strengthening and creating the reality of wanting. The act of wanting something feeds back to our subconscious mind that we are not satisfied with our current state of being and that happiness is somewhere waiting in the future, cultivating a deep sense of unhappiness with our lives as it is now. Know that there is a difference between the sensation of wanting something and applying actual intention to get it, which is necessary for authentic creation to transpire.
2) Know that Will Power is a real thing that can be summoned and strengthened.
Will power comes with a pre-requisite; we have to truly want something in order for Will Power to come into play. Candle fuel lays dormant until the candle is sparked up, so this naturally follows on from lighting up your hearts intuitive flame. The two go hand in hand; no desire, no willpower; the stronger the desire, the stronger the Will Power…and you need Will Power to see you through the challenging times, the bleak times and the tedious times.
How do we strengthen the Will? We strengthen the Will by acting out the Will, the moment it is required; you want to do that last pushup but your mind is saying you can’t, right there is your opportunity to strengthen Will. See the mental chatter and challenging feelings for the fleeting energy that they are and bring your mind to your heart’s desire, your inner flame. Will Power is not the mental struggle of trying, it is the calm and firm resolve ‘to do’ in the face of those struggles. There is always a choice in the moment; we must choose to exercise our Will, in order for it to grow and in order to keep moving in the direction we choose.
3) You must KNOW that you have the power to get it, to believe to your core that it is possible.
Belief plays a fundamental role in our minds intentions. If intuition is the flame, and Will Power is the fuel, then belief is the wick that holds the flame and connects it to the fuel. A break in belief is a break in the wick. This will put out your intuitive flame instantly, no matter how much Will Power you have. You have to ‘know’ that you can do it, in order to manifest it. The moment I saw myself as a yoga teacher, I knew it was possible; it was close enough that I could feel it. If your dream is big and distant it can be impossible to believe; the future is just an abstract projection of the mind that doesn’t really exist and ‘trying’ to believe is not belief; belief simply knows without trying.
It helped me a lot to stay present and simply make sure that I was happy with whatever I was doing in the now. We move towards our dream future by living out our dream in the present moment. If you can love what you are doing right now, you are already working towards a future that you will love.
So there you go, setting a genuine heartfelt intention with all the above transmits our desires into our physical reality and lays down our dream path for us to walk.
Work on discovering what you truly want, then let it go, knowing deep down that it is possible and apply your Will to get it. Let go of any preconceived ideas about your future and trust that you are taking the necessary steps and that the universe will deliver the rest in a way you could never have imagined.
Stay in the present moment.
What’s your new years resolution?