“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” –Karl A. Menniger

Today in the Meditation Immersion, the last and final day, we took 12 symbolic steps, one for each day of the program(counting the weekend.)

Now, about step 13…Sankalpa

We all have our rituals. Getting up, brushing teeth, etc. etc.

A SanKalpa,(meaning a vow or an intention) is basically creating a new ritual for yourself.

Consistency is the key but there is no need to be rigid or strict. (setting a specific time of day, # of days, specific practice(s) and a specific place to practice.)

Reflect on the essence of the book, Meditation for the Love of It, by Sally Kemptom.

What benefits do you see yourself reaping from a daily meditation practice? Make a list. Is this what you want? If not, maybe a Sankalpa is not for you.

If meditation truly is a relationship with ourselves, our “Spiritual Practice” looks a lot like self care. We use our self care practices to get to the “innerself”.

To connect.

To Be.

To Listen.

To experience the stillness that lies within us.

As the mantra Om Namah Shivaya translates, “I bow with respect to the innerself.”

Jot down a few goals, if you want to call them that. Intentions is another way to think of it. What is your personal intention in setting the Sankalpa? Get really clear about this, make it personal. It is about you and your desire to grow or change old habits. Infuse your Sankalpa with your intention.

Share what your Sankalpa is with an accountability partner. Set up a time to meet or chat with an accountability partner before you start. Let them know your Sankalpa details: time, place, practice, # of days, etc. Being or having an accountability partner is an important step, not to be missed, in the making of a SanKalpa.

The accountability partner role is meant to be the role of a friend or a coach, perhaps a fellow meditator.

Here’s how to be an Accountability Partner or what to ask for from an Accountability Partner:

1) Listen to your partner. Give your partner 100% of your attention.(We can’t multitask and truly be listen to someone.)Give them a chance to unfold and process their experience with their SanKalpa through actively listening to them.

2) See your partner without judgement. This is about their relationship to themselves and their practice, not yours. Make no comparisons.

3) Ask Questions rather than give advice. Examples of questions are: What are your successes? Are you having resistance? How did you work with that? What will support you now? Is your intention shifting? Do you need to reset your intention? What is your intention now? Do you need to make an adaptation to your Sankalpa? If so, what might that be? Etc.

4) Cheer them on. Let your partner know that they can do this! Remind them to have compassion for themselves. Jog their memory of the benefits they reap from a consistent practice. Keep them on track if they stray from their vow. Bring them back, encourage them to take a baby step, if needed.

In the end, it’s up to the individual who set the Sankalpa to complete the Sankalpa. Self accountability is the ultimate goal here.

Here’s to your growth!