"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." —Rumi
Alive in your heart is the code to living a fulfilling, purposeful life that is unique to you. Your heart is like a homing device or beacon that steers you ever toward fulfillment by what feels right and true. Every heartfelt “yes” or “no” is a clarion call from your most authentic self that can show you the way home to abiding peace and wholehearted living.
In a traditional Yoga Nidra practice the sankalpa or resolve is the first step consisting of a one-sentence silent proclamation of something the practitioner wants to actualize in their life. It could be said that the main purpose in Yoga Nidra is to achieve the sankalpa.
In iRest Yoga Nidra, the sankalpa is potentiated by breaking it down into three significant parts; the Intention, the Heartfelt Desire and the Inner Resource. Each step helps clarify the direction and enhances the outcome of the practice.
The addition of a Heartfelt Desire to the sankalpa can help to deepen a resolve to something of greater impact and meaning in one’s life. This could include the longing for liberation into our true nature that is already whole and perfect in this and every moment.
Each time we avail ourselves to our heart’s call, we are mining for gold by listening to and receiving our marching orders from our heart of hearts. We accomplish this by asking ourselves these questions: What is it that I deeply long for? What is life asking of me? and How best can I serve my heart’s longing? We pause in silence as we ask, and then allow the desire to blossom as thought, and thought to action.
Some of us can’t relate to the words Heartfelt Desire and so we can offer variations that include Heartfelt Mission, Heartfelt Purpose, Heart Song, Core Value or Dharma. Each of these can act as a doorway to new possibilities. These variations of the Heartfelt Desire may evoke a higher calling that invites a greater harmony with life. Correspondingly, the word “dharma” comes from the Sanskrit root rta, which means to be in total harmony with the universe.
Formulated at the beginning of iRest yoga nidra practice, Heartfelt Desire is seeded into the conscious and subconscious mind as a simple affirmation stated silently to one’s self. It’s then germinated, so to speak, through the deep relaxation and receptivity that is invoked by sensing the body and breath.
It’s blossoming can come when Heartfelt Desire is invited back into awareness towards the end of the practice, as one opens to the experience of deep calm and ease, and the feeling of just being. It’s in this openness of being that the truth of the Heart's Purpose or Dharma can shine forth uncloaked by one’s conditioning or past limitations.
As we open to the possibility of our desire, mission, or purpose being actualized, and allow spontaneous images, feelings and emotions to emerge of what this is like, we are building new neural connections in our brain that hardwire it as our new reality. As Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the New York Times best selling book Hardwiring Happiness wrote, “emotions are like rocket fuel for building new neural circuitry”.
When you feel into the quiet of your own inner heart, what longing emerges to inform your direction in life? The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad reminds us:
“You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
The forces of destiny are ever present, beating in your very own heart. Will you heed the call?