Making a resolution with an unwavering mind is the mark of a good meditator.
The Singular most important, by far the most significant quality, that a meditator
must have, is willpower, the resolve to not give up in the face of challenges. Irrespective of what path you are on, your determination to persist and persevere, your resolve to tread the path, determines the outcome. The Sanskrit term for a vow, for a resolution is
sankalpa. When you take a decision, a stand, you have taken a sankalpa. The practice of sankalpa strengthens your willpower like no other. A critical point to note is that you need to give up or take vows that extend your whole lifetime. Those vows are often unnecessary and unnatural. While taking sankalpa, like all other yogic practices, vow to do something (or not do it) for an initial period of 40 days. Thereafter, you can decide if you want to repeat or carry on with them forever. Think of passing an entrance examination, say for securing a place in a prestigious institution. You ought to prepare keenly. You may take things a little
lightly once you are in, but initially you have to work hard. The quality, discipline, intensity of your preparation directly affects the outcome. It is the difference between failure and success.
The same applies to the yogic practice of sankalpa.
Once you have kept your resolve for the set period, you can go a little easier thereafter. During the period of your practice, however, it is paramount that you do not waver.
When you keep your resolutions, something amazing happens: your mind starts to listen to you a lot more, almost as if it understands that it is in the hands of a determined individual.
If you vow to do something but let it go without a determined and monumental effort, you will really struggle to keep any resolution you make the next time.
Puting into practice
The only mantra for successfully keeping the practice of sankalpa is to not give up, no atter what. Let us assume you vow to sit still for 30 minutes every day for the next 40 days. You
decide to sit still like a rock in the same posture for those 30 minutes no matter what.
For that half hour, with great willpower and determination, you are going to build your
concentration with great mindfulness. You are going to make every attempt to remember that during the hour of your practice, each time your mind wanders off, you will gently bring it back to your object of focus. A certain degree of determination is required to do the aforesaid. As you progress with resolve, you will find your conditioned mind becoming feeble. You will experience an inexplicable inner strength. Such new found strength will enable you to reach sahaja, an emergent natural state of bliss ultimately.
During your period of sankalpa, if you miss your practice even once, it is a hundred per cent breach of practice and requires restarting. As part of the practice, you can resolve to do anything at all. Sitting still is merely one example. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Remember though, in the dense forest of desires, in the deep ocean of proclivities of the conditioned soul, in the endless and baseless sky of expectations, no plane can land. The discipline to keep your resolve gives you the wings of confidence and wisdom to soar high. Bhagavan Krishna refers to this in Gita in chapter 17 when dealing with faith, and says that all people possess faith, and whatever the nature of their faith, that is verily what they are. In verse 17-16 beginning as manaḥ-prasādaḥ saumyatvaṁ, Krishna declares self-control along with serenity of thought, gentleness, and purity of purpose, as austerity of the mind.
- 'A Million Thoughts' by Om Swami