There is a place right before you fall asleep, where you are aware of what is going on in the room around you, but the dreams are starting. You can still have coherent thoughts, but they mix and mingle with the images in your dreams. The song playing on the ipod or what is happening on TV becomes a part of your dream. You are sliding in and out of consciousness.
Before you travel over to the other side, there is a time when you are equal parts awake and dreaming.
It happens again just as you are waking up in the morning. The sound of your alarm clock becomes a tweeting bird, or the phone ringing in your house becomes a phone call in your dream.
It is right there, in that place, where the power of suggestion is the strongest. This is where seeds can be planted.
I attempt to bring other people to that fertile ground when I teach yoga nidra. I’m hoping that they are drifting in and out, incorporating my words into the dreamy images that flash behind their eyes.
And then, in this highly relaxed and highly receptive state, I ask them to repeat their big intention.
This big intention, this sankalpa, should be a positive statement in the present tense, as though it is already happening.
For example, if you’re always stressed, you might say something like I move through my life with ease and grace. Or, I am relaxed. Or I am peace.
If you’ve been stuck in rut perhaps you would say, I am open to all new things. Or I am ready.
If you’ve gotten lazy, I am ambition.
If you are anxious all of the time, I am bravery. I am fearless.
If you’re a control freak, I trust that things will work out. I surrender.
If you can’t get beyond trauma, I remain always in the present moment, or I am moving on. I am forgiveness.
If you’re bogged down in the details, I release whatever doesn’t serve me.
If you’re constantly chasing after the next new thing, I am content with what is.
Make it a present truth.
With regular practice, this intention can become your actual truth. It’s really quite simple. The hardest part is finding a statement that sums up your truest intention.
Think about all of the things you really want to do. Then think about all of the things you want to stop doing. Deep down, you know what really needs to be done. Try to come up with an umbrella sentence.
Then become obsessed with this sentence. Beyond mantra, let it be everywhere it can be.
Make it the wallpaper on your computer/phone. Pin it on your bulletin board. Tape it on your dashboard. Make it your password so you have to type it over and over.
For a while now one of my passwords has been something resembling: 123ThisIsOneEffingAmazingLife456. I type it several times a day. It has helped to keep my amazement practice going.
I know it all sounds a little hokey, believe me. But what have you got to lose?
Become obsessed with your true intention! Let it be the words you repeat on your inhale as you drift off to sleep. Let it be the first sentence that comes to your mind when you wake. Set your compass in the morning and follow it all day long.
After a short time, you will notice small changes. Tiny shifts.
I am currently, and so surprisingly, living a nicotine-free, alcohol-free, sugar-free, meat-free, hair dye-free, virtually-worry-free existence because the phrase ‘I make good choices‘ has been a part of my daily practice.
The changes have been slow, but steady over the last few years. It’s been a fine line between a little scary and a lot effing amazing.
It’s almost like living in a dream.
If you decide to try it, please let me know how it goes. If you need help creating a sankalpa, send me a message. I’d love to explore with you.