by Jessica Davis
The practices of intention setting and visualization hold an almost magical power for me. Many teachers and authors from a wide range of backgrounds have taught these practices and their benefits. In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey shares that all things are created twice; first with mental conceptualization and visualization, and secondly through actual, physical creation.
During a Personal Effectiveness Seminar I attended a few years ago, I learned the vital distinction between intention and mechanism. Where mechanism could be understood as the limiting beliefs that keep us stuck where we are, intention is honoring the dreams and goals I hold most dear. In doing so, I set aside any and all worries as to how, and trust that when I’m clear on what I want to draw into my life, if it is meant to be, I am able to make it so.
A beautiful opportunity to practice these special resources is during yoga nidra, or yogic sleep. Yoga nidra is like a guided meditation that uses specific mindfulness tools to help the practitioner come to a place of profound relaxation. One of the tools used is the setting of a sankalpa, or heartfelt desire. Your sankalpa is your deepest resolve, something you are dearly committed to achieving. When setting your sankalpa, you are guided to first come to a place of deep gratitude for all of life’s events that have brought you to the present. Gratitude is the fertile soil for planting the seed of your intention. You’re then invited to state your sankalpa to yourself in the present tense as if it has already come to pass, and then visualize it and feel it as reality. The combination of gratitude, sankalpa, and visualization is amazingly powerful.
Practicing yoga nidra has helped me to strip away layers of crippling fear and anxiety, and come home to sweet self-acceptance. Through the practice I’ve connected with my own courage to know what I want in my life, set my intentions and visualize them as reality, and then actually watched them unfold into being. It is a blessed journey.