Looking Back/Looking Forward

You probably know that the word “January” derives from the name of Janus, the Roman god with two heads, one looking back to the past and one looking forward to the future. Almost every culture has a tradition of pausing at the transition from one year to another to reflect on one’s past behavior and to resolve to make improvements in the year to come. In yoga philosophy, there is a concept called sankalpa, which could be translated as determination, or setting an intention. Sankalpa can be used at any time, not just at the end of the year, but this is a perfect time to set some positive changes in motion!
There are several parts to sankalpa:
1. You might start with some self-examination – What is my state of mind? What are my current issues? What do I want to change? What are the obstacles in my path to be overcome? Our habits, good and bad, can be ingrained. To change them, we need to first identify and examine the obstacles.
2. Then you might ask for help – and I don’t mean asking someone else – ask yourself. Look inside yourself – the answers are there, waiting for you to discover them.
3. Finally, make a commitment to change, but commit without necessarily expecting a result. We delude ourselves if we think we can control results – we can take control of our actions, but not the result of the action.
Here is a meditative practice for the New Year. I plan to offer a longer version of this practice on New Year’s Eve so if you’re around, join me!.

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