What is the Heartfelt Desire?

The Heartfelt Desire (HFD) is the second part of the iRest Sankalpa. There are many ways of relating to this, so if the term HFD doesn’t resonate with you then feel free find your own expression of this deep seated imperative that brings meaning, value, purpose and joy to you. Here are some examples that may resonate more.

  • Heartfelt mission
  • Heartfelt duty
  • Heartfelt path
  • Heartfelt journey
  • Inner calling
  • Longing or
  • Dharma

The Heartfelt Desire flows from the heart; that is, it is not a decision the mind makes based on the best available information or what family, religion, or society may want for us. Our HFD is our function given to us by the Universe. Like Hugo Cabret and A Course in Miracles, I believe we all have a unique role to fulfill.

Hugo Cabret: “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.” 
Martin Scorsese, Director

ACIM: “To each He gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill; a part for only him. Nor is the plan complete until he finds his special function, and fulfills the part assigned to him.” (T-25.VI.3:6-4:3)

“It is life living its highest purpose through you as its unique expression.”
Richard Miller, PhD, Developer of iRest Yoga Nidra

It took me 26 years to fully feel into and accept my HFD. My beliefs about what was expected of me, what would garner me approval, and my beliefs about my capacity were what got in the way. Ironically, I was wrong on all counts.

For myself, I knew my HFD / calling (as a psychotherapist and meditation teacher) when I felt:

  • A deep recognition that was accompanied by profound emotion
  • Tears and happiness
  • A simultaneous sense of recognition and rightness
  • I was no longer at war with the world

There is an element of trust and surrender in the HFD. When we realize that The Mystery wants what is best for us and will provide the means to embody that role, then trust can flourish. When we admit that our own personal will has sometimes given us difficulty and that The Mystery has good intentions then we can surrender the personal will to “Thy Will.” In this surrender lies a deep  relaxation of being able to listen, learn and do.

What Does the Heartfelt Desire Do?

  • It brings meaning, value, purpose, and motivation to life. You perform noble works.
  • It brings meaning, value, purpose, and motivation to our personal iRest practice.
  • It helps us align our personal practice intention (see last post).
  • It helps focus the practice we choose for each day.
  • It marshals the Life Force to support endeavours in alignment with HFD.
  • It brings patience, persistence and passion and motivation to our endeavours.
  • It gives pleasure and joy which arises from aligning with and fulfilling your HFD.
  • It gives a freedom from suffering, fear and anger that comes from being in harmony with Life
  • It brings a deeper ease and a righting of relationships.

As Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga said in his book Yoga Nidra, “When sankalpa becomes the directing force, everything you do in life becomes successful.”

How Does the Heartfelt Desire Feel?

For me, seeing, accepting and acting on my HFD brought great happiness, a sense of safety, a sense of harmony, trust, and tears of recognition. I felt I had a right to be here, a place in the scheme of things. The Universe shares its HFD for you with you. Following it brings one into alignment with yourself and Life and harnesses powerful forces to help you gallop on your way.

Helen Schucman, scribe of A Course in Miracles, describes it this way:

“I was suddenly swept away by a sense of joy so intense I could hardly breathe. Aloud I asked, “Does this mean I can have my function (HFD) back?” The answer, silent but perfectly clear, was, “Of course!” At that I began to dance around the room in an intense surge of happiness I had never felt before. I would not have believed it was possible to experience such happiness as that answer brought with it, and for a little while I kept repeating, “How wonderful! Oh, how wonderful!” There seemed to be no doubt that there was a part of me I did not know, but which understood exactly what all this meant. ” (Absence from Felicity, p. 98)

How Do We Use The Heartfelt Desire?

We can use the HFD in our iRest practice and in life.

During our iRest practice, we affirm our HFD at the beginning and end of the practice when the mind is most receptive as a way to seed the unconscious with our desire to be in alignment with the cosmos and fulfill our particular part.

In life, our HFD gives us a direction that imbues our actions with meaning, value and purpose (MVP). It is both a heartfelt intention and an affirmation of our role is in the cosmic dance

Nurturing the HFD into life means accepting, embracing and acting on our function. Embracing and acting on this HFD brings happiness and a sense of connection with a higher purpose. It gives direction, meaning to your life and value to your work.

Our HFD is something that requires us to take action. This may mean pursuing training. It may will take time. It may mean trusting without knowing why. There will be hurdles and doubt even though you are walking your path.

Sometimes living one’s path requires going against established norms. Living one’s authentic life may require that we make healthy choices for ourselves that do not conform with our culture, race, social status, religion, etc. Being one’s self may mean not being what others want for you.

“It is better to do one’s own dharma imperfectly than to do the dharma of another perfectly.” Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 verse 14

Finally, the HFD may evolve over time. It matures, evolves and becomes more focused.

Examples Of Heartfelt Desires

This longing or heartfelt desire could be personal such as to realize your True Nature or global, such as to relieve fear or suffering in the world.

  • “My thought, words and actions are fully congruent. I live my life as an authentic, truthful, trustworthy, kind, compassionate and good human being. I live a life of service born and executed in deep caring, respect and love for all of life. My will and Thy will are one and the same.”
  • “I am in loving relationship with my self and the world around me.”
  • “I live creatively and courageously with boundless joy and enthusiasm.”
  • “I receive clear inner guidance and express it in the world with heartfelt faith.” 
  • “I trust and love life.”
  • “I serve, guided by Divine fullness.”
  • “I am whole, healed, and healthy.”
  • “I am at peace with myself and the world.”
  • “I enjoy life.”
  • “I am a compassionate, loving, and kind individual.”

Excerpted from Level II training Manual and article “Living Your Heartfelt Desire” by Richard Miller, PhD. 

An Exercise For Finding Your Heartfelt Desire 

To start thinking about this, consider;

  • It may be something that you’ve known all along but not allowed yourself to do.
  • It may be something that people have said about you over your entire life.
  • It may require some trial and error before its specifics are refined (like becoming a specialist in a field such as a surgeon).
  • It may be something that you discarded for a seemingly sensible reason, such as not being able to see a way through.
  • Setting aside logic and reason and allow what wants to arise to surface.

We can enter into a dialogue with Life about your purpose by asking:

  • What does life want of me?
  • What are my particular interests, abilities or skills that make me uniquely suited for X.
  • What energizes me?
  • What would you do for free if you could?
  • What have people told me all my life that I am good at?

Coming Up Next: iRest – The Inner Resource

PNB HeadShot Preferred rnd cornersPhilip Beck is a Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher, a graduate of the Spiritual Psychotherapy program at Transformational Arts College, and a 500-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher. He lives in Toronto and works with people who want to reconnect with themselves and their passion. Free discovery sessions are available in person, by Skype or FaceTime. You can email Philip here or  book Philip here for your complementary first session.

For a free 11 minute mp3 & PDF for relaxation, sleep and focus check out the home page. You’ll also receive blog posts and information about courses and workshops. Want to be inspired? You can follow Discover Yoga Nidra on FaceBook, by clicking here.

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