The importance of ‘Santosha’- Contentment
And HOW to cultivate it in our everyday life
Being GRATEFUL for what we have, and content with WHO we are and WHERE we are in life
- Gratefulness does for our heart-mind what food does for our bodies- it nourishes and creates a sense of fulfillment.
- Practicing gratitude protects us from our own pettiness and smallness and keeps us centered in the joy and abundance of our own lives.
- When we give the power of our emotional state to someone or something outside of ourselves, we have made ourselves helpless.
- As long as we think satisfaction comes from an external source, we can never be content.
Being satisfied with whatever you are doing, and knowing that like everything else, it will end
- Possessions. People. Job. Opinions. Titles. What we perceive as true. None of these are permanent. So is the temporary satisfaction we get from achieving a certain standard of all of these after going through all the stress and sacrifice needed to get there truly worth it?
Being aware that we are moving forward in a positive direction and being satisfied with every slight progress
- There will always be people having ‘more’ or ‘less’ than us (possessions, talents, skills, EQ and IQ etc.), so rather than judging our progress based on comparing ourselves with others (which we all know is a road to ever-lasting discontentment), so why not be patient and just enjoy the process?
Being unattached to the results of our actions
- A simple shift in the way you think about something can completely transform your attitude towards it.
- If the result is less than expected, accept what happens, learn from it, and move on.
- True freedom and contentment begins to find their way to us when we can see things as they are, neutral, rather than attaching labels to things and wasting our energy tryin to manipulate things according to our preference.
A snippet of my own life:
Being a yoga practitioner and instructor, sometimes I get frustrated with my journey and wonder whether I should stop all this altogether, thinking “Am I qualified to do and teach yoga when I don’t have millions of followers on Instagram, nor can I do a proper handstand……”
But I realized the main source of my dissatisfaction came from trying to conform to what I thought others expected of me to be or do in order to be recognized as a ‘true yogi’. Hence, I now have to constantly remind myself (and my students) that: “The experts in yoga are not those that can do the most advanced asanas, but those that exerts their best efforts based on the understanding of their physical and mental strengths and limitations, while staying true to themselves and others.”
And that goes for anything one does in life.
So as long as I’m having fun doing it and seeing multiple benefits from it e.g. on my health, social connections etc., that’s already a good enough reason to continue what I’m doing and be grateful with my journey today.
Contentment is falling in love with your life
- We cultivate inner happiness when we slow down, step back and appreciate the little things in life with curiosity and total presence.
- Discontentment is the illusion that there can be something else in the moment. There isn’t and there cant be. The moment is complete.
Questions to reflect upon:
- Give examples of when you tend to be dissatisfied, how can you shift your thinking and what actions can you take to change how you feel?
- Ponder upon all that you have to be grateful for, such as health, friends, community, and life. Don’t allow your mind to compare or judge as you do so. “If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank you’, that would suffice.”
Thanks for reading and hope it was helpful!