Yoga Sutras Challenge Day #7: Santosha ~ Contentment
Definition of CONTENTMENT:
1: the quality or state of being contented : feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation.
Interesting definition, feeling satisfaction with one's possessions? That doesn't sound like yoga. Or does it? At first glance is sounds like it's suggesting that we need possessions in order to be content. But it says feeling satisfaction with ONE'S possessions. Be satisfied with what we already HAVE and not be grasping always for more.
Feeling satisfaction for one's status, Doing your work or service for the benefit of others; in service to the Divine, and not being attached to the fruits of your labor. This one seems to be challenging me at the moment. My ego is hard at work trying to keep me from santosha, contentment. My 40th birthday was this past Friday and all day I kept thinking......"I really thought that by the time I was 40 years old that I would be much better off." After all, I work really hard. I give a 100% at everything I do. Shouldn't I have some recognition for how hard I work? Feeling satisfaction for one's situation..... Well, to be honest, I am not satisfied with my situation. So how do I find contentment in it?
As I step back from these thoughts I can see the ego at play here and I remind myself that I need to find satisfaction in the work itself. The fruits of the labor, the status, must be offered up to God. Status doesn't mean much in the end. When it's time to leave this body your "status" doesn't matter. How you lived your life is what matters.
Besides being my 40th birthday, it was also the 10th anniversary of my initiation in Transcendental meditation. I haven't learned "yogic flying" yet or how to read minds but after 10 years of practice I can still my crazy monkey mind a little easier these days.
I remember those first weeks after I started a regular meditation practice. I thought I had been given the magic key to happiness and contentment. I thought it was going to shield me from troubles. I thought meditation was going to solve all my problems. I was going to magically transform into this blissful, divine being..... always in a perfect state of peace.
Well, I don't have to tell you, THAT didn't happen. What did happen was that I now have the tools to face the troubles and solve the problems with a bit more grace and a bit more clarity of mind. When the challenges come, I know that they are only temporary.
When life feels like it's spinning out of control, when I'm completely dis-satisfied with everything, I know what I need to do to find contentment. I pause. I breath. I do yoga/meditate. I feel gratitude for the many blessings, including the blessing of sadhana. I find contentment.
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”