Contentment and Gratitude
‘Contentment makes a poor man rich.
Discontentment makes a rich man poor.’
True inner Happiness rests upon feeling content with who we are right now.
We are all changing from moment to moment and growing and learning along our own individual journeys.
- Possessions flow in and out of our lives
- People around us come and go
- Our opinions, beliefs and thoughts change over time and with life experience.
Our outer form is in flux around a deeper and permanent light of awareness – Purusa. Complete satisfaction and contentment can be experienced when our heart-mind field of consciousness – Citta rests quietly in this awareness.
Santosa: which is the 2nd of the Niyama’s = Being grateful for what we have and who we are and where we are in life right here and in the now.
According to the Sutra’s – when Santosa is present, unexcelled happiness pervades all beings. The feeling of contentment is not the same as when we have everything we want in terms of possessions, family and our life work/experiences, as these can all change. True Santosa comes from the understanding that who we really are at the core is none other than the light of awareness that all beings share.
means being satisfied with whatever you are doing, knowing that it, like everything else will end/change, and being aware that the eternal divinity within is always present.
ie: you may have liked partying at a younger time in life, you may have liked bush walks, dinners, fine wines and now prefer a plainer palate, you might like sailing versus skiing, you may like swimming versus running or cycling, you may like music – Classical versus RockNRoll…Opera versus Electronic, Art – what medium do you like, Sports – what do you like to do versus watch…
The Opposite of Santosa is Discontent and Dissatisfaction:
This is a form of suffering (Duhkha) Noticing this feeling is the first step towards converting it. Instead of dwelling in the discontent, apply the opposite attitude = Pratipaksa – bhavana = being grateful for what we have and where we are.
As long as we are doing something to move ourselves forward in positive direction, in time and with patience, it will lead to the desired result. Contentment is not stagnant because of the changing nature of our lives.
Santosa: is being aware of our progress and being satisfied with it.
We may compare ourselves to others based on their asana – flexibility and strength but this in itself creates dissatisfaction. A ballerina or gymnast who has never done a Yoga class could walk in and assume a difficult pose but may be totally unaware of their mind space = this is our misperception = Viparyaya.
Inflexible yogis who maintain their poise and grace in posture, without attachment to results are competent and satisfied are in Santosa. If results are less than expected, we’ve learnt from the experience, and we move on.
Gratitude in the moment of the experience, brings fulfilment, peace and happiness. Knowing that every single being shares the same light can shift our awareness from the external to cultivating our inner happiness.
- In Seated poses: Prop the pelvis and hips to protect the lower back/bend the legs.
- In Standing poses: Can we maintain our foundations?
- In Balances: Can we maintain our gracefulness?
- In Inversions: Can we press down to rise up?
- In Backbends: Can we maintain a fully lengthened spine without pivot points /drops into weakened areas of the spinal curvature?
- In Meditations: Can we be Mindful and Aware?
IN LIFE: Can we Live in Harmony?
Give ourselves examples of when we tend to be dissatisfied, knowing when we want results to be different from outcomes.
Next time whilst waiting: Be pro-active in this idle time to be grateful and mentally list off everything we can be grateful for!
Be accepting of all that we are in every moment and in every day = helping us to be content and grateful for all we have and where we are right in the here and now.
Source: The Path of the YOGA Sutra’s – Nicolai Bachman
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