Santosha

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

 

Santosha means being contented with everything we have and accepting the way things are. It is to be satisfied with whatever life brings us and to enjoy every moment of our consciousness.

 

Three weeks ago, I lost someone that I held dearly to my heart and the days that followed were sheer torture. Almost everything in sight reminded me of the past and every memory that returned stabbed me harder in the chest, threatening to rip my insides apart. I was sent me into a spiral of sadness and anger. Despite being in the midst of a large crowd daily due to Chinese New Year celebrations, I have never felt more empty and alone.

 

I wished and prayed for things to be different, for things to go back to how they were before. I knew I had to let the past go but I didn’t want to either, and this constant inner struggle in my mind was draining me emotionally. At the same time, I was also trying to fight off my negative feelings by seeking for as much happiness as I could. But happiness is temporary, and when it dissipates at the end of the day, the pain returns with a vengeance.

 

Then came the night I saw the wall in my room. I was really frustrated that night and my head was feeling really heavy, but as my eyes came into contact with the wall, I had the sudden impulse to do a headstand. And what followed felt amazing. As I rest most of my weight on my head, it felt weightless for the first time in days. Though temporary, I was finally in a moment of tranquility. 

 

Things got slightly better as Yoga classes resumed, but I was still trying too hard to fight off the sadness by seeking for happiness. But as we recapped on Niyama a few days ago, a phrase that was said in class about Santosha caught my attention – Be contented, happiness is temporary. Happiness cannot be sustained.

 

It was then I realized that seeking happiness isn’t what I should be doing now. Instead, I should accept the way things are and be grateful for what I have and experienced. Practicing contentment is nevertheless not easy, as the mind tend to seek for things that are still not in our possession and for things that ‘promises’ us happiness.

 

Here are 5 ways that I found from the Internet to help us practice contentment in life:

 1: Release fears and accept what life offers you at this moment with gratefulness. This does not necessarily mean that you don’t want to see change. It simply means understanding the full reality of your situation, learning from it and then taking appropriate actions.

2: Let go of your war with reality. The saying, “It is what it is.” stops our striving for things to be different.

3: Move through life more slowly, savor each day, and enjoy the journey. Take notice and enjoy the simple things in life.

4: Live with gratitude for all that you have and experience. Even our negative experiences are worthy of thanks. It is those times that teach us the most and mild us into who we are. Say ‘thank you”.

5: Focus on what you already have rather than what you want. Don’t compare yourself to others.

 

Letting go is never easy, but I know that one day I will be able to look back and laugh about it. Afterall, there is still a long journey ahead!

  

“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” – Eckhart Tolle

 

– Cindy 
200hr Yoga TTC (Jan/Feb 2014, Weekday)