|| CONTENTMENT....WHY WE SHOULD PRACTICE IT? ||
Contentment is the acceptance of what is, without judgment or desires of what you would like it to be. Practising contentment and reminding yourself to be content is NO easy task.
I often work with contentment as an intention in my practice. With so many temptations, desires and the 'need' for material things in the modern world, the practice of being content is ever more important. Learning to be content, non-judgemental and not attached to our surroundings, is an everyday practice, but one that brings great rewards to our happiness.
Contentment (Santosha in Sanskrit) is the second of the Niyamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga (See blog post ‘Yoga Philosophy for Beginners’). The Niyamas lead us towards a more positive relationship with ourselves, which is important as we cannot form authentic and sustainable relationships with others until the connection with ourselves is strong.
‘As a result of contentment, one gains supreme joy. Here we should understand the difference between contentment and satisfaction. Contentment means just to be as we are without going to outside things for happiness. If something comes, we let it come. If not, it doesn’t matter. Contentment means neither to like nor dislike.’ Sutra 2.42 translation by Sri Swami Satchidananda
Accepting what is allows us to view the world as facts – unattached by emotion. It allows us to be in flow with the rhythm, rather then in resistance to the rhythm. Buddha says ‘attachment is the key to suffering’. When we stop defining events with emotion, and simply watch them, even when they are difficult, we can move through them more easily with a greater sense of contentment.
To practice Santosa is to practice the perfection of every moment, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable. It means being happy with what we have rather than being unhappy about what we don’t have. It doesn't mean idly sitting back and relinquishing the need to do anything. It simply means accepting and appreciating what we have and what we are already, and moving forwards from there.
It’s so easy to allow ourselves to be victims of life. It’s our human nature to want things to be easy and things to be handed to us on a plate. The truth of the matter is, the more we invest in ourselves and work to understand our individual make up, our mind patterns and our nature, the more we can achieve and give to others. The more we work on ourselves the more content we become with who we are and what we attract.
TO SUM UP
‘Santosa (Contentment) is the road to peacefulness. When we accept what is, we are at peace. When we resist what is, we enter pain & suffering. To be without judgment is to be content with what is – even in the midst of chaos. This is Santosa and it is where real peace begins.’