Santosha: The Path to Contentment

Contentment is defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction.

Emotionally it is in the middle of the emotional scale and vibrates at a fairly neutral resonance. It is that space within us where all is okay. It is a feeling that offers neutrality and a sense of ease because there is not the push for more.

When I first began to understand what it meant to live yoga, I wondered if I could I ever really achieve contentment?  The Sanksrit word for contentment is santosha which means to cultivate a sense of being all right with who I am and what I have. And yet, we are humans who have been conditioned to constantly crave and strive for more. Yogi or not, I have dreams and goals so contentment, or santosha, often eludes me. Both on the mat and off the mat.

My work is to balance my dreams with the presence of knowing that all is okay.  I mean REALLY knowing that all is okay.  I can still have my dreams, but right now, in this breath, all is okay.

When we look at this on an emotional level, we see just underneath contentment on the emotional scale is complacency.  And just above it is hope.  So this middle ground of contentment could take you either way, depending on your awareness and your willingness to be, or not to be.

In my life, when faced with a challenge (on the mat or off),  I have three choices.

  1. Stay in contentment. I could recognize that my true self is pure and perfect. I can know that I am whole and good enough, right now.
  2. Slip into complacency. I could get lazy in my efforts and desires.  I could choose to weaken my desires and make excuses as to why it is not worth the effort due to my smugness and perhaps falsely known self-satisfaction.
  3. Rise into hope. I could take a breath and aim for a feeling of expectation and desire for goodness to happen.  I could take in the knowing that dreams and desires are right there waiting to arrive.

I  definitely do not spend much time in complacency. Although I am often vibrating higher in hope, optimism, positive expectation, enthusiasm, passion and ultimately deep appreciation, I am striving to also exist in the space of contentment.

Can I even say strive for contentment?  Kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it??

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