Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Challenging Practice of Contentment

Contentment is an actual yogic practice called santosha. On face value it seems perhaps simplistic or like an easy practice compared to vigorous sun salutations or challenging balances and inversions, but I come to this practice over and over and I assure you it is profoundly challenging and requires absolute focus and discipline.

For example a week ago right now I was in paradise, pool side with a beautiful beach on the near horizon, the sun was lighting up a brilliant ceiling of clear blue with just the right amount of fluffy clouds, my kids were happy and getting along, Stephen and I were sipping fresh coconut water and rum right out of the coconut and contentment had its warm soft arms wrapped around me, so easy to be there.

A few days later I am back in Shanghai sick as a dog, sick kids as well and they miss going on a week long school trip and instead are home with me, add in a typhoon with pouring rain, high wind and a cloud cover that made the day dull and dark. Where did my sweet contentment go? It seems like those fluffy clouds; elusive, thin, vaporous. That is the contentment of grasping and clinging to external phenomenon and the opposing aversion to others.

Desire and aversion create suffering and loss of contentment.

Santosha or yogic contentment comes from within and is independent of the weather out there. The weather of our ever changing life circumstance, the endless waves, rising and falling, up and down leaves us always temporarily happy and then discontentment shows up again and we descend into craving, looking for the next fix. The syndrome of,  if only I had..... or when I am or when I accomplish.....then I will be happy. That contentment for most of us is never enough. When we get what we want it's luster fades quickly and we are searching again, or the vacation ends and there is life waiting.

So to be in a practice of santosha we have to go in. We have to take time to sit with ourselves and dive into the world we hold within our hearts and souls. Only there will we find true peace and happiness and a better way to be with all the changing weather and waves of life.

I find myself so drawn to this practice and I notice that either directly or indirectly I write about this consistently.

I am doing my own very challenging work here. We all want happiness, love and safety, but the truth is the only one who can give that to us is ourselves, and isn't it amazing that it is there waiting for us, calling out to us, inviting us home. There is a door in each of our hearts that opens to a great temple of love and light, when we slow down long enough to breathe deeply, feel fully, awaken internally it is as close as a heartbeat, a sacred drum calling us to the dance, the ecstatic dance of the true self.