Contentment is not an easy thing to find especially when the media is always telling us to seek/buy/desire more. However, there are means to help us and this Serenity Prayer is one that I have found made a great difference to my thinking.
Santosha is the second Niyama on the yogic path and it tells us that no matter what life sends our way, if we cannot change it then, perhaps we can begin learn to accept it and by doing so find some inner peace.
We all know it is very easy to feel contented when everything is going well for us, when we have a good job that we enjoy, a loving and supportive family and good friends. However feeling contented when we have no job, have lost a family member or have difficulty finding friends is when life becomes more challenging. So how can we feel contented in these circumstances?
We could try to find contentment in all situations by connecting to an underlying feeling of acceptance – acceptance of whatever comes our way, no matter what it is – even if it does make us feel unhappy. Santosha is the choice to be happy no matter what the circumstances are, because we know and can accept that things just could not be any other way. In other words it is an acceptance that the only thing that could happen, did happen … there are no “what ifs” or “if only’s”
Of course in answer to this we could t say that by doing this we feel we have no control over our lives. However we can turn this on its head and realise that we have full control over our lives because we can control exactly how we react to everything that occurs to us… bad weather, losing our job, a pet, our holiday being cancelled ……In order to experience true contentment we have to have faith in the outcome of our lives and the fact that whatever happens to us is exactly as it is meant to be. We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we feel and react. It is our choice.
Whilst finding this acceptance it does not mean we have to suppress feelings of disappointment, deep sadness and anger etc – these feelings are natural and should be experienced in order to allow ourselves to grow. We are not victims of our thoughts, feelings, emotions but we are in control of them …and yoga teaches us this and how to find true contentment.
When we have realised our true strength and power in this way we will find steadiness of mind and true contentment……This is not easy and it is a practice and is a lifetime journey which does not happen overnight.
I think this description from Janet Stones blog describes Santosha well:
We hear all of this talk about gratitude and how great it is and this I believe to be true through and through. However, she has a sister, who doesn’t crave or get much attention or require 30-day challenges. Her name is SANTOSHA and she rests in a subtle place that can’t be brought forth with challenge. She comes to us when we are not pulled by our preferences, by our likes and dislikes. She arrives when we rest instead in deep okayness with what is, exactly as it is. When we pause from giving the power of our emotional state to someone or something outside ourselves. When we stop trying to manipulate others and maneuver ourselves to get the things we “like” and to avoid the things we “don’t like.” When we stop seeking and looking over the fence at what someone else has that we don’t. When we cultivate a pathway to a center point within that does not waver, that is not based on condition. When we fall in love with our life exactly as it is. One of the oldest men alive was asked the secret to longevity. He replied, “When it rains, I let it.”
Finally, I will leave you with this beautiful meditation……
“May I be happy and peaceful.
May I be healthy and at ease
May I be able to take care of myself joyfully
May I possess the wisdom, courage, and determination to meet and overcome problems and obstacles in life”