Week of 7/21/2019 This week's focus is Santosha, or "contentment." From Deborah Adele in "The Yamas and the Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice,"
"Santosha invites us into contentment by taking refuge in a calm center, opening our hearts in gratitude for what we do have, and practicing the paradox of 'not seeking.'" Wow...not seeking, or as Deborah goes on to say, "always getting ready to live." As a planner, this one was difficult for me. I had to be quiet, and listen a little more deeply. When I reflected back on my experiences with planning, I could see that I was "putting my happiness on hold." In that, I mean that I was holding my happiness to moments which were in the future. I was planning a family get-together, so we could be happy in our reunion. I was exercising so that when I made my desired progress, I would be content. I was trying to save money so that in the future I could feel secure. Santosha invites us to be content right now. It does not mean to stop making plans, it means to be happy in the planning, and grateful for the gifts of today. Rather than letting a family get-together hold all the happiness of reconnecting with family, being grateful for those family members and their presence in my life in this moment. Rather than looking at my body and seeing it as a "work in progress" to be something better in the future, looking at my body and marveling at the amazing creation that it is on a daily basis. As I practice yoga, really feeling the poses, the bones, the muscles flex and contract, the heartbeat, the way my body moves...and enjoying this today, and being grateful to my Creator today. Instead of believing that I will be happier in the future with more money, being content with the gifts I have today such as a beautiful home, food on the table, a desire to make the world a better place. I am also grateful for discipline in wanting to save money, and Santosha invites me to do this task with joy rather that do it begrudgingly. Deborah put it beautifully in her book,
"Discontentment is the illusion that there can be something else in the moment. There isn't and there can't be. The moment is complete. When we do something in the moment to fulfill an expectation for another moment, for instance exercising to get our bodies to look a certain way rather than for the pure joy of movement, we will miss contentment. When action is complete in the moment, and the process is enjoyed for the pure joy of the process, action becomes being, and being becomes contentment."