Santosha – Contentment

This Wednesday marks three years since I started meditating daily. I celebrate today by writing about my yoga book club topic for this month from the Niyamas – Santosha.

This concept, contentment, has been an enjoyable one for me, especially considering the ways in which the messages we receive via so many channels are meant to induce longing within us. They convince us that we lack something outside of ourselves to be happy.  The emotions we feel then drive us toward what brings us pleasure, and move us toward avoiding discomfort or boredom.

By staying centered and aware of what is going on within us, we can stay in a place of contentment rather than longing. We can be grateful for all the amazing gifts this life brings, and the plethora of blessings that have come our way. We can realize the freedom that most of us enjoy to choose the responses we want to bring to our circumstances.

Santosha with Willy
My cat Willy is very good at Santosha, something I am still learning.

I am starting to understand that life is about 50/50 – about half positive emotions and half negative. Without some of each, we would never know true joy, and we would never be able to empathize with the pain we all experience as humans.

When we come to accept this reality, and to feel content without constantly seeking, we experience what Swami Rama noted, that “contentment is falling in love with your life.” Nothing is missing in this moment. Life is complete as it is right now.

Are there places in your life where it is hard to be grateful? What if you could embrace all of the changing dynamics in your life, and dance with them? What if you could see them as temporary, as ever-changing, and just a part of the greater flow? 


7 thoughts on “Santosha – Contentment

  1. I agree, we need both parts, the positive and the negative. On a separate note, I really thought I had followed your blog before, but apparently I hadn’t. Thanks so much for commenting on my recent post so I could see that I still needed to follow yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great-Santosha-contentment. Realizing there is nothing missing in our complete and divinely lead lives. Areas where it’s hard to be grateful, perhaps when there is an injustice done by someone else that affects our lives in a negative way. Resulting in struggle.
    I’m trying to look at the positive side of divorce, the growth, freedom, more time. But I miss seeing my kids and missing part of their lives. Letting go of control and accepting the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That can be hard, Clare. There’s no getting around those difficulties. It’s important to acknowledge and process the grief that comes with this kind of change. And having the space to be on your own presents its own set of decisions and challenges. Your kids are likely also feeling a little ambivalent about the change, though many kids present a brave “front” to their parents so as not to further disturb the situation. Or they act like they prefer the “other” parent because they feel insecure about their acceptance and they may use this as a shield to avoid being rejected. Ultimately we are all resilient and adaptable, and we heal from these transitions, and hopefully learn more about ourselves and our relationships in the process. Take much care. You are loved.


  3. Your comment about life being 50/50 reminds me of a coin. I use to think of life as a coin with one side good and one side bad. Like you are referring to I now know life is just “one side” as a whole with blends of good and bad coming in and out. Nothing permanent but more flowing.


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