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.
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?
I spent Tuesday at home, with various activities canceled around the area due to the windchill (-24F/-43F windchill, -31C/-41C at the moment). On Wednesday many activities will be canceled as well.
My hubby had to work another 12 hour day, while I got to stay home, warm and secure with the kitties. I felt a mixture of sadness for him, but also tremendous gratitude for my cozy, warm home and the hot tea the accompanied me during my day.
I am using my time productively at home, tidying and getting some writing and work projects done. Grateful for the forecast that let us know this was coming, so we could prepare in the best way we could (i.e. groceries and necessities).
Sometimes this slowdown in activity can make us more mindful of what we have, of the grace of our situation, a little extra time to contemplate life. I just lost a dear friend to cancer, only in his early 50’s. And everything became a little more precious and more present in that moment.
I called my Mom to connect with her and empathize with the even colder conditions in northern MN. We hunker down, cats on laps. We breathe in, we breathe out. Thursday is supposed to ease up. But for now, those of us warm at home are grateful for shelter and heat.