Finding Contentment – A Self Love Story

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“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

If people could buy contentment, the supply wouldn’t be enough meet the demand.  We all want it, and we are all in search of it, but it seems to be fleeting one moment to the next.  If it was only as easy as walking into the local corner store, asking for a bottle of contentment, whipping out the credit card, we’d all satisfied, but the truth is, finding contentment can be challenging, especially when our contentment is wrapped up in other people and things.

In the world of yoga, santosha is the Sanskrit word for contentment derived from Saṃ (सं, सम्) and Tosha (तोष, तुष्, tuṣh). SaM, means “completely”, “altogether” or “entirely”,[5] and Tosha, “contentment”, “satisfaction”, “acceptance”, “being comfortable” according to Wikipedia.


At first glance the word content looks to be telling us to be okay where we are, and not to move in the direction of our goals, but it is saying just the opposite, to be satisfied with all of the steps along the way, noticing the beauty in the process of getting there even when the process goes array.  It is a request to offer our best effort, and be okay with the results,  as we finding gratitude and enthusiasm in opening our hearts and minds to not seeking, but just in “being”.


Our lives are lived in constant comparison, labeling our contentment with variables that aren’t always in our control.  We reach for material success thinking that it will make us happy, only to find out, we still need the new pair of shoes we don’t need.  There is no end to trying to find happiness in possessions, because to keep it, we must continue to find new possessions.


As we look over the the neighbors fence, and compare what we have, as we gaze into our television screen,  and see what they say we need, as we put every nerve ending on edge praying for the outcome that will make our life “better”, as our once beneficial relationships, start to fade, we have the ability to go within, and find the place that is abiding, and always centered in joy.  We can learn to find our peaceful place, even in the mist of chaos.


We may not have the ability to control everything, but we do have the ability to control how we respond, and that isn’t limited to how we respond physically, but how we dissect things mentally as well.  The question becomes how do we cultivate our response, so that we respond from that abiding, and always centered place.


Meditation is good for bringing us to the present, so that we may create awareness of how we are feeling and what is going through our mind.  This is important, because if we don’t understand how we are feeling, we are on autopilot and prone to react habitually, but if we start to understand how we feel, and where our mind is, we can begin to weed out the thoughts and feelings that don’t serve us, and replace them with thoughts and feeling that do.  We can then start to cultivate and attitude of gratitude, because all things are working on our behalf.


Have you truly accepted the body that you have?  Have you let go of what you believe your body is supposed to be able to do?  In the mist of your practice, does your mind start to tell you it is ready for the next pose?  Being on our yoga mat provides us the opportunity to practice letting go and acceptance of what is.  We can begin to see the parallels between being in a challenging pose, and being in a challenging situation.  We notice our reactions on the mat, and start to work through those feelings of wanting to move, or wanting to be someplace else, slowly finding our place of serenity.  What we learn from that place, we take from our mat and into the world.

Yoga Sutra

In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali states, “By contentment, supreme joy is gained.”

Finding contentment through things and people are not sustainable, the only way to truly find contentment (santosha) is through the practice of finding your true being, the being that is not human.


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