Yearning. Acquiring. We live in a culture that is rarely satisfied or still. There is always a new update, a new version, a new product to “improve” our lives. And while progress is indeed good, yearning and acquiring obstruct contentment.
We benefit from advances in technology, science, education, and entertainment. However, we are wise to remember that each of these advances is also being promoted by some industry for profit. Advertising of advances preys upon our fears and insecurities, imploring us to believe our life will be better if we obtain that new thing; that we can only feel complete through acquiring.
So we update, upgrade, purchase that next new thing in the hopes of reaching satisfaction in life. We momentarily enjoy the consumption until the next new thing and its promise catches our eye. Yearning. Acquiring. Repeat. Wanting is insatiable.
The question is…where does this end? Nothing about yearning and acquiring involves stillness or contentment.
The Yamas and Niyamas are the first two limbs of the eight-limbed path of yoga. These are essentially guidelines of ethical practices to help us evolve towards a harmonious existence with ourselves and the world. The ethical observance of Santosha, Contentment, offers us attitudes and actions for finding peace within the chaos of modern life.
Yoga philosophy reminds us that contentment, or Santosha, is not obtained by external things or in environmental circumstances. Contentment doesn’t occur when we renovate the house, advance at work, or reach a certain age or weight. Nor is it resigning oneself to passively thinking “who cares?!” Contentment is an active choice to seek refuge in a calm center of the Self and trusting that everything we need is already present.
Here are some tips to cultivate contentment:
1. Let go of comparisons, preconceptions, expectations of what “should be.”
2. Welcome to what is right now.
3. Experience this very moment with the entirety of your awareness, senses, heart.
4. Express steadfast gratitude for faith in this moment.
Try this meditation: