Contentment - Santosha

The word for contentment in Sanskrit is "santosha," and it is a quality all yogis and yoginis are supposed to cultivate. It is one of the "niyamas" - that the sage Patanjali speaks of in the Yoga Sutras.

Nischala Joy Devi, in her book, The Secret Power of Yoga, deviates from the common understanding of the yamas and niyamas as the "do's" and "don'ts" of yoga. Instead, she describes the expression of the yamas, as the reflection of our true nature, and the cultivation of the niyamas, as our evolution towards harmony.

For example, one of the yamas, "ahimsa," is often translated as non-violence. Devi, takes a more positive approach, born of the expression of consciousness in the heart instead of the head, and describes the more positive attributes implied in ahimsa - namely - the cultivation of reverence, love, and compassion for all.

Similarly, "asteya", is interpreted as generosity, and honesty, rather than non-stealing.

This is how she explains santosha as a quality or virtue to be espoused:

"When at peace and content with oneself and others
(Santosha), supreme joy is celebrated."

By the cultivation of this virtue, we are inwardly purified.

Here are some insights and quotes from The Inner Journey Newsletter:

"When the sun rises, I go to work. When the sun goes down, I take my rest. I dig the well from which I drink. I farm the soil which yields my food. I share creation. Kings can do no more."
- Chinese Proverb

Do you sense the peace and contentment that can come from an appreciation of one's place in the cosmos?

How do we get there with the complexities and pressures of our current lifestyles? Perhaps it is a matter of becoming aware of what we truly have as opposed to what our egos believe we need. If we look closely, we may find that our ego 'needs' are just desires.

When you find yourself longing for something, stop and ask, "What is missing from my life? Is it a need? What are the essential qualities of what I seek? How can I experience that now?"

"If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot."
- John Bunyan

"Try to be like the turtle - at ease in your own shell."
- Bill Copeland


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