Santosa is part of the Niyamas and means being content with what we have. According to yoga philosophy practicing santosa in our lives will bring us a sense of peace and inner joy.
Yesterday we celebrated the Jewish New Year and the Rabbi spoke about schaudenfreude, a pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. These days it seems everyone is trying to one up the next person whether it be driving faster, talking louder or the much larger election ahead. I can't help but of think of santosa (or santosha) and how it can benefit us all.
I reached for my favorite yoga reference book, B.K.S Iyengar's Light on Yoga and read this.
"Contentment (Santosa) and tranquility are states of mind. Differences arise among men because of race, creed, wealth and learning. Differences create discord and there arise conscious or unconscious conflicts which distract and perplex one. Then the mind cannot become one-pointed and is robbed of its peace."
By no means is this is easy. If it was, imagine how lovely our world could be?
Here are some ways to find santosa.
- Be content with what you have. Objects can not provide peace.
- Give up superficial chatter. Negative words, gossip and judgment will never lead to contentment.
- Don't hurt others. This can be large (don't shoot other people) or smaller (don't be greedy).
We are slowly entering the holiday season which is meant to be joyful. It is important to find balance this time of year by doing for others. You might be surprised at the contentment it will bring.
I invited you to slow down, breathe, listen, think before you talk, smile and find santosa this season.
How do you practice santosa?
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Image by Adam J. Kurtz. Follow him at @ADAMJK.