Santosha is a practice within the eight-limbed path of yoga roughly translated as contentment.
Santosha requires practice because it is human nature to want more; to want something different than what we have.
Our brain is wired with a negativity bias, looking for what’s missing rather than what is already present.
That bias helped us survive as a species, but it runs amuck in a modern world where our abundance has become so overwhelming that entire books are dedicated to strategies to relinquish the excess.
Immersed in exploitive messaging that we will be happier if…we lose weight, make more money, buy the car, take the trip…we can lose sight of our inherent enoughness and how little we actually need outside of ourselves to feel content.
The more we have, the less any of it means.
Perhaps the greatest illustration is in the loss of meaning in so many of our cultural traditions as we repeat the motions until the performance more closely resembles obligation than inspiration.
If we find ourselves anxious, drained, overwhelmed or judgmental when the intent is to reconnect and give thanks, an invitation to pause:
If we step out of the undercurrent of comparison and expectations to make an intentional choice, what would that look like?
From this vantage, we can make a conscious decision and release resistance and stress as we transform obligation back into reclaimed meaning, perhaps simply in embracing the sources of meaning for those we love.
At any time, we can notice and shift from a victim mindset back into our authentic hero mindset; from stuck and reactive to abundant and generous.
Pause. Find gratitude. Release expectations. Simplify. Move forward with an open heart.
Perhaps the greatest gift is our presence and love after a pause to become content here and now.
“At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert