SANTOSHA or Are You Grateful for Your Life?
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras the purpose of yoga is to purify, to destroy the impurities of mind and body, and to cultivate inner knowledge, so that clarity and discernment could cut through, and ultimately discern the True Self, resting in its True nature.
The first two from Patanjali’s 8th Limbs of Yoga are yamas and niyamas – ethical considerations and observances, preliminary and foundational for the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. Only after yamas and niyamas, one can get to asana, and ultimately achieve the state of yoga. Santosha is one of the five niyamas, required for practicing asana and consequently (and eventually) for achieving the state of pure consciousness.
Yoga Sutra 2.42: samtosad anuttamah sukha labhah
Contentment brings supreme happiness. Translation by Dennis Hill
So, what is Santosha?
Is it to be happy from everything we have, where we are in life and who we are?
‘To find happiness we must discriminate between inner and outer contentment. Since the outer world is the domain of change, contentment may not be desirable or even possible…
Only the mind is discontent, as the Self is ever content. In the mind that is entangled in desire for what is not, attachment and fear, there is no peace. To know the uninterrupted happiness of contentment of the Self, the mind must be restraint to equanimity through asana and meditation.’ (Interpretation by Denis Hill)
Taking into account that Patanjali was a male Brahmin, who lived in the mid-5th century, full time religious and celibate ascetic, who would have renounced his duties and family life, and was committed to ahimsa-non-violence, we could assume that there is a difference between our life today and his philosophical concepts and their application. However, how do we achieve this inner contentment in our daily life nowadays and how do we practice it?
Let’s think about everything that surrounds us and ask ourselves: are we happy with our lives?
Are we grateful for our families, for our friends and beloveds, for the people who are next to us and support us?
For all the beautiful beings that have crossed our human paths, with whom we have shared knowledge, love & experiences?
Do we feel gratitude for our desires, dreams and passions that inspire us to feel?
Do we feel gratitude for the ability to feel itself?
Are we grateful for our intuition that guides us in difficult moments and shows us the wisdom within?
For the nourishment we receive every day?
For the nature around us and its beauty?
Are we grateful for our life experiences: for the events, which we recognize as sad, traumatic and negative, the events from which we learned and took us towards personal and spiritual growth; for the events, which we acknowledge as joyful and happy, these moments for which is worth living?
Are we grateful for all the love we received and continue receiving from our families, our lovers, our partners, the earth, the trees, the sea, the sun and the moon?
Are we grateful to ourselves for what and who we are? For the sense of self that allows us to serve the world in our unique ways?
'The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.'
Yes, there are difficult moments in life, which were and will be, as they are fundamental part of it. These events are the openings, the abyss, the origination of a gaze beyond, sensing the world & most significantly they are the source for transformation on the path of personal and spiritual growth. Acknowledging and accepting them leads us towards happy and blissful life. Only the mind is discontent as for its desires for what is not, but discerning inner from outer contentment we find our true being - pure consciousness.
Having the time to reflect on life here on this beautiful Croatian island at the Adriatic Sea, and having my birthday recently, I feel so grateful for my life journey... it's been a surprising, quite interesting & exciting story so far! Story full of emotions, love & learning. A story I embrace and accept with all that connotations to it created by society.
I feel gratitude to my family, to my mum who is the reason I am in this world now, to the people that I met through my life path & from whom I have learned and with whom I shared my knowledge, to the earth, which always supports us, the sun which shines bright into my face, to the stars for shining glamorously in the sky every night!
Gratitude for the joy of teaching & the sense of fulfillment when the students are happy and grateful for the experience I have offered them in our yoga classes. So happy to be guiding these newly initiated beings towards their first steps on the path of yoga.
Love life & do what you love! Todo con amor sale bien. ❤
I bow to the divinity within you from the divinity within me.
Love & Light ❤