Santosha

I met a good friend yesterday for lunch, and the concept of ‘santosha’ came to mind during it. Santosha in yoga philosophy refer to contentment. You neither like or dislike the moment, but you simply allow yourself to be present and to bask in a sense of inner harmony and love. These moments are mostly hard to find, as, although we often engage in conversations, we aren’t always present during them. Instead our minds are often so busy interpreting and judging what is being said, that we hardly ever just sit back and listen. It is when we start listening without feeling the need to reply, that we most often stumble upon moments of pure contentment.

Robert Butera describes contentment as “the art of appreciating what we have and desiring no more than what is necessary for maintaining our life”.  In the consumer society we live in, santosha becomes more a  conscious choice than a state of being that simply happens, as we have to daily choose contentment when bombarded by advertising that try to convince us that we are lacking whatever is being sold. And selling products sometimes have less to do with the product, than with what the product represents. So we try to buy happiness, acceptance and contentment, which may last for a brief moment in time before it simply disappears again like early morning mist that are being burned away by the sun. And so the cycle of consumerism sucks us in, as we will never find santosha this way. Discontent will always be the dominant energy in our lives if we allow our habits to be dictated by a society that says ‘more is better’.

I am presently very aware of the role I play as a consumer, and I must confess that it is not entirely pleasant to face the reality of my habits and desires. I love beautiful things, and, even though I try to buy only what I need, I am at times tempted to buy into the advertiser’s dream of the perfect life. My solution has always been to avoid shopping centres all together, which is not a bad tactic in itself, but it simply does not address or change the way I function in this world. It is simply avoidance and denial. Now that I have started to rid myself of all the belongings that I no longer need or desire, I have come to realise just how many things I have in my life that I simply do not need anymore to maintain a happy and comfortable life.

We certainly do need physical possessions in order to be comfortable and to live the life in which we can function optimally. The question we need to ask is simply: “how much do we really need?” So as I am sifting through my earthly possessions, I can see when in my life some of the things were necessary, but as I moved from place to place, instead of letting it go once its original purpose has expired, I simply kept it, and found a space for it in my new home. I have come to realise that this is how I started to clutter my life with the past.

The past is my lived reality, and even though I will always keep certain mementos and objects that I love from it, I also realise that I should only keep what I love and still need. If I don’t, I am preventing myself from embracing my future, as I am weighing myself down with my past. Life should be lived in the moment, and it is by letting go of what no longer serves us, that we can invite new adventures into our lives. And that is what I am doing: inviting in the energy of endless possibility.

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1 Comment

  1. August 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Moving soon…I really hope I can do the same thing…I need to…


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