13 Apr Niyama: Santosha संतोष
By Lucia Yess
The second niyama (self-discipline) is santosha, संतोष. Santosha is contentment. Contentment makes me think of abundance, joy, truth, simplicity. It doesn’t include happiness however. I think true happiness comes from contentment which according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to be content is “to limit (oneself) in requirements, desires, or actions.”
In other words, the striving to achieve and to obtain isn’t aiding in our contentment. Sure, we may feel temporary happiness when we get something (material), start a new relationship or get a new job. But we all know that this feeling fades. It fades because we relate happiness and well-being to having and doing more. Eventually we have a conflict in our relationship or with a co-worker. Or the item that once brought so much happiness is out of season, broke, or a new and improved version emerged on the scene. Instead this niyama suggests that we enjoy quality and less.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t get to have items, relationships, or a job. Instead it says, when we have a healthy relationship or buy an item, that we appreciate the highs and the lows. It means that we don’t have to continue to search for the next best thing. It means that we appreciate and recognize what we already have in our life and give thanks. Contentment means that we stop comparing our life to someone else. Basically it means, “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”
I challenge all of us to make a list of people, scenarios, projects, groups, ideas, and items that we are connected to that bring us contentment. Look at it and continue to add to it when something comes up that you are grateful for. When you are feeling lethargic or let down, take time to look over your list and appreciate what you have in your life and what you add to our world.