What is contentment exactly? Well Google tells us that contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. Through the eyes of yoga we see contentment as the second of the Niyamas in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga called Santosha.
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I think contentment is something many of us struggle with at any given moment in our live as we work to strive for the greatness we crave in this lifetime.
So how can we find contentment no matter where we are right now?
1. Remember that the grass is not (always) greener on the other side.
Now aside from what this Chinese proverb stays to continually look to other grasses will not only drive you crazy but you will continually find yourself in violent though towards other or worse yourself as you criticize and analyze whose life is better.
Try for just one day only looking to your grass. Then try it for one week, then one month, and hopefully you will start to find yourself happier and moving forward while you enjoy the ride.
2. Don’t see things as good and bad see all things as an opportunity to grow.
It can be very difficult to find Santosha when we are constantly categorizing our lives as good and bad. I did this for years and I spent day in and day out in the washing machine of death as I never seemed to grow from anything I came in contact with because as a result of seeing things as good and bad I eventually saw everything as not good enough and as a result never content or happy.
Can you see everything in front of you as an opportunity to grow?
3. Gratitude fosters contentment.
When we can muster up the ability to be more grateful we as a result start to build the foundation for contentment to enter. Those that you admire in your life most likely carry themselves with a sense of contentment and are probably gracious and giving (in some way).
How did they get to that palace of gratitude, giving and sharing? Contentment that’s how.
4. Develop a sense of emotional- maturity. Those that chose to no longer dive into the deep wells of self absorption often find themselves creating and budding a sense of contentment. This contentment that develops is usually out of a place of kindness, self acceptance and a deep need to find peace in our own lives.
5. Let go of the old thoughts and beliefs and mindsets. Whatever is happening is all based on a previous action or condition. And when we fully understand this we can arrive in a place where we can make peace with the moment (even if we don’t like it) see things more clearly and then from there strive for forgiveness.
Because with that forgiveness towards others and most importantly ourselves we then cultivate the greater desire and that is Santosha or contentment. To be happy to rid ourselves of the thoughts, beliefs and mindsets that brought us to this place in the first place is an incredibly liberating experience. One that will surely change the way our grass grows and gratitude flows.
Contentment is not something you have to wait for, it is not something you have to study many years to develop. Contentment and happiness are always available to us and using the five tips above will hopefully move whoever chooses to adopt these practices to their lives the ability to discover the contentment within.