Santosa: What a wonderful word!

Hakuna Matata – what a wonderful phrase! Hakuna Matata? Ain’t no passing phase, it’s our problem-free philosphy! Hakuna Matata!”

This little song (in the appropriate Disney voices of course) was bouncing in my head last night as I lay down to rest, contemplating the yogic notion of santosa –  contentment, acceptance of what is.  Santosa is the 2nd niyama (personal observances) laid out in the Yoga Sutra.  Contentment sounds pretty good to me and according to II.42, sontasad an-uttamah sukha-labhah – “by contentment, supreme joy is gained” and that sounds super great too….but…how? Teach me contentment, oh great yogis!!!

Some days I am super content.  I believe, I accept and I feel gratitude.  I trust that all is well and that all is right on schedule.  I have a lot to be happy about. I have a nice home, good health, a wonderful partner, loving family, a poorly-paying but enjoyable job and many beautiful opportunities for growth in all different realms of my life.  And on the most basic level, I’m safe!  I’m lucky! I don’t live in a war-torn country with bombs dropping out of the sky (Libya, hello? F*#%d up world out there!).  Let’s be serious here, I really have nothing to be bummed out about!  On top of all of this, I have the privilege and ability to spend almost 3 hours of every day meditating, chanting and practicing asana.  So really, what is there not to be content about?

Well, I’m having a fat day.  To be fair, it’s a size 4 fat day….meaning that I can rationalize that indeed I am not fat…I am fairly slender and rather comfortable living in spandex, but even so I feel fat and that feeling sucks!  That feeling pervades everything on these types of days.  I keep saying positive affirmations to myself, trying to be loving towards myself, but the manic, mean, negative voice normally rides over the sweet, kind, desperately positive one.  Oh well.  Some days are like that.  Tomorrow will be better…I’ll have an awesome practice and a beautiful day and I will prance around happily with no dreaded notions of fatness in my consciousness at all.  It happens like that…good, bad, good, bad, thin, fat, thin, fat and on and on…. These swirling crazy-making vrittis reaffirming avidya – ignorance – the mistaking of what is impermanent with what is permanent.  This makes us suffer! Yoga teaches all of this.  The Yoga Sutra delineate it all very clearly.  And I have a Boyfriend Yogi to constantly remind me of these things, whether I want to hear it or not!

So when I got home from practice and was all up in my mean mind-babble, I got on Facebook, and the first thing that popped up in my newsfeed was a post by David Garrigues saying,

“When I learn to concentrate and settle my mind then I see reality. During the times the mind is not settled, I don’t see reality, but instead I identify with the various thought patterns. The forces that cause me to misperceive reality are as powerful and dangerous as a wild tiger. And the triumph of seeing through my illusions is on a par with taming and riding a tiger.”

And then, before I’m even through reading the first sentence, Boyfriend Yogi, on his Mac in the next room starts reading it aloud to me.  Ah, the universe has such a sense of humor and an impeccable way with timing!

So, I had to take a step back and get real with myself.  I needed to step outside the little world inside my head and realize that I do not want or need to perpetuate the wild whirlings of my disillusion.  I do not want to fight with what is or to fight with myself.   I can strive to be better, to work harder, to practice with more devotion, to live with more kindness and compassion and still be CONTENT with where I am right now!  Being content does not mean being complacent.  Santosa requires more than just a good attitude.  Santosa requires FAITH.

“Do your practice, all is coming”.

– Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Blessings to all.




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