I recently filmed a class on Udaya.com about Santosha, and when I set out to teach my class I asked myself, “where does contentment or satisfaction come from?” In looking deeper, it seems to come primarily from acceptance. Acceptance of where you are in your life, in your practice, in your personal or professional life. Which is not to say that you can’t have goals! Being complacent and being accepting are two very different things.
I am a very goal oriented person, but I also try to practice a healthy dose of acceptance for my flaws, my struggles, and my mistakes. I love feeling a sense of accomplishment as opportunities come my way or I finish something I have put a lot of work into, but I also can fall into the trap that everything I do has to produce a result or that I have to accomplish 45 things in a day, and if I don’t then I’m failing in some way. This kind of thinking is counter-productive.
Finding Santosha in your life means taking control of your life as much as it means releasing yourself from the sense that you can control anything. What do I mean by that? It means that you can’t sit idle and hope change will happen or hope to feel satisfied, but you also can’t grip to pre-conceived notions of what should be.
On the quest for Santosha also try not limiting yourself, celebrating your wins, and staying in the present moment. Give yourself permission to feel truly fantastic about the goals you have set for yourself and the small progress you make towards those goals. Finding self-satisfaction will also rely heavily on removing the need to constantly analyze what has already happened or what may happen. While Santosha is difficult and may take a lifetime to find, the ability to recognize that you are an incredible person and don't have to change a thing is so worth the work!