Santosha is one of the niyamas, the second of the eight limbs of yoga. The niyamas are about self-regulation and santosha translates into contentment. The interesting aspect of this self-journey which is what I believe yoga is about…this union of ourself with ourself (which, of course, includes the divine) is that contentment is under the discipline of restraint.
Contentment is not about the striving to have more, be more, seen more. You do not require more than what you have in this moment in order to achieve contentment. Contentment lies in the idea that you are enough, that this is where you are at, and that even amidst the turmoil and pain, you can embrace santosha.
In my view of this beautiful idea, it is not the giving up or the caving in or the acceptance that brings this ease, but rather the constant awareness, constant discipline of practice, that allows me to choose contentment out of many other choices.
It is different from satisfaction which we feel after a delicious meal or an incredible vacation or a well-deserved promotion. Contentment happens without needing other things to feel good.
“Inside the River,” is the novel I have just finished. I am swimming in santosha about myself and my determination and discipline regarding the process of telling this story. I am content with it, regardless of its upcoming achievement or failure. I am not worried about where the book goes, because the book is….