Satya and Santosha

24 Mar

I’m fascinated by the two S’s, Satya and Santosh – truthfulness and contentment, and the interesting connection they have with each other.

My daughter’s middle name is Santosha because I figured, if you can give a person one thing, wouldn’t it be contentment? (my husband says he wished I’d named all the kids Santosha because she proved to be such an amazingly contented baby) When I am most present, feeling most like myself, that’s what I’ve got – joy and contentment. If you were to take on the niyamas: purity, contentment, austerity, scriptural study and surrender to the universe, like a list of chores it would be ridiculous. It may be a fine affirmation and intention to say, “Today I am going to be content. Today I will surrender”, but the truth is that it’s part of our human condition to struggle with being content and letting go.

Remember the billboard in the movie LA Story that had personal mystical messages only for Steve Martin? Well, several years ago, in the midst of turmoil in my mind, I was driving behind a mini-van with a bumper sticker that was like a signpost from God. It lit up just for me and I really got the right message at the exact right moment. It said, Don’t believe everything you think. That was the day a little shift happened in me that has been key in liberating myself from anxiety and depression. Those words often come whispering back to me when I think I’ve got it all figured out! Contentment is always there, we just don’t see it because of maya, or the illusions that happen in the mind. The nature of the mind is to assert itself with all-encompassing thoughts and it will create world of strife that only exist there, in the mind. It’s given me a new perspective for the phrase, “it’s all in your head”.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off”… said Gloria Steinam. I always loved this quote in it’s original context, but when applied to what goes on in my mind, it is hilarious because it is so true! I’ve noticed that whenever I am experiencing stress, tension or frustration, I can trace it back to a thought deep inside my mind that isn’t true. How do I know it isn’t true? Because it just isn’t part of reality. Whenever I come up against reality or life as it is, I struggle and suffer. Whenever I find those thoughts that sound like, “She shouldn’t do that, I wish it were different, or even – just get through this” I know I’m fighting against Satya – the truth of what is. How do I know that it should be that way? Because it is that way. How do I know that I’m meant to be experiencing this? Because I am. If I can really embrace reality, I’m finding that all of my suffering is occuring in a dream, or nightmare that is playing out in my mind. Whenever I can cut through those thoughts, realize that I’m living in my mind instead of reality, I find liberation and release. I experience strength and focus to deal with what is in front of me. It’s as if all of that negative energy morphs into constructive energy. With that release comes contentment.

My meditation practice has changed for me. It has become much more humorous! By embracing the truth of what is I can see the delusion in my thoughts and see how hilarious they are. (my kids shouldn’t fight, my husband should read my thoughts and my cat should be considerate enough not to puke on my rug) I’m finding that I can hear my Buddha self easier and get clarity faster. I’m also experiencing greater awareness during the day as my mind takes me here and there. My relationships with my family and others are more real, more connected and a bit lighter. I think as I experience random waves of joy and bliss, that I might possibly be experiencing Samadhi for a few minutes here and few more there.

Santosha can only happen with Satya, contentment comes with being honest with reality. Throw in a mix of Ishvarapranidhana, and you’ve got a beautiful day coming your way. But Ishvarapranidhana is another post. Or two, or three….

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