After my post called The Great Big Itch, my friend Marie-Therese sent me a link to a term called Santosha, which is one of the Five Niyamas found in the Yoga Sutras.
Now, I have never in my life struck a yoga pose, but all this made a lot of sense to me. There must be something in that Hindi air over there:
Santosha is a state of acceptance of your current circumstances. It is a deep contentment with what you have. It is the lack of craving or needing more. It places value on what you have in the present, rather than what you might have in the future.
This satisfaction can only be achieved through letting go of things. Satisfaction by its very nature means being present and unattached. Isn’t it ironic? It’s not the Next Big Thing that will give you deep satisfaction. It is letting go of the Next Big Thing completely – in your mind and your heart, and then finally the big let go in your soul – that will bring you contentment.
When you live in a state of satisfaction, joy rises from your heart like a phoenix from the ashes. It is not the pursuit of happiness that we need to seek, but in a world of consumerism, we simply require some contentment.
Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.
The current of the river swept silently over them all – young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks at the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
But one creature said at last, ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’
The other creatures laughed and said, ‘Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you shall die quicker than boredom!’
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, ‘See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!’
And the one carried in the current said, ‘I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.’
But they cried the more, ‘Saviour!’ all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour.