Being Content

Strangely, this may be a daily struggle for us who already have all we need. Unlike an incredible amount of people around the world, who have to fight for their survival everyday, we lead very comfortable lives, taking much of it for granted.

Aside from the physical well-being that is provided through access to potable water, food and shelter, I believe that we must also be grateful for the relationships we have with the people in our lives.

When we first meet, we feel overwhelmed by this gift of giving and undivided attention the other person is offering us. Of course, this state of ecstasy cannot and is not meant to last forever. As we travel through, it becomes a question of finding and nurturing this fine balance within our relationships.

However, recognizing and embracing the subtleties of the gifts can be very difficult in a world of such abundance. It may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t.

Just as we discard material goods, it sometimes seems much easier to flee and avoid relationships then it is to face difficult and fearsome situations. Our history as a species has made us risk averse. We want to feel a certain level of comfort and have control on the outcome. As soon as we are faced with controversy, the Ego tells us that we do not have to deal with this situation.

We have to learn to live with and accept uncertainty as the only certainty in life. Only then can we fully live our lives from one moment to the next. Of course, we have to recognize and discard abusive relationships, having confidence in Life that the space we create in doing so will soon be filled with new relationships and friendships for which we have formulated an intent.

“When there is love and two centers have met and dissolved and merged, and a new alchemical quality is born, contentment is there. It is as if the whole existence has stopped — no movement. Then the present moment is the only moment. And then you can say: Ah, this cake is delicious. Even death doesn’t mean anything to a man who is in love.” – Osho

So take another look at your own relationships with others, friendships, family bounds and loved ones. Become aware of what these people mean to you, remember how important they are and why you have chosen them to be a part of your life. Practice contentment as a way of life and you will never be deceived.

Namaste

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The Path to Peace of Mind

Maitri ~ Karuna ~ Mudita ~ Upeksha | Friendliness ~ Compassion ~ Contentment ~ Indifference

मैत्री करुणा मुदितोपेक्षाणांसुखदुःख पुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातः चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥३३॥

“All that is mutable in human beings (chitta) is harmonized through the cultivation of love (maitri), helpfulness (karuna), conviviality (mudita) and imperturbability (upeksha) in situations that are happy, painful, successful or unfortunate” ~ sentence 33, Samadhi Pada, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

There are 196 Yoga Sutras or aphorism (an original thought written or spoken in a concise form). Written around 100 BCE, the Sutras describes the Eight Limbed path or steps to happiness. According to Sri Patanjali, Maitri, Karuna, Mudita and Upeksha are the four great virtues one needs to cultivate in order to gain peace of mind.

Maitri / friendliness ~ Loving yourself before being able to extend that love to others. Accepting others and ourselves for who they {we} are, without judging or labeling. It constitutes the base of human relationship, without which these cannot exist. Although friendliness may not be so difficult, sometimes, accepting who we are, good and bad sides equal, is where the challenge lies.

Karuna / Compassion ~ Being helpful, providing assistance. Recognizing that we are all important to others, that we all have a role to play, and realizing that without others we would not be. True compassion is “when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them” (Tenzin Gyatso, XIVth Dalai Lama).

Mudita / Contentment ~ Similar to the Fifth Yama Aparigraha, this is the concept of non-coveting, rejecting jealousy and greed as a behavior that is acceptable. If someone has more than you, be happy for them. If you have more than others, share with them. Do not cultivate feelings of superiority or inferiority. Be content and grateful for the abundance you already have and acknowledge it. By being aware of what you have, you will be more easily able to grab onto the opportunities as they present themselves.

Upeksha / Indifference ~ Or, imperturbability. When you come across wicked and mean-spirited people, be indifferent to them. On the other hand, in any relationship you are bound to see someone’s lesser personality; remember that it does not make you better than them and that you also have your flaws. When you judge others you do not define who they are, you define yourself.

Peace of mind, for me, is the foundation we should strive to build on. By having such a strong base we become anchored and grounded people. Just as the long roots of the Lotus flower allows it to ride the waves, they always bring it back to its center. Namaste.

Living in Abundance

We are so often disappointed and discouraged, thinking that it should have been us, that it was our turn to gain. Meanwhile, the longer we spend here in this thought pattern, the less we appreciate what surrounds us. This needs-based perspective slowly poisoning our Life…

Siannaphey recently wrote a beautiful post about the Law of Attraction which, put simply, is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one attracts positive or negative results. In her post, she reminds us of two simple things: 1) “There is no competition and there is no lack“, which she explains by “One person getting an opportunity does not mean that we are deprived of the opportunity for ourselves“; and, 2) “What you are seeking is also seeking you“, that you do not need to go around running trying to force things to happen since Life will unfold as it will.

Attitude is key. Contentment is the way.

Recognizing and being grateful for what you have, your friends, your family, your health, is what IS important. By being content, we acknowledge this, not taking these gifts for granted. By cultivating this attitude in more difficult times, we become able to see that we have so much. Then, any burden is easier to carry and any obstacle far less greater than we had expected it to be.

And so, today I encourage you to trust in Life again. Like the feeling of warmth from sun rays upon your skin, have confidence that there is enough for everyone. Like the vastness of the many oceans, open yourself to a world of infinite possibilities, knowing that what you truly desire will manifest itself. And similarly to our yoga practice, as we move out of savasana, that after an end, there is always a new beginning. Namaste.

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