Last week, a student sent me the most beautiful, heart-felt email about the positive influence that I’ve had on her life. I was incredibly moved, because I love feeling that kind of special connection to people, building relationships, and helping people live with joy and abundance in alignment with their True Selves. Her kind words tapped straight into my heart and made me feel very happy and content with my journey.
We all have certain feelings and outcomes that we want to cultivate, and these outcomes are, of course, different for each of us. My fiancé loves being outdoors and doing physically challenging activities, sports and adventures, so his feeling of exhilaration and contentment comes from exhausting himself with demanding physical activity and connecting with nature.
However, Buddha says that we can also find the root of our suffering through that which we are attached to. That sounds counterintuitive, though, because we actually do want to enjoy those amazing outcomes and feelings that we are attached to. We want to totally sit in them, and drink them in fully all the time.
The challenge is that we sometimes become too attached to the feeling or outcome. We want more of it. We demand it. Perhaps, we get to the point at which we can only be happy when we have that specific outcome or feeling.
But life doesn’t always turn out precisely like we planned. When our attachment to a specific outcome is too far out of balance, we can easily find ourselves on a rollercoaster of emotions, dipping Below-the-Line. The special feeling that once made you feel so big, full and alive, can make you feel small, unfulfilled and lost, if you don’t get exactly the result of feeling that you want.
It turns out that detachment from the outcome one of the secrets to living a fulfilled, joyful and happy life. In yoga, the art of detaching from the outcome in order to live happily in the moment can be expressed by the term Santosha – which means to be completely comfortable and content.
When practicing yoga on our mat, we can help build lasting contentment off our mat. For example, rather than wishing for a different yoga pose, you can alter your perspective and find a little joy by feeling your muscles strengthen or practice gratitude that you get to use your body and feel your heart beat. Yoga practice is to be present to the pose, to your breath, and to the lesson of that pose. Yoga and meditation can help bring you back to this moment.
So when you are off your mat and living in the real world, you can live out your yoga practice by being aware when the mind wanders, dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Know that you have the power to be mindful and bring your awareness back to this present moment. Awareness creates change and lasting peace. Santosha can only be found in this present moment.
How can you bring a little more santosha today, right now, in this moment?