One of my favourite Niyamas...Contentment!
Life happens, storms rage, good times are followed by bad times, pandemics occur, we get ill, we have an accident, we see and hear things that anger us, we lose something or someone valuable, the washing machine breaks down...how wonderful would it be to remain calm and content throughout all of these things. Impossible? Well practice makes perfect...
This is an observance which I am constantly practising, not always succeeding, but keeping it going! Here’s a guide to practising it:
Something disturbing happens, I overreact, I see that I have overreacted, I step back, I breathe, I let it wash away and I am content. Having awareness of our reactions can therefore be very important for if we don’t notice them things can so easily spiral out of control, sometimes causing mayhem not only to ourselves but also to those around us.
Acceptance is often a great way to achieve contentment and also appreciation of what we have and what we are. We can always move forwards in a positive way without becoming a slave to our grasping minds.
Essentially, however, when we realise that we can find contentment within rather than outside ourselves that is when we truly succeed. So much of our ‘external world’ changes and is beyond our control, but when we close our eyes and connect with our true Self, our soul, then we are in the realm of ‘purusha’ the unchanging, the eternal.
And here is a little story to complete...
One day a very wise man was visited by an angel who said, “I am here to grant you a wish”. The sage said, “Thank you, but I don’t have a wish.” So the angel said, “Walk with me.” They walked for an hour and still the wise man had no wish, so at this point the angel made a suggestion, “Why not ask for contentment, no matter what life brings you?” The wise man nodded his head and agreed.