A recipe for a happy life

What gives you satisfaction in life? What brings you a feeling of happiness, peace, joy? Close your eyes and think before you read on.


We often look for these feelings outside ourselves - in other people, situations, material goods. But the constant pursuit of feelings, material goods or people can become exhausting and tiring in the long run. Yes, of course we will experience temporary joy or happiness when we get what we wanted, but how long does that feeling really last?


When we reach this temporary sense of peace, we become very attached to it and fight hard to keep it, which ultimately leads to sadness and bad mood again, until we find the next goal that is supposed to make us happy.


Have you noticed that the happiest and most contented people in the world are not those who are the richest and have everything they want, but those people and nations who live the simplest lives?


Simplicity is the first cousin of contentment. (John Stott)


Simplicity and gratitude are, in my opinion, key ingredients to contentment.


But what does satisfaction even mean?


Contentment or Santosha is one of Patanjali's five Niyamas. It means being satisfied with everything we are and what we already have. This does not mean that we have to give up our desires completely. Santosha is not a state of being without any need or desire, but rather a state of not taking too much and not taking less than necessary.


So there is a difference between the mindless pursuit of "cravings" and the conscious pursuit of "needs." Craving is a strong, ever-widening compulsion to accumulate material goods, an addiction to something or someone, and a state in which a person accumulates whatever is already the target of his greed or desire. Contentment is the opposite state, without the craving that creates entrapment and addiction; a satisfied person understands some minimum he needs and is aware of alternative ways to satisfy these needs, freeing himself to do what he wants and what seems right, correct, reasonable.


Santosha is discussed in Indian texts on different levels - on the level of intention, inner state and its expression. As a purpose, Santosha means giving your best and accepting the results of your efforts. As an inner state, contentment combines and works with other virtues such as Asteya (non-stealing), Aparigraha (non-hoarding, non-possessiveness) and Daya (compassion for others). As an external expression, Santosha is expressed as "calmness", "being completely satisfied and not wanting anything more than the basic".


Yoga Darshana defines contentment as an inner state in which "there is a joyful and contented mind, regardless of the environment, regardless of whether it encounters pleasure or pain, gain or loss, fame or contempt, success or failure, compassion or hatred "


I believe that we all want to achieve this state - a state of contentment and peace, regardless of our wealth and external circumstances. We make goals and promises (“When I do this, I will be a better person”, “When I get a job/partner/car/money, I will be happy”), but all this causes us to be so focused on the future, to completely ignore the present moment, which is already beautiful and perfect. To ignore our true selves and the fact that we already have everything we need within us. The search for happiness in any external form, whether it is various substances, people or possessions, only leads to a greater search.


A harvest of peace is produced from a seed of contentment. - Proverbs


What if you stopped for a while and tried to find this peace and contentment within yourself?


The practice of yoga helps us in this. You are welcome.



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