Just Be: Moving Towards Contentment

It is an important lesson to learn; how to accept and live with ourselves. We must find how to do this before we can live with others in true harmony. Our lives are filled with surprise encounters and new acquaintances which means we have to be aware of ourselves and “who” we are projecting before we can create relationships of true value. Yoga is very much focused on teaching skills which help to cultivate the best relationships we can with ourselves and others around us. Within the Ashtanga Yoga system there are two limbs along the “Eight-fold path” which focus on these very relationships: Yamas and Niyamas. Yamas or “restraints” are meant to help one re-evaluate the value of their social relationships and help to improve them. While Niyamas on the other hand, are observances of the self. It was profound for me, to admit that I needed to work on my inner self and the relationship I had with that very self. I needed to step out and witness my ego in order to find the real lasting kind of contentment that Pantajeli speaks about in the second observance of five, Santosa. “By contentment, supreme joy is gained,” (Sutra 2.33) this statement insinuates to me that before you can obtain the supreme and ultimate kind of joy every human being would like to experience, you must discover contentment first, joy is only a product of this Santosa (contentment). Many different kinds of joy can be felt throughout life but, most of those feelings are as temporary as the objects or circumstances that they develop from; life events like a marriage or births, sex, drugs, entertainment, new clothes, new cars and so on there are so many different ways to acquire this false sense of supreme joy. This “supreme joy” Pantajeli describes is much more esoteric, it comes as a product of acknowledging and accepting the ordinary things in life just as they are, with out any selfish desire to modify or manipulate them. I have begun to realize that we must gaze inward to find true peace not outwards  at the material world which promotes the vicious cycle of greed and desire; we can never be at peace with the material things in our lives the way we can with ourselves. The experiment I conducted was meant to monitor and measure my own sense of contentment. I decided that I was going to keep a journal in order to open up with myself and try exploring how to uncover that sense of true contentment without the need for anything, or anybody else. Self awareness became the most crucial tool to use, it helped to shine the light on the simple and enlightening fact that, I had everything I needed to be perfectly content right where I was at the very beginning.