Samtosha – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Pada  II. Sutra 42
Samtosad  anuttamah sukha labhah
From contentment, supreme happiness is gained.

Contentment comes from a place of having peace with our selves, in this peace within, our desires come from love. When resting in this love within, our desires are naturally supportive of both our selves and of others.

It is nothing wrong with desires, the problem arises when our desires are not aligned with love. In the world now there is a lot of people following their desires out of fear, and we have created a world out of balance.

On our path of going inwards and unveiling what we have suppressed and getting familiar with how our internal thought patterns work, we can more easily recognize if our desires come from love or from a negative pattern/fear. These patterns are often unconscious and we might not even know that we are driven by fear.

We might be on a quest of attaining more wealth or more power, and these desires for more can come from a desire that is based in for instance a fear of there not being enough or a fear of losing our position. When we become aware of our subconscious fears we have a chance to make different choices, when we are not aware of these fears they tend to run our lives without us even noticing it.

If we try to be content from the level of thinking, it can in itself become a self-destructive pattern of “I shouldn’t desire this, and I shouldn’t want that…”, this can just create more stress and is certainly not aligned with our first yama which is ahimsa. What we rather could do, instead of judging our desires, is to look within and notice where they are coming from. In meditation we can recognize the feelings on a deeper level and see if our desires comes from fear or if it comes from love. It might take some time and practice to notice this as we have layers of beliefs that will dissolve in its own pace when we start looking inwards. With some desires we can more easily recognize where they stem from, and we can see clearly just by asking our selves “will this bring me and others more happiness?”

In our physical yoga practice what typically can take us out of our presence, is that we should be somewhere else with our bodies, we should be stronger or more flexible. Again, it is nothing wrong with this desire in itself, but it might come from a fear based thinking of not feeling good enough exactly as you are right now. This drive forward and pushing our selves, both in yoga and in life, can lead to injuries in yoga and illness from living a too hectic life. When we are constantly trying to be better, look better or do better, we live life in fear, we create more stress in our body and mind.

If we step behind the thinking of “we should be better or somewhere else then we are right now, in our lives, with our bodies or with our emotions”, we can start to recognize where this thinking come from. Where is the feeling sitting inside of you where you believe you should be better? From noticing and allowing emotions space within, we create room for fears to start dissolving, not by pushing them away or judging our selves for being fearful or having negative emotions (we all have them!), but by allowing it space within.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu


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