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The practice of contentment appears in the ancient text, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, in the
principle of Santosha. This is the simple yet transforming practice of being at peace with who we
are and what we have in this present moment. We decided to practice this for the month of
November.

 

Contentment does not imply complacency as we go through life. We all must function in the
world to secure the basic human need for survival and companionship. It is natural for us to
acquire things that we enjoy and to focus our energies on achieving goals and making use of our
talents. To live with contentment in our hearts means that we can be at peace with the process of
pursuing goals and enjoying our lives without depending on the outcome of our efforts.

 

The belief that our happiness depends on the results of our actions or the opinions of others leads
inevitably to anxiety and frustration. Approaching life this way, we unconsciously surrender our
happiness to factors beyond our control, and life becomes a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

 

When we learn to experience an inner source of peace, our relationships to people and goals
change – we are no longer counting on them and are free to explore and enjoy them. Yoga
practices like meditation help us access this inner source, a personal center of balance that is
always available to us. Contentment then comes naturally to us, even as we continue to be engaged in life.

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