Monday, July 21, 2008

Santosha

Boy, it's time for my next Niyama already. Having just finished my orientation for the hospital it feels like time is really flying for me. I have my first real shift tomorrow and you can bet I'm worried it will go well. Hope hope!
The last two weeks I was practicing Shaucha which is the practice of cleanliness or purity. I have been putting off scrubbing my house down for the past few weeks because my sister is supposed to do it in lieu of rent. Unfortunately no amount of reminding seems to make the cleaning happen and I was getting to the point where I didn't want to be in my own house. I felt so good to get the place cleaned up. It's amazing how much more comfortable I feel in my own skin when the floors don't feel like a sand box.
This week the Niyama is Santosha or contentment. This Niyama goes well with our Yama practice of Aparigraha- Non-grasping. One the the easiest ways to be content is by not trying to hold onto things you can't control.
I was having a conversation with a girl today and she was saying how she wanted this boy she liked to do this or that and she wasn't sure what to do. The first thing I thought is that she can't decide what the boy was going to do, only how she is going to act. Sometimes we get caught up in how we want to world to behave and then when it doesn't participate in our plans we become upset. That's normal, it's human nature. But if you want to be content the first thing you have to do is realize that you only get to choose your own actions and noone else's. Then life becomes a lot more simple. Instead of trying to orchestrate the plans of the whole world you choose your own and hope everyone else finds their own path. What a hard lesson to learn:
You'll hear your brain tell you you can't be content because your house isn't nice enough or your job isn't good enough, but if you take a minute to quiet your brain you will find you already are content. Underneath all the thoughts and emotions there lies a state of simple bliss.
In everyday life an easy way of finding this contentment is placing all your focus into the task you are working on. Like washing the dishes. A lot of the time your brain wanders and you start thinking of the million things you'd rather be doing. Next thing you know you've cut your hand on a knife in the water or slipped and dropped a glass, or just done a poor job of washing the dishes. You've just brought yourself suffering. Life is the same way. If you had only been focusing on what you were doing you would have found contentment in the speed and quality of your work. Instead you became distracted and found a way to keep from being happy. In yoga we call this concentration ekagra or one-pointed mind. It's a skill that takes time to learn and the best way to learn it is to practice. So next time you wash the dishes use all your senses and experience what you're doing. Little tasks quickly become interesting.

For my Santosha practices for the next 2 weeks I plan to 1- Move from worrying about how I'm doing in my new job by paying attention to the new things I'm learning. I plan to write down three things I've learned everyday so that I'm pushed to be more aware of what is coming too me.
2- I plan to clear my mind whenever I'm outside walking and experience every step and sound. This is good practice for those people that end up at the end of their journey and can't remember how they got there.
3-I'm going to reaffirm my daily 15 minutes of meditation which have been getting lost in the tussle lately.
I think I'll also take 5 minutes to send contentment out in my thoughts to the people around me. I hope all is well.
*Hugs*
J.