Santosha – Contentment


Seeking and avoiding are expensive uses of energy”  D. Adele

Contrary to the task this week, to notice when we seek pleasure or avoid discomfort, I tend to the reverse.  Interestingly, after observing my thoughts and actions, I notice I seek discomfort and avoid pleasure.  Could this be symptomatic of my Roman Catholic upbringing?  Those years in a blue tunic and unbearable leotards?  Of harsh, unyielding nuns in crisp, black habits? Of weekly mass and chronic confession?  Of scraping the bottom of my nascent life to dig up something to disclose to the priest that proved I am somehow worthy of divine absolution but not much else?

Not too long ago, when I was pining for a bit of travel, listening to my mother describe a glorious Baltic cruise, I abruptly encountered a limiting belief.  I was told that these things too will come to me but not until I “have suffered enough”.

By seeking suffering, I am misguided in believing that rewards will somehow arise from this state.  My experience has taught me that suffering only pulls me deeper into the morass and away from the light.  We are spiritual beings here on this plane to enjoy the bounty of earthly pleasures and, as in Buddhism, we are to release suffering in equanimity.

I feel the taut grip of guilt when I seek comfort and pleasure -when I am doing what brings me joy. I am slowly and mindfully learning to sink into ease and to stop swimming upstream and to redefine my life and myself outside of the paradigm of struggle.

Regardless of what we seek or avoid, these actions can blind us to the moment and the immediate richness of our surroundings.  In class last night, in the profound stillness of savasana, I allowed the moment to envelope me, and in that gap, there were no demands, no debts, no worries –  just deep, blissful serenity.


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