santoshad anuttamah sukha labhah
Contentment brings supreme happiness
Yoga Sutras, aphorism II.42
Is the grass greener elsewhere?
Have you ever felt envious of your neighbor? Yes? You are not the only one. Indeed, we have almost all this tendency to think that the grass is greener elsewhere.
But how do you feel when it happens to you? Not very happy, is it?
Santosha or the principle of contentment
To fight this tendency, Patanjali put forward santosha or the principle of contentment as his second niyama.
It comes from the idea that one who is satisfied with what he is and what he has is going to live in the present moment and will not need to look for things outside of him to be happy.
He will then not fall into the pitfalls of jealousy or frustration and live in joy.
I think this adage is more than true.
Change your state of mind and fall in love with your own life
If you change your mindset to the contentment of what you are and what you have, rather than always looking at how others are and what they have, you will open your heart and your mind to the gratitude of what life brings you when she does it. Therefore, you will know how to see abundance and beauty in everything that comes your way.
Obviously, it is easier said than done, especially when times are grayer than pink. However, the more you will enjoy your life, even when it's not perfect, the more you will be able to trust it. You will thus gain peace and happiness whatever happens.
On the way to contentment
A good exercise is to get away from our preferences. As Deborah Adele shows in her book The Yamas & Niyamas, it is our story that gives an imprint to things. If we can detach ourselves from our subjectivity towards them, we can more easily appreciate all that is offered to us.
Another way to develop one's contentment attitude is to do things just for the sake of doing them and not for their potential results. For example, when you practice yoga, enjoy the moment of this practice and the pleasure of moving your body, rather than doing it in the expectation of getting your body to look a certain way (Deborah Adele shows in her book The Yamas & Niyamas).