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Happy Holiday season and a great New Year!!!

As December is here and the year has passed, we somehow get involved in evaluation mode, created by the attachment to calendar measurements that somehow help us to make our lives easier and organized. It is quite surprising how much this attachment can melt with emotions and raise our anxiety level. But the truth is that most of us, at this time of the year, become immersed within these mixed emotions related mainly to the passage of time. Nothing will be particularly different on January first, but here we are engaged in asking whether we are enough, if we have done everything properly, if we have thrived in 2018. Now, in my understanding there are two forces playing behind this. The force of Ahankara, or our ego, and the force of Atman, or our inner presence, most commonly known as the soul.

The force of ego says: «I want to be better» . . . than you, than that, than them, than anything else. It is based on comparison and therefore brings disappointment, we can’t ever be satisfied enough, regardless of how successful we are. The force of Atman, or the soul, whispers: “I want to be better» . . . just that. Subtle difference, but still powerful. It is intrinsic in ourselves to be and do better. Better dads, better moms, better sons, betters daughters, better lovers, better sisters, better friends, better workers, better human beings. This is the force of Atman in which, according to Yoga, the seeds of memory and desire sleep. In the former case, we still feel some disappointment as part of our evolution — the need to refine ourselves and in that evolution we fail over and over again. In his book “Also Sprach Zarathustra” published in 1883, Frederic Nietzsche wrote: “I love whoever wants to create someone superior to him and of that luck succumbs”.

There is a remedy for these dilemmas, and it is called “Santosha”, the second of the fives Niyamas or rules of personal behavior. Santosha means contentment, satisfaction. Alistair Shearer described it as:

“The equanimity that sees things as they are, undistorted by expectations, need or fear”.

Cultivating Santosha then would bring great emphasis towards equanimity, a better way to develop observation instead of evaluation. Because when we observe, we remove ourselves from intellectual judgments that are, in the end, a construction of our mind. The spirit of contentment also refreshes the radiant expansion of our soul in its beautiful journey to light.

Every morning, as we wake up, we have the opportunity to choose between Santosha or Disappointment. As with all of the Yamas and Niyamas, contentment has to be cultivated with patience, humility, discipline, and joy.

I wish you a very happy holiday season and a great New Year — full of Santosha!!!        

Viva la Vida!!!

Diego Gesualdi