Collectively, we don’t know the answers yet, which means that individually, we must be part of the answers.
But first, we must learn to listen very carefully to the fear that tells us we are alone and we should be afraid and we will not make it through this tumult strong enough to find a new normal. We must hear this, so we can choose to disregard it.
We must calm this overactive, anxious, panicked voice by saying, “I hear you fear, but you are not Truth; you are not the way of Light and depth and love. I choose connection and kindness and quiet. I choose to stay grounded in what I know is Life Giving and what brings me closer to Wholeness.”
We choose this by sitting with our fear and our hope and our panic and the fullness of what is, until we feel grounded in stillness. We choose this stillness because this stillness is the place where inspiration and hope and answers emerge.
According to the yoga tradition, we develop inner stillness through Meditation, Breath and Community.
Feeling contentment during this time of global unease, disease and angst that is the COVID-19 disaster of 2020 is patently ludicrous.
To me, feeling contentment happens when I’m resting in a lawn chair watching aspens glitter, drinking coffee after a long trail hike. Or hunkering down on the couch with RussellClive, a chai and Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, spending the afternoon going nowhere.
In these scenarios, of course, I have nothing to worry about. No pressing deadlines, no new website platforms to learn in order to keep my business afloat because my entire city is locked in their homes, terrified to touch anything or anyone. No parents or grandparents who could get sick. No friends who have suddenly lost their source of income just weeks before having their second baby. No cell phone to continually check the unnerving minute-by-minute alteration of the Rules of Coronavirus. In these contentment daydreams, I am a veritable fortress of ease.
This is not happening so far in 2020. I’m not feeling contentment. I’m feeling sometimes like the roof is falling in and other times like this whole thing is an inside joke that I’m smiling frantically along to, not unlike my mentor Michael Scott.
In Yoga Philosophy, inner contentment is one of the five core personal practices, called niyamas. You can read more about core Yoga Philosophy on my page key yoga learnings.
The Yoga Sutra written about contentment (santosha) is translated as, “From contentment one gains supreme happiness.” (II.41)
Which, at the moment, sounds naive and opaque and wildly unhelpful. But as a yogi and spiritual seeker, my responsibility is to pause and discern: where is there wisdom in this?
Here is the wisdom:
If my primary aim is to feel contentment, I’m doomed. There will always be something newer, shinier, bigger and better promising “supreme happiness!” Feelings are fleeting unreliable (you nailed it with Inside Out, Pixar), and suffering is an inevitable part of the human experience.
However, if my primary aim is to be contentment, secure in my worth, my deepest connection to Source, my commitment to my vision of a healed world and to my values of compassion and graciousness and authenticity…. no matter what… I might have a chance.
Contentment cannot be based on what I own or my hierarchy on the corporate restructuring chart or what plaques I hang on the wall or how many people look up to me or how relevant I am on social media. The minute I start attaching my worth, my identity, my sense of fulfillment and sense of self to any external situation, it can be taken away. Suffering will surely follow.
Contentment has to be based on who I am and how I forge a refuge of reverence for the incredible gift that is my next breath.
Contentment isn’t a feeling. Contentment is a Knowing. It’s a deep inner knowing that, even in the midst of suffering, I’ve chosen to be grateful that I am alive in this present moment. And to act with compassion in this present moment. And to speak with integrity and clarity, and counsel wisely and care deeply and choose authentically in this present moment.
People flow in and out of our lives, possessions come and go, even opinions and ideals change over time. In other words, the outer world is in constant flux; yoga says that the only conceivable way to feel anchored in contentment is to remember that our depth, meaning and deepest Self orbits not around these changing circumstances (prakriti) but is anchored to the permanent light of awareness and Creative Source that sustains all living things. That, readers, is santosha.
I offer you this Santosha Guided Meditation as a practice of reverence and refuge. Please return to it often and share it with loved ones.
Santosha Guided Meditation
Guided Meditation Teachings
Love these Resources? Consider partnering with Lisa to continue providing valuable teachings that promote hope, health and happiness here:
“We read books and we listened to stories and we listened to each other.
We rested and we waited and the ground turned green and the daylillies bloomed secretly overnight.
We looked lovingly into each other‘s eyes and saw each other in stillness for the first time in many weeks or many years.
We took walks together as families and we cuddled our pets as we reassured those that we love that everything would be ok.
We took a look at what we loved, and who we loved and how we supported each other. We thought about the impact of our purchases, our spending, our investments, our time.
We consciously decided how to support businesses and people that we cared about.
We took a hard look at what we valued and how we lived by these values. We made decisions to be more mindful with our time in the future. And move a little slower and appreciate a little more.
We valued our health.
We sat and we watched the rain fall and we ate nourishing meals and drank copious amounts of coffee.
We reached out to each other and we said, how can I help? And we meant it.
We were kind and gracious. When an appointment was cancelled or an event was postponed we said, I understand; stay safe and stay well.
We paid attention to what we were buying, where we were buying it, how we were using it, and what we could do without. We chose to share instead of to hoard.
We said thank you. We meant it.
We said, we are in this together.”
Readers and Seekers:
We are in this together. Listen to this Podcast Interview with Lisa about the benefits of Yoga as a Spiritual Practice. Take a moment to re-set and ground yourself. Now is the time to practice your yoga.
Meditation may be the key to sticking to a healthy eating plan, accurately perceiving your body’s hunger cues and staying at your optimal weight without a diet plan. Research shows that your chance of staying at your optimal weight after weight loss programs of increases when you incorporate relaxing breathing techniques and meditation practices into your daily routine.
When you’re meditating, you’re honing your ability to perceive hunger cues, mitigating stress hormones that lead to weight gain, strengthening your resolve to make healthier food choices, and enhancing your self-image.
The Mindfulness Connection:
Mindfulness is the ability to identify and examine the individual thoughts that pass through your consciousness. It’s integral to the practice of meditation, where the goal is not to stop or judge your thoughts, but to notice them enough to choose healthy thoughts over unhealthy thoughts.
In her book, Meditate Your Weight, Tiffany Cruikshank founder of Yoga Medicine, posits that your most helpful ally in weight loss is your mind-body connection, which is significantly strengthened by meditation and mindfulness practices. “Mind-body connection is essential for long term permanent weight and health changes. From research we know that the small changes we can commit to over time are much more impactful on our long-term health; the mindfulness we bring to our daily habits can be life changing,” Cruikshank explains. “A non-judgmental awareness [is] additional protection that allows us to be human and imperfect along the way, safeguarding us from the roller coaster of falling off the wagon of our extreme health plans.”
This program with Lisa Ash Drackert, Yoga Medicine Therapeutic Specialist, includes a Book Study of Meditate Your Weight by yoga teacher and health expert Tiffany Cruikshank as well as detailed yoga, breathing, and meditation instruction to help you approach your health with confidence and a sense of empowerment.
“Meditate Your Weight” 5 Week Series and Book Study
Thursdays at 4:30 beginning April 2, 2020
Meet for book discussion, yoga and meditation in a supportive and encouraging accountability group on Thursday afternoons in April at Westport Yoga KC: April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23, April 30th, 2020.
Your Investment Includes:
5 Specialized Classes with book discussion, yoga and meditation in a supportive environment
Your own copy of Tiffany Cruikshank’s book Meditate Your Weight
Complimentary attendance at 2 regularly scheduled yoga classes at Westport Yoga KC
15% off enrollment in Special Events and Workshops at Westport Yoga KC April- May 2020
15% Private Yoga and Life Coaching Sessions booked with Lisa
Weekly email literature and encouragement to help keep you focused on making positive mental and physical health changes in your life!