Contentment

I found contentment at the mall.

It started with having a day off work.  Took myself out for a mini-holiday by driving to Novi, Michigan.  I find that I relax more when I get away.

Went to an Anusara Basics class at Rasa Yoga.  Nice to know that Dianne and the teachers at Eastside Yoga have done a great job in providing a solid foundation for my practice.  I love learning new things and picked up a few pointers during the class.

Then I headed over to Twelve Oaks Mall, mostly because of the Apple Store.  I bought a MacBook Pro in April and have really enjoyed using it, especially for writing this blog.  I just had a few techie questions and then I was on my way.

I wandered around the stores, looking at clothes, shoes and other stuff.  But the surprise for me was that I didn’t get excited by shopping that day.  Not sure if it was because the styles didn’t appeal to me or that I didn’t find any great bargains.  Other than lunch, I ended up not buying anything.

I started to get tired after several hours of walking.  The constant background noise was wearing me out too.  So, I sat down in one of the lounge areas and relaxed.  Let the mall life go on without me.  Even managed to log onto a free Wifi signal and finished composing my last blog post.

Then it dawned on me.

I didn’t need anything.  I was happy just as I was.  A little yoga, a little change of pace.  This was enough.

I didn’t need to buy anything else to make me feel better.  It wasn’t necessary that I stop all the noise from the muzak and the shoppers.  I didn’t need to change, strive towards or wish for anything.

This day at the mall was all a part of my journey into a deeper understanding of santosha.  One of the five niyamas, it means contentment.  Being happy with how it is, just as it is.  I finally found the reference after rereading Deborah Adele’s book, Yama and Niyamas.  She described how santosha can be applied to material things, career goals, beliefs, expectations and more.  As Cyndi Lee writes in the latest Yoga Journal (September 2010, p74) , finding contentment is not about being complacent.  It is about accepting what is, through reducing, simplifying and appreciating.

I’ve limited how much I read newspaper flyers, watch commercials or go shopping, which helps to decrease my impulse buying and desire for new things.  It is more challenging to apply santosha to my to-do list, my perfectionist tendencies, my expectations of how other people should be acting.  I am learning to observe how these things appear in my life and then decide if anything really needs to be done.

Maybe I should be saying all this in another way?  Hmm…I know.  Contentment found me.  And of all places, it was at the mall!