Are you happy?
Happiness is said to have three ingredients: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
In my life, I’ve learned that modern humans have no shortage of things to do. However, I’ve also noticed in my coaching and teaching, that many of these to-do list things lack the potency to cultivate joy and happiness. Additionally, many people lack “love” in the way they want it. Understanding how we prefer to receive love and how we feel most competent to express love is a practice in it of itself. But I think the greatest challenge is actually the third component: hope, Almost EVERYONE feels (at times) a disconnect from hope. Over the next three Love Letters, I will explore these three concepts and share, what I hope will be inspiration and support in cultivating real, lasting joy in your life.
Transparent Alignment is the underlying philosophy of EVERYTHING I teach. It frames how I parent my children, construct my class plans and even how I talk to myself. Transparent Alignment is a practical application of ancient yoga philosophies for living in our modern world. TA is a process of inquiry and practice through which we learn how to clarify our to-dos, cultivate our loves and live in the tangible abundance of hope.
So to begin, let’s define HAPPINESS.
What is happiness? Merriam Webster defines happiness as the state of well-being and contentment. Synonym: Joy. Well-being and contentment have their own culturally defined perceptions and consequences. In fact, there is no shortage of wellness services and modalities offered in this day and age, ranging from spirituality to pragmatic science to the foods we eat and the people we vote for. Often, each offered as the solution to our biggest ailment, greatest need, or area of lack. Playing into our fears and promising the results we want is an effective marketing strategy, but it doesn’t always pan out with the promised results. Have you learned that lesson too?
Keeping up with the Jones’, jealousy, desire, having the latest gadgets and fashion can high jack our senses and attention. Marie Kondo has built an entire lifestyle from her philosophy of decluttering, living simply and seeking inspiration in the things that share our space. In contrast, Yoga teaches contentment SANTOSHA as the key to happiness. In other words, we practice the actions (mind, body, and spirit) of contentment to receive the gift of happiness as the by-product of our doing contentment. Patanjali wrote in the Yoga Sutra: “As a result of contentment, one gains supreme happiness.”
The practice of Santosha (contentment) begins with reflection and awareness of ourselves and our surroundings and often requires deeper introspection and self-assessment. Are you willing to do that reflection? Joy awaits your arrival on the other side.
What are YOU doing? We’ll explore how DOING and the practice of Santosha can help cultivate happiness next week. In the mean time, take some time to reflect on what contentment (or its lack) looks like in your life.