Children want to touch, taste and experience everything they see. They don’t yet have an understanding of nutrition, patience, or the cost of material goods. If they see something with frosting and rainbow sprinkles on it, they want to eat it now. If they see a shiny red bike, they want to ride it now. And so it goes on and on endlessly…the wanting of things.
The same goes with parenting. We want our children to go to sleep now. We want them to learn, stop crying, make friends, share, read, understand the math problem…right now, already! We are all familiar with the expression “Good things come to those who wait.” Still we get obsessed with thinking we are in control of everything.
We try to teach our children patience, and yes…you can still be happy without that cupcake. Every time I’ve given my child sugar thinking it would make her happy, it has backfired on me. Yes, for about 5-10 minutes, she is happy, and I’m the best Mommy in the whole world. But that happiness is absolutely temporary, and 5-10 minutes later she is miserable for some unforeseen reason, and then suddenly the best Mommy in the world becomes the worst Mommy – just like that. No, the cupcake does not equal the kind of happiness or contentment of which Santosh reminds us.
Practicing Santosh/Contentment is remembering that we have something we need right here and now, and we have something to feel grateful for, too. Just reflect inward, and think about it: “things” simply don’t provide lasting happiness. There will always be another “thing” that is different or bigger or better that will keep us in the exhausting pursuit of something…something that ultimately exists inside of us.
I think this quote sums up perfectly what I want to teach my child through modeling and remembering, myself. “Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”
Affirmations for Santosh/Contentment
By accepting my child as who she is, I feel contentment.
As I relax into parenting with where I am, and with who I am right now, the process of Santosh unfolds.
I create the space in myself for contentment by practicing savasana.
I let go of the war with my reality, and as a result I feel contentment.
The more content I feel, the more effective I am in making a difference in my child’s life.
“Practicing smiling is like planting the seed of a mighty redwood. The body receives the smile, and contentment grows. Before you know it, you’re smiling all the time.” — Devi