Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Comparison vs Samtosha

Before this journey of mine began I´d heard the saying "comparison is the thief of joy". But the more I pondered it, the more I realised it didn´t go far enough. It seems to me that when it comes to any thoughts or decisions about myself or my life, any kind of comparison leads to confusion, discontent and, when allowed to run rampant, misery and suffering.

Anything I choose to do is exactly the right choice for me. The same goes for everyone else.

I knew that this was something I had to work on. I needed to release my need to compare everything I did to others around me because it was at a point where I was making myself miserable.

I was 33 years old. A single nomad with no savings or career to speak of, living on the other side of the world to my family in the UK. Anytime I did have money I would spend it on travelling... and wine! The majority of my friends were either married (or as good as), with children, owned a house and/or at a pretty impressive level in their career. (Pffff, what does career even mean anyway!?)
After one too many wines :)
So I was in a daily habit of looking around and wondering why I was so different. Why when I was 30 did I run away from commitment to a wonderful man, whom I still adore? Why could I not stick with something long enough to call it a "career"? Why could I not save enough money to buy a house or anything worth more than $1000?

I now know the answers to all these questions and so much has became clear to me during this Quest.

On the first night of my Yoga Teacher Training at Lake Atitlan, there was a fire ceremony and we set our intentions for the training. Mine wasn´t anything to do with yoga or being a teacher. Instead I knew I wanted to let go of my need to conform, to stop my constant comparison (whether that be in a yoga class or my life choices) and accept myself for everything that I am.
Fire ceremony at the Mystical Yoga Farm, Lake Atitlan
As I studied the Yoga Sutras I read about the Niyamas as part of the eight limbs of yoga, which if practiced "destroy impurities and there dawns the light of wisdom, leading to discriminative discernment." Discernment... yes, that´s what I need! The Niyamas are observances to practice, and the one that stood out for me was Samtosha - the inner contentment of the Self. It is only the mind that brings discontent as it is "entangled in desire for what is not, attachment and fear."

Through my illness during the training I was able to let go of comparison in regards to my yoga practice. And in witnessing everyone´s transformation I became more aware of how unique everyone´s journey is - no two experiences are the same. Our choices are based on our experiences, so comparison is futile!

In the last few days I realised that my perspective had shifted and I had released so much through the training and my illness. On the penultimate day, we were given the option to take on a spiritual name and Samtosha seemed like the perfect fit. It would serve as a daily reminder to discern what is my mind and what is my true nature - comparison or inner contentment. 

No comments:

Post a Comment