It is so common to associate happiness with acquiring a want. A lot of us grew up not being able to get all of the things we wanted and we tend to spend most of our adult lives making up for it. We end up working hard and trying our best to earn enough money to buy everything we could ever hope for. Thinking “I’ll be happy when I have this or that thing,” Then we do get it and we get used to it. Then we start to get tired of it. Then what? We start to want something new and the cycle repeats itself. Sometimes the cycle of wanting even overlaps into an endless series of want and un-want.
So, what do we do?
We go back to observing our self. A struggle to gain some form of awareness of what is going on inside of us. We try to understand what drives this craving for more than what we need, along with unnecessary wants. Then, we work to find a balance between a state of taking too much and too little.
As human beings it’s only natural to hoard, to keep, to set things aside just in case. But what happens to it all when you end up getting too much and it’s going to waste? Have you ever considered a way of life by getting only what is sufficient?
We all have to work towards being self-aware to the point that we address only that which we need now. Because one of the most appealing Niyamas in yoga is Samtosha, or more specifically, “complete acceptance of what is,” or “contentment.” Something that is so much easier said than done.
Contentment is both a practice and a result. But most importantly, we have to acknowledge that it is a practice. It is constant work. Even throughout our yoga and meditation sessions, where we do our best to pay attention and work on what goes on inside, we are bombarded daily with external stimuli that pull us away. So, we do the work every day to prepare us to handle things. We exert effort to make it easier for us to take a step back when these things start to pull us away.
Today, we live in a world created specifically to feed our tendency to consume and purchase. There is always a store around the corner, an advertisement when we look up or a friend raving about his or her latest discovery. It’s so easy to be tempted into buying into trends and getting more than what we need. Which makes the practice now more difficult than ever.
You can’t isolate yourself or hide from the world to curb temptation. The best option now is just to be able to quickly tap into that space within yourself that declares what it is that’s happening inside and separating it from what’s occurring outside. Eventually getting to that point where it’s second nature for us to distinguish an inherent need and a fashioned want.