Reflection Upon Santosa

Yesterday in class we discussed how society and culture has taught us
to see contentment as negative. We have been pushed to consume consume
consume, and the best way to do that is to convince everyone that they
are not content. That they need something newer, better, more
exciting. That these objects and ideas are the key to finding
happiness. And we are taught that contentment is “settling”, which is
taught to be bad. “Why settle for less” is one ad slogan.

I do not believe the best translation of Santosa for our society is
“contentment”. Right now, my best word is “acceptance”. We must learn
to accept reality for what it is. We cannot wish it to be different.
We cannot let our minds wander and race with ideas of how it would be
better if it were different. What is, simply is. And we must learn to
accept things as they are, and love them as they are, and not want to
change them for no other reason than we love them as they are in the
moment. We do not love them for what they once were and hold on to
that. We do not love them for who we want them to be in the future. We
love them for simply being.

And that includes how we perceive ourselves.

Our society does not just demand that we are dissatisfied with what we
own, what we have in our lives, it also demands that we are deeply
dissatisfied with ourselves. We are too fat. Too thin. Losing too much
hair. Not getting enough sleep. Skin is too rough, too oily, our hair
too gray, teeth too brown… our libido too weak, our ability to focus
not strong enough, our ability to enjoy not free enough…

All of this is a distraction from accepting what is, and loving every
moment with burning ardor.