Santosh is the Superpower of Meditators. It gives one the ability to remain content under all circumstances, be they pleasant or unpleasant, challenging or not. Imagine a life where nothing and no one can shake you out of an unwavering sense of contentment and inner peace. Life still happens as it always has, but your inner power of Santosh is such that you remain unaffected by its ups and downs. You no longer react to life’s challenges by fighting to change them or bend them to your preferences. You simply take life as it is and act in the best interest of all involved, including yourself.
Anybody can unfold this Superpower within him or herself but, before we learn how to do it, we need to understand where Santosh it is to be found and what it really means.
When we study our thinking mechanism, we see that our mind, and with it our sense of I, is constantly active. It is engaged in evaluating, planning, concluding and judging. Our mind’s nature is movement and with that movement comes ceaseless change that often resembles a roller-coaster ride: one moment our mind is high the next it is low; then it is happy, but a change in circumstances makes it depressed. Our mind is clearly not the place to look for stability in anything, let alone contentment.
Within each human being there is a "space" or an awareness that does not change. We can become aware of it by watching our thoughts instead of moving along with them. When we develop the ability to watch, we realise that as the Watcher we are present to our life at all times. We then have a chance to shift from being caught in the movement of the mind, to becoming aware of the one aspect in us that is unchanging. Throughout our whole lifespan, the Watcher in us has been the same, constant and knowing Presence. It may have appeared to be covered by the perpetual movement of thoughts and conclusions in our head; in truth, this eternal Presence always is and always has been right there, at the back of everything. More importantly, the space of the Watcher is where our true identity resides, and it is the seat of the infinite power of Contentment.
As for the meaning of Santosh, it is a Sanskrit word composed of two elements: Sam, which stands for evenness or the unchanging quality of the Self/Watcher - and tosh, which means Contentment. Santosh therefore literally translates as unchanging or unwavering Contentment. The main characteristic of Santosh is often defined as the absence of desire. It doesn’t mean that we no longer aspire to our highest goal of Freedom, it just means that our personal desires and preferences don’t hold sway anymore. We no longer need for this or that to happen in order to be happy; we don’t try to change people or things to fit the image of how we think they should be. We take life as it is and instead of seeing problems and difficulties everywhere, we choose to see the Light or Divinity in everything and everybody.
Santosh is called a power for good reason. To remain established as the Watcher of our thoughts and desires, without giving them power or needing to act upon them, is a tremendous strength. It is an ability that gets developed through the practice of Meditation. The power gets built every time we close our eyes to meditate, every time we choose to side with the Watcher instead of thoughts, desires and emotions. Just as we build muscle by repeating certain movements, we build this power by closing our eyes and remembering that we are the Watcher, by returning to the Watcher when we notice that we got involved with the thoughts in our mind. With time we are able to remain established as the Watcher not matter what moves in front of our closed eyes when we meditate.
This inner stability also transforms our everyday life. It is the ingredient necessary to remain with the Power of Contentment, even if circumstances are rocky. Our mind may not like a given situation but, established as the Watcher, we are free from liking or disliking as our driving force. As the Watcher, we are able to embrace the fullness of what is, to see its beauty and remain established as the infinite Power of Contentment.