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About Santosha Recovery
What is Santosha?
What is Santosha Recovery?
From the pen of the founder: Deb Newton
Santosha means contentment in the Sanskrit language, which is the language of Yoga.
Contentment is on the opposite side of the spectrum as addiction. Or we can say that contentment is the antidote for addictions. Contentment is finding peace and joy in each and every moment. Life has it’s challenges and may seem rather bleak sometimes, but if you can focus on the moment you are in and your surroundings, things will seem less overwhelming and difficult. As an example, when my brother was dying, it was a really sad time but I was able to be present with what was happening in the moment. In the moment of being with him I had this sense of joy that I was able to spend some of his last days with him. I also felt deeply connected to him whether I was physically with him or with him in prayer, presence and on the astral plane. And I felt gratitude for all the love he gave in this world to his family and friends. I was comforted that he was now entering his new abode, the astral world, free from the confines of the physical body. It was not a time to be heart broken, mad or bury my grief in my binge addictions. But once upon a time that would have been so. It was a time of deep healing, love and connection. Another example of everyday mindfulness and happiness; it was winter in Minnesota and as a matter of fact a very snowy winter. One day it was snowing pretty heavy, the flakes were big and plenty. So I sat and watched these beautiful geometrically snow flakes floating to the ground. The snow flakes sparkled and drifted sideways with the breeze. I was totally content and happy in this moment. Then the thinking brain came in and thoughts of shoveling for the millionth time this year came into my mind. This of course dragged me out of the present moment and led me to planning for my day, But that 3-5 minutes of present moment joy filled living allowed me bring calm and contentment into my day. I found myself pleasantly OK and in the moment with my shoveling. Which is so key to not hurting oneself, and using the task as a practice of mindfulness.
How do we live a life of santosha? Mindfulness or present moment living is the key. It is common for humans to spend most of their days not in the present moment. They are thinking, speaking and doing according to their past experiences or according to their to do list and all that they have to accomplish that day. The yogis say that most people operate using 5% free will. The rest of the time their life is dictated by their past experiences (karma; law of cause and effect) and from their habit forming patterns (samskaras; the grooves in the mind that keep getting more intense and set deeper each time we think, talk and do from these patterns). People are also moving through the world with erroneous viewpoints from social media, old beliefs and past trauma. What does this do to the above example of my finding reprieve in the present moment of the snow falling? In seeing the snowfall, I could have whined and complained that I would need to spend an hour on shoveling and that my plans for the day had to change. This mindset could have then brought on the poor me attitude for the entire day. But instead I chose to enjoy the beauty that was presented to me in the moment of nature being very nature-ally.
One of the greatest gifts I received from my addiction recovery was the gift of mindfulness! I remember the thought process that led me to living in the present moment. I knew that reflecting on my past is what fueled my addictions in the first place, so I refrained from the constant blame loop (only to heal my past later when I was in a loving and compassionate place) and I had no future to look forward to because I had no concept of who I was to become when the real me pulled out in front. So I just hung out in the present moment, being present and learning all that I could about that moment. I remember thinking ‘since I am not sure what tasks will bring me knowledge to my future, I will just be the best I can be in every moment.’ A quote from Lao Tzu became my sanctuary: When I let go of who I am; I become what I might be.
What is a Santosha Recovery meeting like? The beginning of the meeting starts with a mindfulness practice. You will be guided through a loving awareness practice which is learning to sit in your own skin without judgment but rather in acceptance through loving awareness. Then in the Sangha (people coming together for a common purpose) you will spend some time talking about addiction as karma and ways to soften your karma. One of ways to soften karma is to just simply soften your attitude. How? Om shanti, shanti, shantih. Sending peace to everyone you meet, even those whom you do not like. Radiate Peace blessings instead of judgment and anger. It serves everyone!! It is so exciting to hear feed back from folks on how their lives have changed just by bringing Om shanti into their daily living. Another part of the meeting is doing mantra together. Mantra is repeating a sanskrit verse. Mantra changes your frequency allowing the freedom to make higher vibrational choices. The mantra is in sanskrit which is the language of yoga and is based on the vibration of the sound of the word rather than a direct meaning. There is also twelve teachings that are taught and discussed throughout the course of meetings. These teachings are based on healing from the inside our physical, mental and spiritual body through Kriya Yoga philosophy and techniques. Then the last fifteen minutes are saved to do a practice of Kriya Yoga techniques and meditation.
When can I expect to feel content and live a life of Santosha free from the confines of addictions?
When you have replaced your harmful habits, and your old ways of thinking by living more presently in each moment. When you begin to think, then act accordingly to free will, intuitional and high vibrational choices. This requires moving inward and upward. Addictions and grasping is always out there, meaning you are literally reaching out there for satisfaction and temporary happiness. In the practices of Santosha Recovery, techniques are introduced and utilized to draw your energies inward and upward. This takes awareness (know they self and recognize when you are beginning to lose your centeredness and balance) and this takes practice. In Yoga we call this disciplined practice, tapas. Tapas is the discipline of a daily practice but even more tapas is the heat generated from this discipline of practice. This tapas is what will carry you forward to a new way of living a life of wellness. This tapas will burn off the seeds of your restrictive karma to allow transformation and healing!
Who is this program for? Everyone :) We all have addictions! We all have karma!! That is why we are here on earth at this time: To heal, to learn, to find our place in the totality of Life.
From the depths of my being, I wish each and every one of you the richness of living your life fully, freely and in the present moment.
Founder of Santosha Recovery
SR Sangha Mission Statement
Through the practices and techniques of Santosha Recovery, I wish to reveal the true nature of myself. Addictions bind us in false reality and ignorance of who we really are. Just as each wave is a part of a limitless and immortal sea, each one of us is a part of a limitless and immortal collective consciousness. Separateness is an illusion that prompts seeking for outside temporary happiness when authentic lasting happiness is within each of us all along. How do I find this authentic happiness and Santosha within? It begins with self-awareness and self-acceptance. We are here on earth in these ‘spacesuits’1 to learn about ourselves and mature spiritually, in yogic terms, soften our karma. There is no failure in life. The forces of karma may so strong at times that we cannot resist the temptation of that karma, but if we are self-aware, we learn from each experience and can await a time when we are strong enough to overcome that karma. I seek to be patient with myself, knowing that knowledge and growth comes from experiencing life with all its triumphs and with all its challenges. I seek acceptance for this healing journey that I am embarking on in this moment. I seek self-love which when revealed, will blossom into unselfish love for all sentient beings. Aham Brahmasmi :) I am the creator of my life!!
Thanks to Santosha Recovery I feel I can enjoy my life. I can handle stress and anger in a a healthier way. I hold less pain in my body. My posture and breathing has improved. Thanks to Santosha Recovery, in only three months I realized the benefits of practicing mindfulness and contentment.
Kate McGown Wille, Ed. D.