The third part of the purusartha, or aspects of life that are necessary in order to feel fulfillment, is called kama. It literally means worldly pleasures and refers to whatever it is that is desired. It can be wealth, fame, and pleasures of having extra chocolate, sexual enjoyment, or really anything else as far as pleasure is concerned.
You may be wondering how this is different from yesterday’s concept of artha, which was material wealth. It is important to care both for the material needs of yourself and the family (artha) and to have a sense of gaining pleasure from them (kama). It is not considered helpful to suppress the desires, but rather to allow yourself to seek healthy and meaningful sources of pleasure, rather than those that would bring harm. In order to gain satisfaction in life, it is considered helpful to find contentment (santosha) and even joy in what we experience as we are able.
Perhaps one aspect of this could be taking time to allow ourselves to be more aware of what it is we desire in life, truly. Then we can find ways to work towards this while honoring those in our care and our relationship to all those who would be involved. Also, kama could mean taking your time to really be where you are, wake up to your life in each moment. In other words, you may take on a practice of santosha (contentment) and allow yourself to “take time to smell the roses” and enjoy what is already in front of you. Taking an extra moment to walk around the block instead of watching commercials, placing a garnish on the dinner plates for your family, and preparing potpourri for your linen closet could all be considered kama. Working toward getting pleasure from what is already in front of you can be a beautiful way to focus your attention and bring out some creativity and joy in yourself as well as those around you.
Today, you might take a little time and pick some things you do each week that do not necessarily bring pleasure, then you can think of ways to increase the amount of joy you may feel while accomplishing those tasks. Perhaps you want to play music while you do the dishes, or place a few candles in the bathroom. Who knows what you might come up with? The point is to spend a little time seeing how you might better enjoy what is already in your life.
Yoga Pose of the Day: Hand to Big Toe Pose – Utthita Hasta Padangustasana
Yogic Concept of the Day: How can I take a moment to make this experience a little more enjoyable? Can I pay attention or give a little more effort?