How to find

Contentment

in a

Discontented World

The Penninsula Woman

May - Jun 2007

 

We live in a time of great change and upheaval. Whether we call it the Age of Enlightenment or the end of the Kali Yuga (the age of darkness) it really doesn’t matter. The truth is that we all feel a deep thrust of discontentment and unrest that exists in this Age of Information and Technology.  



Bombarded by advertisements that compel us to grasp for bigger and better things, we are taught to seek gratification for ourselves from externals sources with no regard for consequences (such as debt or excess).  We are then propelled into an ever-churning cycle that encourages us to create attachments to the things that we somehow believe will make us more comfortable, happy and less stressed.  What many people are finding is the opposite is true.  We have more stress and more attachments to the things that are supposed to make us happy, and we are living extremely complicated lives that are in no way helping us find the comfort and contentment we are so desperately seeking.


People across the planet are often agitated by economic disparities, war, climate changes, but all of these agitations are basically fear of the unknown. Ignoring these factors completely or becoming overwhelmed by them will serve no one.  What to do then?  Where does one reach for solace and comfort?  

What is Contentment?

Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and a happy purchase.
~John Balguy

Contentment is comfort but not submission, serenity, but not complacency.  It is a mental decision and choice that enough of something can truly be enough.   Contentment is the natural state of our deeper selves and our divinity.  Contentment allows for our true creativity and authentic love to fully emerge.  It is unity with the reality that what we are given at any moment is what we need and truly deserve. Let me be clear, Contentment is reconciliation, not apathy, it is acknowledgement, not ignorance (or ignoring what one already has) and it is a decision, a practiced observance and a daily step into reality!! Wanting more without the awareness of what you have, is the result of buying into discontent, ignorance, egoism, attachment and dissatisfaction, which does not lead to contentment.

Cultivating Contentment - The Attitude of Gratitude
There are numerous ways to cultivate contentment.  The most important and easiest one I know is the daily practice of gratitude. (I know, I know, you have heard this before, but it is true!!) The deepest contentment comes when we are noticing what we have, instead of what we don’t have.  When we embrace and enjoy the things we own, rather than searching for what we don’t already have we find contentment.  


How to do this?
When something occurs that you are grateful for – notice it.  State it!  “I am thankful for…..  I appreciate this…. Isn’t this great…..It is nice to have this…… “ Sit with it, hold onto it.  Affirm it!  You must fight for it, strive for it, insist on it.  You must participate relentlessly in noticing the blessings that you have in your life. As a result the state of contentment becomes a familiar place. When you become more conscious of the moments you are grateful for you will strengthen and expand a feeling of harmony and contentment.   Bringing attention to what you are grateful for when it occurs and not hurrying onto the next activity is the beginning practice to learning Contentment.  Contentment lies deep within you, not in the bark, but the root.  


Benefits of Contentment   
The main benefit of contentment is emotional balance and maturity. Mood swings and personal crisis are no longer part of life. Global events do not force you into isolation but rather encourage a sense of community.  Self-absorption is no longer a theme of life.  Loss does not leave you devastated or feeling powerless.  

Maintaining contentment is resting in the full awareness of what you do possess, not in what you lack. So loss does not have the same dramatic effect that it once had on you. Contentment helps us to shape our lives with a more balanced way of expressing ourselves. Those who practice contentment feel as if they are serving the world completely.

Five Meditations for Contentment:

  1. Do not hope on, or for, outer things.
  2. Learn to deny yourself.
  3. Believe the present condition to be best for yourself.
  4. State your gratitude, say it!
  5. Take care of what you already have.

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