Just ‘Be’ Content
God gave me nothing I wanted,
He gave me everything I needed.
Are we happy with our paycheques? Are we happy with our spouses, or being with or without a partner? With the size of our TV sets… or with the education being offered in school? Well, the list is endless isn’t it?
Every marketing campaign lures us into Contentment-dom! Dress up like this and… you will win the love of your life. We are sold the ‘dream’ that if we get this car or that cell phone, then we will surely be happy… and guess what? Even content! So many false promises… and we all fall for it!
For as long as we follow the illusions of those adverts and the ‘fake news’, then we can never be content, because the tantalizing prize they are showing us always seems to get further and further away. Do we realize that we are being brain washed with those adverts and programmes?
Remember that television is short for ‘tell me a vision’. Are we too numb to create a vision for ourselves? That we are fed this vision of others; a vision about our perfect and glamorous life. Secondly, we have all those channels on TV. The job of a channel is to ‘channel information’ to us, most of which we did not ask for. Often, if we realized that we are being channelled into against our own conscience and conscious wish we would make some drastic changes in life. Finally, we have those programmes on the channels. We have all heard about programming the computer? Well, that’s right… we are being programmed to always want more; to know more; to seek more and more… If the patterns fed into us are to always leave us feeling empty and seeking the next ‘high’, then how can we ever be content?
If you look for perfection,
you’ll never be content.
Now I would like to draw your attention to what the different faiths have to say about contentment. Almost every faith talks about contentment being a virtue and one of the highest virtues that we can attain.
In Buddhism, contentment is freedom from anxiety, want or need, freedom from desires. Contentment is the aim behind all efforts, because once achieved there is nothing to seek until we lose it. Buddha achieved going beyond the cycle of life, he became content – ‘santosha’.
Christianity calls upon us to allow our convictions, not our circumstances, to govern our sense of contentment. One must ‘trust in God’, because having faith in God has power, purpose and provision that is sufficient for every circumstance.
In Hinduism it states that contentment is the highest form of heaven, the highest form of bliss. There is no higher experience than contentment. If one draws away from all desires, then like a tortoise drawing in all it limbs, then the natural brilliance of the soul soon manifests itself.
Wealth is like seawater, the more you drink,
the thirstier you become.
Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer
There is the nice teaching about the four soldiers who guard the road to moksha, (liberation). They are Patience (or peace of mind), Atma (self/soul inquiry), Santosha (Contentment), and Wisdom. If you can succeed in making one of these your friend, then the others will be easy to find. Any one of these will introduce you to the other three. (wiki)
It is believed that the Indian Hatha Yoga Sutras contribute to our well-being and contentment. With the Patanjali movements or body positions, breathing practices and concentration, along with other disciplines, each can contribute to a physical and mental state of contentment – (santosha).
Islam talks about following God’s will. This faith says that when you make God content/pleased, (razi or radhi), with your elevated deeds and your good virtues, then He will make you content by sending you to heaven.
Islam continues: The inner richness is not the richness of the things that bring pleasure into the world. This richness is of the self.
In Judaism, Ben Zoma, noted as the fine interpreter of Jewish scriptures said: “Who is rich? Those who are happy with their portion”. In other words, if we were content with what we had, then we would not become discontent with what we did not have. This is not to encourage complacency. But for us to really learn to appreciate some of the blessings that we have in our life, and yet we take them for granted. We strive to improve our self, but at the same time be content whilst on the journey.
I cried because I had no shoes,
then I met a man who had no feet.
Is the pursuit of contentment a false pursuit? Many scholars have argued and debated over this eternal question. Because for as long as we are searching for contentment, or have a desire for it, we can never be content.
There is an inherent difference between the mindless pursuit of ‘wants’ and a mindful pursuit of ‘needs’. And we need to understand both. Cravings we all understand pretty well. Desires create a dependence; the hunger for greed, lust or ego; to hoard material possessions; to succumb to the addictions in a variety of forms. These desires are unlimited.
We may pass violets, looking for roses.
We may pass contentment looking for victory.
Contentment on the other hand is a state free from desires. An understanding that one needs the simple things in life to survive; one has trust in the process, and is liberated and not bound by people and possessions. It is a state of being totally satisfied. Serene and calm and peaceful.
How can we become more content?
Do less each day, but do that which is necessary.
‘Be’ happy and ‘do’ happy in your daily tasks.
Do not over fill your ‘to do list’. Do you really need one?
Leave space between tasks or appointments. Do not fill every moment with ‘some things’. There really is power in the ‘no things’ too.
Slow down – take time to eat, drive and live peacefully.
Stop trying to change other people!
Stop and consider why you want something… Watch out for those desires again!
Show people that you appreciate them.
Just breathe and smile. You can do both together!
Learn to enjoy the simple things in life.
Start to count your blessings.
Live from kindness. Practice more.
Let go of what is out of your control. Other people, situations and the past.
Listen more to your intuition and your heart, not the emotions – but follow the call of love.
Connect with the people that you love. Appreciate them more.
Find your passion and purpose in life.
Do things that you enjoy and be creative and productive.
It’s Time… not to ‘practice’ contentment, but to be it!
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK