It is very apparent that people of our modern times are anything but content. I think it also safe to say that acquisition does not lead to contentment. Or, maybe for a few weeks or months we feel contented, especially while the acquisition is new, then the deep subconscious program of want reasserts itself.
We have a popular saying in the English language; to one’s heart’s content. Nice words, but ridiculous. This suggests that if we get what we desire, we will be happy and content. This is a flawed concept. The heart has no cravings, no desires, no wants. The heart is as the heart is. The heart does not have the endless wants of the mind/brain. Within the metaphysical energy of the heart there is love and peace, suggesting that the heart is content without want, or even need.
I know a man in an American prison on death row waiting to be executed. He is there for murder when, as a young man, he was caught-up in gang-war violence. For the past seven years he has spent twenty-three hours a day in isolation. To ask him if he is content would sound like a ridiculous question. He has absolutely nothing to look forward to, nothing he can hope for, nothing called a normal future. However, the fact is . . . he is content. In his own way he has found that life is not an outside-of-self event. He is not afraid of execution, not afraid to physically die. He has learned of his soul’s immortality. He has learned that he is not a body/personality with a soul, but rather he is an immortal soul with a mortal body/personality. He has made peace within himself. He has accepted his role in the murder, acknowledging that seven years later he is a different person. He is content. In his physical prison he has found spiritual freedom. He is unafraid, content to be executed so he can get on with his life!
Most people seem to think that being content is dependent on their various needs being met. And we have many basic needs; being wanted, being loved, being cared for, being connected to loved ones, people, society, having enough money . . . it is a long list. And yet, many people have that long list filled, and they are not content. Why? It begs a lot of questions. How can we be content with all the things we have if we do not like ourselves? As a person who conducts 5-Day Intensives in many different countries, I have learned that not liking ourselves is all too common. Oh, most people will not confess to this, but conversation easily reveals the reality. And these are the more aware people, who, I will happily state, are improving this relationship with themselves. If, however, you take the average – if they exist! – person on the streets of any town or city, you will often find a deep, subconscious self-loathing, while self-hate is sadly all too common. These people are hugely critical and judgemental of themselves, and other people. None of this can possibly lead to being content.
It becomes fairly obvious to a wise person that being content is all about yourself and your relationship with life. I say a wise person simply because many people continue to look outside themselves to find contentment in electronic toys and gadgets and the like. Generally, they find only a temporary contentment. Toys have a use-by date, and people always want the very latest. True contentment has nothing to do with the latest and the best of anything; true contentment is an easy, flowing, inner state of consciousness.
I experience being content. As a world traveller I am constantly out of my comfort zone, but I am content. My contentment is about me, and can only be affected by me, not by the world around me. My wife and I once missed an aeroplane . . . and I was not content! However, once I accepted that this was partly my responsibility, and partly the airlines – who accepted no responsibility – then I choose to move back into a peaceful and contented state of consciousness. It delayed our journey by about eight to ten hours . . . I could live with that. Agitation and self-criticism offered no improvement on the situation, so I choose to be content with it is as it is, and all will be well. And it was.
Once you accept that being content is a state of consciousness, then you realise that while seeing movies, or buying the latest electronic gadgets, or having fashionable clothes, etc, adds value and fun to your normal daily life, it cannot build and create your inner life. Being content is about your relationship with yourself . . . and for many people, this is not even considered. They attempt to fill in the painful empty spaces of the many expressions of self-abandonment with the outer distraction of pleasure seeking in its many various forms. And this does not work. Distraction does not lead to contentment.
Is there a way of being content? Of course. Once you learn that your relationship with self is also life’s relationship with you, then you can heal your relationship with self and experience it being reflected by life. Once you can live happily within the truism that, It is as it is, I am as I am, knowing that this is not set and fixed, but leads to an ever expanding relationship with self and life, then you will find inner peace and contentment.