Contentment is one of the ancient wisdom’s that mothers passed down to their daughters for generations, until the book of wisdom spoke no more, due to our mescaline side taking over our feminine wisdom around the 12th century. Yep those witch hunts have a lot to answer for!!!
Resulting in centenaries latter our contentment is one of the most difficult aspects of being a women, because we have been told over and over again, year in and year out, by society that we should desire more. To the point where we spend most of our waking hours wanting more and striving to get it, But as soon as we get that one thing, we find it does not step up to our standards or we get board of it so we head of like a hunter looking for more.
This could be a new lover, new car, new house, new sweater or more love, more children, more this, more that. What ever it is we are rarely satisfied by what we have.
I love this quote “True wealth comes not from having more but in wanting less.”
I use to struggle with contentment in my own life until I started to look deeply into the virtues that I used to be build my life upon. And I found that if I could think, act and feel as if ordinary existence is scared than I can be completely filled with contentment.
Focusing on this virtue of contentment helped me to begin to learn to appreciate every single thing (the little things like a lady bird, to the big things of having a home to live in) that was right in front of me.
One of the sisters I have worked with, we looked at the simplicity of the life she wanted to live and we started talking about the virtue of contentment, and feel the scared in everything she came across each day. A few days latter after our phone conversation she rang me with excitement in her voice.
“I was stood in the kitchen doing my dishes when, I looked up out of the window. It’s beautiful, one amazingly coloured robin was feeding from my bird table. I could not take my eyes away from this enchanting sight, until full of seeds, it flu away.”
She went on to tell me that although she had, had a busy, stressful day at work, this whole experience watching a robin feeding had totally changed her outlook on her day.
Another sister I have worked with, use to spend a fortune going out in the evenings, to restaurants, the cinema, local pub ect…. Looking for more, not that she really new what that more was she was looking for apart from the fact she did not feel contentment. After a couple of phone calls talking about the virtue of contentment, she reported back that she finds more satisfaction in taking a small picnic to the river, to watch the sun go down. Then she ever did spending loads of money going out on the town.
You see when we stop running around on auto pilot, when we stop chasing the more, we begin to notice that there is a world of wounder right under our feet. We find just a bit more contentment in the small things. We become aware of our deepest desires.
BUT here is an really important thing to remember about contentment. Being content does not mean giving up hope of things to come in the future; it doesn’t mean stopping our growth of growing into our truth; it doesn’t mean becoming apathetic and giving up. It means focusing more on what is right in front of us, the day to day things we don’t normally notice with our blinkered eyes.
Instead of living for the future (I’ll be happy as soon as I get my new car; I’ll be happy as soon as I get that new job; I’ll be happy as soon as my kids go to college; I’ll be happy as soon as I can afford a cleaner; I’ll be happy as soon as ……. ), being content means enjoying the small things today!
I mean we can all plan for the future and have hopes and dreams for the future, but at the same time remembering to enjoy and live in the present while, we are busy planning our futures.
Thich Nhat Han in Sacred Moments puts it perfectly;
We use hope to believe something better will happen in the future, that we will arrive at peace, or the Kingdom of God. Hope because a kind of obstacle. If you can refrain from hoping, you can bring yourself entirely into the present moment and discover that joy is already here.