Learn to be Content Mindfully
Everyone talks about their wish for happiness. Some theorists believe that happiness is life satisfaction while others think it is emotional fulfillment.
However, we all have witnessed people with “nothing” laughing and people with “everything” crying. Why is that?
Those that spend their lives striving for status through pure hedonism may relieve momentary stress but once they get the car, job or elective surgery they crave, its shininess gradually loses its luster and they are on to the next thing. Research has shown that finding joy in life itself however can bring us more everlasting contentment.
Pure happiness is as hard to define as it is to capture. It often eludes us because we are in pursuit of a thing rather than acquiring a state of mind.
Poets, philosophers, novelist, historians and artists from many cultures have inspired us to think about contentment but we are still often mystified about its roots and how to go about actually finding it. There is one perfect route to being content, it is something to slowly cultivate and takes some experimentation.
Herman Hesse in his ninth book “Siddhartha” reminds us that our search for contentment involves a spiritual exploration once our basic need for security, shelter and food have been met. Siddhartha’s journey for self-discovery provides us with a path toward a life of simplicity and gratitude.
Let’s for a minute think outside our technological bubble about our forefathers and how they experienced contentment. They embraced happiness by sharing love, looking up at the night sky, enjoying a sunset, listening to a lullaby, being in the wild, writing a poem, studying a piece of art, sharing spiritual ideas, or giving to those less fortunate.
My new book “How to be Content” is a self-help guide about making your life worth living by embracing the things we may take for granted. This book takes us on tour of four distinct worlds. The first encompasses the natural world, followed by the world of cultures, then the world of words from great authors and lastly the world of mythology. Each section offers the reader inspiring tools for contentment by taking us through a wonderous exploration of ancient civilizations, philosophical writings, cultural symbols, Buddhist teachings, folklore and mythological characters.
A cup full of joy Spend five minutes in the morning savoring a cup of tea or coffee- or a glass of water. Simply let go of the need to do anything else while you are drinking and appreciate each sip.
Time to pause Arrive a few minutes early when you are meeting a friend or have an appointment. Leave your phone in the bag or pocket, use this time to sit, breathe and look around.
Beauty all around Make a point of finding something beautiful to appreciate every day on journey to work – a pretty flower or shrub, the smile of a passer-by, an interesting building. If you really can’t find anything interesting, vary your route to work!
Looking Up We get used to looking down as we walk along. Every, now and then, and look up at the sky-remind yourself that the world is bigger than you are.
Hold Hands There’s a reason that we instinctively do this in times of troubles-it reduces stress. And holding hands with someone you care about is a great way to reconnect.
Make Eye Contact When you get a compliment, say thank you. If someone holds the door open for you, or lets you go ahead of them, acknowledge it. Once you are on the lookout, you will realize that you are the recipient of many small acts of kindness every day
Besides love and understanding, everyone yearns for some happiness and tranquility in life. We can get caught up in the drama of the day or take an accounting of our blessings as well as natural surroundings and find contentment. Whatever section (s) of the book you align with, know each of these chapters speak to truths about happiness.
If we make a habit of what we ultimately enjoy we will continue to experience more pleasure than distress. We will have more spiritual achievements over lack of material goods and experience a meaningful existence over vanity. After reading this book where ever or however you find your bliss, remember to always pass it forward.