The dictionary meaning of contentment is the state of happiness and satisfaction. Contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction that can be seen as a mental state. Contentment and the persuite of contentment possibly have it’s roots in philosophically and or religious schools. Like John Stuart Mill said I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires rather than in attempting to satisfy them. Marcus Aurelius, a Roman king wrote “Live with the gods. And he who does so constantly shows them that his soul is satisfied with what is assigned to them.”
Santosha ( CONTENTMENT) is a broadly valued virtue in Hinduism. There are four soldiers who guard the road to moksha (liberation). They are Patience (or peace of mind), Atma (आत्म, Self) enquiry, Santosha (Contentment), and Association with the Wise. If you can succeed in making one of these a friend, then the others will be easy. That one will introduce you to the other three.
Hebrews 13:5 reads “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
Contentment maybe a state ideally reached through being happy with what a person has as opposed to achieving ones larger ambitions. As Socrates described by probably saying he who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.
In many ways contentment can be closely associated with the concept of happiness and satisfaction. It is something which might contribute to living a good life and would lead people to having increased positive moods and overall satisfaction with their life.
I would like to share a story about a farmer who grew discontent with his farm and his life. He complained about the lake on his property that always needed to have fish thinned out. The property is in the lower Himalayas and the rolling hills made it more difficult for him to run around the farm. His territory is very vast and many a times it was very difficult for him to manage the estate – his cows, farm land, poultry and everything else around. At night it was so dark that it was really hard to walk from the barn back to his house.
He was not real happy with his life and thought it’s all about the vast property in the foothills. So he decided to sell the place and move somewhere really nice. He called a property dealer and made plans to sell his property.
A few days later later. He came across a property advertisement which was very quiet and peaceful , just like the one he was looking for. As he went through the advertisement, it said – A pristine Lake, classic barn surrounded by natural flowers and everything else which was there on his property.
He connected with the advertiser. To his shock, he found out that it is the advertisement for his own property. Immediately, he decided not to sell his property. He called his property dealer and told him about his changed decision .
He said to himself – “I have been looking for a place like that all my life and I didn’t realize that I have it.”So it is easy to complain about your current situation, but when you look at your life as an outsider, you come to know, what you have? This realization of happiness brings contentment in life.
Sometimes just like the farmer we need a new perspective on our circumstances to understand that our lives aren’t as bad as we sometimes believe. Corona has done this for all of us. It has taught us to find happiness in the simplest of things and be contented.
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