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Quick Thoughts on Discovering Contentment

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Written by Andrew H. Housley


Our search for happiness can leave us disappointed, which may lead us to a place of sadness. Naturally, working toward a balanced feeling of contentment is difficult but is possible.

Here are a few thoughts on living a life that is rich, full, and enough—a life of contentment.

stacked rocks in balance
The balance of contentment.

Thought #1:

Work toward realizing how much is enough. Knowing that satisfaction is a place of richness, joy, peace, and calm.

  • Stop wasting your time thinking about what others have and what you don't have.

  • Express gratitude for even the smallest of things.

"Imagine looking back on our lives after we die. We'll see that so many things didn't matter."

- Kōdō Sawaki

Thought #2:

Practice and work diligently with little desire. Find "knowing satisfaction" in all things. Never let your dissatisfaction be your driving force.

Life should not be based on the conventional ideas of gain or loss, success and failure, happiness and sadness but on simply working as much as possible for the sake of the truth while accepting whatever is offered by life.

The human condition believes that gaining is better than losing. Great spiritual leaders like Buddha and Jesus walked the path of loss to show us a way beyond gain and loss.

"What ever happens, I am I."

Thought #3

When we have difficulties , we might start a meditation or spiritual practice to find our way out. Some of us arrive with a goal or expectation: training in concentration, bravery, or performance. Others may be looking for a release from daily life by means of some sort of enlightenment. We search because we feel a lack.

If we practice with this attitude, our minds see it as the same struggle for fame or profit.

We should never work with a seeking mind.

Thought #4

We are not happy now, but we erroneously think if we find something to fill our emptiness, we'll be happy, so we pursue that object. Sometimes we succeed and feel like we've cracked it wide open. Other times we're disappointed and search harder for enlightenment like a hungry ghost or gaki.

Accepting the gifts of your practice is okay as long as they are not our motivation.

Closing Thought

We are always searching, pushing, and maybe a bit too hard. Remember that there are no accidents. All things that happen, even the shittiest of things, happen for a reason. If you don't see the point, look again. The point is sharp, like the tip of a knife - you won't see it until you feel it, cutting out your mistaken ideas.

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About Andrew

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At the age 17, through the guidance of his older brother Chris, he discovered the path of Buddhism. His journey with the practice has taken him across oceans and deep within himself. As a Zen bodhisattva, he works towards helping others find their own path without reward.


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