Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Thought

“He who is not content with what he has will not be content with what he would like to have.”  Socrates

Contentment is not necessarily a state of satisfaction in which acquired possessions mark the goal.  Rather contentment is a state of mind in that anything more we might achieve or acquire is like a pleasant surprise since we are already satisfied.  Like the biblical concept of love, however, contentment is not something that just happens or comes naturally.  Contentment requires that we actively engage in what is at our disposal, reveling in what is already present rather than focusing on what we convince ourselves we lack.  So contentment may come down to what we think we own or what we believe we are entitled to vs. what we have been allowed for purposes much greater than for self-satisfaction because as long as we are in pursuit of “stuff” we think will make us happy, there will never exist a goal which can be reached – and true happiness will never be known.

Contentment may be the single greatest gift we can offer and teach to our children rather than to orient them toward religious holidays the sole purpose of which is to get more stuff.  The religious holidays (i.e., Christmas and Easter) are the gifts themselves, not incidental to what is found under a tree or in a basket.  If we cannot find contentment in these, we will not find contentment in the “prizes” because the true gift is overlooked.

This is how contentment is neglected.  Much like it is often said that we are inclined to “step over a dollar to pick up a dime”, we become so focused on what we do not have that we take for granted what we always had.  Counting our blessings is more than the title of a religious hymn.  It is the essence of faith itself in trusting that what we truly need is already present, however much or little.  And if we can embrace the spiritual reality that nothing is given that is not intended to be shared, we will find much more satisfaction in what already is than in vain hope for what may never come to be.



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