“Not what you have, but what you see; Not what you see, but what you choose; Not what seems fair, but what is true; Not what you dream, but what you do; Not what you take, but what you give; Not as you pray, but as you live. These are the things that mar or bless.”
People spend a lot of time chasing after things. We run in circles trying hard to obtain something all the time. Fortune, fame, relationships, new cars, whatever. Often we don’t fully understand the objects of our desire because we have not fully experienced them. So when we finally reach our goals, we do not even recognize that we now have everything we always thought we wanted. So we keep going! We turn our attention to some thing new we see off in the distance. We are always wanting for something else.
It might be useful for us to look at what our life would be like if we learned to be content.
If we are content with ourselves we are more likely to be a good friend, partner, parent. We are more likely to be happy and friendly and loving, more likely to be as accepting of others as we are of ourselves. Relationships improve, especially when others learn to be content with themselves by following our example.
Much of our culture’s unhealthiness comes from unhappiness -eating junk food to give ourselves comfort and relieve stress, not exercising because we think we do not have the time, being glued online because we think we might miss something if we turn off the computer or iPhone. When we realize that we are not missing anything, and we do not need junk food to be happy, and we feel good by doing exercise, we can slowly return to health.
The overload of possessions in our lives comes from unhappiness – we buy things because we think they will give us comfort, coolness, happiness, security, an exciting life. When we become content with ourselves and our lives, we realize none of that is necessary, and we can start getting rid of these extraneous crutches.
Much of our busyness comes from fear that we should be doing more, that we might be missing out and we need more. But we are enough, and we don’t need more, and we aren’t missing out. So we can let go of a lot of unnecessary activity, and just focus on doing what we love, and give ourselves the space to enjoy a contented life.
Once we learn the simple trick of contentedness, it is really a picture of what already is. We just need to let go of the fears, and see what is already here.
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”