In the process of organizing my thoughts about contentment I was quite surprised at how the topic expanded and overlapped with so many aspects of our spiritual experience and understanding. For example, words, concepts or experiences that appeared in my reflections included happiness, inner peace, rest, self-love, presence, desirelessness, inner silence, innocence, equanimity, serenity, not knowing, trust, and more. All of these can be seen as associated with the direct experience of contentment.
When A.H. Almaas established a school through which the Diamond Approach would be taught, he named it Ridhwan, an Arabic word that roughly translates as contentment. He wrote: “Ridhwan is a kind of contentment which arises when you're liberated. Your personality becomes contented when you're free. Your personality itself is free from its suffering and conflict. Christ said you need to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Ridhwan, contentment, is the entrance into the kingdom of heaven.”
Contentment is a quality of the heart’s knowing - it’s the absence of seeking for any personal gain. It’s not about avoiding, dissociating, or rationalizing. It’s not about withdrawing from everyday life, rather, from a state of contentment functioning continues in ordinary ways, but one is not so personally attached to the outcome.
I believe the purpose of life is to be happy.
From the very core of our being we desire contentment.
~ Dalai Lama
All desire arises from an innate lack of contentment. While nothing that mind can imagine and want is of any real value, the personal ‘I’ will ensure that each day is peppered with efforts to fulfill desires. In fact when identified thought is running, there is interest in little else. It is the nature of desire to prompt the mind to create a world for its fulfillment.
~ Jac O'Keeffe
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
~ Lao Tzu
Equanimity arises when we accept the way things are.
~ Jack Kornfield
He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.
~ Walt Whitman
Nature is neither pleasant nor painful. It is all intelligence and beauty. Pain and pleasure are in the mind. Change your scale of values and all will change. Pleasure and pain are mere disturbances of the senses; treat them equally and there will be only bliss. And the world is what you make it; by all means, make it happy. Only contentment can make you happy, desires fulfilled breed more desires. Keeping away from all desires and contentment in what comes by itself is a very fruitful state, a precondition to the state of fullness. Don't distrust its apparent sterility and emptiness. Believe me, it is the satisfaction of desires that breeds misery. Freedom from desires is bliss.
There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.
Before all history, distinctions and language, before all experiences of liking and not liking, is where we rest and abide always.
~ Pamela Wilson
No relationship can satisfy, because every relationship begins with great hope, and that is not possible to be fulfilled. Yes, that hope can be fulfilled, but it can be fulfilled only when you have fallen in love with the whole. No part can fulfill it. When you have fallen in love with the total, when the merger happens with the total, only then will there be contentment. There will be nobody who is contented, there will be simply contentment. And then there is no end to it.
If you see anything in the world as unacceptable, you can be certain that your mind is confused.
~ Byron Katie
The ego imagines it has to give up everything, but it is merely a drama queen. In fact, it is the ego that has to be given up!
In the state of personhood, you imagine you are giving up all your joy, freedom and fun when you choose the Truth.
But fun, joy and freedom arise from the true Self and not from the mind. The common man's worldly pursuits and enjoyment comes mainly through the senses and mind which are not the source of real joy, but the sage's supreme joy springs from his own effortless being—free of attachment, imagination and fear he lives in continuous peace, contentment and joy.
When you discover the Truth, you do not give up anything—except delusion.
The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable… Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
~ Hsin Hsin Ming, the Third Zen Patriarch
When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need.'
~ Dalai Lama
To cultivate equanimity we practice catching ourselves when we feel attraction or aversion, before it hardens into grasping or negativity.
~ Pema Chödrön
Contentment and happiness depend on the mind, not on external objects or circumstances.
Traditional metaphysical teaching would agree that
we must rise above evil, but it still looks longingly toward good,
hoping to see the evil translated into good,
and that is where it makes the mistake
which results in the inability to attain the final harmony.
As long as we can be made to believe that
one thing is good and another evil,
we shall remain outside the Garden of Eden,
and one day have health and another day disease,
experience youth and vitality one day and age and debility another day
because those are the pairs of opposites and
they follow one another in cycles.
It is only when we do not desire wealth or harmony
any more than lack or discord,
but seek only that which was original and primary in the Garden of Eden,
that we rise above these opposites into eternal life.
In this state of consciousness, we are pure enough
to dwell in the Garden of Eden which is a state of desirelessness —
a contentedness with being.
~ Joel Goldsmith