Saturday, February 16, 2008

Discovered vs Engineered contentment

When someone thinks about what it means to be content, there is often a small part of us that secretly believes that if we twist our minds just so, we can "achieve" contentment.

I posit that you discover your already existing contentment rather than creating it. Take a look at the word again. The root is content. It means happy with what one has but also it means "stuff". If you will, stuff that already exists.

Sure you might "get" it atop a mountain after a satisfying hike, but I bet if you rolled back to the times that you felt truly content, you'd see that it was during some normal everyday moment, and it happened because you had the time to look around yourself and observe that the world was simply working the way it should.

You had some basic needs met (Maslow) and you were able to step back for a moment and simplify your needs further. Slowing down and being aware probably facilitated the moment of acute contentment.

It follows then that the more slow observational moments you can string together, the higher the likelihood of feeling/discovering contentment.

Slowing down, then is the good idea here.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting to me, especially given my slowing down, how, in slowing down, I have come to appreciate awareness at different levels---or speeds, if you will. On the one hand, I needed to slow everything down to bring things into perspective; and I still need to maintain my awareness of speeding up when I speed up, to see if I'm doing that to avoid something; but now, aside from stretching this sentence out as taught as I can make it, I'm seeing a distinct value in the flow and roll of experience. There are times when I like to go fast, when I need to go fast---it just all needs to be in proportion, and I need to not lose connection with myself in the process (i.e., not suppress my emotions, or connection with my environment, &c.). So, for me, now that I've slown down, I find that it has more and more to do with awareness.