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Wednesday's Weighty Wisdom: Contentment

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by robsalvv, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Yes, I couldn't be happier.

  2. Yes, but I could be happier.

    0 vote(s)
  3. Sort of, but I'm working on accepting some heavy shit.

    0 vote(s)
  4. Not really, and it's the world's fault.

    0 vote(s)
  5. Not really, but it's coz of my own shit and I'm trying to change that.

    0 vote(s)
  6. No. Stop the world. I don't wanna play anymore and I want to get off.

    0 vote(s)
  7. What are you talking about? I'm too busy to worry about it.

    0 vote(s)
  8. Other?

    0 vote(s)
  1. We're an interesting lot, we western cultured human beings. We never seem to be content with our lot.

    In general there's a drive to strive for... well, something. Sometimes we can't even define it. One day we're happy with our lot, the next day the same picture suggests we're in a rut. There's not enough of something oneday, but the next it's too much.

    Feeling content seems to be a shifting nebulous wispy phantasma that we can't define or grasp... it's a shifting goal post... perhaps the easterner have it right then - just free yourself from the attachment to the goal posts all together and contentment will follow... well maybe... maybe easterners are just rationalising a lower standard of living???????? Or maybe they truly did utterly nail it... striving for innate contentment and happiness by realising their true nature, without any attatchment to ideas and possessions.

    Does that hint that contentment is really nothing but a state of mind? Is it nothing other than a fundamental philosophic view? If it is, then can a westerner in a market driven advertising saturated and consumption influenced society ever truly be content?

    If we were feeling content, would we plummet into despair if our prized possession was stolen? Does that last question suggest westerner contentment is really only a fragile construct that is only a probabilistic circumstantial chance away from being impacted upon? Perhaps that suggests that western contentment is really only a superficial idea grounded in the ability to take everything around oneself utterly forgranted? Does that mean ignorance truly is bliss? Is bliss contentment?


    What the hell is contentment in this western civilisation and is it really achievable?

  2. I believe that people strive for better because they see something wrong or bad with an aspect of their life.

    I also believe that there is an inbuilt function in us that pushes (most) of us to want for more. This want is an activator for some and a cause for discontentment for others.

    Personally, I always want more - to improve some aspect of me or my life. What I'm working on is to realise its okay to want more, but what currently is is good too. I.e. be content with how things are whilst still having goals to achieve more.
  3. This is a little at a tangent to the question...

    I read a blog of one of the crew for the Alice Ducati team. It talks of his travails in his quest to satisfy a desire to work in Motogp.

    Following Liam's work, it's obvious he's been dealing with some serious stuff. He has a girlfriend in San Fran, family in Hawaii and lives in Barcelona. The team isn't doing great and there are long hours for little reward. This last Mugello round he rediscovered his life...

    Here is a man who has worked through his stuff and is now happy with himself, his life and his love. Reading his stuff makes you realise just how lucky you are.

    I have an awesome partner, someone who provides me with more support than I have ever had, a job that pays well, a beautiful house, lovely animals and passion for something that truly makes me feel alive. What more could I possibly want? When I look at Liz, I realise just how damn lucky I am. I am one happy man :)
  4. You don't deserve any of it, and you know it.
  5. I'm healthy, doing fine, family is well. So I voted very happy.

    It all depends on what you choose to focus on IMHO. Forget materialism for happiness, nothing wrong with goodies, they can be fun but they will never satisfy on their own. And that's often the problem with people, they attached their self worth to material object that they own .... or often even worse, to those that they DON'T have.

    And most importantly, be very careful of what you put inside yourself - food, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, all these things have a HUGE impact on your mental wellbeing and moods.

    Be true to yourself, live a good life and appreciate what you have.
  6. Did you forget the :) :p emoticons Rog...
  7. Excellent Question!

    Abraham Lincoln said "We are as happy as we make up our mind to be" and he suffered from major depression!

    Buddhism has a tenet that "All life is suffering" and once you can accept that, your suffering is lessened.

    I believe the quickest and easiest way to contentment is via acceptance. This means, wanting what you have and not lusting for everything you have not got. In this age of consumersim that can be challenging.

    The adverts say that unless we have the latest plassy tv, jeans, shoes, motorbike, car, house, phone ........ we will not be happy. Look at the marketing. So much of it shows the feeling of happiness and satisfaction once you have the product.

    Acceptance of where I am in the world, the role I play, my life circumstance, my personal traits (good and bad), habits (good and bad) and other aspects of my life and how I represent in it means that I can be happy within myself. I don't need others approval or permission. I can disagree and it is ok. Once I am OK with myself I can then start to accept others as they are - warts and all.

    Adopting this approach has led to contement, serentiy and bliss in my life.

    Don't get me wrong, I still have aspirations and desires, but I am not competing against anyone else or anything else. I look at ways to better myself, be the person I want others to see me as and contribute to the world.

    Happiness and contentment is a choice.

  8. No. I have yet to use one of those things.
  9. I'm usually happy with life, but rarely content. No matter what my situation I've always wanted more.

    When at school, I wanted to be out in a job; when working, I wanted a job I'd like; when doing a job I like, I wanted more money... As a kid I wanted independence; when using public transport, I wanted a car; when I got my own car, I wanted a bike... If I imagine winning tattslotto and having a house, I'd then also want a cool car, 2nd bike, cleaner, nice holiday... Yes, I want want WANT!

    I know I'll always want more, and I'm aware of that. So I also look at what I have now that I once dreamed of having, and life is pretty good :) As a kid, I remembered dreaming of being able to buy $10 worth of lollies :LOL:

    Life can be full of changes with new and better things to strive for, and times of highs and lows. I'm happy with how life is for what really matters to me - the people around me, standing by my morals, achieving things, and so far managing to stay afloat. The wanting for more can be a distraction, but it can also be what challenges us to expand. I believe the real trick is to remember the eastern philosophies, both when we're striving and falling. Otherwise we miss experiencing the beauty, clarity and amazement of life, by forgetting to appreciate.

    Of course, beauty and clarity is all just dandy when things are rosey. At the beginnings of unemployment and dealing with an stubborn injury, this is hopefully only a slight falling time; but I might need to rememinded that: compared to other people's issues and thinking about what I still have, it's nothing
    ... which will probably result in "Oh fcuk off!" :mad: :LOL:
  10. I'm in a professional rut at the moment, which is doing my head in even more. I love where we are living and the lifestyle we are creating for ourselves so much I don't want to leave to work my butt off for limited rewards. For the first time in a long time, I feel so unfocused on work and so focussed on me/us that I am frustrating myself more at/with work :?

    I have never been happier than I am now. I LOVE married life and am really looking forward to having kids and really going gung-ho into that stage of our lives :cool: I've even started really getting into cooking (something wrong there! :shock: ). I love being as good a wife I can be and, whilst I stuff up sometimes, its only 'cos I've tried something which ultimately makes me better/wiser/stronger/more capable (that didn't really make sense and probably sounds really bad, but I know what I mean :oops: ).

    I have to say that I think my work thing may have a lot more to do with boredom, which will change in a week when I move to a different environment and huge challenges. We are pretty well looked after as well, so I can't complain there either (though Jay thinks I work too hard/too much for too little).

    I am more than content, I think....rapture, or elated bliss with home life is probably closer to the truth :cool: :grin: (Says me sitting here with my gorgeous puppy licking my ear and my hair while I drink my tea in front of the fire, knowing I'm about to snuggle in with my gorgeous husband and sleep soundly before a day of riding with friends on what looks like it will be a glorious day!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!
  11. Good topic, Wallace :LOL:

    The Apostle Paul talks about people who 'supposing that gain is godliness': and tells Timothy 'from such withdraw thyself'.
    But he adds :6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
    : 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
    :8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

    This of course is mainly aimed at materialism; how many people queued up for a ticket in Powerball? But it also addresses the Christian's view that God is looking after him, and that what he has is what God knows he needs.

    That, of course, is not a world view, but my view, so I ticked the first box. I have a roof over my head, even though it isn't MY roof, I have a loving wife, two terrific children and enough money coming in to pay the bills and buy a few little luxuries. Investment counsellors would be bleating that I should be doing something to make sure that I can live in the style to which I have become accustomed when I retire. Given the style to which I have become accustomed over the last 59 years, that's not going to be hard. But my view is that God knows about all that too; I have superannuation and I have the best retirement plan in the world.
  12. I think anyone who ticks the first box is fooling themself, or perhaps trying to convince themself and us that it is so.

    You can always be happier in some way!
  13. Do you ever do any work Rob? :p
  14. Am I happy with my lot in life? Yep 100% Do I want to continue to grow and do more with my life, yep.

    Contentment is about understanding who you are and then accepting that. No one can become content without accepting you are what and who you are. This is a lot harder than it sounds, it is why we need and abuse outside stimulus, drink, drugs, adrenaline etc etc. :?
  15. Nice topic Robbio...

    As someone who has climbed a pretty massive mountain to get where I am today, I can honestly say I am feeling pretty stoked at the moment. The effort was truly worth it, and when I finally did achieve it, the satisfaction was a great feeling.


    The goalposts in life will always change. And I think this is a good thing. It makes us strive to be better people. That can be as simple a improving your skills in a career or starting a business or being nicer to your brother or phoning your mum more or training for a marathon or...
  16. Great responses folks. Its amazing how unique they are, but how they also share some commonalities.

    Yes. Is it making me content? TBA. :)

    I think Matti has said something which strikes a deep chord with me. I've long been suspicious that there is some "force" that guides/influences our lives and gives it a shake whenever we get too contented and stop growing. In these times, life gives you a smack across the head and throws up incidents/experiences/opportunities/roadblocks/challenges that tend to cause to you stop and take stock.

    It's in these moments that you assimilate and grow and get to know more about yourself and your nature. These moments have reminded me just how fleeting my own contenment actually is/was. Have I learned to be inherently happy though...? Nope. Try as I might, in the end, I end up looking at what things or changes I'll need to make or make around me, to "make me happy" again... and therein lies the problem.

    "make me happy".


    Why is it that we westerners come from the point of view of looking at external things to make us happy? Why aren't we inherently happy?

    I frankly think that the pursuit of inherent happiness is too big an ask... but it's still one ideal that I have deep down inside...


    Try as I might, I'm like the rest of us and my "happiness level" depends on how things are going in my life at the time. Knowing this fact rankles a little, but it does drive me towards trying to enjoy the moments while they're there. That in it's own right though, is not a bad philosophy for life... live in the moment. If you take the eastern view, that's where happiness is. Not past, not future, but right now - the acceptance and giving over of our life in the now... excuse me while I light my incense stick...

    ...but now my mind jumps to a whole other line of thought... when are we "allowed" to not accept what's going on? Is the process of deciding just what we're not willing to accept, simply a part of the getting to know oneself? Is using this knowledge to drive change actually the more positive outcome compared to just accepting the situation??? Hmmm... too much stuff for my lunch break.

    /end rambling thoughts.


    Some things to consider:

    "May the wind always be on your back" - Part of an Irish saying IIRC

    Anne Frank:
    We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.

    Albert Camus:
    But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?

    H.H. the Dalai Lama:
    The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.

    Martha Washington:
    The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.

    Ramona L. Anderson:
    People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.
  17. All depends on your outlook!

  18. Now this is a juicy topic :) and one close to my heart.

    I'm really inspired by what you guys are writing here.

    I have read numerous books on this topic and through the process of my own painful experiences feel I have something to contribute.

    I used to want, want, want and strive for more. I always focused on what I didn't have, rather than what I actually did have. This only made my dissolutionment greater. I was forever looking outside of myself for the solution. It took a painful marriage breakdown and losing most of what I'd acquired over the past 17 years for me to really look at how important those things were to me. I soon realised that they were just 'things'. Don't get me wrong - I can still be caught lusting after a hot bike - but I know that I'm increadibly lucky to even have one now - even though I've outgrown it.

    I learnt during this time to lower my expectations. To look at how people really are instead of what I wanted to see. This meant that there was less room for disappointment. Disappointment is born from our judgements. If we can change our judgements we no longer need to feel disappointed.

    I'm sure we can all agree that life can be very tough. It can also be magical and wonderful too. Without the darkness we have no concept of what light is. When you work through a rough patch it's a real achievement to come out at the other end having used the opportunities/lessons that the universe has given you.

    Lets face it we are all looking for more meaning in our lives. Just like The Alchemist our treasure is under our feet. I think it's even closer...within our hearts.

    So what gives me contentment?

    Living in the moment (that's another topic alltogether). This is a really wonderful way to see the world. A friends Dad used to say that if you had one foot in the past and one in the future - you sh*t all over today. I believe this 100%

    Feeling good about myself and feeling good about others. My relationships with my family and friends are more valuable than gold.

    Forgiveness - this is a big one. Without forgiving others (even if it's in your heart) and ourselves we are still slaves to bitterness and resentment.

    As the others have said here. Contentment is a choice. We all have the capacity to feel it each and every day. So lets not put it off and think I'll be happy when.........
  19. No, you misread the questions, either accidentally or deliberately.

    It's not a question about happiness, it's a question about contentment. You can always be more happy, but you either have contentment or you don't. Obviously, you don't :(.
  20. The first option in the poll clearly says, Yes, I couldn't be happier, meaning that nothing could make them happier. My original reply stands, anyone who thinks nothing could make them happier is a fool or a liar.