The Way of Contentment

The Way of Contentment

This has been an extended and beautiful spring season. As I sit here this morning I am aware that the morning temperature was cool at 53 degrees, the air was refreshing, sweet, a gentle breeze stirred the tree leaves which were animated and dancing, the sky was a true sky blue, bright and clear. At times like this my heart swells and I feel so grateful to be living this life. I hope you are also filled with this deep contentment.

Experiencing a deep sense of satisfaction is something that many of us rarely experience and when we do it often is such a surprise because we are reaching ahead, looking for the next best thing to achieve or make happen. We have missed the moment rather than meeting the moment and this phenomenon of distractibility and striving to have a better moment leaves us with a sense of boredom, ennui, and disappointment. This longing for life to be more than it is, is a pernicious snake wrapped around our bodies suffocating us, stifling our breathing, emptying our life force and spirit.

In mindfulness practice we are encouraged to embrace the present and pay attention on purpose to this one and only life. We can perceive as an artist sees the intricate patterns of a butterfly’s wing, touching the smoothness of a river rock while experiencing its texture, hearing the subtle whirling of the hummingbird hovering over an orange hue flowering shrub or the winds of late, flapping the tree branches.

It is beneficial to be aware of both why and how we strive for more, what takes us away, and what brings us back to a sense of fulfillment. Knowing the causes and conditions are essential to this practice. This recognizing brings us to a place of inner insight and allows us the opportunity to work with the situation, however it is. We can choose. I would like to share this prose piece with you from David Whyte that speaks to this so simply: “Enough”

These few words are enough, if not these words, this breath…
If not this breath, this sitting
this opening to the life we have refused
again and again until now. Until now.

In this moment of epiphany
this opening to the life we have refused
again and again
until NOW.

One of the gifts of our practice is a teaching by the Buddha; a well-trodden path to walk that can lead us to this contentment. It is known as The Eightfold Path to Happiness, a road map providing all the steps to peace and freedom.