Living Contentedly

by Christopher Lovejoy on July 14, 2013

About a year ago, in my post A Context for Contentment, I presented a view of living contentedly. In reviewing this post, I still find myself resonating favorably with the essence of it.

In these times of transition, however, contentment might seem like a luxury that few can afford. In reading the next verse, let us keep a discerning mind in keeping with the heart.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 46

Maturity is synonymous with being open to the flow of experience, without resistance. The more mature we are, the more open we can be to receive, without resistance.

Do you sometimes feel preoccupied by a nagging sense of loss or lack, sometimes feel plagued by an ongoing sense of urgency, sometimes feel an incessant push for more?

Congratulations if you do, because it means you’re still human; it means you’re still learning and growing, exploring and evolving, as a divine spiritual being in human form.

By entertaining these deep, dark questions, we give ourselves permission to consider how open we are to receiving the flow of our experience in our daily encounters.

When the world is in tune with the Way,
running horses are retired for tilling the fields.
When the world is out of tune with the Way,
warhorses are bred in the countryside.

There is no greater loss than losing the Tao,
no greater curse than covetousness,
no greater tragedy than discontent;
the worst fault is wanting more – always.

Contentment alone is enough. Indeed,
the bliss of eternity is found in Contentment.

Edited slightly by yours truly to enhance the flow of text

Ref: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Here’s my poetic interpretation:

following your bliss feels natural
as and when a sense of promise
informs your sense of possibility,
which feeds a sense of promise
guided by a presence at peace

If wanting implies lacking, allowing invites receiving.

My Impressions of the Verse

My overall impression of this verse became favorable when my perspective on fulfillment expanded, when I realized that a vital distinction could be made between contentment and Contentment.

When the world is in tune with the Way,
running horses are retired for tilling the fields.
When the world is out of tune with the Way,
warhorses are bred in the countryside.

This could be read as a veiled way of saying, “I disapprove of war”, but as applied to persons individually, I think that it can also be read metaphorically as an invitation to get your home in order.

This makes even more sense when we remember that “home finds its place inside the heart”. When my world is in tune with the Way, running thoughts are tamed for tilling fields of promise and possibility.

There is no greater loss than losing the Tao,
no greater curse than covetousness,
no greater tragedy than discontent;
the worst fault is wanting more – always.

Losing the Tao, losing touch with the Tao, losing my claim to following my bliss and going with the flow, is perhaps the ultimate loss, of which all other losses pale in significance by comparison.

Being grateful for what I already have is not compatible with constantly wanting more and striving for more. As I remain aligned with the Way, in love through peace, with gratitude through grace, the blessings that invariably arise are enough to nullify and neutralize the curse that is covetousness.

Contentment alone is enough. Indeed,
the bliss of eternity is found in Contentment.

As I mentioned, there’s contentment and then there’s Contentment.

There’s living contentedly and then there’s living Contentedly.

If contentment is but a piece of fulfillment, then Contentment is fulfillment itself.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

Does contentment + upliftment = fulfillment?

Yes, but as I indicated above, it’s not quite as straightforward as that.

Is the upliftment of my spirit in tune with the contentment of my soul? If yes, then happiness and fulfillment are mine to appreciate and enjoy.

This is no small feat, as it involves knowingly, willingly, flexibly, and intentionally orchestrating a vital, complex and fluid dynamic (see below) until it feels effortless and therefore spontaneous.

Again:

following your bliss feels natural
as and when a sense of promise
informs your sense of possibility,
which feeds a sense of promise
guided by a presence at peace

If the peace of contentment is found in unity with the soul and its sense of promise, then the bliss of upliftment is found in harmony with the spirit and its sense of possibility.

In unity and harmony, by way of peace and bliss, contentment and upliftment realized and harmonized yield the ultimate in personal fulfillment, which is Contentment.

Where contentment is passive, Contentment is active even as it gives contentment its due.

Truly, the bliss of eternity is found in Contentment.

Next up: On Living by Being

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This post is one of many in an ongoing series that began here.

p.s., I (blissfully) made extensive revisions to my About page.

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