2022-08-01 Finding our Way (1 of 5) With Contentment and Dicontent
3:14PM Aug 1, 2022
So, Monday morning and we start a new series of in this general topic of emotions that been covering the last weeks. And now it's this week, it's going to be states that we have emotional states, perhaps, that are kind of the opposites of each other. But that live in relationship to each other. Sometimes a pendulum swings from one side to the other. And sometimes we react to one and the other arises and vice versa. Or that they, both sides of this of this range, have a place in our lives. And so they appreciate that there's these two sides that live in dynamic relationship to each other and to appreciate understand them deeper. And so for today, I want to talk about contentment and discontent. There is healthy contentment, healthy discontent. And there is unhealthy contentment and unhealthy discontent. And so to really look and see more deeply what is this world of contentment, discontent that we live in? The.
To live in a world of discontent is often a world of suffering. To continue living a world world of stress of greed of hatred is stressful. And it can arise out of our discontent without things are is to pile more discontent on top of it. We can out of the discontent, the difficulties of our life, we can get caught up in greed and hatred and fear. And there's a healthy discontent with suffering. Buddhist practice that does involve a discontentment and intolerance even in a certain particular way to our suffering, not intolerance, where tolerance is associated with hostility and bias and prejudice, but rather intolerance and say, you know, I'm not going to be content with a life of suffering. And that can be content with a life that I'm miserable and live in constant fear constant discouragement, or stress. And so that inspires practice the sort of discontent that inspires practice. But then at some point, there is so the, to be content with things as they are, sometimes being means being content with things which you know, are to our detriment. So, but to be content with is a very important valuable state, for people who doing Buddhist practice and doing mindfulness, to learn to be content with through having few wishes. When we want all the time we want and what we want we want, then, you know, there's can be a strong discontent. And, and, but to have fewness of wishes, and just be happy and content with what we have, can provide a very satisfying state of being it also can provide a very positive state to be available for the wonderful things in our life. If we're discontented and always wanting more and more different things, we might not be available to really appreciate what we do have and what is good here. The there's this wonderful story that I that's told many different ways recently, I read the version by Pablo co Hilo. And so it goes something like this that there was a fisherman who would go out to sea every morning, get up early in the morning, go out to fish and and catch enough fish for the day to take you to bring back for the family to eat and sell a few of them for some of the things they needed. And would come back in the you know in mid morning, and then would play with his children on the beach and a delightful time playing. And then he would go home and spend a good part of the afternoon with his wife and maybe CSD with her and then would go into the evening and spend a good number of hours in the village square with his friends and talking and chatting and having a nice time.
And he would do this, he did this for a long time. And then one day, a, a six barristers successful businessman came by and noticed how he was living his life. And he said, you know, it'd be pretty easy for you to take out a loan and get a boat, and there's a lot more fish out there for you to fish, you can spend a few more hours of the day fishing and you'd be able to pay back a loan quickly and then backed by a bigger boat. And, and why should I do that says a fisherman, well, then you would have more money, you can actually then buy a fleet of boats and hire people to work. And pretty soon you'd have enough money to start a whole company. And you could have the international headquarters near your village and, and run this huge conglomerate of both fishing and selling fish. And, and, and then when you're, you know, after many years of doing this, you'll be able to retire. And then you can just get it then you when you're retired, you can enjoy yourself, you can just get up in the morning and go into the sea, go fish for a few fish and come back and left for the day and then play with your children at the beach and, and hang out with your wife in the afternoon and your friends in the evening. And the fisherman said, Well, that's what I'm doing now already. Why should I wait until you know I retire. And so to be content with what we have, is partly the story of that anger theme of that story. And, and when do we do that in such a way that it allows for something profound to happen for us. When we when we when has contentment, open the doors to the practice, to see ourselves deeply. And to move through layers and deeper and deeper contentment and joy and peace and happiness. Move through layers of letting go of disk layers of discontent, layers of suffering, of greed and desires. You know, one of the advantages of meditation, one of the really important aspects of it is that as we settle and get quieter and more concentrated, we will start seeing aspects of our inner life that are not available running around everyday life, running around discontent, taking care of things doing things. And so we start seeing that deeper levels of healthy and unhealthy discontent, the deeper layers of places of holding of clinging of fear that we're living by, and, and then we let go. And so then as we do so, we start feeling deeper and deeper layers of, of freedom, of happiness, of contentment, of peace. So, so this whole world of contentment, and discontent has a lot to do with the world of desires. And classic language in Buddhism is that people who practice should have few should be content by having few desires. Some desires desires for practice is ours to be free desire just to help the world but maybe not desires for expensive cars and expensive homes and expensive. You know all kinds of things it's possible to so many desires in this modern world, for some of us, it's there's so many things to do and to acquire. It's astounding and it can be stressful, to live in a world of so much temptation. And so fewness of wishes, desires, but then there's a whole other layer and and the this world of contentment and discontent as it gets settled and more and more settled and peaceful and quiet. It all comes like a funnel down through the bow to the funnel to a whole other world of being available. being available to what the world is about being available to the
you know the cool breeze against our cheek being available to notice the colors of green and the tree He is around the property around the town, being available to sip tea and enjoy oneself being available for meditation, being available for honesty about what's really happening here for us. As we become more mindful, being available to truth telling, this is what's happening, to have enough contentment to be quiet enough to be settled enough to start being more and more honest about what is here, being available for the truth being available to see what is not true. So as we navigate and find our way in this world of contentment and discontent, as we begin seeing where there's where there's possibilities of healthy contentment, and where we might get caught in unhealthy contentment, when we start seeing where healthy discontent is, and we're unhealthy, discontented, and we start maneuvering and finding our way and finding some freedom from the incessant desires that can keep us discontented in on useful ways, then there can be a settling and a quieting I contentment with just things as content with how things are, imagine standing in a long line at a government agency to get something like your driver's license. And there's nowhere to go because you have to stand in the line. Imagine being content. Because being discontented, there is just a waste of time, and serves no purpose. It doesn't make things go faster, doesn't help you feel more healthy and happy. To be available for contentment with ways when that's the best alternative to know how to let go of desires, wanting things to be different, when that's not really what's possible to learn how to be content with what is when what is is actually quite wonderful, and maybe what is is more wonderful than what you're striving for, if you're striving for well then fame and all kinds of things. So, I encourage you to spend the day looking at your relationship to contentment and discontent. And, and perhaps you can begin to appreciate the greater range of ways that contentment can be healthy. And also the healthy ways of being discontent. And and in the process of doing that, find yourself more settled and available for this world. Available for your practice available for yourself. So thank you. And so this will be kind of the theme for this this week. These girls do this pairing of two different kinds of states and just explore them a little bit with you. And that tomorrow will be gladness and sadness. So thank you