Practice Contentment : Live More With Less
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Practice Contentment : Live More With Less

Article on contentment, suggested practices and mastering the human desire for more.

A lot has been written about the business of happiness and contentment. That said, you are probably now wondering why I'm pouring new article wine into a very old topic skin. Still, you're here now, so might as well show you the wine. Here's how to be content, with less than you think.

1. The problem of contentment is the human desire to want more than before. On a relatively harmless scale, this desire is usually born of the need for basic resources. Once allowed to escalate however, even the need for basic resources is transformed into a constant cry of I want more.

2. To be content then, you have to be the master of the desire for more. Now that you've made a commitment to mastering this desire, reaffirm such a commitment with something, perhaps a written reminder or a verbal affirmation. I suggest you say I am the master of my desire for more, and even now, I am no less content.

3. After affirming your mastery over your desires, turn to the opposite horizon and reflect, not on what you desire, but what you already possess. Things like being alive, having your basic needs fulfilled, having a job, friends or achieving a goal, all of these are valuable to reflect upon. Your next suggested action is to take a 10-minute break, sit down and run through all of your past achievements and present victories. Be thankful for each small blessing.

4. Thus having been made aware of your power over self-desires and blessings already accrued, the next step is recognition of the positive feelings attached to such knowledge. Once you are aware of this feeling and begin to seek it actively through the practice of contentment, benefits are sure to follow. Your next step is to take a small bit of time, maybe five minutes, to focus on the positive feelings associated with your contentment.

5. Now that you have built the basic foundations of a content way of life, the ultimate challenge and eventual goal is to internalize it at all times, carrying the positive feelings and attitude to match everywhere you go. Each time you're faced with a situation where it seems like discontent is justified, I once again suggest you reaffirm this statement. I am the master of my desire for more, and even now, I am no less content.

All that said, if you want to take the practice of contentment one step higher, drawing on more spiritual methods, a meditation on contentment would be helpful. In which case, sit in a quiet corner, close your eyes and focus on the mental images of your blessings received. Internalize the images, and take note of the feelings that arise, then affirm once more your decision to be content in life. Allow mental chatter to silence itself naturally, and do this for ten minutes, or more if you so desire.

- Photo courtesy of the Dhammatelukintan blog.

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