On Contentment

I have to admit – whenever I hit a flat spot in my day, the first thing I do is pull out my phone and touch the flashiest app to shield myself from incoming boredom.

Swipe, swipe, swipe. Images float up, down, side to side, fading in, fading out. Photos of people smiling with friends and family, photos of people in front of [insert foreign landmark here], photos of people’s new cars, houses, babies, hobbies, pets. If not Facebook or Instagram, perhaps it’s a news site, saying something about prices dropping here, people dying there, people arguing, talking, conversing about sports and “important” people. Some of us look to social media to validate our existence in the form of likes, comments, and other popularity contest-esque schemes.

Our days are just saturated with information and even moreso if you’re a big city dweller. When we feel overwhelmed, our first instinct is to get away from it all – it manifests itself in a thirst for travel, for space, for lying on a beach by an ocean and getting lost in our thoughts, in a taste of chocolate on the tip of the tongue, in a few beers at a bar, in child’s pose on a yoga mat, in a bed with a novel…the list goes on. Yet the only guarantee of being alive lies in this moment.

Realistically, we can’t be in a “get away” state all the time. For most of us, we have some level of responsibilities and obligations – responsibilities to ourselves, to our families, to our friends, to the government (helloooo tax season!)…that we cannot simply ignore. Some of us have children, spouses, significant others that we attend to in the name of love. Some of us have jobs and career ambitions. Some of us have other goals that we want to accomplish.

I firmly believe, however, that we should empower ourselves by finding an inner bliss – if just for five minutes – every day. And swim in it like there is no tomorrow.

The fact that we are alive, that we are living on this planet in (presumably) good enough health, in an age that you can even read this little tidbit of information on a glowing computer screen – is itself a true miracle. There is so much around us that goes unnoticed, yet we become so used to being bored or unhappy with our current state in life that we constantly search for more, more, more, tomorrow, tomorrow, next week, next year. In the end, there is one certainty – we will not be around forever. And that is why we must live out our bliss for some time – a few minutes, a few hours – every day – and when we live it, we live it relentlessly.

Inner bliss should not be an expensive or overly complex pursuit – it is simply a manifestation of the beauty of living – or we may lose our motivation to chase it. As kids, we would get excited over small things – listening to a favorite song, eating the juiciest, sweetest, watermelon, going on the monkey bars – we would focus so much enjoying that moment. As adults, our desires become more complex, but that does not mean we have to stop enjoying life as is – we can create a personal meal, a ritual of lotions and candles, solve a puzzle, do a yoga routine. Stand back and just think. “Wow, I created this little slice of bliss, and it’s all mine.” How awesome is that?

Mindlessly scrolling through the lives of others is to abandon yourself – in some cases, they are inspirational, but are they truly inspirational and spark joy in you? Or do the life events of others simply fill your boredom or worse, evoke jealousy?

Find those little joys in your day and dwell in them with all that you have. When you reach a state of contentment, you’ll recognize everything you have. Thank them for being in your life. Without contentment, you’ll only see emptiness – what you lack – and what you do have will be ignored, shoved aside, waiting to be discovered again.

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