The observation of life made me realize that I rarely experienced full contentment. No matter how wonderful my life was, I always felt that something was not quite right, that something was missing. I lived with the hope that something in the future would come about and fulfill this void I felt. But what would bring me contentment and peace of mind was never clear: perhaps the next academic degree, the next job, the next relationship, the next house, the next vacation, perhaps when I achieved fame and fortune. I kept pursuing those things that the culture told me would make me happy. Not knowing what would tame my anxiety — what would give me the feeling of fulfillment I so much longed for — I found myself all over the place. It was as if I was shooting in the dark, hoping to hit the target. Rather than being centered and satisfied, I found myself in this state of imbalance, constantly desiring, constantly leaning forward, hoping that the next thing would placate this sentiment that although things were good, they were not quite right, this subtle feeling in the background that something was wrong. I referred to it as ‘a bug in the system, an undercurrent of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and dissatisfaction.’ I could hear Mick Jagger singing, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”
I came to realize that many of the things I was pursuing, the things I was told would make me happy, were misleading, vain promises of happiness. I realized that I was following someone else’s formula for happiness, not my own. I also came to learn that a state of happiness based in conditions is only temporary because circumstances are constantly changing. Yes, everything is impermanent!
And then I began to become aware of the vicious circle of desires and discontentment, desires and restlessness, desires and suffering! I became more aware of how wanting is disturbing, and how contentment is calming.
I realize that everything, no matter how good, can be improved. I also realize that improvement has no end, and that it is necessary to practice mindfulness and know when to say, “That’s enough. I am satisfied.” By practicing appreciation, contentment, and gratitude for all that I do, all that I have, and who I am, I feel that I was blessed with much more than enough, and as a result of that feeling, I am more generous. And when I am all this — appreciative, content, satisfied, grateful, and generous — I am happier.
Give it a try.
“Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier, more popular, more productive, more envied, and more admired. Be perfect and amazing… Then fly your helicopter to your wonderfully fulfilling job, where you spend your days doing incredibly meaningful work that’s likely to save the planet one day… When you stop and really think about it, conventional life advice is actually fixating on what you lack… This fixation only serves to remind us over and over again of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be… The more you pursue feeling better all the time the less satisfied you become as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more desperately you want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel regardless of how much money you actually make… The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience… Wanting positive experience is a negative experience. Accepting negative experience is a positive experience.” ~ Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect and write, and who not only aspires to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches Mindfulness Meditation and Mindful Living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He leads mindfulness silent retreats and organizes Silent Peace Walks. He lives in Florida, USA. Join his Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Living sessions at Yoga Source in Coral Springs (Sundays at 9:00 AM) and at Shiwa Yoga in Deerfield Beach (Thursdays at 6:30 AM and 12:30 PM)
Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store
– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”