How to be contented in life? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Acharya Prashant: Ishita asks, “What is contentment and why do we run behind it?”

Ishita we never run behind contentment. We run behind another thing called ‘satisfaction.’ Contentment is not a goal to be achieved. Contentment is right now. Contentment is our intrinsic fullness which opens up in the absence of any desire. When there is no desire, then you know everything is alright! That is contentment. That is intrinsic fullness, you don’t run after it to get it.

But yes there is another word. You know the dictionary would say these two are synonymous contentment and satisfaction. But in lives, these two are poles apart. Very-very different. We run after satisfaction. What do we say? We say that if we get that then we will be satisfied. That which you are after is always ahead. Always in future. Am I right?

Listener: Yes, sir.

AP: Do you ever say that in this moment if I get something I will be satisfied? Because if you say this moment, then by the time you say this moment this has already become a time. Become past. So, defacto you are always aspiring about the future. A hope into the future. If I get that then.

The disease is right now. That you feel dissatisfied. And what is the kind of false treatment, that your mind works out? It says, “Do that and that will be the cure.” I run after satisfaction. This running after proves that I am not satisfied. Otherwise, why would I run after satisfaction?

The disease is right now. But the stupid mind it says, “The cure is in the future.” Fact of the matter is if the disease is right now. There must be a cure right now. How can the unhappiness of today be cured by the happiness of tomorrow?

You are unhappy on Sunday. You say something happens on Tuesday that would make me happy and satisfied. Now, even if you become happy on Tuesday. Can you become happy on Sunday? There is Sunday here and there is a Tuesday ahead of it. Sunday is right now and I am unhappy. And my mind works out a great treatment. It says on Tuesday you will get something. You have made a target. And on Tuesday you reached that target and become happy. Now, even if I do become happy. When will I become happy?

L: Tuesday.

AP: On Tuesday. And when I am unhappy?

L: Sunday.

AP: When is the disease?

L: On Sunday.

AP: Has the treatment worked?

L: No, sir.

AP: It’s such a poor treatment and yet the mind keeps on running after satisfaction in the future. It does not pause to observe it’s restlessness. The moment that is observed. There is contentment. The understanding of what really is. Is contentment. That understanding itself is full, complete, finished. That does not mean that there would be no action after Sunday. There would be great action but that action will arise from contentment, not dissatisfaction.

Our actions arise from dissatisfaction right? I say that Today is Sunday and I am dissatisfied. So, I am acting so that I get satisfied on?

L: Tuesday.

AP: And what would be the quality of that action? When I am acting what kind of mood will I have? Irritated, expecting and also dull. Because you know the real thing is on Tuesday. So, how am I feeling right now? Today is Sunday. The real thing is on Tuesday. How am I feeling right now? Miserable. The quality of my actions would be poor, would be diseased.

There is another kind of action that arises from contentment. I am acting but I am acting out of contentment. I am already happy and from this happiness, I am acting. And in that action, there is great energy, a great vigor, a great sense of surety, youthfulness real youthfulness. Not confusion, not hope, not target, not goal.

Just pure action arising from contentment. And then that moment is its own result.

You do not seek result in the future. There is this moment in which I am joyfully acting and that moment is over. It gave me what it could and it’s gone now. There is this new moment and I am acting in this new moment. I am not looking forward to that or this or this. There is the now and this now is its own result and I am contented with it. There is nothing to be achieved tomorrow or day after. I am fully into it.

Are you getting it?

L: Yes, Sir.


~ Acharya Prashant Ji speaking at a Samvaad session at MIT on 15th February 2013


Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant, with students: How to be contended in life? The transcription has been edited for clarity.


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