By Paul Le Baron

The dictionary says, "Contentment is the state of being happy with what one has." Is it possible for this to become a normal condition? If so, what is its effect on everyday living? Does it tend to dull the sharp edge of initiative, or smother the spirit of adventure? Does it interfere with friendships or close the doors to curiosity and outreach toward others? These are pertinent questions to ponder for anyone seeking peace of mind and heart.

As a small child my attempts to silence the confusing cacophony in my mind seemed fruitless, often leaving me in despair; yet I persisted. Then one day as I lay in the grass of a secluded cove nursing my psychic wounds, I became aware of a balm like feelings of awe that infused my being while watching the splendor of billowy white clouds sailing the deep blue sea of the prairie sky. A sensation of joyful contentment enfolded me as I realized that my mind was still. Understanding gained from that experience led to the practice of attaining a state of relative serenity by contemplating the marvelous wonders of Mother Nature. It yielded satisfying results even when the only available seclusion was the cave of isolation I retired into while performing my duty tasks of washing dishes, working in the garden, or taking long walks across unfenced prairie to find and bring home the cattle each evening. These occasions were especially rewarding in the renewal of inner peace, as if I were communing directly with my spirit mother, until some unexpected frustrations set loose the racket in my head again. As I now remember, this was the beginning of conscious awareness that inner growth toward a steady state of contentment is a direct result of trusting my inner voice for reliable guidance. But even though my heart resonated to the concept of contentment, at first it was like a distant lodestar shining through the murk of habitual thought patterns. Although the notion seemed at first like an almost impossible dream, I gradually gained the confidence that it could be achieved by diligent practice. Now, after many years, I delight in its warm enfoldment much of the time.

The next step I became aware of was the need to cultivate a sense of gratitude for all things, situations, people and occurrences that came into my life. Intuitive respect for the voice of my heart, and willingness to follow its guidance, gradually opened my understanding to the recognition that everything in my experience is life’s way of meeting my need for further growth, using to optimum advantage the substance of loving concern and action I had been offering into my world. From this came the realization that I am one with all that is, with no separation, only a unique part of a single grand being. Gradually from experience and numerous reminders from inspired others, I became aware that Life is a here and now experience, with any worrisome conjecture about the future, or resentful remorse about lost opportunities being not only distracting from present opportunity, but corrosive to my soul, causing contentment to dissolve instantly. I found the benefits of accepting this way of life to be limitless in providing opportunity and incentive for joyful creativity, after years of diligent practice, I find Life to be very forgiving, allowing me to quickly return to the enfolding warmth of contentment whenever I slip, by simply returning my attention back into a current of appropriate response to what is happening right where I am. I am now convinced that contentment is a product of applied trust in universal love, goodness, purpose, and design, and is by far the easiest and most comfortable way to live.