Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: December 5, 2016 Reading time: 4 minutes
Contentment (santoṣam) – The feeling of happiness is fleeting, but the sense of peace is more lasting. Also, contentment increases calmness. As a result, there is increased clarity of thought and reduced conflict. This leads to greater productivity without agitation within, and in the environment. Finally, contentment increases positive energy in us. But, how does one recognize this & more importantly, imbibe it?
There is no easy answer to obtaining this sense of peace. But often, we do come across people who, though they may not be affluent, exude a sense of peace that lifts us also. How do they get it?
Three elements seem to drive our ability to be content,
We always work for something. This could be tangible, like money or intangible, like duty. However, we are often confronted with an outcome which is different from what we intended. This leads to disappointment, grief, anger and frustration. Consequently, our sense of peace is disturbed.
Contentment permeates in us when we are able to stop resisting the outcome, move our of denial and accept the change which was unplanned.
This ability to recognise grief and anger and quickly accept that which is not in our control requires enormous situational awareness (prajñā). Consequently, as we begin to increase our capability in this aspect, we begin to feel more contented. This increases our cognition of the Self.
(Wikipedia extract) Horatio Nelson was a British flag officer famous for his participation in the Napoleonic wars, most notably at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, where he lost his life.
Just before the battle was to begin on 21 October 1805, Nelson ordered the hoisting of the signal, “England expects that every man will do his duty”.
Shortly after one o’clock, Victory’s captain, Thomas Hardy realised that Nelson was not by his side. He turned to see Nelson kneeling on the deck, supporting himself with his hand, before falling onto his side. Hardy rushed to him, at which point Nelson smiled “Hardy, I do believe they have done it at last… my backbone is shot through”. He had been hit by a marksman and the bullet had entered his left shoulder, pierced his lung, and came to rest at the base of his spine.
Nelson was carried below by a sergeant-major of marines and two seamen. He was made comfortable, fanned and given lemonade and watered wine to drink after he complained of feeling hot and thirsty.
Just before he died, Beatty, the surgeon, heard Nelson murmur ‘Thank God I have done my duty’. Scott, who remained by Nelson as he died, recorded his last words as ‘God and my country’. Nelson died at half-past four, three hours after he was shot.
This incident embodies both, the ability to managing expectations and contentment at the outcome of performing one’s duty. Do you have similar experiences?
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