The Virtue is Contentment and the Saboteur is Greed.
Contentment is the ability to say no to greed.
We don’t use the word contentment very often. I sometimes wonder if this is because we think that contentment means settling, rather than attaining. Contentment does have an implication of simplicity with it.
I think being content saves us from more and more and more. It saves us from the deep pain of obsessive tendencies, as well as saving us from being overly ambitious and chronically dissatisfied.
When people are suffering from these tendencies and you ask them why aren’t they content with what they have, they may look at you like you’re a simpleton and couldn’t possibly understand what they’re striving for.
Contentment doesn’t remove your drive, your ambition or your desires. It’s a feeling of confidence and comfort. There’s still more to learn and attain, but there’s also a rhythm to the attainment process. Being content is being true to oneself. It’s being independent, happy and full.
Greed on the other hand is a never ending story. There’s always more to be had. More money, more fame, more this and that. There’s always another person or situation to conquer. Greed leaves us feeling empty and possessed with the feeling of getting more to relieve the hunger.
In the eighties, we thought greed was a good thing. We saw it as a motivational factor. Actually, greed is the result of feeling like we’re not enough. It’s a symptom of another great illness, jealousy. Jealousy always wants the spotlight, it wants what others have and jealousy makes it so we’re never really happy for the success of other people’s success. Greed drives us to have more than anyone else. A good life is flaunting excess.
Greed is too much work for very little return. With greed comes endless watching of others. You have to make sure you’ve always got more than they do. It’s relentless and tiring. There isn’t contentment because it’s never ending. Greed never satisfies the hunger.
Contentment is watchful. We can’t really be content if others are completely without the basics. Contentment makes us watchful of resources and food. It makes us aware that there’s enough for everyone, we just have to care enough to share our intelligence and help one another.
Contentment is being unafraid of the success of other people. A content person has the time and energy to help others achieve success. There’s always been enough water, food and land for humans to live extraordinary lives. But, we have let the virus of greed make us relentless, and that makes us want to conquer nature, rather than protect nature.
The planet has a fever, the temperature is rising because she’s not feeling well, just like what happens to us. If you have a high temperature for too long of a period, your systems begin to shut down.
Contentment means simplicity and intelligence, greed means obsessive and unintelligent actions. Contentment requires respectful living and limits on our desires. Let’s help one another this year by reducing greed and increasing our contentment.
Peace be with you
Contentment descended down upon me and I read your words. Now practice!