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A 16 Guidelines view on


Contentment is a state of mind that has nothing to do with money, objects, or other people. Nor does it concern itself with how much we have, or how little. Instead, it’s about finding a point of stillness within ourselves which allows us to be quietly happy whatever our situation might be, and to be at peace with who we are.

How do we experience contentment? It can be as easy – and yet as radical – as taking a breath in, and deciding to release everything that makes us feel anxious and dissatisfied as we breathe out. Try settling deeply and quietly in a traffic jam, in the middle of an argument, or when tears are close. Let the commotion of the world simply come to rest. Is it possible to taste the experience of surrender and release?

Unless we learn to live in the moment, and to accept it as it is, we may never function well or feel fully alive. Contentment releases us from the restless desires that drive us blindly forward, and which prevent us from being open to the needs and gifts of others. It frees us up to direct our energy in fresh and more conscious ways. Can we discover how to enjoy contentment despite the hurry and worry of our contemporary existence?


The art of being satisfied with who we are and what we have

A reflection on 


00:00 / 20:27

The benefits of


  • develop the ability to enjoy what we already have, instead of being relentlessly driven by desire

  • help us find peace and happiness in our everyday life and relationships

  • slow down the cycle of living faster, consuming more, and destroying the environment

Did you know?

For young people, 60% of happiness is about excitement, say scientists at the University of Pennsylvania. In contrast, as we get older we associate 80% of happiness with ‘peacefulness’.

Research found that people who practiced meditation at least three times per week, compared to those who didn’t, were better able to deal with stress. Creating this time of calm in the day builds positive emotions of interest and contentment, which helps people realize feelings of centeredness that they may not have realized before.

The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory. People with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience. They also tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities. Moreover, the effect of income on life satisfaction seems to be transient.

‘I had the blues because I had no shoes, until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.’

Persian proverb

‘He is rich who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature.’


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