How Do We Cultivate Contentment?

Contentment does not necessitate overlooking pain or difficulty in favour of what is pleasant—It means opening ourselves up to what is present in any given moment.

Aaron Amat/Adobe Stock

Contentment is more than transient moments of appreciation—it is a way of being. It is a place where our minds and hearts rest, an embodied understanding that has deep within it a sense of contentment, an ease of being, a sense that all is well.

Noticing and giving time to what is present doesn’t come so easily to most of us, especially when we’re under stress. However, there are steps we can take to train ourselves to bring awareness to the nourishing aspects of our lives and cultivate the conditions for enduring contentment. Raising and broadening our gaze can reveal many moments of appreciative joy in everyday life. Recognizing, seeing, and stepping away from our judging mind creates the conditions for enduring contentment.

Contentment does not deny difficulty or pain, nor the value of the judging mind if it is used judiciously. It is not some kind of Pollyanna positive thinking. In fact, contentment can mean recognizing and resting in a difficulty, letting go of the struggle that can perpetuate suffering. More than this, it can open our eyes to the goodness that often sits alongside any difficulty. Contentment in this sense opens to what is actually present in…