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Being content

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- We live in a consumer culture. We are conditioned and trained to always want more. We want and we want and we want, no matter how much we already have. We want more things, more possessions, the newest gadgets, the latest this, the latest that. This results in an endless cycle of wanting; a constant realization of what we don’t have. The modern proverb “the grass is always greener on the other side” applies here. The great fallacy of constantly wanting something else is that the something else is rarely satisfying. It rarely brings us the peace and contentment we desire. Instead it usually drives us to want yet something else.

The great philosophers, teachers and spiritual leaders throughout history have all without exception warned us about this. They have tried to instruct us in the art of being content. To be in a state of contentment is not to say we don’t have needs, or desires or wants. It is to say that whether or not we get those desires, needs or wants does not interrupt our state of inner peace. If we have learned the art of contentment, the fluctuating circumstances of life will not rattle us as much. Contentment could also be described as gratitude. It is being grateful for what you have now and not focusing on what you do not have. I challenge us to practice contentment in our lives this week. The next time you have a longing or a desire for something that is causing your state of peace or happiness to be interrupted, take a step back and jot down what you have NOW to be grateful for and rest in that.