About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

April 15, 2011

The Key to Contentment

“If one's life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. And finally, there is an intense delight in abandoning faulty states of mind and in cultivating helpful ones in meditation.”    Dalai Lama

Happiness is a state of emotional well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.  While it would be both physically exhausting as well as alarming  to those around me if I were dancing happy all the time, being mentally and emotionally satisfied with my life the way it is, I would define myself as content with some occasional back flips thrown in.

How does one achieve contentment?

1.  Gratitude.  Start by being thankful for having adequate food, clothing and shelter.  1 in 7 people in this world are hungry.  Since you are sitting at a desk, reading this blog, I assume you are not among the hungry.

2.  Keep your needs simple.   Be happy with the modest, gently worn items that you already have, care for them and make good use of them until they really need to be replaced - remember how much you wanted them at one time.  That "wow this is great" feeling that you get when you acquire the latest greatest whatever generally fades pretty quickly to dust.  It is a huge mistake to rely on material items for happiness.   Understand the difference between want and need. 

3.  Don't go to extremes.  Don't torture yourself by denying yourself the things that your body needs in order to be healthy - remember that when you harm yourself, you potentially harm the people around you.   Don't be completely self absorbed either.    While it is your birthright to pursue happiness, it is also the birthright of everyone around you to be happy.  Find that happy medium.

4. Enjoy life's little pleasures.  Appreciate the little things that life has to offer. Golden sunsets, the laughter of children at play, reading a good book, hugging someone you love, the taste of fresh berries, or simply taking the time to relax and do nothing.

5.  Have balance.  Nothing is wrong with taking the vacation of a lifetime if you can afford it, but be careful about living too luxurious of a lifestyle, as this is likely to leave you unsatisfied, bored, and wanting more.  Likewise nothing is wrong with being a hard worker, but avoid being a workaholic - take time for rest, relaxation and play too. 

6.  Be tolerant, patient and compassionate towards others.    Don't sweat the small stuff.  Don't allow yourself to be easily offended or blow things out of proportion - it will only make you miserable inside.    React as circumstances require, tame your anger, avoid aggression or unkind words.  

7.  Maintain your peace of mind.   There will always be good times and bad times.   Be brave and try not to get too stressed out when things get difficult.   If something happens that you can do something about, then do it.   If something happens that you can do nothing about, what's the sense in worrying?

8.  Care about the happiness of others.   As the Dalai Lama so well puts it:  "Love and compassion are beneficial both for you and for others.  Through your kindness towards others, your mind will open to peace."

9.  Relish those magical moments when everything is going your way.  Life's ups and downs are what makes those times so much more meaningful!   Don't boast or let your ego get the best of you so as not to inspire jealousy.   Be humble, this will allow others to better share in your happiness with you.

Now go out, enjoy life's simple pleasures, be grateful for what you have, have love and compassion for all other sentient beings,  and by all means don't forget to breathe!   Above all, know that I love you and that I want you to be happy too.



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