By Henri Van Zeyst
To be satisfied or to be content with something is to find a relationship based on exploitation. To find one’s satisfaction with something or in somebody is a self-indulgence at the cost of the other. The other has become the means, which we try to separate from the end, our own pleasure. It may be that the otter does not mind so much to be exploited, as for instance in hired labour, when his conditions without being exploited would be perhaps even worse. And that is the usual relationship in present day society, which is certainly not based on contentment.
Contentment may be obtained through religious practices, but then religion is not the end; it is only a method. And in thus separating the means from the end for the sake of contentment, only conflict born of opposition can be the outcome. As long as contentment depends on relationship, there is only self-gratification.
But there is a contentment which is not the end of a search for satisfaction, but which is at the beginning of realization. This contentment is totally unconditioned and free. It is not born from desire, as an image discovered in memory. To be totally unconditioned, contentment cannot be brought about through possessions or through the renunciation thereof. It is not an acquisition through virtue or practice.
When in passive awareness the mind is still and silent in the understanding of the empty movements of thought through memory into ideal, – when thought is still and silence is perceived, there is contentment in the utter void of self, in the total absence of desire in self-projection, in the complete stillness of the absence of fear; – and in that contentment there is truth, the joy of contentment without the pleasure of satisfaction.
Satisfaction is always the fulfillment of a desire, which is but a thought in anticipation of acquisition. It is in acquisition that the ‘I’ can grow and become, and thus it is in satisfaction that there is a search for security and fulfillment of an ideal. But, contentment is in the present and has no dealing with satisfaction, with ideals, or with self; and thus it cannot be made or acquired, and is not subject to moods and methods. It is based on understanding and seeing things as they are.