…contentment versus being “well-cared-for”…

 “When I’m trusting and being myself… everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.” – Shakti Gawain

There’s a real irony to being resourceful.  Sometimes by getting exactly what you want you lose an opportunity to discover something unexpected, or you miss out on an alternative that only later becomes available.  That “I-Coulda-Had-a-V-Eight” moment that leaves us wishing we weren’t already committed to an earlier decision, leaves us feeling “let down” by our actions and choices.  

Getting exactly what we want often underscores how our actions and choices do not always conform with our discernment – despite our best intentions.  We are often put in the ironic situation of deciding what our “future self” might like, and then, upon arriving at that future time, we discover that NOW we don’t  like what we decided.  (If you’re having déjà vu – I mentioned this earlier.)

What’s going on with all this is the difference between contentment (as “in-the-moment” satisfaction) versus trying to be “well-cared-for” (as an advance directive that second-guesses our satisfaction and the situation).  

Contentment comes with the empathetic awareness that we are actually somewhat larger than ourselves.  We feel how we fit into the context.  We become part of it. 

Being “well-cared-for” simply gets our needs met.  It doesn’t really take into account our overall context.  The difference can be most easily seen in the impacts that are generated — both for ourselves and for others.

If you try to plan everything out, then, of course, you are running an agenda.  And as much as you might feel committed to your agenda – once you start to run it automatically — with no questions asked — it becomes a willful imposition.  Most often, when we we do this, we are in the throes of ego imposition.  We are choosing to make our understanding of the situation bigger than the context itself.  And once we do that, we start to make things difficult – not only for us, but for everyone else as well. 

An ego imposition is a top-down decision — it demands that we steer clear of all other options.  The identified option carries the ego-imposed charge that announces for us we are “well-cared-for.”   Look no further than here, than this is this option.  We become rigid and fixed.  We lose suppleness and flexibility.  And as a result, the context becomes solely the expression of our needs.  We make our understanding of the situation bigger than the context itself.

The essential problem here is that the ego imposed solution ignores contentment.  It seeks to resolve tension arbitrarily.  We substitute power for relationship.  (See …speculation and tension-resolution… and …resistance and integration…)  Other options might offer contentment, but only if there was not so strong a bias towards that one pre-determined answer.

As we saw yesterday, resourcefulness creates its own authority.  The more resourceful we are, the more authority we have.  But …  which aspect of resourcefulness creates authority?

  • Having faith in one’s ability to solve problems? 
  • Supporting independent thinking and decision-making?
  • Demonstrating determination?   

Sure, they all contribute to authority, but what’s important is being larger than our limited self-interest.  That’s what creates authority.  As soon as we begin to substitute power for relationship, we are removing ourselves from the moment – we are no longer in relationship.

You see, the more mindful we become, the more we can hold and sustain tension.  Our being able to sustain tension inhibits and prevents us from substituting power for relationship.  With a mindful attitude, we can generate the kind of contentment that no longer worries whether our “future self” will enjoy the decision we make.  There will be no regret simply because more of who we are was engaged and present when the decision was made. 

As the opening quotation pointed out:   “When I’m trusting and being myself… everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.”

With mindfulness, there is an ease that often accompanies the miraculous! 

Thanks for listening!


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