The fallacy of contentment

Contentment is actually your defence mechanism against insecurity

Someone once said to me, “I go in search of realisation but I don’t get it so I feel miserable. But without realisation, I am content. Why should I seek realisation?”

My answer to the person and to all others who ask this question is this: Misery isbetter than lethargy because there is certain intensity to misery. Lethargy is death-like. In suffering there is intensity; intensity has found a negative expression, but still there is intensity; there is life. In lethargy, there is no life. When I say lethargy, I am not talking about you not going to work. I am talking about a certain lethargy that has entered your life; you’ve become lethargic with life itself—it’s called Tamas.

If you become pure life, it is very beautiful. If you become a life, which is intense but enslaved to certain things, then you will be saying, “If good things happen I will laugh, if bad things happen I will cry.” That is a deep state of enslavement to the situations in which you exist, and the very nature of life is such that nobody can control or manage the outside situations 100 per cent.

So, naturally you will have your dose of misery and you will have a dose of joy. It alldepends on where you are placed and how life is. And once life is like this, you fear misery. Even if there is no misery on a daily basis, you fear about things that will happen to you all the time, isn’t it?

Once you have tasted pain, you know it can come to you at any time; there is no insurance against it. So, naturally, you constantly live in a state of fear about when it will happen to you. That’s how the whole world is living. Just look at your life and see, almost everything that you have done is only in pursuit of security. From education to marriage, to a job, to business or whatever you are doing, it is all in search of security.

Security exists on many different levels: physical, economic, social, emotional or psychological securities. People want to go to heaven, they are praying to gods because they want ultimate security. So, if security is the basis of everything that you are doing, insecurity will be your quality. Insecurity means fear, isn’t it?

When you live in fear, can you also claim to be joyful? There maybe moments when youforget your fear, but as long as it’s there, there’s no question of joy. You neither laugh all your laughter nor will you cry all your tears; you will live a life of insipidness. When fear is the basic emotion that decides the quality and the content of your life, you will never know life. Every step that you take in your life is only half a step; it will never be a full step about anything.People can’t do anything with abandon—they can’t sing with abandon, they can’t dance with abandon, they can’t work with abandon, they can’t run with abandon. There is no sense of freedom or abandon in them because fear rules everything. And this you call contentment. You need contentment because you are scared of life. That’s the only reason people are asking for contentment.

Contentment means containment

Why would anybody want to contain his life? People teach philosophies of containment because they are afraid of life. They believe that you could overdo life. But you can’t overdo life, you can only under do it.

Can you live or die too much? You can only live and die, isn’t it? If you have lived a life of contentment, that means you did not live, you contained your life. Now, does it mean that you must be unbridled greed? That’s not the point.

The reason this idea of greed and contentment has come into your mind is onlybecause there is no strong experience of life. Greed has become a possibility in peoples’ lives only because somehow their experience of life is not enough. They think by accumulating things, their life will become fulfilled. And that’s why the greed.

You may label them as greedy, but all that they are trying to do is to enhance their lifeby adding a lot of things to it. And that’s what greed is all about. What you call greed is, in fact, a pursuit of more life.

The reason for your contentment is simply because you are afraid to seek for morelife. Why? Is life going to hurt you or cripple you in some way? You think if you seek something more, you may get deeply wounded.

If you say, right now I got a secure job, I am earning 10,000 rupees a month, I ameating three meals a day, why should I seek realisation? It is just an inane question, which doesn’t come from any kind of fulfilment, but from fear.

So, what you call greed or what you call contentment, both come from fear and both comefrom the root cause that your life is not happening deeply enough.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, lovingly called 'Sadhguru', is a yogi and profound mystic,a visionary humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader. A contemporary Guru, who is as comfortable in jeans as in a loincloth, Sadhguru works tirelessly towards the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of all.


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