Content but never Satisfied

Dear Integral Meditators,

Superficially, it seems like contentment and dis-satisfaction are either/or states of mind, you are either in one or other of them. But what if it were possible to combine the positive expression of  both into a single mindset? The article below explores a mindful method for doing just that!

Live in Singapore this week: The Tuesday & Wednesday evening meditation classes will be on the subject of how to remain content but never satisfied, and this Saturday there is the Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma. See you there!

In the spirit of ambitious contentment,


Content but never satisfied  (Or how to combine being happy with where you are, whilst remaining motivated and keeping your edge).

We often feel content when we experience appreciation for something:

  • If you appreciate a beautiful sunset, you are content to simply sit and be with it.
  • If you appreciate the qualities that your romantic partner brings to your relationship, you will be content to be with them, and enjoy your time together.
  • If you appreciate living in a country with a high basic standard of living, you will be content with the good things you experience, even if you are not the wealthiest person there.
  • If you appreciate how much small acts of kindness affect people for the better, you will be content to continue doing them even though it is not going to solve problems on a global scale.

There is ALWAYS something in your life to appreciate and feel grateful for. So, there is never a time when you cannot, at least in part feel in touch with your own sense of contentment.

Dis-satisfied is what you feel when:

  • You look at the quality of your work and realize that you could have done it better.
  • It is when you think about the way in which you deal with negative emotions and know that you need to do improve your emotional intelligence.
  • It is when you analyze what you say each day and see that you are hardly ever really expressing yourself authentically and genuinely.
  • It is when you look at inequality in society and realize that you have to do something more to create more equality.

POSITIVE dissatisfaction is what you get in touch with at the beginning of each year when you write your list of “things that I want and need to achieve over the next twelve months”. There is NEVER a time when you cannot find something to feel dissatisfied about. The question is have you learned yet to use your dis-satisfaction in a positive and creative way to get stuff done in your life? To become an achiever of the good, the difficult and the unusual?
Superficially contentment and dis-satisfaction seem to be opposites, but if you can learn to work mindfully with the positive side of them both at the same time!

A simple method to start practicing being content but never satisfied in your life:

1) Daily focus on contentment: Toward the end of your day, for example when coming back from work, take a little time to focus on things you can appreciate about the events of the day. This could be something specific that has happened in that particular day, or it could be something more general. For example, as I am sitting at my computer now, I am remembering a program I saw on the TV last night comparing the life of those who live in Batam Island Indonesia with those who live in Singapore. There is a HUGE wealth and standard of living gap which makes me immediately feel grateful and appreciative that I live in Singapore. This helps me immediately connect to the contentment side of things.

2) Daily focus on dis-satisfaction: Each day at the beginning of the day, select your top 2, maximum 3 goals for the day. These are the things that you really want to get done in your day. As you write them down or think of them, allow yourself to get focused and motivated to GET THESE THINGS DONE without getting distracted or forgetful of what your mission for the day is. You are not going to be satisfied until you get these things done.

3) Holding the tension between your dis-satisfaction and contentment: As you go about your day, practice holding onto your motivation and dis-satisfaction without losing your sense of contentment and appreciation. When you focus on contentment, taking a bit of time to “smell the flowers and feel the Earth under your feet”, do so without losing sight of your achievement goals, so that when the time comes you are ready and willing to get back into active, achievement-oriented mode.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation Classes at Basic Essence with Toby

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation Classes at One Heart with Toby (East coast)

Saturday 24th February, 1.30-5.30pm – Meditations for Activating, Healing and Awakening our Ancestral Karma

Integral Meditation Asia

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