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Is contentment a mini-death?

Faithless1 7 May 28

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To have what one needs and to enjoy what one has seems to me to be the epitome of life.


Not to me, not at all. First off, I used to think contentment was settling; as in compromise as if giving in. But now, I see it can be bliss. It’s perhaps acceptance of what is here and now. Like mindfulness or being in the moment. Isn’t being fully present in whatever you’re involved in a kind of contentment? And what better way to appreciate here and now as opposed to longing for some ideal in your mind! If you want to get sucked into the whole notion of if only and what if, you’re chasing an elusive ideal. Being content seems like a really a mediocre thing that is grossly underrated.

That is not to say dreams or goals are necessarily bad; but think about a time when you were really content. Some examples for me are being with my dogs, just simply feeling connected, the warmth of the sun rather than complaining it’s too hot. Laying in a heap after great sex and laughter after sex, or quiet exchanges while laying next to your partner. What about feeling very accomplished at the end of the day instead of laments about what didn’t happen. In fact, isn’t gratitude another word for contentment?
I happen to sense some people think of contentment as a bad thing or as I said, settling. I hope I have made some of you reconsider contentment. ?

Was wondering alone down a gravel road an evening ago ..mesmerized by warm fog drifting through a cow pasture, evening humidity … and the first lightning bugs of the season.. Maybe 5 cars passed on a two hour walk that Saturday night. Seems I’ve found contentment by giving up the fight to be somewhere else ..and focusing on where I’m at. I appreciate your confirming description 🙂


Definition of "contentment" by

"Noun: the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind."

Contentment is a peaceful, wonderful feeling.


I'm voting 'no'.
For some, contentment is a perfectly reasonable state of being.
For others, it's motivation to improve their situation, to move past contentment.
For some people, contentment is the most reasonable thing they could ever
hope for.
It's only a "mini-death" if you're allowing your contentment to keep you from
pursuing what you really want. In which case, that's going to be on you.


I don't think of contentment as 'settling' or 'stagnation' but of appreciating what you have and not regretting its absence when you don't. Pain is inevitable but suffering is not. Having someone to love is wonderful but if you lose that person, after the initial loss, don't let the loss blind you from other riches in your life.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. - Lao Tsu

Our journey is about being more deeply involved in life and yet, less attached. - Ram Dass


No contentment is possible and it doesn't mean that you know everything or that your curiosity has waned. It simply means you can put that away right now if you want to.

No, it is not a mini-death. Quite the opposite - it is worth seeking. If, for nothing else, the reflective nature of the time.


No, life can really blow chunks, more for some than others, I have found contentment and it is teh least stressful and most pleasant my life has been. I am not risking it to find perfection.


If contentment induces apathy then it may be problematic. The question for me is can contentment and desire for challenge and aspirations coexist?

I'd say that they can.

Excellent response … though I have ask - what are you looking at! My daughter had brought me a shirt from Oregon I’m watching her take my picture. 2nd thought, maybe i don’t want to know what inspired yours 😀

@Faithless1, @Varn I don't mind knowing other people's, but I don't look to external loci to define my own contentment. It's a hugely subjective feeling.


No its wonderful - liking what you get rather than getting what you like -happiness.

That gets my vote 🙂


I don't understand. Having contentment means being pleased or satisfied. What are you after ? Euphoria?


That's a very good question.

I think it's a bit of both - yes and no. We want to know what contentment feels like because it's the reward for all our hard work. But at the same time, if it means the end of a goal then it does equal a kind of 'death'. The death of the goal.

Einstein said: "If you want to live a happy life; tie it to a goal."


Interesting question. I have found contentment by not taking my own temperature about whether or not I am content. I don't mean to be glib. I am much happier these days and I've stopped worrying about the gap between how I feel and how I think I should be feeling. It seems like a self-imposed trap, so I just stopped.


To me contentment is right now, sitting on my patio with my loving wife by my side, my dog at my feet and sipping a delicious cup of coffee.


Only for humans. For rodents, contentment is Minnie Mouse.


Aliester Crowley said man's biggest mistake is setting an attainable goal.
Doesn't mean one can't be happy/content sipping coffee watching the sunset.


Well, the converse of that question would be: To be dissatisfied is to be alive. That may be true for a great many people, but what you wind up with is a unhappy life.Always wanting the current situation to be different than what it is.

If contentment is a mini death, then what is it that dies? There are contented people walking around, so it's not the body. You can fight reality but you'll lose only 100% of the time.


I understand what you mean. When you have achieved all you desired, there is nothing more to aspire to. But I do think life is such that you will not remain content for long.

I think there is a trap in some philosophies that ask us to stop desiring things and to just accept the way things are. E.g. Why improve your life when you could instead choose to be content with being poor? I don't subscribe to such a view, but can see how it might persuade some to opt for a life of resignation and extreme acceptance of what is, rather than being motivated to seek what could be.

I think there is value in seeking a brighter world, if not for ourselves then at least for the next generation. Whatever contentment we might feel is, while satisfying/comforting for sure, only temporary. This was always looked down upon when I was religious. Apparently those without faith lived shallow lives and were never satisfied, while those within the religion had a future hope. But the reality was that many within the religion weren't satisfied either, and it turns out that "godliness with contentment" is, well, rather boring and self-limiting.


Feelings of contentment are indicative of over-all homeostatic balance. That is as good as it gets.


Contentment is like a box of choklits, you never know what you're going to get (with apologies to Forrest Gump). If one lives in the moment, contentment will be there. Why overthink it? Can we still strive for knowledge and (choose your benchmark here), while still feeling like our life has mattered and despite it all, lived well? Who has not made colossal mistakes - or had sparkling happiness after achieving a goal, or love, or (choose your happiness here). Contentment is what YOU make it. And only you can be the (I was going to say judge, but rather say🙂 recipient. 🙂


In a sense, yes. Anticipation is highly dopaminergic. When one is content, they're not constantly seeking the next dopamine fix, and that, IMO, has its own rewards.

"Maybe is addictive like nothing else out there." Dr. Robert Sapolsky


On the whole, that may be as good as it gets..

Varn Level 8 May 28, 2018

I have always viewed contentment as something that kills curiosity. At the same time though I find that I am a little jealous of those who are content because it has always eluded me (at least on a long term basis). I suppose you could say that I associate contentment with stagnation and boredom.

I completely agree which is why the idea of settling down and setting roots terrifies me.

@corey6 It is a daunting idea. My roots are always where I am at that particular time. I have roots all over the world. 😀

@corey6 I am settled down . . . the bank and I bought a house nine years ago and I have put my roots deeply in my 1/3 of an acre. I might move someday, but I doubt it. This means that I am happy with my space, but content . . . there is always something more to do, to learn, and to think about.

@Gwendolyn2018 @patchoullijulie thanks for the responses. As my life is currently, I’m in 1-2 major cities a week. And even when I go home, I start to go stir crazy after about a week bc I’m never home for more than 2 weeks at a time so friends are kinda nonexistent and I’ve already explored all I can of philly lol. I appreciate the time y’all took out of your day.


I tend to be content within myself and my life has always had a good deal of chaos and change in it. I am always busy doing something but never doing a thing just for the sake of doing something, that would be a rut which I would think is a mini-death, just following a routine and not living.


To be contented means to not want anything. Ceasing to desire is just being at peace with the moment. Maybe a chunk of your ego dies for that moment, but I don't think that it means settling for mediocrity. You can work hard for excellence and be contented.


The only thing I ever read that might be related to this is the Elizabethan view on orgasm. You don't hear this notion anymore really. I think I heard it expressed in the song 'I nearly died in your arms tonight'.

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