In the dream, I was queued with my friends waiting to be seated at a formal dinner that was being hosted by a royal person of ambiguous status. Our group was soon seated at a very elegant table set with exquisite china and silver flatware. I was assigned a place beside Gary, a friend’s son.
A uniformed servant placed the first course at everyone’s places at the table. There was some type of mousse that was presented in a crystal comport and adorned with spicy sprinkles. While I tried to decide which part of the mousse to dig into first, Gary had already devoured half of his portion. He then noticed that I had not yet begun to eat. Gary told me to just dig in anywhere and enjoy the fruity goodness. The moment my fork touched the mousse, I awakened from the dream with a wide smile on my face.
As I oriented myself to wakefulness, a feeling of complete contentment enveloped my very being. I felt no desire to immediately analyze the dream, the feeling of contentment was sufficient reward that I didn’t want to spoil the mood with evaluation. I decided to analyze the dream later. The vision was a nearly perfect way to begin the day this morning.
In the dream, my friend group had been officially invited to attend the swanky dinner party that encouraged us to indulge, splurge, and appreciate the good life. Everyone in the party had been given permission by the royal person to indulge without guilt nor concern about unpleasant consequences of our pleasure. As I looked around, everyone was happy and joyful.
Amidst all the pleasantries, was the feeling that our contentment was temporary. Although we realized that the dinner party would take place within the limited parameter of a few hours, this understanding did not alter our level of satisfaction and contentment. There was no feeling that something might be missing deep inside. We knew the festivities would end, so we simply appreciated the events of the moment; we would adapt and adjust afterwards.
“Contentment consist not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire.”–Thomas Fuller
It’s important to remember that being satiated is not the same as contentment. We can eat our fill yet soon feel the discomfort of indigestion. Knowing what amount is enough, being satisfied, and pleased by taking in that amount.
Of course, contentment is not only about eating and other pleasures. Contentment comes about by satisfaction and acceptance regarding our actions and creative efforts. For example, a novelist can discover contentment in the fulfilling craft of writing. There is the satisfaction of being able to eloquently express oneself and to share one’s thoughts with the reading public at a deep level.
That said, contentment is not dependent upon achievement. A balanced mind that happily accepts the present moment is one way to define contentment. There is a sense of having one’s house in order. It doesn’t necessarily involve thrills nor status. There is a particular combination of compassion, humility, love, and serenity that marks contentment.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 19th & 20th century painter, poet, and novelist, Hermann Hesse. “This happiness consisted of nothing else but the harmony of the few things around me with my own existence, a feeling of contentment and well-being that needed no changes and no intensification.”