“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’” –Dalai Lama
When our air conditioner went out during a week of 100-degree temperatures, comfort I normally take for granted suddenly became quite…important. Suddenly, all the other little bothers about my home ceased to exist. Everything would be perfect, as long as we had air conditioning.
When the power had gone out not so long before, of course it was electricity that made for true happiness. Had the water been shut off, had the van broken down, had my internet gone out (shudder), then, well, THAT would have been the most important component of contentment. Just ask me what counts most when I don’t have it!
All of this is ignoring the fact that we have the conditions necessary for survival and on top of that, love; even with just those two things, we’ve got SO much more than many can call their own. Big picture makes my agitation over living with just a window AC unit appear ridiculous.
In an ironic twist to human nature, we seem to value most fiercely whatever is missing. What we have? Well, sure, that’s nice and all. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But really, everything would be great IF…whatever that “if” is.
This version of the Four of Cups reversed expresses the concept with a bit of a greedy twist. Johnny Apple-eater seems to already have a stomachache from previous snacking, but has yet to push away that big, juicy apple before him. The worm visible suggests it may not be a perfect apple anyway but in his over-indulgent stupor, he still appears to be considering it.
I’m not saying there’s a damn thing wrong with wanting what you want—be it air conditioning, a better job, a happy relationship, more money, a nicer home, whatever. Striving and growing is all kinds of awesome! It’s fine to want more. Hell, I do!
But remember: discontent is not a function of what you don’t have; discontent is a function of ignoring what you do have. Discontent is a state of mind.
Maybe you need a little discontent to get moving? If so, fair enough. Use it as catalyst, a springboard to achievement to launch you safely out of the mire of denial. But for many of us, discontent is little more than a pseudonym for “ungrateful.” I want to be more grateful for what I have every day, because that attitude both blesses my life and leaves me squarely in control of my state of mind.
My advice for today is to count and honor blessings as they exist in the present. “Enough for today” does not preclude “more for tomorrow.” Enough for today helps strengthen and encourage in the process of building for tomorrow.
Do you have enough for today?
Tarot: The Complete Kit
by Dennis Fairchild