Two ways to deal with dissatisfaction

When we see some things we don’t have — a bigger house, a faster car, a newer phone — we often feel dissatisfied. And we labor to get those things. 

Unfortunately, getting those things doesn’t make us satisfied for long. Why not? Because our mind is habituated to fixating on the things we don’t have. And no matter how many things we acquire, there will always be many more things that we don’t have. 

To become satisfied, we need to increase our ability to focus on what we have. Focusing thus seems sensible and simple, but it’s not easy. Because mental impurities such as greed subtly but forcefully shift our thoughts to the things we don’t have. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (17.16) recommends that we cultivate satisfaction as a mental discipline. To understand this, let’s compare it to a physical discipline like exercising. 

Suppose we want to exercise regularly. One essential step is to keep exercise tools such as dumbbells accessible, lest our lazy mind gets a ready excuse to put off exercising. Similarly, to cultivate satisfaction, we need to keep accessible resources that help us feel satisfied. Here are two ways to do that.  

Keep a list of the sources of satisfaction accessible: Using our intelligence, we can list the various blessings in our life and keep that list readily accessible in a physical or digital notepad. 

Keep some sources of satisfaction accessible: Whenever we start feeling dissatisfied, we need to connect with something that helps us feel satisfied. To that end, we can keep accessible some uplifting resources such as a relishable devotional song, an attractive sacred image or a memorable wisdom-quote. 

When we thus increase our ability to focus on what we have, satisfaction will increasingly enrich our heart. 

One-sentence summary:

To become satisfied, we don’t need to increase the things we have; we do need to increase our ability to focus on the things we have. 

Think it over:

  • Why does getting the things we don’t have bring satisfaction?
  • Why is focusing on what we have not easy?
  • How can you increase your ability to focus on the things you have?

***

17.16: And satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purification of one’s existence are the austerities of the mind.

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2 Comments

  1. Hare Krishna.
    All the Gita Daily write ups are wonderful and very simple and practical.
    Thanks for the great service.

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