Q58. What is contentment?
Contentment lies in feeling satisfied with what one has. Some people question the value of contentment, because they consider ambition as the ladder to progress. The more one has, the more one seems to want. There is no end to ambition and greed. According to Guru Nanak, greed burns like an unquenchable fire; the more it is fed, the stronger its flames rise. A greedy man is never satisfied, even when he gets all that he wants. Avarice leads to many vices like fraud, lying and gluttony. An Avaricious man blunts his conscience and even bleeds his nearest and dearest ones.
Contentment implies frugality. Our wants are many, and our real needs few. Things, we can do without, cannot be regarded as necessities. Peace of mind comes from elimination of wanting.
Contentment implies that life is greater than its wealth or riches. Regard money as a trust, real joy comes from giving and not in receiving. Moreover, excessive wealth often leads to luxury and vice.
Contentment is felt when one compares his lot with those who are less fortunate. Adversity is not a punishment but rather an opportunity for development. Moreover in poverty, there are few temptations and fewer flatterers.
A contented man remains content in adverse circumstances, be it poverty, distress or sickness. These are accepted as normal events of life, while discontented man increases his own misery by comparing his lot with that of more fortunate people.
Contentment results from submission to the Divine Will which a true Sikh accepts with gratitude and joy. Guru Arjan says: "Without contentment, it is impossible to acquire peace of mind." Peace and happiness come naturally to a stable mind.