Chapter 27: Contentment Changes Everything .
Have you started to meditate yet?
Deborah’s story in chapter 27 of an ideal life illustrates that our material needs pale in comparison to the soul’s needs. Those deeper places that are not at peace can only be fulfilled from within.
When the soul’s needs have been fulfilled then there is contentment. This fulfillment that the soul longs for is the root of the fourth desire, moksha or freedom. When we are unhappy or don’t feel we are thriving, we easily turn to many external things to fill that space. Appointments and meetings, agendas and lists filled with projects; anything but taking time to be still with ourselves. We want so bad to be content, sometimes pretending we are, putting on a smiley face and walking out the door going through the motion of the days events, time and time again.
Our success is usually measured by how much stuff we have accumulated and how hard we work (even if it’s not in line with our dharma). Rarely do we measure our wealth by how much time we spend with ourselves, just sitting, listening without an agenda. Even when we know that we need time to ourselves, something that seems more important road blocks our path towards contentment. There are no short cuts to stilling our mind, there is no pill to take to make us sit down to practice. We do however, have those practices that anchor us in order to experience contentment.
I find it helpful to set a specific amount of time for my meditation practice and then stick to it. It has helped me keep my goals and measure my results. Deborah’s teacher emphasized a practice should be done continuously (at least 40 days). I would add that a meditation practice is more fruitful when done with reverence and love.
As a beginning meditator I remember getting up and sitting on my blankets waiting for something to happen, that went on for a while. My meditation started to transform when I no longer expected any results. I remember putting my mala beads down and just sitting (I’ve done this many times since then). It became less and less about crossing off “meditation time” from my to do list, and became more about taking time to be with myself.
We have come full circle from chapter 7 when we introduced a basic meditation practice. The Four Desires has provided many different techniques to choose from in these 20 chapters. The bottom-line is the same: “meditation, self reflection and contemplation are the methods prescribed by the ancient traditions to access contentment.” Our soul needs nourishment. If we follow the yogic principle that prana follows thought, then each time we stop to pay attention to ourselves we are providing for the soul.
Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?
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