Contentment is a possible human mental state and therefore it can be attained by intentional study, just as any other behavior can be studied and learned. It is strange that huge industries have been built with the purpose of supplying people with instantaneous pleasures and short-term happiness but there has been nothing for supplying an even more desirable state – that of contentment. There have been some religions which offered escape from worldly cares, via long and arduous exercises, but that escape is not contentment. Contentment is not escaping from anything, nor is it the grabbing of anything, it is rather the acceptance of everything for being what it is.
God is reported to have said, – I am what I am – and with a being filled with contentment that is a perfect state to be in. It is the clearly stated acceptance of what is as it is. There really isn’t anything more that needs to be said, except for people, except for people. People need considerable help to understand even the simplest concept, perhaps because it is so simple it becomes too simple. Thus it needs to be explained and talked about to become complex enough that people can understand what it means. The essence of contentment is to accept things as being what they are, no more and no less. To accept the entirety of reality as being what it is, to accept oneself as being what it is. No one knows what everything is and it is senseless to abstract some part of the totality and specialize in that detail and then believe one has an understanding. The part cannot be understood without understanding its relationship to the whole and the whole isn’t going to be understood because it is infinity of compounded infinities of complexity. Nevertheless, even though it isn’t understood, it can be accepted and accepted in its totality. In fact it must be accepted in its totality because breaking off the tiniest part for understanding would corrupt the understanding of the whole. But acceptance is difficult for people because they see so very much wrong with the world around them and with themselves. This problem is created by their not accepting what is the totality of reality. Perhaps it must be thus for people to understand, because understanding isn’t really understanding but breaking off some portion which appears to make sense and then claiming to understand that portion.
So be it. If this is how a human must approach closer to contentment, then perhaps an exercise which emphasizes this will be helpful. Take some object within your view and place your attention upon that object. It can be anything — a pencil, a distant mountain, your thumbnail — and observe it for several seconds. Now think in your mind, “That is a fine object, that is a perfect example of what it is, it doesn’t need to be changed in any way whatsoever to improve being exactly what it is. It is perfect just as it is. It is what it is and it doesn’t need to be something else to be improved.”
Keep thinking of examples of these types of observations relative to your chosen object. Do this for a couple of minutes, until you feel that your object really is just perfect as it is. Then choose a second object and go through a couple of minutes of observations of just what a fine object this is too; it too is perfect at being exactly what it is. After doing a couple of these little exercises, try to look out into the market place of contending human beings and apply this same practice of observing just how this teeming mob of complexity is a perfect example of exactly what it is. These simple mental exercises will take only a few minutes, but once you recognize the perfection of the universe your existence within it becomes contented. You too are the perfect example of what you are.
Just like god, you are what you are.