Living contentment

The other morning I could not sleep past 3am. Having had only 3 hours sleep, I tried everything I could for 2 hours to get back to sleep but nothing was going to work. I got up, opened all my blinds to the darkness of the night towards first lights.

Just before first lights, nature starts to awaken. Birds begin chirping. The distant stars and planets still shimmering though disappearing in that night sky. Whilst, some animals who have been awake and alert all night head off to their corner of the world to sleep.

Slowly the skies change from darkness to dark blue to the first glimmers of light. As the sun starts to peak, that orange alerts one’s eyes to the ambience of a new day dawning. Slowly the most hottest planet in our solar system emerges as we keep spinning slowly on our earth’s axis. As bright as the orange glows before our eyes, slowly the shimmers of the distant stars and planets disappear. Though they are still there, always reflecting, moving in the sequence of all brilliance in perfect harmony with everything else in the universe.

A miracle it is! This daily event never gives up, never takes a break, never packs up and leaves, saying ‘it is all too much to keep going’.

We could take a new day dawning for granted. We could take this coming new day for granted. Go about our normal routines – being busy, getting things done. When is the last time you’ve stopped to be a human being not a human doing? To see the wonder of our planet, our existence, how all things form and connect together. How you are indeed connected into all this majesty. These are priceless moments, and ones that I have cherished as I did at first lights that morning.

That ball of energy and heat that is rising, lifts our depression, gives vibrancy to our day and fills us with satisfaction. When the sun is hiding above those clouds, we feel the difference within our very being. And yet , it is always there. It never left our side. Our perception changed.

Sometimes it is so hard to find contentment in our lives. At 3am – 5am, was I content? No, exactly why I couldn’t sleep. By shifting my focus and perspective, I was able to enjoy the miracle of a new day dawning. I then found contentment.

Lao Tzu described contentment as “when action is pure and selfless everything settles into its own perfect place.” (Tao Te Ching, verse 3) As I reflected on this verse, I wrote:

If we do not stop and enjoy the connections life has for us, the daily grind will eventually burn us out; where we will not find contentment, be grounded or even able to serve. One of my favourite Irish bands, Mumford & Sons, in their song Below My Feet describes a grounding process that joins these two ideas together:

Keep the earth below my feet
from my sweat my blood runs weak
let me learn from where I have been
keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn.

To reach out and serve we enter the risk to use our hands, in this engagement have we truly learned or merely helped? Let our eyes do the serving, as we see each dimension, and our hands will follow with learning at our fingertips through the power of a whole contentment experience.