Contentment is a virtue. Let us be content or happy with what we have. Very often I am a dissatisfied person, always complaining about things that I don’t have. It looks like my mind seems to always be centered on what I do not have. Therefore, very often, I do not value what I do have. A poor man once went to a saint, and asked for help.
The saint asked, “Do you have nothing with you?” “No.”
“I see that you have two eyes. Can you give me one eye? I will give you a million dollars for it.” “I can’t do that.”
“You have two ears. If you give me one of them, I will give you half a million dollars for it.” “No, I can’t do that.”
“You have two arms. Can you give me one? I will give you two million dollars in exchange.” “I can’t do that.”
“You have two legs. Can you give me one for three million dollars?” “No.”
“Look, you already have thirteen million dollars with you.”
This story illustrates how we do not value what we may have, when we conclude that we do not have something or the other.
Yoga asks us to appreciate what we have. Count your blessings and be appreciative and grateful for what you have. What we have is very precious. We take it for granted that we can talk, see and move. Let us recognize that this body is a gift. That I can see, I can hear, I can walk, and I can talk, all these are gifts. That I can think, and I can learn, is a gift. That I can do things, is a gift. These are all gifts that are given to me. That I have a family, and I have a job, are all gifts. These may not be as great as what somebody else has, but I have them. Therefore, let me appreciate what I have; let me be content and be happy with what I have. If I think it is necessary, I can go ahead and acquire more. Contentment means a sense of gratitude for what I have, and the ability to enjoy what I have. My garden may not be as big as my neighbor’s, but I do have a few flowers. My house may not be as big as my neighbor’s, but I do have a house where I can sit and I can be quiet. My car is crummy, but it does not matter; it still takes me where I want to go to. Therefore, let me not look at somebody else, let me not try to become somebody else. Let me honor myself, let me honor all that I have been given, and let me enjoy that. This is contentment and we have to develop this value.