AskDefine | Define contentment

Dictionary Definition

contentment n : happiness with one's situation in life [ant: discontentment]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the state or degree of being contented
  2. happiness in one's situation; satisfaction
  3. the neuro-physiological experience of satisfaction and being at ease in one's situation, body, and/or mind.



Extensive Definition

Contentment refers to the neuro-physiological experience of satisfaction and being at ease in one's situation, bodymind (cf. John Money, body, and/or mind.
In Yoga (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali), movement or positions, breathing practices, and concentration, as well as the yamas and niyamas, can contribute to contentment (santosha).
In a Buddhist sense, it is the freedom from anxiety, want or need. Contentment is the goal behind all goals because once achieved there is nothing to seek until it is lost. A living system cannot maintain contentment for very long as complete balance and harmony of forces means death. Living systems are a complex dance of forces which find a stability far from balance. Any attainment of balance is quickly met by rising pain which ends the momentary experience of satisfaction or contentment achieved. Buddha's task was to find the solution to this never ending descent into dissatisfaction or Dukkha. The buddhist faith is based on the belief that he succeeded. Most religions have some form of eternal bliss or heaven as their apparent goal often contrasted with eternal torment or dissatisfactions.
The source of all mentally created dissatisfactions appears to stem from the ability to compare and contrast experiences and find reality as one is living it to be less than ideal. The solution is to seek out ways to either make experienced reality conform to the ideal or to lower expectations to the level of the experienced. When one can live in the moment with expectations in harmony with experiences one has achieved the greatest mental contentment possible. Variants of this pursuit are found in all religions and manifest in many forms of meditation and prayerful devotions.
contentment in German: Zufriedenheit
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