When people think about the words ‘inner joy’ and ‘contentment’, they conjure up all sorts of thoughts and feelings, depending on our current state of mind and expectations of how we are supposed to feel. Our interpretation of inner joy and contentment will vary with each person.
For some, inner joy is a state of calm and peace and someone may find this through prayer, meditation, religious ceremonies, being in nature or being with a loved one. For others they may think they have never been in this state and feel pressure to act as though they are joyful or content.
The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of contentment is: ‘’happiness and satisfaction, often because you have everything you need’’. But what does that mean to have everything you need?
This is different in different cultures, religions, society, and community groups and is often dependent on the family environment or community/culture we have grown up in.
Some people think they will be happy once they have everything, they need in relation to material possessions, such as the new house, job, car or even relationship. What they thought was the answer to joy often changes, as although for a short while they may feel the buzz and temporary joy when they reach their goal, they then feel deflated and need the next ‘fix’ upon realising it is only temporary.
This is when we may look deeper at the true meaning of inner joy and contentment, as I am sure we have all experienced this kind of anti-climax after reaching our goals.
From my perspective and from working with different client groups over the years, I have learnt that inner joy and contentment come from within and having peace of mind. Being mindful in nature, enjoying the seasons, finding stillness through meditation or relaxation exercises, can also enable someone to be in the present moment, calm their mind and body and find joy in the stillness.
I find that when we are not searching and rushing around, the stillness can give us wisdom and an answer to the questions we have been searching for, as we get in touch with our intuition and inner guidance system which can support us to make the right choices and decisions in life.
Once you connect with yourself there is true inner joy and contentment, as you can always rely on yourself and can find calm and wellbeing in the stillness. Its like getting back in touch with the childlike wonder of the child in the photo, feeling the heat of the sun and enjoying the present moment.
The Dali Lama and Desmond Tutu wrote a book together on the 8 pillars of Joy which are:
Perspective, Humility, Humour, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion, Generosity, and you can read the full article at: https://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/the-eight-pillars-of-joy.aspx