CONTENTMENT is the acknowledgement and satisfaction of reaching capacity. It may be considered as SYNONYMOUS with HAPPINESS but is more basic or prior to happiness that can be derived from OUTER ACHIEVEMENT or SELF-IMPROVEMENT.
Colloquially, CONTENTMENT is simply a way of accepting one’s life state and being grateful or happy with it. This ATTITUDE OF CONTENTMENT, leads to more positive outcomes as a result of the relaxation that goes with being contented.
In a more mystical sense, CONTENTMENT can be understood as an INNATE STATE, before any intellectual judgement about life situations has entered into the picture. That is why, children are generally happy, until their intellectual powers —- such as their ability to judge what is good from bad, and being trained to hold on to concepts —- begin to form and then their mental and emotional stresses begin to emerge.
A sense of security, provided by family or society, can also contribute to CONTENTMENT. There is, therefore, a belief that one can achieve CONTENTMENT by LIVING IN THE MOMENT. The PURSUIT to LIVE IN THE MOMENT, is found in many religions and manifested in forms of meditation and prayer to get in touch with the INNERMOST BEING-NESS and hence CONTENTMENT. This CONTENTMENT is not an achievement, but an ATTITUDE —— that one can adopt at any time.
The American philosopher, Robert Bruce Raup, wrote a book : COMPLACENCY : The foundation of Human Behaviour (1925), in which he claimed that the human need for Complacency (inner tranquillity) was the HIDDEN SPRING of HUMAN BEHAVIOUR. Happiness is 50% heritable. Just as there is the DEPRESSIVE BRAIN, there is a HAPPY BRAIN.
The origins of CONTENTMENT, in Jewish Culture, reflect an even older thinking reflected in the BOOK OF PROVERBS : A joyful heart makes a cheerful face. A sad heart makes a despondent mood. All the days of a poor person are wretched, but CONTENTMENT IS A FEAST WITHOUT END. In Islam, true CONTENTMENT is achieved through establishing a relationship with Allah, always keeping Him in mind. The Qu’ran states : Truly, it is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts can find Contentment ——Qu’ran — 13:29.