Could you please talk a bit about the relationship between contentment and restlessness? It seems like when I feel content, there's less restlessness in my life, and when I feel restless, there's often little contentment.


Right. They're opposites. You can't have them both at the same time. This is why contentment is so important to develop in the practice.

What do we teach you to do when you wake up in the morning?

We teach you to do a "How Fortunate You Are" reflection. What does that do? What does it do if you reflect on how fortunate you are, when you wake up in the morning? It gives you contentment. I'm laying there in bed; I wake up, I'm here again. I get to practice the Dhamma again. I have enough money, I'm healthy, I have friends, I'm in a Dhamma meditation center. Wow! Wonderful! Great! Am I content in that moment, as I'm reflecting that way? Yes.

How do other people wake up in the morning? They wake up in the morning and go, "Here I am again, wish I had more money, wish I had a bigger house, wish I had this, wish I had that", and they're not content when they wake up. But we're teaching you to actually help yourself be content just as you're waking up.

Now, the reflection on "How fortunate you are", any time throughout the day - what's' it going to do to you? Exactly the same thing. When you reflect on how fortunate you are, you cannot be discontent, because all of you here are actually fortunate. But the trick here is to watch out for the word "but". Because it's very easy to think, "Well, yes, I'm very fortunate - I have enough money, but I'd like some more"; "I'm healthy, but my back's been aching lately; I have enough this or that, but etc." Many people throw in the word "but". That's not part of the meditation. In fact it's a pain in the "butt"! So you don't want to put the word "but" into the "How fortunate you are" meditation. You are just simply going to think about how fortunate you are.

When you are looking for contentment, it's not that hard, but it's going to take practice, because the mind wants to go, "but, but, but" and that's Mara. That's the ignorant part of the mind, and we have to be strong. This is why we need to use these reflections regularly. Practice them, practice them, practice them, then they are going to come up more easily in your everyday life.

Our apologies if there are any errors in the above text. If anything seems to be wrong or confusing in any way, please feel free to contact the teachers for further clarification.