It is no stretch of the imagination to say that many days most of us wrestle with some form of discontentment in life. Now, if we add to this disgruntled condition an equal, if not greater, amount of time spent searching for solutions to "cure" this confliction, we arrive at a surprising discovery: a great deal of our time on earth is spent trying to dodge feelings of being discontented!
Only the light of conscious awareness can effectively change the unconscious cause of these unwanted patterns. The first step in learning to let go of what disturbs us is to increase our awareness of how its root dynamic works within us.
While much of our time is spent identifying the so-called cause of our discontented condition, the rest of our time is taken up trying to change our unwanted situation into what we imagine will better suit our pleasure. These dreams of a better time to come do not originate with our True Self. They are the incessant creation of one's unconscious thought nature, that ever-seeking, never-quite-satisfied self whose endless aspirations we all know too well!
This level of self - a false sense of self - knows only the kind of comfort that it can imagine into being. For instance, who among us hasn't found themselves conjuring up some imagined pleasure when faced with the pain of some contradiction in life that seems greater than our ability to deal with? And this imagined contentment is fine, if we believe an imaginary umbrella has the power to keep us dry in a downpour! To become conscious of this unconscious dynamic effectively cancels its authority over us. We don't have to live from any such self that is always seeking to exchange what we are in the moment for its more idealized conception of what it imagines can complete us. Key to this finding is that this would-be contented nature is inseparable from the discontentment that it breeds as it drags us through its comparison of what is to what should be.
Here's something even more surprising about this level of our discontented self: this nature is not just driven along by its unhappiness but, in fact, has no independent existence apart from it. It requires that something always be wrong in order for it to set things right. In other words, the contentment this self seeks only exists as long as its sense of being discontented is allowed to remain. The life span of this discontented nature is the length of time it takes to hand you over to its opposite: the projected pleasure that awaits you when you arrive at your imagined destination. But, as we know to be true, we no sooner arrive at this chosen port of pleasure than we become aware again of what is not right with where we now are. You can see now how the cycle of discontentment starts all over again!
Awakening to see this cycle of discontent for what it is not only empowers us to cancel it, but it also brings to an end the strain of living under the unseen contradiction in our consciousness: the hope that one's discontentment can be resolved by the very nature that creates and sustains it. Clearly a whole new order of solution is required. Finding this solution begins with a simple question: Who in his or her right mind believes--even for a moment--that the path to lasting contentment would be paved by continually thinking about everything that is seen as missing from one's life? Such a path may promise pleasure to come but its steps are spiked with discontentment.
We have been the unwitting servants of a thought nature whose appetite is unappeasable. Its life is fueled by opposites that cannot cancel each other, any more than picking up a sword can kill the fear in us that creates those whom we detest. The clearer our understanding of our present condition becomes, the more certain and surgical become our daily actions. We can end our agreement to live with this unenlightened nature. Now let's look at what we must do to free ourselves from our discontentment and the divided nature that sits at its core.
First, we must be willing to see the futility of our struggle to acquire more of those things in life that have already proven themselves powerless to please us. In concert with this effort comes the inner work of deliberately detaching ourselves from the familiar sense of self that promises us comfort even as it continues to sow the seeds of our discontent.
In spite of how daunting such an effort may seem at first, we can succeed with our wish to let go because we are beginning to act from the power that our own awakening grants us. Nothing is greater; no force can frustrate such a light as it dawns within. Here is why this holds true: We are starting to see through the source of discontentment. We now understand how the thought-self habitually perceives what its conditioned natures sees as not right about our lives, and then compares this negative image to what it further imagines ought to be taking place. And presto, we are in pain of some sort! These are the opposites at work within us. This is what has been working on us, dragging us into ever-deeper stages of discontentment with life.
But we can declare, "Enough is enough." The divided nature that embodies these opposites is not our True Self; it is but a shadow, a single aspect of our own original contented character. We can learn to call upon a new I within that understands the futility of continuing to vest ourselves in the "hope of things seen." Rather than giving ourselves over to these malcontent feelings with their empty promises of a better tomorrow, we can let them go instead and gain possession of ourselves in the Now.