Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Content vs. Driven


Fame is clearly a double edged sword. Ambition drives many to the edge of the cliff, some over. And looking down, for most of us, there is an inner force, drawing us back, within ourselves, to reflect and search again for peace. Moments of calm are spiritual, transcendent, contrasting with the reckless pursuit of success which overtakes the driven and drives them into the ground, buried and untouched by the simple breezes – sensation, touch, expression. Feeling cheated, that is the problem; that you deserve better, and for less effort. All of this done to seize the very things that would on surface appear to offer comfort and insulation but in fact draw you farther from the goals – simplicity, self-sufficiency, and inner strength. To be content and to think about being content are not the same thing, no more than planning to be can ever match being in the moment itself. Contentment is by definition not thought out. It is offered only to those who are ready to receive. It is a subtly graded sensation, heightened by its moderation rather than its intensity, causing one to marvel that a moment so simple and ordinary could be so fine. Those moments are recognizable by the joy and peace built in, the freedom from the pressing need to fix or mend a problem, an injury or a hurt. These are the moments of acceptance, of living, of observation, of freedom from worry, valued for the infrequency of their appearance. And these gifts, when they appear, just as quickly disappear if not recognized immediately for what they are. For here is the deceit – they are so normal in their trappings that they appear to be devoid of value until the last moment. In the end, it comes to most of us that suspending the need to save the world from time to time may be required to savor it.


All the fame I look for in life is to have lived it quietly.

Calmness is always Godlike.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.
Lily Tomlin

If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.

The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as a guest and then becomes a host, and then a master.
Kahlil Gibran

Thinking about interior peace destroys interior peace. The patient who constantly feels his pulse is not getting any better.
Hubert van Zeller

Better a little fire to warm us than a great one to burn us.
Thomas Fuller

Life is about enjoying yourself and having a good time.

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.

O God, give us serenity to accept what cannot be changed, courage to change what should be changed; and wisdom to distinguish one from the other.
Reinhold Niebuhr

The mere sense of living is joy enough.
Emily Dickenson

I don’t like money actually, but it quiets my nerves.
Joe Louis

Strange how few
After all’s said and done, the things that are
Of moment.
Edna St Vincent Millay

The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.
Mary Jean Iron

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I rise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
E. B. White

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