"Meditation, self-reflection, and contemplation are the methods prescribed by the ancient traditions to access contentment. Before it can be experienced, a seeker must first loosen his or her attachment to finite perception; thus identification with time, body, job, gender, and responsibilities as well as disappointment, jealousy, frustration, and the like must give way so that you can return to contentment. This letting go must be repeated each time before you can taste the sweetness of silence or reach the blissful realms of self-awareness beyond good and bad and the limits of mind.

"I want to stress that contentment cannot be forced. It is not an attitude; it is not something you can convince yourself to feel. You cannot think your way to an authentic version of contentment, and it is not healthy or helpful to pretend that you are content when you are not. Yes, part of you is always free, joyous, and unconditionally at peace, but if this is just an idea to you, your only choice is to do the practices that will actually anchor you in the feelings and awareness found in contentment.

The Process of Contentment

"Forcing yourself to act content when you are not genuinely so leads to all sorts of difficulty, conflict, and turmoil. Remember, contentment is a process, not a pill that can be ingested to produce instantaneous results. Even the best techniques and practices done correctly do not necessarily provide you instantly with the feelings for which you may be searching. In your first meditations, peace may be elusive. You may not experience contentment right away, or if you do experience it while in the practice, it may take a while — sometimes a long while — to pervade your life. This is especially true if you've waited a long time to start your practice. Remember, an effective practice is defined by repetition.

"Throughout this book, in nearly every chapter, I've provided you with various methods for accessing contentment, any one of which would be ideal for you to work with. Do the one that attracts you. It should be the one that you enjoy most or the one that seems to best address your needs or aspirations. Once you've selected a practice, do it consistently for an extended period of time, and do it with respect and love. Trust that your practice will eventually bear the fruits of contentment, non-attachment, and freedom. Although the most profound results will probably take a while to develop, doing the right practice even a few times should provide you with some benefits sooner rather than later. . . .

"As we've seen, contentment can spontaneously enliven your most constructive qualities and inspire you in ways that you might never have conceived of. Contentment also nurtures your capacity to let go and to accept. In addition to these extraordinarily positive effects, contentment expands your sense of what is possible by allowing you to experience the part of you that is, by its nature, limitless.

"There is another facet of contentment that until now I have not addressed directly but which is implicit in every success story I've shared with you in this book. The ancient teachings tell us that making the light of contentment an ever-stronger presence in your life automatically leads you to your very best life. By establishing you in peace, self-reliance, and increasing levels of fearlessness, contentment empowers you to think and act in ways that are informed by your higher Self."