A work colleague of mine and I used to work out regularly at the gym on the way home. He would often say how lifting heavy things would help him get out of his head. At first I wasn’t really sure what he meant until I had experienced a few sessions with him. I realised the goal was to go beyond our comfort zones and well into the the zone of discomfort. In the process we both walked away physically stronger and more content.
So many of us are discontent with the way things are every day. We might feel this as a general uneasiness or acutely in the form of some drama that is playing out in our heads. It might be as simple as being annoyed that it is raining on your weekend getaway to the beach. You might find yourself saying things like “this is just typical, of course it would be raining during my one weekend off”. The voice we hear likes to tell us how things are not how they should be or what should be happening that isn’t.
“There is no greater curse than discontent” Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
Yet if it wasn’t raining we’d possibly find other reasons to justify being dissatisfied. Maybe the people you are with are high maintenance and you feel like you just don’t have space to relax yourself. We resist what is in the present moment and what we often don’t realise is that this becomes a habit of thought. We think the present moment is lacking but what if that thing you feel is missing or causing your discontent can be found in simply accepting what is?
“Great fullness seems empty yet it cannot be exhausted” Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
In order to realise a sense of contentment you may not need to change your current situation at all. Just your perspective about it. Rather than seeing life as needing to make you feel happy, see it as the gym. Start seeing life as a place where you expect to feel uncomfortable and challenged so that you might become more aware, adaptable and content. Realise that life is here to challenge us, not to make us happy.
“One who is contented is never disappointed” Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching