Speaker: See these are two different words- satisfaction and contentment. And one has to understand the difference between them very clearly. Satisfaction is gratification. Satisfaction comes out of achieving something. Satisfaction is a demand. A demand that is never really met. You say, ‘I will be satisfied when I get something’. So, it is always conditional. There is a condition imposed, ‘If I get this I will be satisfied’. And then there is contentment. Contentment says, ‘Not that something is to be achieved for peace, I am already alright, already full, already peaceful and in this peace I am operating.’ The satisfied person says, ‘I am working so that I may get peace’. The contented man says, ‘I am already peaceful, that is the reason I am working’. You know only the first way of living and that is a very horrible way of living. Because you are saying that I will work only when I am dissatisfied. So to keep working I must be..?
Listener 1: Dissatisfied.
Speaker: So you are condemning yourself to torture. You are saying, ‘Keep me perpetually dissatisfied so that I may keep moving, like a rocket. Like a rocket, my back must always be on fire, only then I can move ahead.’ This is the way the entire world moves. ‘Why am I studying? So that I may not fail.’There is the fear of failure in examination, that is why I am studying.’ So what is the environment in which this studying is happening? The environment of fear. This is what happens to a man whose engine is dissatisfaction. But the world wants you to be dissatisfied so that you can move in ways that please the world. So, they’ll teach you, ‘Go ahead, get this! and unless you get this, you are worthless’. Unless you become somebody, you are not even worthy of love’. As I said that this is a very horrible way of living. This is slow torcher. All your life you are being kept dissatisfied. There is something more to be had, something more to achieve. And this is being given the name of progress, that this is progress. This is rubbish.
The alternate way, the real way of living is, ‘I am what I am. I am alright, now and always. Nothing can be added to me, nothing can be taken away from me. And in this feeling of wellness, of completeness, I do something. I do not do something in order to get something. I do something because I feel so good. I am feeling so good that I want to dance, and that dance comes out as a beautiful action. So something is happening, something beautiful is happening. It’s a very energetic dance, a very beautiful dance. And I am not obliged to keep dancing. I am not a professional dancer. I will stop when I want to stop. I am not dancing so that you may applaud me, I am dancing because I am feeling like it. Out of my contentment I am doing something. Not to get something else, not to be a super achiever’.
Listener 2: Sir, so how does the person in contentment get motivated to achieve this goal?
Speaker: He has already achieved his goal and after achieving his goal he is dancing. What you are thinking is, you see, the model in your mind is linear. You are thinking that life is a series of goals and at the end of which there is a final absolute goal. Right? That is what education and society have been telling you, that achieve this, achieve this, achieve this, achieve this and at the end of everything there is a final ultimate goal which will give you the maximum satisfaction.
Now, pay attention to what I am saying, I am saying the final goal is not at the end of the journey, it is right at the beginning of the journey. Get that first. The last should be the first. Achieve the final first and then everything else will fall in place. Then all these small goals will be great fun. Then your self-esteem will not depend on them. Then they will become unnecessarily too much upon you. Are you getting it? Try this, try doing something without fear. Because a goal is fear, a goal is hope and a goal is fear. Try doing something without fear and experiment. See whether the quality of that action is far better or worse. You have had enough of working in fear. Right? And you have seen the result of that. You have seen what kind of output comes from that. Right? You have seen that. Have you not seen that?
You have seen what kind of output comes out from working in fear. Now for a while, give up fear and try to work without it and see whether the quality of your output is better or worse.
-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: Difference between Satisfaction and Contentment