In the midst of some turbulent financial times I am going to post some relevant thoughts.  I really would like to hear from people on how they are living more contentedly, simply and within budgetary restraints.  I do believe it is exactly in these times that the Church needs to be vocal and prominent in their communities bringing hope in the midst of despair.  So please share on any thoughts or community ideas that you are trying or would like to try.

I am thinking of putting on a seminar that would deal with some of the more practical things in relation to hard times.  So any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

An Excerpt from Contentment: A Way to True Happiness by Robert A. Johnson and Jerry M. Ruhl

Robert A. Johnson and Jerry M. Ruhl explore a seemingly rare state of being — contentment. In this excerpt they explore the pattern of inflation and deflation and posit that contentment lies in the middle way.

“Inflation is a distorted sense of who we are. Modern people have a psychological tendency to inflate like a balloon. The slang expression ‘he is just full of hot air’ captures this experience. When inflated, we think and act as if we are more than we really are; we are filled with high expectations, sometimes even arrogance. Anything that interferes with our willful desire feels like a disappointment.

“Modern life pushes us to inflate. Our progress-orientated, ‘bigger is better,’ consumer-driven society celebrates ‘too-muchness.’ A recent bumper sticker was succinct in expressing this attitude: ‘The one who ends up with the most toys wins.’ The West has been busy for decades teaching the world how to inflate; in some ways this has become the essence of being American. It is hard to part with something so ingrained as our power stance. . . .

“Any time we puff ourselves up — whether to gain attention, power, status, monetary reward, or love — there is a price. Every inflation is followed by a deflation, and then the hot air balloon comes crashing down. A deflation is thinking and acting as if you are less than you really are, a feeling of “not-enoughness.” . . .

“Inflations and deflations turn life into a wild ride of ‘too-muchness’ followed by ‘not-enoughness.’ They undermine our capacity for contentment. Contentment can be found only in the middle place, the point where you are neither inflated nor deflated. It requires you to be who you are, no more and no less. . . .

“Buddhists speak of the middle way and call this balancing act ‘walking the razor’s edge.’ It is precisely that middle place, where you are neither more nor less than you are, that is the holy place. Most people in the West don’t believe that the middle point is the solution; instead we want to inflate, grab hold of emotional ‘highs’ and force reality to go our way. But our appetite for ‘too-muchness’ only brings us ‘not-enoughness’ and keeps us in a painful cycle.

“To realize more contentment, it is essential to begin each day by reminding yourself to be just who you are — no more and no less.

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