I have been meditating on the quality of ‘contentment’ of late; contentment as a power and ability. I was born with a restless spirit, I have a burning ambition that explodes in all directions. For this reason, I am forever in search of ways to improve my mental control and develop my abilities. Nowadays I can pretty much stick to any discipline or regime I decide on without fail. However, I have started to become convinced that the next step in my development is paradoxically learning to be content. If I could learn to be content then I could focus my energy more on what really matters and not use up energy on counter-productive emotions or goals.
But I am not the only person to ever think of contentment as a power:
The Taoist tradition holds that contentment can be the key to learning how to “own the world”
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
Contentment comes from the French ‘contenter’ meaning to contain. So being content is when you learn to limit your wants to what you already have.
As soon as I read this I had a lightning bolt of Buddhist realisation. The true contentment, the greater contentment, was about accepting the true nature of the universe. The fact that noticing lasts forever. Everything changes and that we all have to be aware that sometimes it takes time for our will to manifest. Once we accept the true nature of the universe we are free to take action within its nature and to work with its direction. This is true power. But there’s more –
The Ninja Truth
The word ‘Ninja‘ means ‘One Who Endures‘.
Could being content be something that allows us to endure? Perhaps it’s not the ability to stop the pain that allows the true ninja to stand under the waterfall, it’s being content to experience the pain.
Ninja Grand Master Toshitsugu Takamatsu said –
“The way to experience ultimate happiness is to let go of all worries and regrets, and to know that being happy is the most satisfying of life’s feelings. Reflect back on all the progress in your life and allow the positive, creative and joyous thoughts to outshine and overwhelm any sorrow or grief that may linger in the recesses of your mind. Knowing that disease and disaster are natural parts of life is the key to overcoming adversity with a calm and happy spirit. Happiness is waiting there in front of you. Only you can decide whether or not you choose to experience it. Take this to heart.”
So perhaps acceptance of the hard things in life is the true root to Ninjutsu.