discontented with the ordinary

Click thumbnails to enlarge ..

who are we?
discontent for
not being content
assuming being content
is part of balanced life

we go for a diploma
we reconcile for a career
we look for a house in the suburbs
we settle for a family
we satisfy for some charity
for some role in local politics
for a life connected to religious values

but we don’t find this balance,
we get some good years,
four sometimes five in a row
then another 30 years of unbalance
feeling something is missing

Is that what I’ll have to go for after high school?
Is that what I do after getting a diploma?
Is that what I will feel
after the youngest will be born?
A mediocre life …?
How will I feel when I retire
about my mediocre life
my mediocre career, house,
my mediocre values …

** ** ** ** *** *** *** ** ** ** **

Our mental minds
never content:
programmed to be
but barely finding
real contentment
seldom a balanced life
just some snapshots
of joy and happiness
memories …

balance unavailable
mental mediocrity
mental contentment
just a mental way
to feel better

… discontent for not being content

the way out
is to forget mental values,
to go for the present
the present has meaning
and is meaningless
at the same time
blissful and desperately sad
at the same time
beautiful and ugly
at the same time
awesome and grey
at the same time
mental, emotional
physical and spiritual
at the same time

perhaps wholeness
is just enough …

talking heads: once in a lifetime
(© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group)

Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) December 2013 – @home – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG 5251/5249

28 thoughts on “discontented with the ordinary

  1. I am not sure if / to what extent this was an “introspection” or generalized musings on life. Anyway – rest assured that “mediocre” is not the tag that would come to my mind when reading your blog!

    • 🙂 well, thank you for your kindness. … If I had nothing to say, I would not have started a blog — then I hope it is not mediocre (you know, vanity is there). It has grown into something different over the past 15 months, from something that looked more like a diary to what it is now. I never thought commenters would call some of my musings poetry, and I’m surprised by the impact of macro pictures that I post. At the same time I see that my ‘eye’ for making pictures is improving, thanks to you all — I wouldn’t have done more than some experiments without an audience.
      Whether my life is less or more mediocre? Probably yes and no at the same time. We are all in the same boat. Like lab-rats. We are all part of the population, and some do things in a different way than the others. It appears that my choices are steered in most cases by the force of circumstances. I wrote on free will in April 2013. Then quantum physics might be responsible for creating something that is not entirely deterministic. But I’m a bit fatalistic on the ‘unknowing’. Thinking beyond the thinking box (=mental mind) is impossible, although many things might or might not exist beyond the power of thought and reason, … something the brain will try to conceptualize not very different from the way the empty set is conceptualized in maths. But it will never grasp its nature.

  2. Bert you touched on a point I found really interesting: we’re programmed to be content. We’re programmed to be content, without really being given a legitimate “reason”. So, this notion of contentment becomes hollow. Our modern culture has made contentment an image devoid of meaning, and maybe it is our discovery of finding that the contentment being sold to us is nothing but a bill of goods, that we become disillusioned? This discovery, that there is nothing behind the contentment we’re programmed to partake in, is maybe part of our discovery we have been programmed to become images ourselves…? That is painful, indeed.


    • We are living many dreams, and being or having to be content, is one of them. Life having to be ‘just’ is another of those dreams (there are several like this). We are programmed, in my case through my christian upbringing, to believe all this.
      If any of these values, or another such ‘dream’, is mortally wounded, that is sometimes more than painful and can lead to an existential crisis. If well digested, such crises lead to a more realistic worldview, but the process can take many months, even years.
      Happy Xmas, Michael!!!

      • You are absolutely right. The puncture of any of these deep-seated dreams can lead to an existential crisis. I was thinking along collective lines to, when our national and cultural dreams fail us, how we wobble en masse, but perhaps make room for a new and more truthful vision. A worthy dream for this day I believe.

        Happy Christmas to you also, Bert!!!


  3. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
    by Mother Teresa. I found this a little while ago and wanted to share it with you apropos our comments.

  4. Reblogged this on Niki.V.all.ways.My.way. and commented:
    as i was winding down with some friends, after the parental units had left the holiday dinner, i turned on my tablet and found this wonderful poem by iambert. =) yep, I’m not quite sure if we infused enough cognitive dissonance to allow “Grandpappy” the freedom to not feel like he needs to or even should defend FOX news as the only legitimate news source.

    • cognitive dissonance indeed 🙂 Thanks for the reblog. Mind will always uncomfortable when questioned — certainly when questioned about itself or one of its pillars of existence like (dis-)contentment or gratification insufficiency through overindulgence in desire.

  5. Isn’t the source if discontentment our endlessly new desires? I found when little, discontentment because we could not afford something or other I wanted would pass and I wouldn’t want the once coveted item anymore. As I grew older I fulfilled some of my dreams and got some things I desired– material and spiritually psychological. The source of my contentment now is my husband but, of course, it is not perfection. The source of my discontent is facing being mediocre in everything, knowing I am too old to achieve perfection. I know, too, that since I have not achieved enlightenment and have unfullfilled desire, I will have to reincarnate. I am determined to return as a wonderful Indian dancer like Madhuri Dixit. But know that with age will come discontent. So better to aspire to return as an Indian monk who has achieved enlightenment or as a poet who discovers wholeness is enough. There are saints who lead lives of ostensible mediocrity and brilliant successes who are discontent. Fulfillment seems to be the epitome of contentment but fulfillment comes after achieving Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

    • Hi Ellen, .. I think that desire is the short term version of contentment. Contentment seems to be related to the longer waves in life. In the end it is mind facing itself over and over again, having made decisions for this or that change, and having mobilised the will power to do it, then after having achieved and looking back at least 5 years on this achievement, feeling the dullness, being so bored with that achievement: a career, becoming rich or famous, social work, politics, religion, a (or several) relationship(s), … everything becomes routine.
      Mind gets dissatisfied after some time. The idea that we should be content in our given situation makes the discontentment painful. Not unlike the feeling that life should have a meaning, and we conclude that it hasn’t. Very painful conclusion. Still life is interesting. My macro pictures are going to bore me sooner or later. WordPress is going to be abandoned sooner or later. It has happened before. Any relationship ends, be it through discontentment or death. Yogananda talks about self-realisation — when we don’t NEED something or someone else anymore. That state is far ahead for me, however, and i have no idea how to ever go there. And perhaps by not trying, that state might come faster, even immediately. ‘When things fall apart’ from Pema Chodron, talks about the crises that are the acute forms of discontentment, and how she sees coping with that.
      Wholeness and self-realisation are one and the same thing. And perhaps, whenever we see a deer, and get fascinated by it, or whenever we fall down with the giggles, we are closer to that state than any spiritual author.

      • Thank you for your thoughtful reply and for translating your ideas into Yogananda and Pema Chodron terms. It IS painful to be discontent, knowing one should be content. I agree about the deer and the giggles. And, I too, have no idea how not to “need”. There is lots of need for me in love but that seems to be a big source of contentment and, in honesty, also a source of worry, over loss. I have no answers but seek challenges as an antidote to discontentment. I don’t think life has no meaning. I think we are put here to love and through human love to see God and through seeing God to transform our wretched minds.

        • Well, I’m not sure about the meaning, but I’m sure that I will never fathom this with my limited mind here on earth. Taking challenges … of course, is there anything else we can do?

  6. I think that our minds tell us to strive for contentment but the truth is, once we get close to what we think will bring contentment, we began to be discontent with what we are settling for. In other words, contentment really isn’t want we need. Discontentment is what keeps us going and searching. When we think we have found it, it becomes boring.

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