Let’s ask ourselves when we are going to feel content or satisfied. Imagine that the Kingdom of God is established on earth and you don’t have to work as hard anymore. You can do pretty much what you want to do, eat all you want and think about yourself. Would you finally be able to feel really content and satisfied? We all like steak, but if someone brought you steak every hour and you had to eat it, would you be annoyed or elated? Now you feel like getting a little more sleep, don’t you? If you say no, you are not being honest with yourself. I would like very much to sleep a few more hours. I slept only two hours last night, and I feel that way all the time. Imagine you had all kinds of time to sleep, and even though you could get up to go to the bathroom or to eat, you had to go right back to sleep again. You might go to meet a friend, but upon returning you had to go right back to sleep. Imagine that your purpose in life was to sleep. Then would you be contented and satisfied?
Now we can think about contentment and about happiness. Most people in the world have a concept of me as being a very rich man. Generally speaking they would assume that since I have so much money I must feel satisfied and have no desire for anything else. What they don’t know is that I’m always in need of more money, no matter how much there is. It all depends on how one would define what I need. I wonder how much money I should have in order to say I am content and would not like to have any more. Do YOU think there is a limit?
It is not an exaggeration to say that you are happier when you are in need of money. You cannot really imagine how that could be true, can you? I can explain with another example. When your stomach is so full that you can’t eat any more, you feel awfully uncomfortable. At one time or another you have had the experience of wanting to eat something and then stuffing yourself to the point that you have difficulty moving around.
Which of these two situations do you think is happier for you? Do you feel better when you have eaten to your fullest and feel uncomfortable, or when you have a fervent wish to eat? Maybe it depends upon what situation you are in. A very poor man who always lacks food, who had eaten only half a meal a day for three or four years, would want to fill himself up completely. But I am talking about the average situation, not the extreme.
We have brought up the fact that everyone is pursuing contentment, but what is contentment? We often say something is good or nice, but does that really mean it is good? Imagine that you have something you feel good about, and day after day you experience it again. Do you continually feel as though you were in heaven, or does it eventually become something other than what you thought in the beginning? For a simple example, if you had some favorite food that you just kept on eating day after day, how would you feel? If you continued eating it for a long time, would you never get tired of it? When you think of it, the chances are much greater that somehow your feeling about that food would change at some point.
Actually, all men should learn to feel content even when externally they are not. They should learn to experience satisfaction. That is the moment where hope is really magnified and where concentration actually takes place. When your stomach is full and your desire is satisfied, there is no need for hope or concentration. Then which moment is happier-the time when the desire is satisfied or, the moment when we have an intense desire and all of our senses are concentrated on fulfilling it? Are you happier when you are hungry and looking forward to eating, or when you are always full and satisfied day after day?
Then in which case do you feel more uplifted – when you feel your situation is good or when you feel discontent? How is it different? When you are hungry, you don’t feel that it is necessarily good, but once you are full you feel it is good. You have come to the conclusion that while you were looking for something and working towards it you felt happier. You can say that you are happy when your stomach is full, but also when you are hungry and eager to eat. You can say both are good, but which is better may depend on the individual.
The point is that when you say you are satisfied, you are on a peak, but from that peak you must always come down to the lower valley. When you are suffocated and choking, it feels good to inhale deeply and have plenty of air. But if you continue to inhale more and more air, never letting it out, you will soon die. We can definitely say that inhaling air is good, but we can also definitely say that exhaling is good, too. Is that simple enough reasoning?
When Are We Satisfied?
Reverend Sun Myung Moon
April 9, 1978