Struggle and Liberation ~ Quick Course

The Complete Course on Audio

Struggle and Liberation

By: J Pesavento, audio by Julie Jennings

Many years ago, I was asked to speak with a teenager who was struggling with anger, drugs and conflict. After a few minutes, I asked him the question, “Would you like to talk about ways to gain peace of mind?” He answered, “I don’t want peace. I want the rush.”

Often the pleasurable is more powerful in the short term than the beneficial. Often a vice is more exciting than a virtue. Most times a distraction feels better and acts quicker to relieve anxiety than resolution. It’s easier to mask our resistance than see and feel it.

We have been taught that we can avoid feeling what’s inside of us through distraction. We have drinks. We take drugs. We immerse ourselves in binge watching shows and social media. Our phones are our best friends. We constantly look for the rush; the new ways to be entertained, excited and pleasured. We have been conditioned to use an infinite number of distractions to avoid looking inside. Distraction has become our tool of choice to find relief and escape.

In addition to this, we believe the thing outside will produce happiness inside. We are conditioned that we can achieve happiness through desires. We believe that if people, places, things and conditions are a certain way, we will be happy. We believe that getting what we want will replace the anxiety, pain and fear with happiness. Our strategy to deal with our anxiety is to escape it with distractions and replace it with desires.

Distractions are our aversion. Desires are our attachments. Together they are the way we live life. The problem is that a life lived through aversion and attachment is a life of resistance. It makes peace of mind and contentment impossible.

It becomes a battle and a choice; the quick fix versus long-term resolution, the rush versus peace of mind, the easy distraction versus commitment and effort, getting the things we want versus selflessly giving. We decide, in every moment, if peace of mind, contentment, joy and thriving are worth our dedication. This isn’t an easy or automatic choice. We tend to be so conditioned that, every time there’s discomfort, we choose the rush and the selfishness. But is this what we really want?


Contentment is a peaceful state of mind. It is satisfaction with the way things are. But it is seldom a state we experience. When asked the question, “How are you” the most frequent answer is exhausted, fed up, angry, stressed, overwhelmed, sad. Seldom is the answer, “I’m blissfully contented.”

Few of us actually experience contentment. Even when we get all we want, even when we are externally in a peaceful situation, internally we experience our constant mental chatter, our worries, our insufficiencies and our unresolved feelings. Most of us have never known true contentment. We can get everything we want and we can distract ourselves endlessly, but our minds remain dissatisfied.

The distractions produce exhaustion and more pain. The desires with attachment produce anger when denied and unfulfilled. Both try to relieve symptoms but neither resolves the cause of our discontent. Both add to the monkey mind. Our chosen way of living life through distraction and desire produces a mind filled with anger, sadness, frustration, and ceaseless thoughts.

The closest we have gotten to contentment is a few moments of relief and pleasure through a distraction or a desire fulfilled. This is why we are so attached to distractions, desires and expectations. But soon the satisfaction of the pleasure, the rush of the achievement, the taste of joy and the relief we feel when we get something are quickly replaced by the incessant thoughts and dissonant feelings.

Lasting contentment remains illusory. Over and over, we seem to always choose the excitement, the pleasure, the rush, the infatuation. We choose the pleasurable over the beneficial. We choose distraction and desire over resolution and realization. Given the choice between experiencing the thoughts and feelings in our mind or experiencing the distractions of houses, cars, vacations, sex, work, intoxicants and relationships, we choose the latter. We have come to the conclusion that the distraction, excitement, pleasure and rush are far superior to knowing our Self. Despite our choices to the contrary, there is always something drawing us to the idea of achieving contentment. This is because contentment is a sign of alignment with life’s purpose.

When we take away the distractions, the excitements, the rushes, the desires and the outcomes, we often are not left with feelings of bliss, joy and contentment. We are left with what’s playing out in our mind. This can be dissonance, endless thoughts and uncomfortable feelings. It isn’t contentment we feel. It’s chaos. It isn’t easy to remain focused on the long-term beneficial outcome when, in the present moment, our plate feels half full and we feel hungry for love, for things, for sufficiency, for relief. Why would we choose this path to contentment? Why would we give up all our excitement and rushes?

We have lost contact with our true Self, our stillness. We think contentment is just a bit of calmness, a second of peace, some space, or a few, less irritating thoughts. Contentment is a state of being the fullness of life and having life express fully through us. Contentment is knowing the Self and expressing the Self. The Self is bliss, universal consciousness. It is the fullness of intelligence and power. Revealing universal consciousness within and expressing that creative intelligence without is the purpose of life. It is so far beyond distraction, a rush, getting a thing or having a relationship that we are literally not able to conceive what we truly are.

Commitment, resolution and balance are required to fully experience that state of contentment. It isn’t that pleasures, triumphs and excitements need to be eliminated. They need to remain balanced. Contentment arrives little by little, step by step. It’s a process of resolution and realization. It’s hard to give up our conditioned surety that desires, attachments and outcomes can fulfill us. It’s difficult to understand the love we feel from a relationship is 100% internally generated. It’s painfully disappointing to understand that getting the house, the car, the job, the approval, the money and the beauty will not secure our long-term happiness and peace of mind. It’s a struggle to accept and allow when we are in resistance.

The path to contentment is clearing away delusion and misperception to reveal what has always been there. The contentment, the bliss, the power, the intelligence and the universal consciousness have existed forever, inside us. The peace and stillness that lie within us wait to be rediscovered. The power and intelligence wait to be reconnected to and fully expressed. Contentment is a state of mind arising from the realization of who we really are and relishing its expression.

There are two components to contentment; 100% realizing the Self and 100% expressing the Self. Contentment is experiencing 200% of life; experiencing that we are pure consciousness and expressing the dynamic power and creative intelligence contained within consciousness. Contentment arises in the mind when the purpose of life is fulfilled; knowing our Self, the absolute aspect of life, and expressing our Self, the relative aspect of life. Contentment arises when, in stillness, we realize the Self and then express the creative intelligence contained within it.

Realizing the Self in Stillness:

Because contentment is a mental state, for us to experience it, the mind needs to be in a state of non-resistance, a state where there is no grasping or pushing away. This is acceptance of ‘what is’. Acceptance is holding ‘what is’, which is often our pain and fear, in non-judgmental, neutral awareness. Acceptance ends restlessness and resistance, allowing peace of mind. This is a state of ease, satisfaction and relief. Non-resistance is a state without attachment and aversion. As resistance dissolves, the mind becomes peaceful.

Peace of mind is not an all or nothing proposition. Every thought that is allowed, every feeling that is accepted, every impression within us that is resolved, adds to peace of mind. Every step we take toward peace of mind increases our well-being and lessens our restlessness. Peace of mind creates an inner atmosphere that opens us to the experience of stillness. Once we experience peace of mind, stillness becomes a real possibility.

Stillness is a mind at rest; a completely quiet mind. It is a state of awareness without mental fluctuations. When the mind is still, what is left is pure awareness, pure being, pure presence. This is the authentic Self and it is from this state of pure consciousness that all mental activity arises. All of life is leading us to this expanded awareness of the Self. It is our enlightenment, our realization.

Stillness is the field of all possibilities, all potential. It is the field of all intelligence and power. It is the fountainhead of manifestation. In stillness the Self is revealed. It is the foundation that contentment rests upon.

Expressing Creative Intelligence:

Life is dynamic. In the relative aspect of life, change is constant, always expanding into more well-being. Well-being is not static. Contentment is not possible in a state of entropy or quiescence. Only when there is creative intelligence flowing through our mind and actions can contentment reach fulfillment.

Life is always creating, maintaining and destroying, evolving into more. When we align with this flow of life, contentment thrives. The flow of our creative intelligence is always creating, uncovering, innovating, discovering, inventing and advancing. It maintains and expands life by supplying the necessities to thrive and finding better ways to support life. It destroys the old to make way for the new, the more, the expanded. To be content, we align ourselves with this play of creation, maintenance and destruction. We change, evolve and realize just as all of life does.

Our expression can be negative, neutral or positive. When we express selflessly, for the benefit of others, with the intention to end suffering and reveal wisdom, we align with the purpose of creation and contentment flourishes.

Experiencing Contentment:

Our thoughts, words, actions and experiences create vibrational impressions within us. They are called samskaras. Each samskara contains a memory and a specific vibrational energy. We constantly feel these vibrations. They cause our mind to be either calm and still or chaotically filled with thoughts. They cause our mind to be generally positive or negative, judgmental or accepting. When activated or triggered, a samskara with negative energy will create a strong negative feeling within the mind. As long as we are experiencing restlessness, the Self will be covered over and access to the power and intelligence of the Self will be very limited.

For us to experience contentment, these samskaras have to be either vibrationally neutral or positive. For contentment to expand, thinking and acting must be aligned with and in resonance with the laws of nature and the highest aspects of our true Self, thus creating impressions with positive energy. This is why, throughout history, all spiritual paths have emphasized virtues and the expansion of love, peace, devotion and compassion.

To experience contentment, we have to avoid creating new, negative impressions. To do this, we create neutral or positive thoughts, words and actions. We create the highest thoughts, act beneficially and avoid evil. In addition, the existing negative samskaras which are creating the restless thoughts and dissonant feelings have to be vibrationally neutralized. We neutralize existing negative samskaras through spiritual practices, especially meditation that reveals pure awareness.

Contentment contains both being and doing, stillness and activity. Contentment is a mind consciously connected to its source of pure awareness while expressing the energy and intelligence of the Self. Contentment requires the stability of a firm foundation through awareness of the Self and also the well-being derived from the creative expression of its intelligence and power.

Contentment is always there, always waiting to be uncovered and enjoyed. The state of contentment can be revealed, day by day, loving thought by loving thought, beneficial action by beneficial action, spiritual practice by spiritual practice, acceptance by acceptance, realization by realization.

When we live 200% of life, we find the purpose of our life fulfilled. Our mind experiences the state of fulfillment when we know the Self and express the fullness of the creative intelligence contained within the Self. Bliss is realized and then expanded through our expression as the play of consciousness. In the balance of Self-realization and selfless expression, true contentment arises in the mind as the purpose of life is realized.