1. There can be no contentment without acceptance of the limits of reality, within which excellence and joy are possible, but not perfection and infinite happiness. Furthermore, there can be no contentment without the courage to pursue excellence and joy persistently, against failures and misfortunes. That is to say, if life is to be compared to a car ride, we had better be in the driver’s seat and move forward at a good pace, but without haste, while steering in the right direction. We are responsible for our lives, even though we do not control everything, far from it.
Above all, our minds are at our command and determine our moods. Independently of circumstances and results, contentment follows from positive thinking and positive action – though admittedly it is not possible without circumstances and results being at least favorable enough to permit thinking and action.
2. In the pursuit of excellence and joy, the awareness of our adaptability is paramount. Change, and sometimes extensive and traumatic change, is part and parcel of life. Fortunately, we are able to adapt to this change. That is, the favorable habits we develop within relatively stable circumstances – for example eating, working, or dating habits that are conducive to our happiness – do not truly define the individuals we are. What does define them so is our innate ability to acquire favorable habits whatever the circumstances. In a word, we are by nature adaptable, just as the world is by nature changeable.
3. The one fact that differentiates life from infinite bliss is the struggle that is required of the living to achieve satisfaction, which is never complete and permanent. We can either sorrow over that fact or rejoice at it. Why rejoice? because with the struggle comes merit, and merit is a joyful emotion that any valiant soul knows intimately and values immensely.
4. Just as we cannot build a house without first securing a solid foundation, we cannot achieve fulfillment without first ensuring that our body is sound, thanks to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
5. Within the context of my own ideology, which I cannot impose, but only propose, love is the essence of life, its essential purpose. It includes the love of ourselves, which consists in promoting our own life. This love is instinctive and foundational; it is instrumental in the love of others, as we feel solidarity with them.
At a deeper level, love extends to that of everything. It proceeds from the divine principle behind the universe, thanks to which everything is the way it is, capable of being and better still, within certain limits, capable of flourishing. Like this principle, these limits can be ascertained through their obvious manifestations, but never explained. Ultimately, the universe and our relative knowledge of it are founded on a fathomless mystery.