“Enough is a feast, enough is a feast.
Take what you need, save some for the least.
Save some for the least who stand at the door;
Enough is a feast, you don’t need any more.”
I was listening to an old CD yesterday, by local singer/songwriter/author Bill Harley. These lyrics stayed with me and got me thinking..
You might also recall a well-loved British nanny from the 1960s uttering the same sentiment, after using her magic powers to help the children clean the nursery. (Are you surprised to learn that Mary Poppins adhered to a Buddhist philosophy?)
So often, we fall into the trap of wanting more. We believe that we’ll be happier in a bigger house or driving a newer car. We envy our friends who have things we do not, whether it’s exotic vacations or expensive jewelry. I remember when my kids were young, they’d compare our household to that of a classmate, making the case that we were lacking in some important way. No matter how much material wealth you have, there will always be someone with more. Instead, I encouraged them to consider those who were less fortunate – Those who looked upon us as being prosperous! It changed their perspective, if just for a moment.
You may be familiar with the adage that people who love money are never happy. Perhaps you know someone, in your family or circle of friends, who fits the profile. So busy are they, lusting after their next shiny object, that they rarely seem to enjoy what they have right in front of them.
As we grow older, our “stuff” accumulates and we come to realize the frivolity of it all. We are drawn to the idea of simplifying. I, personally, struggle with this and am constantly trying to reduce the collections that fill my home. Maybe that’s why these lyrics spoke to me. When you really think about it, do we really ever need more than enough of anything? Of course, the answer is no.
1.adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire (Dictionary.com)
So, if enough is sufficient to satisfy our desire, why on earth would we think that we should have more? And yet…. We’re all guilty.
I understand that there are entire generations or cultures among us who faced devastating losses that contributed to a tendency to amass more than what is required. I also suspect that their versions of ‘more’ fulfill a deeply seeded need, unlike yours or mine. We are simply conditioned to want more. Perhaps, we are trying to fill an emotional void. Maybe, there is something to be proven. Whatever the reason, wanting more than we need is self destructive.
- It’s wasteful. We squander things that can be of use by someone who really needs them.
- It’s greedy. Falling prey to this deadly sin makes us selfish.
- It’s distracting. We fail to appreciate what we have – how lucky we are to have enough.
- It’s irreverent. Ignoring the realm of the spiritual feeds the ego and leads, ironically, to emptiness
Take a moment today to look around you. Think about what might be enough. I’m not spreading guilt here – Not asking anyone to take on martyrdom! If you’ve worked hard for that newer model car and it will make your life better, by all means, go for it! Just be aware of the importance and emotional affinity we often attach to luxuries. Learn to appreciate having enough.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi