Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resources.
We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mind-set of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.
Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances. In our relationship with money, it is using money in a way that expresses our integrity; using it in a way that expresses value rather than determines value. Sufficiency is not a message about simplicity or about cutting back and lowering expectations. Sufficiency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive or aspire. Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resources. Sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough.
When we live in the context of sufficiency, we find a natural freedom and integrity. We engage in life from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete. We feel naturally called to share the resources that flow through our lives—our time, our money, our wisdom, our energy, at whatever level those resources flow—to serve our highest commitments. In the context of sufficiency, and the flow of resources to and through and from us, our soul and money interests merge to create a rich, satisfying, and meaningful life.
The flow of resources in our lives, rather than being something that is constantly escaping our grasp or diminishing, instead becomes a flood of nourishment and something we have the privilege of being trustees of for the moment.
Sufficiency is the truth. Sufficiency can be a place to stand, a context that generates a completely new relationship with life, with money, and with everything that money can buy. I suggest there is enough in nature, in human nature, and in the relationships we share with one another to have a prosperous, fulfilling life, no matter who you are or where you are in the spectrum of resources. I suggest that if you are willing to let go, let go of the chase to acquire or accumulate always more and let go of that way of perceiving the world, then you can take all that energy and attention and invest it in what you have. When you do that you will find unimagined treasures, and wealth of surprising and even stunning depth and diversity.
Living from sufficiency, thinking from there and generating that frame of reference for life is enormously powerful and important for our time. In our relationship with money, we can continue to earn, save, invest, and provide for ourselves and for our families, but we reframe the relationship with a new recognition of and appreciation for what we already have. In that new way of seeing, the flow of resources in our lives, rather than being something that is constantly escaping our grasp or diminishing, instead becomes a flood of nourishment and something we have the privilege of being trustees of for the moment. Our relationship with money ceases to be an expression of fear and becomes an expression of exciting possibility. The context of sufficiency can transform our relationship with money, with our resources, and with life itself.
When we let go of the chase for more, and consciously examine and experience the resources we already have, we discover our resources are deeper than we knew or imagined. In the nourishment of our attention, our assets expand and grow.
I am not suggesting there is ample water in the desert or food for the beggars in Bombay. I am saying that even in the presence of genuine scarcity of external resources, the desire and capacity for self-sufficiency are innate and enough to meet the challenges we face. It is precisely when we turn our attention to these inner resources—in fact, only when we do that—that we can begin to see more clearly the sufficiency in us and available to us, and we can begin to generate effective, sustainable responses to whatever limitations of resources confront us. When we let go of the chase for more, and consciously examine and experience the resources we already have, we discover our resources are deeper than we knew or imagined. In the nourishment of our attention, our assets expand and grow.
This is especially true in our relationship with money, and the power of soulful commitment to expand and enhance our wealth. And it is especially true when we look at the struggles around money that weigh us down, and the profound release we experience when we align money and soul.
The struggle for sufficiency has nothing to do with the amount of money you have. It is all about the relationship you have with the money. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about the struggle for sufficiency have come from people who have more money in the moment than most of us will see in a lifetime, yet they are living lives they find less than wholly satisfying. Overwhelmed by excess or crushed in the rush for more, the nourishing experience of sufficiency and enough is lost.
From THE SOUL OF MONEY: TRANSFORMING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY AND LIFE by Lynne Twist. Copyright © 2003 by Lynne Twist. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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