Knowing you have enough

The Irish phrase Go leor can be translated in different ways in English, including the words “enough” and “plenty”. Today’s world is good at promoting and accumulating plenty. The message that we get in so many ways is that if you get more you will get happier. However, for a lot of people, this sense of “more” just seems to increase and expand – more expectations in work, more information coming at us, more decisions to make, more demands on our time. And this emphasis on plenty sometimes distracts us from where our real focus should be – on coming to see when we have enough. Thus we can find that we are less skilled at knowing when to let go and be satisfied with what we have, or how much we do.  Reflecting on replacing the word “plenty” with “enough”  can help us here. Deciding what is enough – and learning to be content with that –  is one of the most important pieces of work that we can do.

There is no greater offence than harbouring desires.

There is no greater disaster than discontent.

There is no greater misfortune than wanting more. 

Hence, if you are content you will always have enough.

Lao Tsu

6 thoughts on “Knowing you have enough

  1. Its hard not to want more. I have been working hard in the past few years to be appreciative of what I do have and to not stress about what I don’t have. And to me life has been better. But for some “ingrained” reason the feeling of wanting more money, food, or better possessions always creeps back in!

    1. Yes and the practice is can we recognise, notice and bring awareness to that wanting in and of itself, just resting in the felt sense of longing and being curious about that, rather than fixating on the objects of that longing…..the money, possessions food etc.

  2. Without being willing to go so far as Lao Tsu — I am not willing to renounce desires utterly and forever —
    I will say that learning what was “enough” was one of the most important pieces of my longterm therapy — and I had to go a long way before I was even able to begin!
    The idea of replacing “plenty” with “enough” is indeed a radical — and enormously beneficial– step.

  3. A few days ago, I read an email update from James Baraz….he’s from Berkeley…he mentioned that his son uses the term “abundant enoughness”…I love that idea.
    I also like a quote by Rick Hanson, with a non-material variation on the idea of enough….about being fed enough, safe enough, loved enough, good enough…..from one of his Just One Thing newsletters… I made his quote into a page of my own…and then made it into a slide show/video with a lullaby background…I’ve watched/listened to it so many times and find it so reassuring and soothing….

  4. Ohhhh….I thought I “got” this idea…and then realized..especially yesterday…. I don’t and am tumbling/spinning around with it again….ah patience may be an even more challenging “lesson” than comparison…….

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