When is Enough Ever Enough?

Posted by M ws On Wednesday, February 1, 2012 7 comments
The secret of life is to know when enough is enough.

This was my father's favorite saying in his final years, and one of the last thing he said to me before he died. I was contemplating selling my house and moving to a smaller one, and that was his pronouncement on the subject.

It was kind of ironic, since there he was, a family doctor for forty years, gasping and wheezing over the phone, barely able to speak, dying from smoking too much.

But the fact that he learned the lesson late doesn't negate the truth. And it goes straight to the heart of the issue of gratitude; namely, that gratitude makes us feel like we have enough, whereas ingratitude leaves us in a state of deprivation in which we are always looking for something else.

That's why the idea of cultivating "the gratitude attitude" is so popular among twelve-step programs. As Emmet Miller notes in "Gratitude: A Way of Life".

"Gratitude has to do with feeling full, complete, adequate - we have everything we need and deserve; we approach the world with a sense of value."

Addictions of all sorts come from a sense of deprivation, a feeling of lack that the user believes can be filled with a substance or activity, whether it's drugs, shopping, alcohol or food.

Caught up in lack, we feed the need but never feel truly satisfied because our substance of choice can't fill the lack. Consequently we continue to want more and more.

As many people have pointed out, our consumer society owes its very existence to its ability to fuel a sense of never being satisfied.

If we were happy about the way we looked, for example, why would we spend billions on cosmetics and plastic surgery?

Or on expensive cars that supposedly convey a certain image that we don't have?

An attitude of gratitude gets us off the treadmill and out of the rat race. As we cultivate a true and deep appreciation for what we do have, we realize that our sense of lack is, for the most part, an illusion. No matter our material circumstances, the richness of our soul is ultimately what brings happiness, not another Martini, bigger breasts, or the latest video game.

In the words of Lao Tzu, "He who knows enough is enough will always have enough."

-Written by Dr. Vincent Ryan-

7 comments to When is Enough Ever Enough?

  1. says:

    Tiger I think the most important thing is that our family is provided for.
    House, food, education and the odd enjoyment.
    If you have all of these, I believe you have MORE THAN ENOUGH.

  1. says:

    walla For some privileged people, only the 62nd bespoke garment would be considered enough.

    However that would be sixty one garments too many and even if it's just one piece alone, how would paying thousands for it enhance one's personality, productivity and privilege in life let alone support the causes one has tasked to oneself?

    On the contrary, it starkly delivers the conclusion that the big-spenders have sick minds camouflaged by projected images of self-aggrandizement.

    The money thrown could have bought many tins of dietary supplements for poor mothers and infants, and get them past their deprivations befalling them early in their lives so that they will be nourished enough to surmount even bigger challenges that will surely befall them later on.

    A charitable thought? Surely appropriate since the money must have come from society in the first place. A society which also doesn't take kindly to a litany of lies, one increasingly more absurd than the preceding, and delivered with a straight-laced open face on which the mark of hypocrisy has already been indelibly inked.

    Last we checked this is already the 21st century, not some backwater third-world backyard where people need to swathe themselves in satin in order to hide their own inadequacies, arrogance and delusions.

    The whole purpose of any life is to work to help others overcome their difficulties so that self comfort converts to universal good.

    If we hold onto to this, even one sesame seed will prove itself enough. If we fall for our own inner darkness, all the wealth in the world will not be enough.

    Because greed and covetousness will always be boundless in small self-imprisoned minds which need to assuage themselves with more since they can't fear the unknown of less.

  1. says:

    walla corrections...

    'If we hold onto this,'

    'since they fear the unknown of less.'

    minta ma'af, ya?

  1. says:

    Wan Sharif someone said " A rich man is a man who do not need anything"

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Tiger

    Gong Xi Fa Cai! Great to hear from you and such a wise response too! And, I really agree with you!

    Take care and do keep in touch.


  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Walla

    Wah lah!!!!! Such a fantastic response!! Thank you so much. I mulled over what you wrote and am deeply thankful that you have graced this blog with your life-defining thoughts to bless us all!

    Take care and have a lovely loooooong weekend!


  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Wan Sharif

    Thank you!!! You are also very wise to remember that saying and to bless our hearts with it here. Take care and do keep in touch.

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend!


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