It is one of the best feelings I know of: The feeling of sufficiency, and a sense that the sufficiency will last. For many of us westerners, there is an excess of the material such that we cannot recognise abundance, much less enjoy it. At the same time our emotional, spiritual and intellectual lives can be desperately impoverished – often because we’re expending so much effort on earning the money to buy the things, that living comes a poor second. In all non-material ways, we tend towards insufficiency.

To know that you have enough brings peace and contentment. Recognition of material sufficiency is liberating. Why suffer anxiety over social status, the perceptions of others, ‘keeping up’ and all that other nonsense designed to keep us consuming, when you can have the peace of ‘enough’?

Enough good food and clean water. Enough warmth and shelter. Enough useful clothing. Enough rest, peace and safety. Those are the basics of sufficiency. Only when we recognise them can we hope to also recognise how unacceptable it is that so many people in our wealthy world lack for these things. They should be available to all. We should be ashamed to wallow in excess.

Recognising material sufficiency makes it easier to see what is good. A wide screen television is not happiness, nor is a new car. You might do things with them that make you happy sometimes, but the object is not happiness. The experience of beauty is a far more reliable form of happiness, but we are destroying the beauties of the natural world to make the objects that are not embodiments of joy. Companionship is happiness, but the work patterns that pay for the objects make us ever more socially isolated. We stay at home with the screen that is not beauty, is not companionship and is not happiness, but does a poor imitation of all three.

Objects are not happiness, and so in our object filled lives we are not happy, but we’ve been taught to deal with that by getting ever more objects. This is a game that no one gets to win.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Sufficient

  • bish

    Nice post, and it comes at an apposite time. We are planning a sufficiency, if not an abundance, in 2015/16. Here’s to the art of book balancing… gently, gently we stack the recipes onto the DIY manuals and dull treatises on economics, and trust the dictionary upon which they are of course all founded is well placed.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Someone pointed out that collecting experiences makes you life more interesting and satisfying that collecting things. A lack of necessary things is not going to help your spiritual journey. Knowing how much is enough and appreciated what you have while have it putting to use to create experiences is good.

    I have had several vehicles in my life, but I doubt that any of them meant more to me then my first old rattletrap 1953 DeSoto. It was mine, and I could drive it anywhere I wanted, without having to have anyone”s permission. It was a feeling of freedom. Then I felt like my own man.

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