Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Enough Is Enough

Yesterday was a beautiful day. It was bright and sunny with skies of blue. I usually don't take breaks and my lunches are very short if I eat alone. It was such a nice day, however, that I took my breaks and I also ate my lunch outdoors with a friend. We took a short walk but then decided to just sit. The sun was warm but the air was cool. I could have sat on the park bench for hours. My friend and I had some conversation but one attribute of a true friendship is that sometimes you don't even need to speak. Sitting together in silence is enough.

In the 9th verse of the Tao Te Ching, the writer speaks of the attitude that "enough is enough". In our restlessness and emptiness we have a tendency to always want more and more and more. Many people are ambitious and driven to gather more money or more power. Why? So they can get more stuff or, in the case of power, give themselves the illusion they can control more stuff. Contentment is a very unappreciated concept in our society. People who are content are often viewed as lazy and unambitious. The obsession with possessions is symptomatic of a great spiritual malaise in our culture. Most of us have it to some degree. Not only is it futile because our emptiness can never be filled with more possessions, it creates addictive behavior. Although it seems harmless I know I have an addiction to music. Put me in a music store and I am soon separated from all of my money. It's not enough to have a few Cd's from a favorite artist. No, I must have their entire catalogue in the latest remastered editions with bonus tracks! There is a subtle believe that if I have them all I will be happy and fulfilled. Then, after a few days of listening, the new CD goes on the CD rack and the hunger for something new begins again. In my mind I know that if I never bought a CD for the rest of my life I have more than enough to provide a soundtrack for my life till the end of my days. This hunger, this need to "fill up", whether it is with Cd's, fine wines, cars, clothes, or even relationships, masks a deeper longing and hunger which I believe can only be filled on a spiritual level. Of course, that gets tricky, too. Sometimes God fills you up and then disappears to see if you can live with the emptiness. God's habit of playing hide and seek has never ceased to annoy me. To balance all of this I try to practice mindfulness in the sense that I try to not long for what I had in the past, or what I may get in the future. I try to drink in whatever the day has to offer. Today is the only meal being served. Be filled with the moment.

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