We can learn to invest the resources that flow through our lives in a new future for all of us. We can direct those resources, whether they are like a rushing torrent coming through our lives or a small trickle, to our highest commitments and ideals. We can move our money, or the money we are entrusted with, toward that which will serve us all from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete.
I call this living in the context of sufficiency. This is not the same as abundance (abundance is more than we need—it is excess), and in the context in which I’m speaking, abundance is merely the flip side of scarcity. You strive to get more than you need because you believe or fear there is not enough.
Sufficiency is precise. It means that things are sufficient, exactly enough. There is a principle of sufficiency, and it is as follows: When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is what we’re all trying to get more of, it frees up immense energy to make a difference with what you have.
When you make a difference with what you have, it expands. This context opens the possibility of generating a new set of assumptions based in the principle of sufficiency for the 21st century. If we are willing to begin to commit to make a difference with what we have rather than putting all of our energy into getting more, then…what we have will naturally and organically expand.
This new set of assumptions or new context can create a whole new culture around money and around life. It can teach us how to be known for what we allocate rather than what we accumulate. It can teach us to be measured and measure others by our inner riches rather than our accumulation of outer riches. We can learn how to end charity as we know it and begin truly investing or being vested in a new future that will serve us all.
Although we think there are people with money and people without it, the real truth is, money is a part of everyone’s life from the poorest peasant to the wealthiest industrialist, the way we direct the money that comes through our lives defines us.
The American billionaire and the Guatemalan peasant farmer, the European industrialist and the Ethiopian grassroots leader can stand together in co-equal partnership and invest their time, energy and financial resources in a new future for all of us, in a future that will serve us all.
Lynne Twist, in The Soul of Money.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does sufficiency mean to you? Can you share a personal experience of a time when you discovered, through sufficiency, an immense energy to make a difference? What helps you to remember to value your inner riches over your outer riches?
"Abundance is knowing sufficiency and be willing to give the rest away." Not certain who said this. I heard it from Rev. Chuck Hancock at a Unity church.
Sufficiency is a nice concept. We know that there is more than enough (of everythhing, food, products, etc.) for everyone, but the problem is greed. People are unwilling to let go of what they have, even if it's more than enough. The next problem would be distribution or logistics, and that would probably be easy to solve without greed..
can one equate money and love.Can one have enough of either?
Contentment is supreme virtue from which other virtues like altruism, benevolence, empathy., compassion, co-operation etc. derive. Contentment should be not only for money but every aspect of our life, such as beauty, intelligence, education, spouse, children, work etc. Only contented person can be happy and spread happiness all around.
Sufficiency means" paripurna " a Sanskrit word . I am full . There is no desire for anything more. Regarding experience once I asked a child eating candy can I have the candy , child took out candy from his mouth and said take, take wholeheartedly. I was paralyzed. I have learnt "to gain somethings in life is to loose it willlngley " life is to Give Not to take . Serve others it's a full time awareness and not part time practice .
"If we are willing to begin to commit to make a difference with what we have rather than putting all of our energy into getting more, then…what we have will naturally and organically expand."
That has not been my experience. I wish it were. For years, I worked for nonprofits because I wanted to do things that mattered to me. But I "eeked" along usually without any health insurance and hoping that nothing major would happen as I lived so close to the edge. And my situation was nothing compared to many people's plight in the world. I think it is a lovely sentiment; I just wonder if committing to making a difference with what we have works when one really doesn't have enough for sustainability.
Abundance to me consists of having gratitude for what you have and what you are inside. Sufficiency gets you enough and a bit more. I think it's a matter of attitude and perspective. You are right Lynne when you state that when you take what you have and use it for good - it will expand.
I am retired and getting Social Security check every month. it is sufficient to maintain my life style; my savings GOD help me to direct for poorest and weakest so I can make a small difference in lives of those who need most. This attitude provides me energy, inspiration and physical/spiritual health.
I love this, thank you for sharing such a powerful distinction!
It really helps me to understand one of the reasons why I feel so uneasy with the New Age materialism I see in the Law of Attraction / Abraham-Hicks ideology. People say, "Nature/God is abundant" whereas the truth is "Nature/God is sufficent"!
Sufficiency is built in to Natural Law. Nothing in nature hoards more than it needs. Nature overflows, and I believe that by following Nature we will find ultimate fulfilment.
This is only about the tangible. For me I live a journey of trying to live my life knowing truly that GOD is enough.
so can we take it that let your money work for you not you working for money. Invest wisely
Thank you so much for this article. I have felt a deep sense of unease in relation to the notion of 'abundance' and the spiritual materialism it celebrates. Sufficiency brings with it a sense of flow, release, contentment. It is as it is in nature ... my whole body has just experienced a deep sigh of relief.
People and situations around me can be sad or horrific yet there is some inner sense of the appropriate way to offer assistance . Inside me are offerings that can be given to help alleviate the pain somewhat.
Sufficiency means to only to take what you need and allow the rest to flow through you in the belief that the flow will will not only be maintained but will multiply.
Sufficiency mans to have what is needed, no more or less, and to live with and use that amount, rather than hoarding more than what is needed or going without what is needed. Sufficiency is economical. You can never have enough of what you don't really need -- unfortunately we don't believe that, so we accumulate and hoard much more than we need. It is so much wiser to be generous, allocate rather than accumulate what is more than needed, and let others benefit at least from our surplus. By sewing the more than I need so it can make a positive difference to others, I reap inner wealth and joy. As I get older, I am much more conscious of giving and sharing what I have to hopefully benefit others, and I am more conscious of the satisfaction and joy I experience in doing so. Experiencing the value of inner riches doesn't go away, it stays with me, and helps me to value inner riches over outer riches.
I love this idea of sufficiency which creates and sustains a deep sense of contentment. If we focus our attention and our energy on sufficiency, life will be less complicated and less stressful.The economic gap between the classes-the upper, middle and lower- will decrease or hopefully dissolve giving birth to sharing wellness- based wealth according to the needs of the people.As we all know the money-based democracy is not creating cauthentic political democracy.This is one of the reasons why the have nots resent and rebel against the haves. We do not have to go back all the way to the Roman Empire to test this idea.We see how it prevails in all countries, the richest and the poorest.
I like and endorse this radical idea and I find it relatively easy to apply it in my personal life and in my family.I have simplified my life significantly. We feel much lighter as we have reduced our load of having more and better and newer things in our lives. We have more time to spend with each other, enjoy what we have. We are more relaxed , contented and happy. Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa are contemporary examples of simple and higher living. They had profound inner richness. They did not live their life on scarcity but on inner abundance, inner richness or inner wealth.
Our financial system is based on consumers economy-the more they consume, the more we produce. We need to pause and ask the question-at what cost? The answer comes from within if we shift the idea of happiness. It is the deep contentment we feel in ourselves. A deep sense of fullness and fulfillment we cherish everyday.It is a wonderful feeling of joy we feel in giving, sharing and serving others. To me this is spiritual living. I am blessed to have inspiring people in my life as models teaching me the lesson of simple living and high functioning.
We are all together like a family, the children of Mother Earth. We need to learn to love over neighbor living next to our house or far away from us.We need to make a shift from what is it for me to to how can I reach out and extend my helping hands.
May we relate to others with compassion and kindness and fill the cup of our life with contentment, joy and happiness!