Enoughness and Contentment
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
(Feast of St. Francis of Assisi)
We live in a society that places great importance upon external signs of success. We have to assure ourselves and others that we are valuable and important—because we inherently doubt that we are! Thus we are often preoccupied with “one-upping” others. I am afraid that most lose inside of such a “winner-takes-all” society. We have great difficulty finding our inherent value with such a world view. Few have deep conviction about their own soul or the Indwelling Holy Spirit.
People living under capitalism find it almost unnatural to know their own center. Dignity must always be “acquired” and earned. We live in an affluent society that’s always expecting more, wanting more, and believes it even deserves more. But the more we own, ironically enough, the less we enjoy. This is the paradox of materialism. The more we project our soul’s longing onto things, the more things disappoint us. Happiness is an inside job. When we expect to find happiness outside of ourselves, we are always disappointed. We then seek a “higher” or more stimulating experience and the spiral of addiction and consumption continues.
Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate today, experienced radical participation in God’s very life. Such practical knowing of his value and identity allowed Francis to let go of status, privilege, and wealth. Francis knew he was part of God’s plan, connected to creation and other beings, inherently in communion and in love. Francis taught his followers to own nothing so they would not be owned by their possessions.
If you don’t live from within your own center of connection and communion, you’ll go spinning around things. The true goal of all religion is to lead you back to the place where everything is one, to the experience of radical unity with all of humanity, and hence to the experience of unity with God.
When you live in pure consciousness, letting the naked being of all reality touch your own naked being, you experience foundational participation. Out of that plentitude—a sense of satisfaction and inner enoughness, a worldview of abundance—you find it much easier to live simply. You realize you don’t “need” as much. You’ve found your satisfaction at an inner place, at a deeper level inside you. You’re able to draw from this abundance and share it freely with others. And you stop trying to decide who is worthy of it, because you now know that you are not “worthy” either. It is one hundred percent pure gift!
Gateway to Silence:
Live simply so that others may simply live.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 1991, 2003), 86-87, 89; and
The Great Chain of Being: Simplifying Our Lives (CAC: 2007), MP3 download.