If I had to characterize the dominant belief that orchestrates our society it would be: Not Enough Yet. If you think about it, this basic belief drives just about everything we do. In fact, it forms the foundation of our entire economy. Stock prices aren’t high enough yet. Profits haven’t been maximized enough yet. Jobs haven’t been outsourced enough yet. The Gross National Product isn’t high enough yet.
The belief shows up in our individual lives too. Our income isn’t big enough yet. Our house isn’t elegant enough yet. Our car isn’t sophisticated enough yet. Our clothes aren’t stylish enough yet. Our computer isn’t fast enough yet.
The harm this belief causes is obvious. In our frantic efforts to reach that elusive state of enoughness, we raze more forests to build new tracts of bigger houses, displace more workers to maximize corporate profits, lead more stressed out lives trying to keep up with the bills and the Joneses.
Imagine what would happen if we all stopped buying into the myth of Not Enough Yet. We would only buy clothes when we actually needed them. We would be content with a simple home. We would no longer demand that the corporations we hold stock in exploit workers and the environment in order to give us a slightly higher return. We would enjoy the local fruits of the season rather than going to the grocery store expecting to find fresh asparagus in November shipped in from Chile. We, and the Earth, would be far healthier and happier.
This belief in Not Enough Yet is something that spiritual teachers have been trying to help people get beyond for a very long time. The Tao te Ching teaches, “If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” Jesus said, “Don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
I think we’re missing the point, though, if we think all of this is about believing we don’t have enough yet. I think the real issue is that we believe we aren’t enough yet. Our drive to acquire more is often a coverup for our desire to be more. We haven’t yet accepted that the sheer miracle of our existence is enough in itself.
Let me put the question to you: How do you think you aren’t enough? Do you think you aren’t successful enough? Not popular enough? Not confident enough? Not smart enough? Not strong enough? Not talented enough? Not pretty enough? Not happy enough?
Or how about this: Not spiritual enough? Not enlightened enough? Not evolved enough yet?
Pause for just a moment, if you would, and really think about how you would complete the sentence, “I believe I’m not _______________ enough yet.”
Now, let’s set that aside for one moment while I ask you a few more questions.
Has it ever occurred to you that the cells in your body, yes, the cells in your optic nerves that are sending the images of these words to your brain, are made of material that originated in stars that went supernova and spewed their matter out into the cosmos billions of years ago?
Has it ever occurred to you that the water in your body—which makes up most of your material form—has been traveling the world for eons? It has flowed countless times through the Amazon jungle, fallen as snow on the Himalayas, been breathed out by redwoods on the California coast, poured down as rain on the Great Plains, drifted across the sky as thunderclouds, descended into the oceans’ deep?
Just for this moment, consider the places, experiences, substances, beings that the matter in your body has seen and been.
Or how about the DNA that right now is replicating itself in your cells, carrying information that is the creative masterpiece of millions of years of evolution?
And that’s just your physical body. We haven’t even gotten started on the miracle of your consciousness and that this physical matter that was generated in the stars can think and create and love and weep and laugh.
Do you understand that you are nothing less than the miracle of rivers and stars and eons of years now taking on human form that can breathe, dance, write poetry, cook a meal, read a blog?
The miraculous nature of our being was on my mind a few years ago when I was taking a day trip on a gorgeous spring day to Cape May, New Jersey. Come noontime I stopped at a restaurant to get some lunch and sat down on the sunny patio. When the waitress walked up I saw her in her essence—a child of the Universe in every way—and when she began reciting the specials for the day it was all I could do not to bust out laughing.
There was something so wonderfully comical about the moment, that this being in front of me who was living, walking, talking star dust was telling me about the Reuben sandwich and the soup du jour, completely unaware of the fact that she was the Universe in microcosm, a miracle beyond comprehension.
The same goes for you, of course. You are an expression of this Life, this Universe, this Reality that has been expanding and evolving for billions of years. There is no part of you that is not part of that most amazing whole. The sheer fact that you are is beyond amazing.
So. Tell me again. How is it that you’re not enough yet?