Sufficiency v. Scarcity
The concept of Sufficiency or “enoughness” has been created in response to the pervasive human belief in scarcity – the belief that there is not enough of everything for every being. This belief has not been consciously created, buy but exists by default.
In our culture it seems there is never enough time, vacation, sex, good employees, money, volunteers, possessions, prospective partners, success, sales prospects, youth and good looks, and so on. We attempt to counteract this belief by trying to earn more, amass more possessions or somehow make ourselves better, but quickly discover that nothing is ever enough to counteract a basic fear of being without, or living in scarcity.
How Scarcity Operates
In a perceived condition of scarcity it is appropriate to hoard and be secretive. Since we see ourselves as separate from all others they show up as a threat. If there is not enough for all, the only solution is to get what we are lacking from others.
We do not think we have enough to offer. We do not think we are enough, or have enough, or can do enough to fulfill the requests we believe will be made of us. This leaves us saying “no” to requests for our time or participation, contributing to the cycle of isolation.
The way out of scarcity is transformation. We see that “insufficient” is an assessment we make and not a fact. Therefore we have the power to declare our sufficiency . We declare we are whole and complete and need nothing else. This may seem a ridiculous claim to make without a change in our circumstances, but sufficiency ultimately is a stand, not a measurable fact. (Although positive changes in our lives do become very visible and measurable, as a result of our stand.)
To stand for our own sufficiency results in experiencing our self as not threatened or threatening. In sufficiency we own nothing and at the same time we own everything. To most this sounds implausible yet the experience of being sufficient, paradoxically, is a palpable change from that of living in scarcity.
Sufficiency is Limitless
The paradox lies in the realization that, when we own nothing/everything, all of the resources of the world are available to us, rather than belonging to someone and excluding others. Possibilities abound! Providence seems to join us and help us succeed. The obstacles coming from our mindset of scarcity disappear. We find ourselves being bold and creative.
We cannot fail in the context of sufficiency . We may lose all that we consider “ours” and yet still have enough – because the world’s resources are all available to us.
When we can view money and possessions as part of the great commons – like air, mountains, deserts, oceans, fields and water – we can make it our business to deploy these resources in service of all. By contrast, in scarcity, the game is to get more than we as individuals may need, in an attempt to ensure our ability to take care of our limited circle of family and friends.
In scarcity people mostly play small games and play them carefully. Living life from sufficiency means having big games to play, enlivening games that call for the best of people. This game is a match for a fearless player!
We human beings become the source of our sufficiency by sharing it with others. When we share something of value in a way that creates value for someone else, we become the source of that value for another and for ourselves.