“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 4 April 2014

Enough Already

You know how it sometimes happens: you receive a certain message / hear a certain idea. It can be from a Facebook post, a talk, an article, an address And once you have heard / read it, once it has squirreled its way into your consciousness, every other thing you hear or read seems to chime in to back it up or elaborate on it. Some may call it synchronicity, but I'm not so sure.

And it has happened to me this week, with the concept of Enoughness. At our District Annual General Meeting at Shrewsbury last Saturday, our Guest Speaker was Brighton Unitarian John Naish, author of a marvellous book called Enough: Breaking Free From The World Of Excess. In his entertaining and inspirational talk, John preached the doctrine of "practising enoughness in a world of more, more, more." He explained that instead of forever chasing after the next goal, the next project, the next gadget, we should appreciate what we have and be grateful. And that we should grow our gratitude by appreciating our bounty.

John commented that "gratitude is one of the select number of things in life for which we cannot actually get enough". Another is spiritual commitment. He argued that we needed to take the time to go deep spiritually, rather than skating over the surface, always trying out the next spiritual practice that promised peace and contentment. He illustrated this by joking: "There would have been little opportunity in 2nd century Nepal to say, 'Buddhism? Yeah, I've been exploring that. Really great, inspirational stuff. But then I wanted to try 'Shamanic Whirling', and both those classes are on a Wednesday evening, so ..."

He argued that spiritual exploration only bears fruit if we commit to certain practices, and stick with them. And he concluded by saying that "For me, and for many of you, I trust, Unitarianism has provided a central thread, a community, a tradition, and a discipline from within which we can explore the spiritual wisdom of all the world and of all time, in order to develop our own ideas, build our own faith, nurture our consciences, and set our moral compasses. ... Unitarianism is enough. ... So keep the faith. Keep fast to the heart of your Unitarian practice. For faith is something that sustains us. And it is something which, surely, we can never have enough."

Once that note had been struck, on the Saturday, it has continued to sound over and over again during this week. Enoughness is about knowing when you have enough and then being content, whether you are talking about food, or information, or entertainment or work. Enoughness is good. Except for those spiritual "never-enoughs" which John talked about, such as gratitude and commitment and love.

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