experience feelings of deficit associated with “never enough.”
Enough is such a commonly used word that it has an effect on every aspect our lives, whether our self-concept (Am I enough?), relationships (Does he love me enough?), career (There are never enough jobs.), money (How do I get enough, have enough or keep enough?), business, education, politics, and so on. Our current global culture reinforces the idea that there is not enough and we are not enough – ever. If we were perceiving “enough” evenly, the word would just as likely generate feelings and actions associated with satisfaction and abundance as fear and lack. What we tend to see culturally, however, is that scarcity mentality has become an overarching lens of lack through which we interpret the entire world, including ourselves. We perceive a world in which we are under constant threat of either not having enough or of losing what little we do have. If we chase to its root each social ill whether terrorism, gun violence, economic insecurity, addiction, climate change, disease, corruption or debt, I believe we find an underlying core belief that we are not enough and do not have enough - and never will.
Never Enough has a cascade effect on our emotions and behaviors: anger that breeds violence; fear and stress that disempower us; deep insecurity and paranoia that lead to greed, aggression, revenge and tribalism. It is not a far leap to see how any of these paths could lead to gun violence.
What surprised me most while researching for the book was that the shift from Never Enough to Enough is already abundantly evidenced in our world, in the sharing economy, green solutions, technological advances, new sciences, and in spiritual and storytelling wisdom traditions from all over the world. You start to notice how a belief in Enough leads to better outcomes: innovation, healing, connection, peace, understanding, compassion, creativity, engagement, genius, resilience and yes, even joy. Whereas the idea of Never Enough causes us to feel fearful, we become more open, trusting, alive and daring when we believe we are enough. We ask more questions and seek to understand complexity and nuance. We grow in compassion and wisdom. We feel compelled to speak up for truth and justice. We occupy our more of our brains and hearts, and by doing so, become bigger and more powerful than we have ever been.
What does the nature of Earth and the universe have to tell us about Enough and Never Enough? No creature, no living being or system has ever prevailed by adopting a Never Enough strategy. Every ecosystem we know of is instead an intimately interdependent delivery system of Enough for all, forever. I take this to mean that humans, as part of nature, are actually Enough creatures by design. Our DNA contains instructions for how to co-create an Enough world. We’ve simply forgotten. We’ve spent too many generations locked in the reptilian brain, too used to the norms, rules and structures that have kept us tightly focused on scarcity, devoid of heart and connection. In such a culture, the anguish which would allow a human being to commit mass murder indicates alienation from one’s own divine enoughness.