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Meister Eckhart said, “The spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition.” All great spirituality is about letting go. But we have grown up with a capitalist worldview, and it has blinded our spiritual seeing. We tend to think at almost every level that more is better, even though, as E. F. Schumacher said years ago, “less is more.”
There is an alternative worldview. There is a worldview in which all of us can succeed. It isn’t a win/lose capitalist worldview where only a few win and most lose. It’s a win/win worldview—if we’re willing to let go and if we’re willing to recognize that this, right here, right now, is enough. This is all I need. But that can only be true if we move to the level of being and away from the levels of doing and acquiring.
True religion is always pointing us toward being. At that level we experience enoughness, abundance, more than enoughness. If we’ve never been introduced to that world, we will of course try to satisfy ourselves with possessions, accomplishments, important initials after our names, fancy cars, beautiful homes—none of which are bad in themselves. They’re only unable to satisfy; and that’s exactly why we need more and more of them. As the Twelve-Steppers say, “We need more and more of what does not work.” If it worked, we would not need more of it!
“To pray and actually mean ‘thy Kingdom come,’ we must also be able to say ‘my kingdoms go.’ Francis and Clare’s first citizenship was always and in every case elsewhere, which ironically allowed them to live in the world with joy, detachment, and freedom.” — Richard Rohr
Discover more of this surprising wisdom in Fr. Richard’s new book, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi.
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