“Earth provides enough to satisfy every person’s need, but not every person’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi


The word “greed” here can be quite an emotive one, so the first thing to do is to temper somewhat any sense of hoarding, or stealing from others, or forcibly taking resources away from another. Let us instead consider some motivating factors behind “need” and “greed”……

It’s easy to guilt-trip anyone for consuming ‘too much’ of any resource – what’s harder is to get into the reasons why some people are the way they are when it comes to satisfying needs, because we all have different backgrounds, experiences and even traumas. Many of our perceived needs are in fact a reaction to a sense of loss or scarcity.

One’s traumatic experiences around not having enough of something in order to survive could be the source for behaviour that sees one taking more than one really needs, precisely in order to guarantee survival beyond the immediate moment. When you identify and then heal the trauma, you remove the need for excess consumption – emotional or otherwise.

Here’s a shorter maxim to help decide if one’s need can override one’s greed – “Enough is plenty!” It’s advice that was passed on to me many, many years ago and has helped me in my own journey of healing from scarcity. No longer do I seek to take more than I need – of anything. The hardest part was redefining neither “need” nor “greed” but “enough”.

Once you do that, it becomes more evident that there is more than enough to go around – provided it’s preserved properly. Greed promotes over consumption, which drives over production, which propagates over use, which results in over waste…..a cycle we each have the power to break, once we redefine “enoughness”.

To reach a point of positive balance that counteracts the negativity central to a fear-driven, anti-scarcity cycle, we can start by not taking more but by giving more. And by giving, we promote a positive feedback loop that reaches us anyway, often in ways, as we’ve mentioned in previous reflections, that we cannot have predicted and which give us more of what we truly need, rather than what we think we want. 

The opposite of fear is love – so, if generosity is the opposite of greed, what can you give today to someone who really needs it? It need not be financial, it could be a supportive act of kindness or compassion on your part. Whatever is good for the heart……

Love and light,

Jim Sharman



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