To keep filling
is not as good as stopping.
Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,
better to stop pouring.
Sharpen a blade too much
and its edge will soon be lost.
Fill your house with jade and gold
and it brings insecurity.
Puff yourself with honor and pride
and no one can save you from a fall.
Retire when the work is done;
this is the way of heaven.
This verse speaks of what is, in my opinion, the biggest problem with society today… Greed. When is enough … enough?
Never it seems, according to the way our society works. We always need something newer, something bigger, something shinier, something … more. There’s never enough money, never enough clothing, never enough food, never enough possessions that we think will provide us with fulfillment.
Many of us work hard and for long hours to obtain the things that we think we need. People are working 60, 70, 80 hours or more a week. If that is their passion or their calling and they are doing something that matters then that is one thing. Sadly, most of the time it is just an effort to get more money or to work their way up the ladder of a job that they don’t really even like.
The true underlying need (companionship, meaning, respect, admiration, etc) that they think money or status will fulfill unfortunately will never be quenched this way. Instead, they are taking their time and energy away from the things that actually bring value and fulfillment.
What if instead we focused on more time for our families, more time for our friends, more time for ourselves, more time to pursue our true passions in life? How would our society be different? Would there be so much discontent, anger, sadness, loneliness, etc?
Contentment, satisfaction, gratitude are all words that come to mind as a more fulfilling path than greed.
If we only “filled our cup” with the wealth, food, and objects that we truly needed and stopped at that point, we would have the time for the things in life that truly matter. And those are what fill our internal cup with joy, love, peace, happiness, and ultimately … fulfillment.