More or Less … July 31, 2012

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Hearsay.

It’s when I hear something and go ahead and say it, sharing it with someone else without totally confirming that it’s true. It can be nasty stuff. So since what I am about to share is a bit of hearsay, we will make it hypothetical rather than real, to salve my conscience.

There was this guy who said that he believes what the world needs is MORE. Therefore, he felt that everybody requires more Jesus, more money and even more pornography. He was determined to do his part to bring this abundance to mankind.

It’s similar to the way Congress is trying to cut the deficit. They all seem to understand that the amount of indebtedness needs to shrink, but they fail to comprehend that to accomplish that, we have to stop spending more money. It’s tricky business.

That’s why I sought out the wisdom of a friend on this issue of “more.” I trust his counsel because he, too, has a desire to bring happiness to the world.

But his first suggestion was that happiness is achieved by discovering a “poverty of spirit.” I would have to agree that if we had fewer people in this world using their intellect and spirituality to lord it over other folks, and instead, were spending more time examining their own hearts, motives and efficiency of choices, things would be a lot better. Some people think the earth would be enriched by more religion, when actually, we need less religion and more personal responsibility for our spirituality touching our own lives and making us more pliable to others.

My friend also said that happiness can be achieved by mourning. It’s that old “less and more” thing again–many of us do a lot of crying, but truthfully, much of it is self-pity. Would we be happier if we had less self-pity? I think so. We’d also be happier if we had more emotional investment in the pain of others around us instead of being completely preoccupied with our own narcissism. So once again, you can see, as in the case of poverty of spirit, we need less of one thing and more of another.

This is the same way you balance a budget, right? You take less of something so you that can have more of another.

How about another thought from my wise friend? Happiness is best achieved by understanding how to use meekness. This one is pretty simple to me. There is always something on earth to be inherited. Many times we just disagree on the plan of action. We may even feel that if we don’t stand up for our rights and fight for our cause, we may end up defeated and destitute. Actually, when we find ourselves taking a profile of being less overbearing, we buy time for more opportunity to come our way to insert our opinions, ideas and ultimately, even our will.  Less and more. There it is again.

Then my friend had this idea that happiness is like hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What is one of the more unattractive things about human beings? That’s a tough question, but I would have to say that within the top five is acting like a know-it-all. There is something appealing–even sexy–about people who long for more knowledge and wisdom, even though you can see they have already stockpiled a lovely arsenal. Yes, we need more hungering and thirsting and less patting our bellies like we just had a good meal and are completely satisfied.

Can happiness really be achieved by being merciful? Yes–if you extend it more to others and spend less time demanding grace, which you neither deserve and is being blocked from delivery because of your pride.

Likewise, how do we achieve happiness by being pure in heart? Would you agree that the world might be a better place if there were less lying and more transparency? It might even enable us to see God in more parts of our lives instead of looking for the devil behind every mishap.

And finally, my friend put forth the premise that happiness is possessed by being a peace maker. This does demand that we cease to be too nationalistic, gain a vision for the entire world, understand the customs and beliefs of other nations and have more diplomacy and less saber-rattling. Yes, I guess I have to say that my friend with his plan for happiness suggests to us that the human experience is a very delicate understanding of where to apply less and when to go for more. Because the danger of “more” is that we always hit the limits on our ability to acquire and start stealing from others.

So as I said, having not confirmed my story, I don’t know whether this fine fellow I originally referred to actually voiced this opinion or not. But it is a prevailing thought–that if we could just “give more” to everybody, all the problems of the world would go away.

But sometimes, a poverty in spirit leads us to mourn the loss of others instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, which causes us to slow up our egos and buy time instead of tramping through other people’s turf, trying to dominate them. Once you see that’s effective, it causes you to hunger and thirst for more information to empower you, instead of making you look calloused and stupid. On that journey comes the opportunity to be merciful, which also enables you to obtain mercy. Guess what? You also realize that telling the truth keeps your heart clean and enables you to see God in life. Now you are finally prepared to go out and make peace with folks who are just determined to take more–even if they have to rob, kill and destroy.

I have actually experienced a situation where more was given to someone who was not prepared to appreciate it. I watched in surprise as this individual did less with it than I could ever have imagined.

More or less? Happiness, I believe, lies in knowing when to chase more and when to relax with less.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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