I shared with him the illustration that Jim Merkel gives us in his book Radical Simplicity (reviewed here), where Merkel encourages readers to imagine the world's resources as a vast buffet with every living creature in line behind you waiting for a share. How much do you put on your plate knowing the rest of the world has yet to partake?
What I have learned is no different than what my friend learned this summer - that the key to happiness lies not in our circumstances (in having or not having), but rather in our interpretation of them (being thankful for what we have, finding joy and indeed satisfaction in simplicity - a child's smile, a friend's hug, a warm sunny day, a soft place to sleep, and good food). The thing is, I KNOW this. Living it is something far different; something with which I struggle.
I'll be meditating on this in the days to come: may I continually be aware of a world in need, living in a manner that makes the world a better place; may I continue to find joy in radical simplicity, giving freely from what I have; may my belly be full, yet always leave behind me enough bounty for all.