While having dinner with a well-known author and lecturer, our conversation drifted to money. “I have enough money,” he told me casually. I don’t need any more money.”

Of course you can say that, I thought to myself. You get fifteen thousand dollars for a lecture.

Then I caught my thought process, and pondered more deeply on his statement. Is he satisfied because he has a lot of money, or does he have a lot of money because he chooses to be satisfied?

I know people with more money than this man, and they still don’t have enough. And I know people with very little money, and they always have enough. So is enoughness something that happens to us when we reach a certain level, or is it an experience we can choose and celebrate at any time?

My friends Adrian and Carey live in a humble cottage in the rainforest. They have a quite modest income, no telephone, and they walk around naked most of the time. I think they are the happiest people I know. They wake up with the sun, love each other immensely, and welcome guests with a full and open heart. They appreciate every moment of their lives, have no distraction games going, and are not waiting for the big break around the corner. When I am with them, the predominant feeling I have is, “It’s all right here — why would anyone want anything more?”

Ram Dass used to say, “There are three kinds of people in the world: those who say, ‘too much!’; those who say, ‘not enough!’; and those who say, ‘ah, just right!'” Since “too much” of one thing implies “not enough” of another, there are really only two approaches to life: lack or contentment.

While it appears that there are many places that people live on the planet, there exist but two. In Scare City, the dominant theme is “never enough”. Never enough money, time, safety, sex, love, job opportunities, or loyal friends. Fear is the motivator behind most actions, and residents of Scare City spend a great deal of time and energy protecting themselves from possible dangers.

Just on the other side of the river from Scare City, there is another domain unlike Scare City in every way. In A Bun Dance, everyone finds such beauty and riches that their little buns are dancing all the time. Love and appreciation are the prevalent themes of life, and because they trust the universe to provide them with their good, whatever they need shows up in the right way and timing, and miracles occur continuously.

Over the river between Scare City and A Bun Dance is a bridge that is but one thought wide; the difference between heaven and hell is just a shift in viewpoint. Have you ever been immersed in fear, sadness, self-pity, or depression, and then you read a sentence in a book, heard an encouraging word from the friend, or listened to a song on the radio, and everything shifted? Suddenly you realized there was an entirely different way to look at your situation, and you felt free and clear?

On the other hand, have you ever felt wonderful, just cruising along, and you read a newspaper headline or had a cross word with a friend, and suddenly you felt plunged into turmoil? You crossed the bridge of perspective, and that made all the difference.

Recently I participated in a dolphin-swim retreat in Bimini in the Bahamas. An enthusiastic group gathered to spend a week swimming with the wild dolphins. My schedule allowed me to participate for just three days, and I showed up on this gorgeous tranquil tropical island with snorkel in hand, ready to relate to the dolphins in a deep way.

As it turned out, winds were very high and boats were unable to go out during my time there. Meanwhile, I had a fabulous time snorkeling, taking full moonlit walks on the golden beaches at midnight, relating with other group members, and enjoying getting to know the local culture. On the day I left the weather cleared, and as my plane was departing the rest of the group was getting to go out on their first dolphin swim. As my aircraft lifted off, the thought ran through my mind, “They are all getting to play with the dolphins, and I am leaving — poor me!”

Suddenly I felt a creepy empty feeling begin to roll through my gut — especially pronounced in contrast to the wonderful experience I had enjoyed. As I caught the thought and feeling before they rooted themselves, I heard another voice within me advise, “Don’t go there; don’t even start to think in this direction.”

The suggestion was right on. Here I had enjoyed a marvelous vacation, luxuriating in nearly every moment of my time there; if I had never heard about the dolphin swim, my time there was perfectly well-spent and quite worth it. Why mangle the memory with an onslaught of “Poor me?” So I decided to hold the experience only in the context of joy and appreciation, and remember three great days in Bimini. Besides, I could always swim with the dolphins another time. Welcome to A Bun Dance.

Another name for life is choice. The choice to be free or bound; celebrate or lament; protect or trust; live or die. The bridge between heaven and hell is always open for traffic, until we decide to choose only love.

By Alan Cohen


  • Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the best-selling Why Your Life Sucks and What You Can Do About It, the award-winning A Deep Breath of Life and his newest is the prosperity guide Relax into Wealth.

    Alan is an Empowering Caregivers featured expert, learn more about Alan

    Or visit his website at: alancohen.com.