Have Nothing

In the operetta Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin, Porgy sings the song, I Got Plenty of Nothing. For our purpose I will quote only a few lines:

Folks with plenty of plenty
They got a lock on the door
Afraid somebody’s gonna rob them while
They’re out making more
What for?
I got no lock on the door
That’s no way to be
They can steal the rug
From the floor
That’s OK with me
Cause the things that I prize
Like the stars in the sky
Are all free

Over 2,500 years ago Buddha identified craving and aversion as the cause of human suffering. In 1973 Nisargadatta Maharaj in his book I Am That reiterates that materialism (craving and aversion) is one of the behaviors responsible for our unsustainable worldview. He teaches that true freedom comes from: Having nothing, Doing nothing and Knowing nothing.

Does this mean you are being asked to leave your family, quit your job, meditate in the wilderness for years and years? No, Simple Reality advocates for a change of heart, not a change of scenery.

The Gershwin’s were in touch with their intuitive wisdom in these lyrics—indeed “the stars in the sky are all free.” It might seem radical, but the next deeper level for us to realize and experience is the fact that we are the stars in the sky. Now that’s a bit of a leap, isn’t it?


Find a much more in-depth discussion in printed books by Roy Charles Henry.

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