This is from the chapter Vigils, the night watch. He's talking about affluence and how it always demands more. "The word affluence suggests that whatever flows in never comes out. Our affluent society stays affluent by making the containers bigger when they are just about to overflow, like a fountain with its lovely veils of water spilling over. The economics of affluence demand that things that were special for us last year must now be taken for granted; gratefulness is taken away from us. But if we make the vessel smaller and smaller by reducing our needs, then the overflowing comes sooner and with it the joy of gratefulness.
The less you have, the more you appreciate what you've got. With the extraneous stripped away, you begin to realize how you are being graced by life's gifts. This is at least one sense in which the poor are blessed. When your needs are limited, your vessel is easily filled, and you can delight in the overflow.
Monks experience the overflow sooner; poor people experience it sooner than wealthy ones, because the vessel is smaller. With monks, who by custom have few and simple possessions, it is artificially made smaller, and so the joy of overflowing comes sooner. If you normally have just soup for your meal, and all of a sudden you get a second course of potatoes, that feels like a wonderful gift, a blessing, and you are thrilled."
After my last bout of decluttering, I begin to see how true this is. I still spend way too much time going through papers, magazines, etc. I don't want to be a chronic paper shuffler. I want to be able to turn more outward and help the less fortunate, the young mothers, my grandchildren, and anyone else that needs me. And so the decluttering continues... will there ever be a time when I'm not a slave to paperwork? I hope and pray so.