Outer and Inner Enthusiasm
Do you find it easy to be enthusiastic about the things you love in the world? Do you delight in adorable children? Are you excited about newly-found authors that you enjoy reading? Do you cry at movies and television shows that touch your heart? Human beings easily enjoy what is pleasurable.
The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek meaning to be inspired. More exactly, it was believed to be a “divine inspiration”, a “prophetic or poetic frenzy”. To be filled with enthusiasm, is to be full of zeal and energy and fervour, whether you are cheering on your favourite football game, offering a standing ovation at a concert, anticipating dinner with close friends, or awaiting a trip to the Dera.
Some have seen enthusiasm as a sign of grace, a gift of special favour. Others have thought it to be a much too extravagant emotional display. Yet even if we recognize enthusiasm as a useful resource, we need to be mindful about the directions that our enthusiasm takes. Some forms of enthusiasm are not recommended. When our enthusiasm takes the form of obsession, we lose any sense of perspective about how one small part of life fits into a much larger picture, and then our passions can blind us. Obsessions narrow our understanding. They can preoccupy our attention to such an extent that we literally lose touch with what is real.
The ancient wisdom of the I Ching recommends another variety of enthusiasm.
Proper enthusiasm … is fueled by a devotion to attaining and expressing inner balance and inner truth. When your aim is not to influence others, or to satisfy your ego, but to follow the guidance of a Higher Power in all that you do, you acquire another kind of energy: a balanced and bottomless eagerness for living in step with what is right and good. In this there is true power and grace.
The I Ching or Book of Changes, translated by Brian Browne Walker
Such enthusiasm needs no brass bands or speeches. “A balanced and bottomless eagerness for living in step with what is right and good” is a possibility for all of us. Inner enthusiasm for truth can keep us going in the most fearful circumstances. This inner enthusiasm does not depend on how the world is treating us today. When a disciple’s aim is to follow the guidance of a Master, our enthusiasm will naturally move us towards meditation. “A balanced and bottomless eagerness” will move us to follow his instructions, to obey him implicitly and to offer him our time and attention. This inner enthusiasm is meant to take us to the eye centre.
Meditation is an active engagement, a strong effort and a practice that asks for all of our heart, mind and soul. Great Master, in Call of the Great Master, compared our spiritual practice to a fierce battle.
Simran must be done with the full attention of the mind, as if you were attacking an enemy with sword in hand…. Realize that it is a great and constant fight with the mind. Prem or Love for the Lord helps a lot in winning this fight…. Love means total self-effacement…. It means no sacrifice is too great for a lover.
Maharaj Charan Singh, in a letter to a disciple, gives us clear indications about the forms this inner enthusiasm will take.
Sant Mat enthusiasm is to be digested within, and it has to take the form of deeper humility, of greater love and devotion for the Lord and Master. Sant Mat does not want lip service, or devotion merely to be expressed in words or emotions. It is the heart that must speak. Our genuine enthusiasm is gauged by the humility and gentleness that is produced in us.
Quest For Light
Brother, all these worldly pleasures, worldly happinesses, are short-lived. They are just temporary. They are not permanent at all. The real permanent bliss and happiness is when the soul merges back to its own source. Everything finds peace when it merges back into its own source. When the mind goes back to its own source, the mind becomes peaceful. When these five elements of which bodies consist merge back into the five elements [of the creation], the body is at peace. Now we sometimes have cancer, sometimes this problem, this pain and misery, but once all the elements merge back into the original elements, all the pain vanishes. When the mind merges into its own source, all mental problems finish. When the soul merges into its own source, it is the most blissful and best happiness one can get. All others are short-lived temporary things – they don’t give you any mental peace or happiness.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I