“Enthusiasm is the spirit of joy channeled through the power of the will… To achieve happiness, one must work with happiness. To achieve divine joy, one must be keenly enthusiastic in everything one does!” ― Swami Kriyananda, Affirmations for Self-Healing
When I first arrived at Ananda, I remember noting words and qualities that Master and Swamiji repeated in their writings and teachings. I wanted to understand why they were important enough to refer to them repeatedly.
I researched many things in my efforts to understand and I was always amazed and delighted by what I discovered. This process of questioning and discovery, of learning and absorbing the rich strata of our teachings, supported and informed my spiritual life. We all have our ways of learning and digesting knowledge until it becomes assimilated into our being.
Inertia, for example, was one of these words. Master said it is one of the main causes of failure, and that we must always resist any tendency toward the apathy it produces. He talked about the “chill of inertia” or lack of constant effort to know the truth (this eloquent description is why I had to understand inertia, both inside and out). Why is this so? How does it work on me? How do I change this?
I knew inertia was part of Newtonian physics, so it was clear to me how it related to the law of karma for example. I looked up inertia in the dictionary, and read this definition, “Inertia is the indisposition of matter to exertion, motion, or change.” Master’s emphasis on this part of maya became clearer and clearer. Others may have understood Master at once, intellectually and intuitively, not me, not then. I needed to dig around more to comprehend.
Enthusiasm is the antidote to the “chill of inertia.” Enthusiasm is another word I looked up long ago and never forgot what I found. The root is Greek, it means en theos, meaning in God or full of God. So Perfect! Living with enthusiasm as Swamiji says in the quote above, involves joy, and the power of the will, and Master adds that willingness and enthusiasm generate more energy.
What is the difference between energy and enthusiasm? Energy is the raw material we use to do anything. Energy is neutral, we can do things in many ways; mechanically, indifferently, or with enthusiasm, with interest and inspiration. The root of this word tells us the kind of energy that generates more energy and consequently success.
Swamiji explained that enthusiasm is not necessarily an outward expression of energy, but is rather an inward expression of high, positive energy. He would quote Frank Bettger a mediocre salesman who became the star of his company by working with enthusiasm. His famous dictum is, “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic.”
Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” These reminders can help us to explore living “in God”. Christ said, “With God all things are possible.” Let us live with faith in this promise and enthusiastically embrace whatever God brings to us. Remembering always to say in our hearts, thank you God for everything.
“Enthusiasm and willingness go hand in hand with fresh supplies of energy. “ ―Paramhansa Yogananda, Praecepta Vol. 3: 65