“Enthusiasm is the electricity of life.” ~Gordon Parks
Have you ever noticed how powerful enthusiasm is? It can be contagious.
If a friend or someone around us is enthusiastic there’s a certain energy or presence that shines from them that can be infectious. It doesn’t even matter what they’re enthusiastic about; if we’re in their presence, it’s easy to be lifted up by their energy.
I’ve always loved seeing people express their enthusiasm. It brings such an authentic quality of who they are through the things that excite them. The thing they’re excited about may seem insignificant to others, but their enthusiasm shines with something very special—a quality of their presence that’s beyond words, beyond the stress, dramas, or stories that sometimes take hold in life.
I had an experience recently with a friend of mine that inspired me to share my enthusiasm for enthusiasm.
I’d just finished having dinner when I received a text message from my friend, telling me she’d just finished making some home-made chocolate and had a piece for me. She was keen to know what I thought about it.
She said, “I’ll bring it to work tomorrow,” but then quickly followed up with “Or, I’m going to visit friends soon and I’ll be passing by, so I could possibly drop it off.”
I could really feel her enthusiasm, and I don’t mind some good homemade chocolate, so I said “sure, bring it over.”
To give some more context to the story, the week previous, I was sitting next to her in the staff room at work as she’d was eating some chocolate she’d made at home. She offered me a piece, but did warn me, “It’s a little dry.”
Dry, yes! Pasty, very!
She’d made it using leftovers, peanut butter being a main ingredient. But not just any peanut butter, probably the last part in the jar, where all the oil has risen to the top, leaving the bottom extremely dry and pasty. Mixed with some cacao powder, a little honey, and I can’t remember what else, the taste was good but the texture made it hard to swallow without some fluid.
We both had a good laugh about it, and she told me when she makes a new batch she’d give me a taste, no doubt to redeem herself.
So now, a week later she was now dropping off her new chocolate creation.
When I saw her, I could see her excitement to share it with me and know what I thought about it. As I tried it she made the comment, “Was it a little creepy asking if I could drop it off?”
It’s interesting how we can often feel self-conscious about our actions when we’re enthusiastic. It doesn’t actually happen when we’re enthusiastic, it’s when we drop out of it, into our ordinary thinking mind and start questioning ourselves. We can be so spontaneous, but then have moments of thoughts like, “Is that ok?” “Am I crazy?” or “What will my friends think?” that disconnect us from the experience.
If I didn’t feel her enthusiasm I might have thought it was a little strange; however, I’ve always found it easy to feel people’s excitement and passion. The thing they’re excited about may not always be my cup of tea, but their enthusiasm always is.
For me interacting with people is really about human connection, so in a way, the content of the interaction is secondary. In this case the chocolate was delicious, but connecting with her enthusiasm was more important!
It’s so easy to connect with people when we’re expressing feelings like enthusiasm. It creates a warmth that’s instantly uplifting.
Enthusiasm is like a joyous fire, and for me when someone is in that state it’s easy to meet them there. It’s connecting on a level beyond words.
The Sun Inside
In astrology the sun refers to the highest aspect of our self, or Higher Self.
I like the metaphor of the sun, because when people are expressing feelings like enthusiasm, wonder, curiosity, compassion, or love there is something of this sun principle shining through.
The sun inside.
When we see people shining with enthusiasm, it’s usually about something; in this story it would be my friend’s chocolate creation, but for me the “something” is more a handle into their sun inside. Their presence.
Like knows like. When we witness this shining it’s easy to be uplifted because we recognize their sun from our own sun, and the reason it feels so good is because we’re in touch with our own sun.
Why is this important?
The sun inside is the source of our true happiness. It’s an unwavering force of vitality, joy, and fullness. It’s the spark of life, beyond the limitations of the mind.
If we look at the word “enthusiasm,” we can find its roots in the Greek word entheos. Entheos comes from en, which means “in” or “inside” and theos, which means “god,” so entheos can be translated as “god inside.”
Whether you resonate with the word “god” or not, what it’s pointing to is that there is something very special about the expression of enthusiasm. Something that comes from deep inside us.
Think of a time when you were doing something enthusiastically.
Take a moment to feel it.
What were you doing?
How did you feel?
Was it easy to lose track of time when you’re doing it?
It felt good, right? There was a fullness inside. The things that might usually weigh on your mind, just don’t exist in that state.
Separating Sun from Fear
I’ve found a powerful observation to make is that when we’re in a state of enthusiasm and those thoughts come in and start question our spontaneity, they come from a very different part of our mind, a part that is usually graspy, controlling, and fear-based—not our sun.
When I feel enthusiastic, I feel a fullness and warmth in my heart and a that sense I could do anything, but if I have a thought of something like, “Is this okay?” or “Am I just weird?” I feel small, empty, and fearful.
The next time you’re having a moment of spontaneous enthusiasm notice the sense of freedom and aliveness that comes. Then, if doubting thoughts come in, notice how restrictive and lifeless they are.
This is important because it helps us separate the real, authentic parts of us from the fearful and disconnected parts. The more clarity we gain here, the more choice we have to live authentically from our sun.
To start cultivating your sunny enthusiasm, simply start by noticing it when it comes and pay attention to it. In those moments when it comes, just allow yourself to feel it. By feeling it, I mean enjoying it! Resist the temptation to question it.
What are the things you’re passionate about? Do them! These are the things that will bring out your enthusiasm.
Notice how your enthusiasm, your sun, naturally uplifts people. Your enthusiasm, besides making you feel good, is a gift to others. There may be people who react negatively, but keep in mind that’s more about them than you. If they weren’t reacting to you, they’d be reacting to someone else.
Notice other people’s enthusiasm, and how it can spark something in you.
Enthusiasm is awakening. It makes us feel alive and part of something greater than just ourselves.
Just the fact of keeping it in your awareness will naturally help you discover and cultivate more.
Remember, it is contagious, but this is something the world needs more of, so go ahead and share your enthusiasm.
Ben is a meditation teacher, “stillness coach,” and founder of the Peacekeeper Project, a community dedicated to impacting humanity by helping more people silence the mind and live from the heart. Ben believes stillness is a superpower available to anyone. You can learn more and download a free meditation at the Peacekeeper Project and find Ben on Facebook and Instagram.
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