Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Passion versus Enthusiasm

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst again.
(John 4:13)

The root of the word passion is suffering, just as in the expression the Passion of Christ. For us the word passion has a positive meaning by now, and rightly so. The flames of desire may burn us at times but ignoring our passion is slow suicide. Yet, we spiritual travelers also need to make sure that in our search for wholeness we don't abuse our holiness either. The solution lies in the transformation of this bursting desire towards a permanent, more serene driving force that propels and fulfills us. Linguistically speaking, we become enthusiastic about our mission at hand. The ancient Greek root of the word enthusiasm is inspired by GOD.

C.G. Jung once remarked he'd rather be whole than holy, and there is a lot of wisdom in this statement. Too often we spiritual travelers enjoy our perceived superiority over our feelings and other people's behaviors, never realizing that the kick we get out of being "holy" it is the ego talking as well. I certainly can tell you something about repressed desires. Earlier in my spiritual journey I had somehow convinced myself that I had mostly "conquered" my sexual desires. But then I had a wake-up call when we were on vacation and my two year old son was building sand castles on a Californian beach. An attractive Chinese tourist came by and played with him, but all the while I felt like she was playing with me. It was like she was saying, "my friend you think you are holier than thou; well, you are just deluding yourself!" Since then I have opened up to yin energy; it is not that I have affairs, but I simply accept today that I feel whole in the presence of women.

A spiritual path is designed to allow us to satisfy our soul longings while being true to our SELF. Anyone who has an avocation knows this feeling. When I write my spiritual notes, I can be lost in this serene energy for hours. The words and ideas flow almost subconsciously onto the paper and I feel happy and fulfilled. Alternatively, I could be scheming how to advance professionally, or I could get lost in watching porn. This energy also turns me on but it can never satisfy me. Yet, you can't repress these desires either, you have to let it flow in a more wholesome, and eventually, holy direction. Spiritual writing is one such creative outlet for me.

Just as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst again!". That's indeed the difference between a blazing fire and an eternal flame. It's the transition from passion and enthusiasm. Follow the WAY and your soul will rejoice while being your SELF.

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