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Keeping the Flame Burning

by Carolyn Cooper

Enthusiasm means "possessed by God." When I feel enthusiastic, I am lit up from within. I feel alive, capable of taking control of an aspect of my life and enriching myself and others. My focus might be an exercise program to improve my health, participation in a project that benefits the community, developing a relationship with someone, learning a new skill or exploring spiritual unfolding.

Enthusiasm leads to committed action. Enthusiasm may lead to study, immersion in another culture, work with my neighbors. When I feel low or have setbacks-the child I am tutoring does not respond-then I recall my reason for engaging in the project in the first place, I consult with a more experienced tutor, I evaluate what I'm doing and try a different tack. All of this, of course, demands a commitment of time, energy and determination.

Enthusiasm needs a systematic support system to sustain itself and lead to fruitful action. Otherwise, the flame of enthusiasm will die down over time, I will get distracted by other goals and my efforts will weaken. The support system often includes reserving time and energy for reflection, assessment, training, consultation and further exploration, by oneself and in the company of others.

One of the purposes of a spiritual path is to support enthusiasm for spiritual unfolding, and as such it comprises some or all of these elements too. The path of Cafh, which I have followed for many years, offers tools for reflection like meditation exercises and the retrospective examination, weekly reunions with others, study and retreats. To find out more, go to www.cafh.org.

Whatever we are enthusiastic about, we want to keep the flame burning!

  • What do you feel enthusiastic about?
  • How do you sustain your enthusiasm?
  • What changes or new habits have you incorporated into your lifestyle to maintain your enthusiasm so that it can bear fruit?