through several linguistic evolutions the word 'enthusiasm' has come to us. the greeks used the word entheos to mean divinely inspired, possessed by a god, to be in ecstasy. under the puritans it came to mean “excessive religious emotion through the conceit of special revelation from god.” in our time it has come to have a generalised meaning of fervour or zeal or passion. when we feel passionate about something we are lit up, we are lifted out of our small selves to connect with something bigger. we are literally carried away. the excitement, the joy and the willingness to explore all open with our enthusiasm, with our divine inspiration. there is a visceral, physical sense of elation and lightness when enthusiasm comes into our lives.
an enthusiasm might be a hobby, a new learning, an adventure, a new identity. it might be something you’ve just discovered about yourself. there is a sense of opening and authenticity, a layer of the onion peeled away to reveal something fresh and vibrant. in the words of ralph waldo emerson, "nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
sometimes the enthusiasm remains for years. at other times it fades in weeks. are we then bereft of the divine? are we un-theos? or is this a time between connections while we wait for the next wave of adventure and heightened energy? where is the divine when we are at an ebb rather than a flow? is our connection with the divine always present, and sometimes we are unaware of it?
contemplative practices help to keep us connected and connected to our enthusiasm. there are many ways to maintain that connection. in fact, i recently found a website that listed 23 types of meditation (liveanddare.com) and encouraged readers to find what suited them best. it seems odd that going inward would help us stay vibrant and energised.
and yet those quiet moments are the times when we become en-theos.