As I continue to discern my new leading, I find myself cycling between overenthusiasm and despair. When I face my new ideas directly, I get soul-shakingly excited. Something in me comes very alive -- almost too alive to bear. It is interesting that the original definition of "enthusiasm" (from Greek) means "possessed by a god." And this way of putting it shows an ambivalence: is enthusiasm something to be admired or feared?
Similarly, earlier understandings of "discernment" carried connotations of "discernment of the spirits," or, more specifically, trying to distinguish between whether the spirits inspiring a person (note that "spirit" is at the root of "inspiration") are good ones or bad ones.
We are rightfully wary of any sense of "possession" standing in the background of enthusiasm or inspiration.
And yet, more recently, "enthusiasm" has become mostly a positive word, connoting a special kind of happiness. It is fun to be enthusiastic. It is fun too to be inspired.
But am I the only one who ever suffers "overenthusiasm," or enthusiasm so intense I sometimes want to run away from it?
So, then I run away for a time. My ideas are in an early-enough stage that I can still choose to ignore them. While I have started to share my thinking with trusted friends, I'm nowhere near a stage where a momentum gets going and I no longer have the power to stop it. At the moment, I do still have that power. It is only an idea; it is only my idea. There are things that I can do with this idea to make it take an existence that is beyond just me, and beyond my control, but I have not yet done this. And so this is an interesting state of being, phenomenologically.
It is mine ... and yet, is it?
My unilateral possession of it keeps it inert and powerless. So why would I want to hold on to it?
And, most interestingly, when I succeed in burying it for a while, I become beset by despair and listlessness. I feel like I've forgotten something. I feel unhooked from what truly powers my life and my soul.
Is all of this a sign that my new leading is from God?
I have spoken recently of my theology: God as love and goodness. But now I might add: energy. A kind of living energy, a joyful energy, even "soul-force" -- satyagraha.
To feel a touch of light that ignites your soul and makes you feel most truly and fully yourself; to be amazed at how alive you can feel -- these are powerful and humbling moments.
So, little by little I take the steps I need to take to test this leading.
5 years ago