In his recent book A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle writes of the three modalities of living in the moment. These are the three ways (emotions, techniques, call it what you will) of making sure Life lives through you, and that you live your life to the fullest. I found this a very practical mantra and I’ve put up these three medium-sized words on a tabletop frame: Acceptance, Enjoyment, Enthusiasm.
Acceptance: This means that even if you have limited control on your circumstance – and wouldn’t have really chosen what’s happening to you – even so, have complete acceptance of the situation. It’s like the woman who fell off a mountain but survived because she lost consciousness and her body went limp: Nature will take care of you if you let it. The problem is that we constantly resent our circumstances, bitch about them, complain to whoever listens and, thus, resist them. That’s what breaks bones and hearts. If we were to accept them, Life gets a chance to try Herself out through us, and how enriching that can be!
Enjoyment: The next step is to enjoy whatever is going on. This creates positive energy for everyone. Whether reading a book, talking to a colleague or browsing through the Net, have a sense of joy about whatever you’re doing. This also sounds like the quote: “If you can’t do what you love, love what you do.” There’s a purpose in doing whatever you’re doing. May as well make it fun, right?
Enthusiasm: Being enthusiastic – a word, which Tolle says, comes from the Greek meaning ‘inspired by God’ – is one of the best ways of living life to the fullest. I saw an illiterate teenage boy working in a lawyer’s basement office once. His job was to make coffee using the Espresso machine in a little makeshift pantry in one corner of the basement. Unlike other such office boys I have seen, this boy was highly enthused about his work: He was diligent about creating the maximum froth, careful about not making an unnecessary mess or wasting materials, and devoted when it came to cleaning up at the end. I was struck with his ‘being in the moment’. When he was making coffee, he was making coffee. He wasn’t hurrying to be anywhere else. He wasn’t dreaming of another future. He wasn’t moping about his miserable past. He was just all there, doing every little action with complete attention, honesty and, yes, even enthusiasm. I admired the boy in that moment. The universe must have had a great high breathing through him.
The idea is to go for any one of these modalities in order to live in the moment and fulfil our potential. If you can’t be enthusiastic about what you’re doing, then try enjoying it. If you can’t even enjoy it, at least accept it. As the Zen masters say, “Do nothing. Follow the past of least resistance.” So simple and yet so difficult. Ahhh, such is Life.