I remember living in NYC with my now husband early when we were dating.
"What do you do?" People in his professional circle would ask me. He was a consultant and surrounded by ambitious career folks.
"Middle school teacher," I'd respond with pride. I always felt like I was doing something important. But in that circle, people were unimpressed. I made an embarrassingly low salary (I pulled in more as a waitress in midtown). I went to a state school, not an ivy league one. No part of me was interested in the corporate ascent.
So our conversations often ended abruptly. "Oh, that's so cute!" I remember one said when I shared my profession at a wedding in the city. As if what I did was somehow rudimentary.
Our over obsession with WHAT we do blinds us to the spiritual aspect of our lives. We yearn for titles and promotions, status and recognition. We are hungry to have some kind of "worthy" identity based on what we do.
But it is HOW we do what we do that offers us the chance to AWAKEN and raise consciousness.
In his book A New Earth, the brilliant spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, reminds us of the 3 modalities of awakened doing. Living each moment from one of THESE energetic expressions is how we stay conscious in an unconscious world.
ACCEPTANCE -- Of course, not every moment of our lives will we be joyful. We have to change tires, cook dinner, and get colonoscopies. So long as we ACCEPT instead of resist, we stay in a state of conscious fluidity. Accepting creates peace, which flows into what you do.
ENJOYMENT -- When enjoyment replaces wanting, you move beyond the egoic trap and link into creative, universal energy. Wanting comes from a sense of lack; it is often future driven. Enjoyment is an appreciation of what's before you. Living from enjoyment increases the quality of your life dramatically.
Joy is the dynamic aspect of being. It does not come from something external, though we confuse this so, constantly seeking activities and people to "bring" us joy. Joy flows INTO what you do, but comes from YOU.
ENTHUSIASM -- Enthusiasm means there's deep enjoyment of what you do, plus the added vision of a goal or something to work towards. When you add a goal to your joyful existence, your vibration rises. There is enormous intensity behind what you do with enthusiasm. The intensity of enthusiasm has nothing to do with stress, though to onlookers it may appear so.
When you want to arrive at your goal more than you are doing what you're doing, you become stressed. When there is stress, the ego has returned, and you are cutting yourself off from your creative power. Stress diminishes the quality of what you do under its influence. It's also emotionally and physically toxic. You may get what you want through hard work and stress, but the frequency you've created in yourself and for those around you leaves vibrational consequence.
You will cycle through these modalities at various points of your day, as well as periods of your life. If you look closely and find yourself NOT in a state of acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm, STOP. You are only creating suffering for yourself and others.
May these 3 states remind us all that HOW we do anything at all carries more impact than any title we may briefly hold.