Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Three Modalities of Awakened Doing: Acceptance, Enjoyment, and Enthusiasm

I am (FINALLY) nearing the end of Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth."  One of the book's final chapters talks about The Three Modalities of Conscious (or "Awakened") Doing.  Tolle describes these as the "three ways in which consciousness can flow into what you do...[ways] which you can align your life with the creative power of the universe."  The three modalities are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm.  Whenever you do something, according to Tolle, if you do not bring to the task one of these three things you are creating suffering for yourself and/or for other people.

Reading this reminded me of an example from my own experiences, a time when accepting a situation brought about enjoyment.  I was at an all-day festival with my friend.  We'd been there for about eight hours and I was exhausted.  I really wanted to go home.  Unfortunately, I'd ridden to the festival with my friend and he wanted to stay.  Initially I was irriatated.  I was cold and tired and my feet hurt.  I pulled one of our lawn chairs to the back of the crowd and sulked.  "I hope he's ready to go soon," I thought to myself. 

At some point it occurred to me that I would be better off if I simply accepted the fact that I was going to be at the festival until it ended instead of sitting there sulking and wishing I could leave.  Once I made the decision to accept the situation as it was (staying at the festival even though I was tired and cold and my feet hurt) my entire attitude changed.  I folded up the lawn chair and went back into the crowd where I found my friend and his brother dancing and having a good time.  My friend pulled me over and started dancing with me.  I swayed to the music and watched the performers on stage.  I ended up enjoying myself immensely. 

If I hadn't made the decision to accept that I was going to have to stay at the festival one of two things would have probably happened: either I would have spent the rest of my time there sitting and sulking or I would have eventually found my friend and insisted that we leave, causing suffering for him by bringing his good time to a premature end.  Instead, I was able to forget about my sore feet and join in on the fun.

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