In his ‘Thought for the Day’ Sri Easwaran provides an explanation (definition?) of what it means to be truly spontaneous. I am not a linguistic expert so I do not wish to dwell on determining whether he is right or wrong. I do know that Sri Easwaran’s explanation is very different from the way I had understood the term until now. However, I find his explanation more useful for my self improvement. So I am discarding my previous understand of ‘spontaneous”. 🙂
I have included below Sri Easwaran’s explanation. You may find it useful too.
The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless,
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
– PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
None of us wants to be artificial. We all want to be natural and spontaneous. But true spontaneity is not simply doing what we feel like doing and not doing what we don’t feel like doing. That is simply reacting as we have been conditioned to react. It is really no more spontaneous than a rubber ball which bounces when we drop it on the sidewalk.
We are being truly spontaneous when we can change the habits of a lifetime. We are being truly spontaneous when we are able to drop our pet project and work for the welfare of those around us without a ripple of protest in the mind. We are being truly spontaneous when we can respond calmly, constructively, and compassionately to a difficult situation. The secret of spontaneity is training. We cannot just decide to be spontaneous overnight; but we can all make these marvelous transformations in our lives if we are prepared to put in the sustained effort they require.