Some people experience a profound loss of motivation, and lose the desire and ability to set goals and accomplish them during or after spiritual awakening.
Welcome to the elite group of moody, anti-social, unmotivated enlightened people! Congrats!
The word at the heart of motivation is motive, which means a reason for doing something, causing or being the reason for something that happens. To have motivation (motive in action) requires having a motive, and having a motive in the world of Beautiful Sleepwalkers requires having a solid self at the very root of it all.
All your habits and experiences and preferences and thoughts and stories, all held together at the very root by a single solid self.
That self can generate a motive, a reason for doing something. Then it takes the various actions to do the thing. And then there is some kind of culmination, where the goal is achieved or not: success or failure. And the self claims ownership over all of this, from generating the motive, to the actions, to the outcomes. This is the way you’ve experienced motivation for most of your life. People who are especially good at this, people who have lived lives of accomplishment, have an even stronger sense of this pathway of motivation.
So what happens when the self at the root of this process becomes less solid? Or in the case of the Ultra Sane, what happens when the illusion of self is permanently seen for what it is? In that case you don’t lose the self as much as see the self plainly as a Never Was.
You’re at a point where your unquestioning belief in a self at the root of your own life, as the linchpin of your life, is not so solid, maybe it’s flickering in and out, or getting kind of melty. Like a chocolate bar that’s been left near a warm window. It still has its shape, but if you were to touch it, it would just be a gooey mess.
No solid self at the root.
I invite you to pause here and really feel that. Feel how awesome that is, and also feel how completely disorienting that is. Like vertigo, minus the vomiting.
If the solid self has been ever the source of your motive, and thus your motivation, is it not to be expected that this whole system will be in a state of collapse when you sufficiently weaken or eventually remove the linchpin of self?
You might be chewing on this with your mind, but now I want you to drop into your gut, or whatever, and just feel it. Feel what’s it’s like to feel unmotivated, feel the emptiness or the flaccidity where there was once a well tuned engine, churning out motive, motivation, action and accomplishment or failure. You might experience it like an elastic or rubber band that’s lost its stretch. Or if you are experiencing it mentally it will appear as confusion, which is the same thing.
As promised, here is the difference between awakening and being awake. When you awaken to Ultra Sanity, you will also experience this self-motive-motivation-action-outcome process as broken. But this is the difference: you will know you are not the doer in the way you’ve always believed yourself to be. Likewise, none of the outcomes or the fruits of your actions belong to you. This is not a theoretical knowing or an abstract knowing or an intellectual understanding. It is seen, known, understood fundamentally and in all situations. I’m not going to go further with this, but now you have it, and someday you’ll remember this when you need to.
For a while you will be so disoriented. You’ve done it and known it this one way for your whole life until now. And you did it well! You should seriously celebrate and acknowledge how awesome you played the part of Beautiful Sleepwalker. What were your qualities as a Dreamer? You accomplished a great deal, and not all Dreamers do. Some Dreamers spend their time drunk in bars or betting on dog fights. Not you.
But your solid sense of self is getting shaky. That means you might spend some time in the In Between.
Let’s get off this boat that’s going up and down in the waves and stand on some solid ground for a while, shall we?
What’s the point, you ask. What’s the point of doing anything? The question you are asking is not so much for me to show you what the point is, the question here is how to live in a world where this self-motive-motivation-action-outcome process is broken. How to do things in life when there is no point. If we take the self out of the process, it looks like this:
If the self is not able to claim any of it, own any of it, then it just blows a raspberry and says:
“Why bother? “
In your case, you are still working with a self, though it’s no longer totally solid and believable. At some point you will not have that self, and that will be its own weird ball of wax. You’ll still have the feeling of, “Why bother?” but it will be coming from a different perspective.
There are plenty of things you do without having to drum up motivation. You get out of bed in the morning. You brush your teeth. Water your plants. Feed yourself. You’re not sitting there having to explicitly motivate yourself to perform these actions.
DOING NOTHING IS JUST AS POINTLESS AS DOING SOMETHING.
Not being a mother is just as pointless as being one. There will come a time when you will do things because they are useful, necessary or enjoyable, while still holding the knowledge that your actions are pointless and the outcomes don’t belong to you.
I go in and out of motivational states. I find that most of my motivation to do things “in the world” (as opposed to planting my garden or baking a pie) are drawn out of me by other people, or by necessity. Examples? Necessity: need to file my taxes. Other people: this blog. I don’t feel motivated to write, I don’t feel I have important things to say that must be said, I don’t even regard enlightenment or spirituality as particularly interesting topics. But people ask me questions and this leads me to write. I don’t feel the need to tell my story or express myself.
It’s really unfamiliar territory, living moment by moment and not being invested in your own life, at least not in the way you used to be. You can end up being unpredictable, because you are not motivated by the same things and in the same way that you used to be, or in the manner of most people. You can still create and act and do things in life with great passion and enthusiasm, but all of that is only moment by moment…this morning’s enthusiasm and passion does not carry into this afternoon or tomorrow or into the future. It’s not sustained by the persona, it is something that flows naturally. And also, it ebbs naturally.
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