Main Pages

By Region




Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Motivation

Grounding Our Motivation to Practice Beyond the Individual Soul

As our engagement with the path matures and develops, we realize that practice is a way of life, a way of being. This kind of orientation, this kind of commitment requires a motive that is independent of external things, a motive that arises from the enlightenment drive, from the action of True Nature manifesting through us as a dynamic force to reveal itself. So we recognize at some point that our motivation needs to be grounded in and originate from this place beyond the individual soul, beyond the individual self. That makes our motivation true. True motivation expresses itself in the interest, the love, the compassion, the service, the devotion, the respect, the appreciation that we feel for the truth of reality.

Need for Soul Maturation

Many of us can’t simply make the jump from being disoriented and deluded to being completely realized. It won’t make much sense to us. So we go through these stages of development. The individual soul, in other words, needs to mature, needs to develop in order to be able to hold deeper realization. Experiencing selfless motivation is a necessary and valuable development of the human soul. And although selflessness is authentic as a motivation for that stage of development, looking at it from the perspective of realization, we see that it is still an approximation. When we understand motivation from the perspective of realization, it becomes much easier for practice to become continual practice. Practice is no longer dependent on our own personal position or attitude or interest. Seeing through our appropriation of the enlightenment drive liberates it to function fully as continual practice, a practice that both expresses realization and realizes further realization.

Our Soul Loves to Travel into Inner Space, from One Dimension to Another

Our Being loves to rend the veils obscuring it because it loves to find out as much as possible about its truth. Our soul loves to travel into inner space, from one dimension to another. The journey is filled with thrill and excitement, with a celebrative and appreciative quality. When we are motivated by this selfless love, we want to call upon all our possibilities, all our capacities; we want to establish all the support we can for the journey, without caring about how difficult it is or about what is going to happen. We need to find that love because otherwise the only reason and motivation for inquiry is a particular goal or aim, or to confirm an established position. Then we would ultimately be trying to assert a particular identity we’ve defined ourselves by, and that motivation will not take us anywhere new. Inquiry will not be possible because it is not open ended, and it will become locked into known territory.

The True Motivation for Practice is No Motivation

As I said, it is challenging to see that the true motivation is no motivation. It’s difficult to face that the true force that makes practice happen, that expresses practice, that engages the path, that engages the teaching, that uses all the various practices, is not our heartfelt motivation. Our heartfelt motivations, regardless of how deeply we feel them, are not what drive the revelation of truth. When you feel, “I have this very deep, profound, selfless compassion and motive to really help all these people,” you are full of delusion. You are full of compassion too, but it is adulterated, it is mixed with delusion. When we love truth for its own sake, it is actually truth loving itself. It is truth manifesting in our consciousness, manifesting its love for its reality to appear. We experience that through the lens of the individual self as, “I love truth for its own sake.” Although this orientation is definitely an advance over not loving truth and over loving truth for our own sake, it still is incomplete. The love of truth is not ours, or is ours only in proxy. So the issue we are dealing with here is appropriation—how we appear, cohere, and persevere through appropriating these things that don’t belong to us. We never imagined that the love didn’t belong to us. We didn’t know that we were appropriating. We thought that we were knowing and describing reality.

The True Motivation for the Work

We have a longing to be that certain about ourselves. As long as you know yourself as a result of an insight, as a result of comparing yourself to something else, or even fitting your experience with someone else’s ideas or experiences, you have no certainty. The longing for this direct certainty, to be oneself, should be the true motivation for the work. You need to make your search as free and as personal as possible. If it is your search and your seeking, it is not according to what anybody says. You can use what any teacher says; learning about their experiences might open parts of you. But ultimately you need to be quite alone. Then your knowledge comes completely from within you, not from any outside pressure. There are always outside pressures and influences; you need to respond to those things from within you and not from a learned pattern. When Buddha says there is no self, you say, “Maybe. Who knows? Let me find out.” How can you be certain if you follow blindly? Until I know personally, another’s truth is not truth for me, it’s an idea or a guiding ideal. I’ll try to follow and investigate; I’m open. Since I don’t know, I’m open to all ideas, but I follow my own inner flame. Without it, I can’t be certain. Somebody could tell me, “You have the Buddha nature.” Even if it is validated in books, what difference does it make? It has to be a personal understanding by convincing yourself through your own immediate experience.

The True Motivation of the Heart

As we progress on the path, we discover and experience many things, both painful and wondrous. We discover how we are living our mental structure and how essence can increasingly characterize our experience. Such movement and progress will usually make us think that we’re working hard, and because of this hard work, because of all the devotion and sacrifices, we are moving toward the Guest, toward the Secret. We will ordinarily think that we are choosing to move toward it or not choosing to move toward it, that we are orienting ourselves toward it or longing for it. We believe we love it and, because we love it, we go toward it. But in time, as the Guest draws nearer, we realize that this way of perceiving what is happening is not accurate; it is an illusion tantamount to denying our real poverty. This is one of our illusions and delusions about what is going on. We believe that without such motivation we won’t progress on the path. In the beginning of spiritual work, we recognize our suffering, and our mind wants to find the Secret to relieve ourselves from suffering. After a long time we realize that the wish to eliminate suffering is not the true motivation. We begin to feel that to love truth for its own sake is the true motivation of the heart. Our heart begins to recognize its love for truth as the truth unfolds and the heart loves every form of truth that appears.

Two Motivations that Bring People to the Work

Two main motivations bring people into work like this. One motivation is the awareness of suffering in one’s life and in the lives of other people, along with a desire to be free from suffering. This is the motivation of compassion. The other motivation is wanting to know the truth. You want to know, “What is really happening here? What is the truth about who I am? What is reality?” This is the motivation of love. One motivation is to be free from something; the other is wanting to move towards the truth. Practically speaking, these motives cannot be completely differentiated, because to some extent they accomplish the same thing. It is best if a person has both motives. Wanting to be free from suffering is actually not only an attitude of compassion; it is also motivated by love. You want to be free from suffering because you love yourself, and this love takes the form of compassion towards yourself. To be a student in this Work, you need these two motivations—love and compassion—from beginning to end. This is very tough work. To do the Work with love and compassion means to appreciate that this process is tough; it is an almost impossible task we are undertaking. So it is best not to give yourself a hard time about it. You need to learn to be patient, to not judge or criticize yourself when things do not happen the way you think they should. You need to not be too pessimistic, and also not too optimistic. If you are too pessimistic, you will create a lot of heaviness in your process. If you are too optimistic, you will create too many disappointments. Balance is the best way.

When the Motive and Goal to Practice Disappear

We are continuing to explore and to challenge our conventional view of practice. We usually think that our practice is something we do that will have the effect of making something else happen. If we truly understand the noncausal view of how realization happens, the questions of both motive and goal disappear naturally. Both motive and goal support the idea of causality. I am not saying that causality is a bad thing. I am not saying that thinking in terms of cause and effect is not useful. Obviously, in our day-to-day life, it makes sense to look at things that way. Our science is based on some notion of causality. And, if we examine our experience, there is quite a lot of evidence that what we do has a lot to do with what happens. But, as in my experience of self-realization that I described to you, even though it appeared that my practice was causing the realization, looking at it more deeply revealed that it was actually the other way around. And, deeper still, it wasn’t simply the other way around—the practice and the realization were happening at the same time. And, even further, we can see that they are actually one thing—practice is realization, realization is practice.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach

See past editions of the Diamond Approach newsletter