Clarifying and channeling motivation



When I look at desires and motivations, I find two main types.

One type of desire comes from our human self. We want to get something. And mainly, we want to avoid suffering and find happiness. 

This makes sense in an evolutionary perspective. It is how the human individual and species takes care of itself. 

And it is also what happens when we identify with any story. There is a sense of an I with an Other. And we want to take care of that I. 

Another type of motivation is a quiet love for God or truth. This seems to be more of a remembrance of what we are, and a quiet longing back. 

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Clarifying intention


When I explore intention, I find that it helps in daily life and also in growing and waking up.

And although it may seem to help to change or form intentions, all I really need is to clarify the ones already here. I can work with what is here, instead of against it.

I notice an existing intention in whatever form it takes. Desire. Wish. Want. Attraction. Aversion. Seeking.

I trace it back. What do I hope to get out of it? And what do I hope to get out of that? What am I really looking for? What would be the most satisfying? (This is an inquiry Adyashanti suggests.)

By doing this, I find – for myself and for now – that any initial intention comes back to seeking to avoid suffering and to find happiness. No matter how mundane or crude the surface expression of the intention seems, when I trace it back I find that it is really innocent.

In daily life, clarifying intentions helps me prioritize, focus, stay receptive to opportunities and so on.

In terms of growing up, it helps me experience myself in a more unified way and as a whole. And it also helps me see that we are all in the same boat here. We all seek to avoid suffering and to find happiness, no matter how that is filtered and expressed. (Often through a bit of confusion.)

In in the context of waking up, it helps me recognize that all my intentions already are in the direction of waking up. I just need to notice.

And one way to notice is to trace my intentions back, over and over, so I get to see and feel its essence, the way it is expressed in my life right now (often filtered through confusion), and what happens when it is filtered in a confused way and when there is more clarity around it. And through that, there is a genuine appreciation and love for it all, as it is.

This is a topic that is endless. For instance, an aspect of many spiritual practices is to clarify intention. To helps us see that our one wish – appearing in all the different ways desire and intention appears in our life – is to wake up.

And it is also helpful to recognize the validity of intentions as they appear at different places in the chain back to their essence.

The surface desire may be for a hearty soup, which may be entirely appropriate to fulfill at the human level. Looking a little closer, I find a desire for something nurturing which I can also find through relationships, in nature, through Breema, and more. And when I trace it even further back, I find a desire for avoiding suffering and finding happiness, which is a desire for growing up and – if I take it that way – for waking up.

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Love filtered


This is a parallel to the previous post on what everyone and nobody wants, and clarifying intention.

When I look, I find that everything that comes up in me – every desire, story, emotion, behavior – is love. And most of the time, it is love filtered through stories taken as true, so it doesn’t always appear as love in its expression.

It is love filtered through a sense of a separate I, since a sense of I-Other is the first that happens when a story is taken as true. (There is an I here associated with the true story, and Other over there associated with its reversals which I need to defend against.) This filtered love appears as love for this separate I and its circle of us.

And this love for a separate I and its circle of us is expressed through whatever other beliefs are around. It shows up as any emotion, including fear (which is there to keep this separate I safe), as any story (again there to protect and take care of this separate I), and any action in the world. And the stronger the beliefs, the less it tends to look like love when it comes out.

So here too, it can be very helpful to clarify what is behind emotions, stories and behaviors. When I peel back the layers, what do I find? (The Big Mind process is an excellent tool for this, revealing how each voice at the personal level is there to take care of the human self, and are really expressions of love.)

When I have not clarified this, I am at war with myself. There is struggle, drama and a sense of split. I am caught up in the midst of it. I work and struggle against what is.

And when I clarify it, I am not split against myself anymore. The drama goes out of it and there is more clarity, sense of ease, and of a workable situation.

What everybody and nobody wants, and clarifying


What I find is that what I really want is awakening. No matter what the surface intention or want is, when I look at it and peel back the layers, I find that it always goes back to a desire for awakening. For coming home, truth, freedom from suffering, a quiet joy, of all awakening to itself as Ground.

And I also find that many sides of my don’t want awakening. Instead, I want all the surface wants. The shorter term things that enhance this separate I. Yet, these are false – insubstantial – wants. Mirages that appear when I take a story as true.

So as long as I am not clear on my real motivations, there is a mix of the two. I sincerely want to awaken. But I also want to enhance this separate I in different ways. Which is why it is so helpful to clarify motivation. It helps see through the surface motivations, see that they each are mirages created from taking stories as true, and that each of them lead back to the essential desire for awakening.

There are so many practices that are complete – or sufficient – in themselves. And this seems to be one of them. The process itself takes us right to awakening.

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