Motivations, and growing & waking up


  • I can clarify what I seek, and then funnel these motivations into either growing up or waking up.
  • I find that this sorting has to do with the effects of growing up and waking up, and also the effects of aiming at either.
  • The effects of growing up: Healing and maturing in my human life. Finding the wholeness and richness of my human self. A sense of self-reliance. Less caught up in blind projections. A relatively stable sense of quiet joy in life, no matter how it shows up.
  • The effects of waking up: What I am notices itself, already free from an I with an Other. This releases identification with whatever patterns were created from taking this human self as a separate I, and these patterns also wear off over time.
  • The effects of aiming at growing up: Gradual healing and maturing. Typically see good results. Relatively easy to find guidance and support from the culture.
  • The effects of aiming at waking up: May not happen at all, or only in glimpses. Can be discouraging, especially if the only goal is to wake up.
  • Split strategy: Clarify and funnel motivations into either growing and waking up, and use different strategies for each. If someone can only find interest in one or the other, this one works fine. But if they find both, it can be slightly inefficient.
  • All eggs in one basket strategy: Telling people that their motivation for getting something/anything will be satisfied by aiming at waking up. It may work well if people use tools and strategies that invite in both growing and waking up, and they don’t get discouraged if awakening doesn’t happen. But it may not work so well if people get discouraged in spite of progress in growing up, or it they use strategies and tools only aimed at waking up and not growing up. This strategy is quite common in the different traditions, but can also be risky.
  • Consolidated strategy: Clarify and funnel motivations into growing or waking up, and use strategies and tools that invite in both. (This may also work for those who can only find motivations for one or the other.)

When I clarify and sort my motivations, and then see how they relate to growing and waking up, I find that the sorting has to do with the typical effects of respectively growing and waking up, and also the typical effects of aiming at either.

So what are some typical effects of growing up and waking up?

When I move in the direction of growing up, there is a healing and maturing that takes place.

The world more and more becomes a mirror for myself. I find in myself the qualities and dynamics I see in others and the wider world. I get more familiar with it, right here, in this human self. I gradually see it more clearly, feel it more fully, and find appreciation for it, as it is.

There is a release from being caught up in knots and beliefs (stories, viewpoints, identities, roles), which gives a receptivity of mind, heart and emotions. My view becomes more fluid and inclusive, able to find the limited truth in any story and its reversals. My heart is more stably open to myself, others and life in general, independent of how it all shows up. There is a sense of a nurturing fullness, and less reactive emotions.

There is a sense of self-reliance. I am less caught up in blind projections, and can find in myself – here and now – what I am attracted to or find aversion to in the wider world. This allows me to live life more fully and freely, and less from blind attractions and aversions. I still appreciate finding in the wider world things my personality likes, and may still avoid the things my personality does not like, but I am not blindly caught up in those dynamics anymore.

I find a deepening sense of being home in myself and the wider world. Of belonging. Of nurturing relationships to myself and the wider social/ecological world.

I live more in ways that benefits and nurtures the whole of my world… from parts of me to the whole of me (body/mind) to the larger wholes (family, friends, local/global eco/social communities.)

There is a natural sense of quiet happiness in life. I know how to relate to myself, others and situations in a way that is more deeply nurturing for me. There is a sense of satisfaction. A sense of fullness and richness, since I find in myself whatever I see out there.

So if I notice that I want something – anything at all – that motivation falls most naturally into the area of growing up, of healing and maturing and finding my wholeness as a human being.

The effects of waking up are quite different, yet can also – indirectly – include some of the ones mentioned above.

The main effect of waking up – of what we are noticing itself – is just that. What we are notices itself in a clear and stable way. We find ourselves as that which content of awareness happens within, to and as.

There is no I with an Other anywhere. This human self and the wider world happens already and always absent of an I with an Other.

And from this comes the second effect: a release from being caught up in whatever dynamics come from taking ourselves as an I with an Other. There is no identification with these anymore, and they gradually wear off over time. Our habitual tendency of having a rigid view, closed heart and reactive emotions – all created from taking ourselves as an I with an other, is released from being taken as an “I” and wear off over time.

Other side-effects of waking up includes noticing that although our human self still functions in the world, and may live its life much as before, there is nothing to gain, nowhere to go. It is all the play of awareness itself. What we really are never went anywhere, never gained or lost anything. Never was not home. Never needed anything.

From the view of our human self, it may look like we are “getting something” from waking up, and we do in a certain sense. But there is also nothing to get. The sense of an I with an Other, trying to get something, falls away. And what we are never lost or gained anything.

There are a few ways of looking at how to sort motivations to either growing up or waking up.

If we want to “trick” people to place themselves in a position where waking up is more likely, we may tell them that they’ll get what they want if they seek awakening. It is not entirely wrong, but not entirely true either. This seems to be the strategy most traditions and teachers use.

The drawback here is that people can easily get discouraged. They want to get something, think they’ll get it through awakening, it doesn’t happen, so they get discouraged. They may either overlook or belittle the growing up that has happened in the process, or they may have used practices aimed only at waking up and not growing up, so the growing up didn’t happen to the extent it could have.

If we want to be practical about it, we may encourage a clarification of motivation, and then funnel a motivation to get something into growing up, a quiet love for truth and existence itself into waking up, and encouraging a use of strategies and tools that do both – invite in growing and waking up.

In that way, we get to clarify our motivation. There is a closer fit between our motivations and aims. We get to combine our motivations of growing and waking up. We get to get something in our human life (growing up).  And we also invite in waking up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.