Two forms of motivation

When I explore motivations for myself, I find two general types…

One is to avoid suffering and find happiness. When I trace back most of my everyday desires and intentions, I find that they go back to the basic one of avoiding suffering and finding happiness.

This makes sense in an evolutionary perspective. It is how individuals and the species as a whole survices. And it also makes sense from a basic psychological view. As soon as there is an identification with a story, there is a sense of I with an Other, and a desire to take care of this I as best as possible. 

The other is a quiet love for God and truth. This is an impulse towards awakening and can take different flavors. A desire to come home. To find what is really true, no matter what it is. To find what I really am. To know God. To be with God. To serve God fully. 

And both have the same root. They both happen as soon as there is an identification with a story, and a sense of a separate I. The first is an impulse to take care of this separate I. And the second is an impulse to find a wholeness we sense is missing. Somewhere, we know what we are, sense the discrepancy, and long back to it. 

To address the first form of desire, it makes sense to work at our human life. To address it in our life in the world, and also to work at healing and maturing, at growing up. This healing and maturing takes care of most of our longing at this level. It helps us find a wholeness as a human being in the world. It helps us to recognize that what we seek in the outher world is already here, so there is less sense of neediness. It helps us relate to situations as a gift, so there is less sense of being a victim. It takes the edge off any suffering, and helps us find a joy in life. 

And to address the second form of desire, which is more of a longing, it makes sense to invite in an awakening. To inquire and explore what we are. Allow experience as it is. (Choiceless awareness.) Pray. Hone a stable attention to serve in inquiry and prayer. 

It seems helpful to differentiate these two. Mainly because addressing one while mistaking it for the other easily leads to disapointment and discouragement.

Addressing the suffering/happiness motivation by trying to wake up comes from a sense of neediness, of wanting to get something, and may get somewhat contracted. (Unless it is done in a skillful way that addresses the need for healing/maturing at a human level.)

And addressing the longing for God by wordly means doesn’t quite do it. Something is still missing. 

These two forms of desire have the same root, and they also support each other.

When I invite in healing and maturing, it is easier in a context of noticing what I am – or even just a sense of connection with God. It releases identification out of stories and identities, which makes it easier to grow up. 

And when I invite in awakening, it is easier in the context of being relatively mature. Here too, there is less identification with stories and identities, less drama, so also easier for what I am to notice itself. Before awakening, growing up makes it easier for what I am to notice itself. And within awakening, growing up is a skillful means in expressing and living within awakening. 

Recognizing the mutuality of growing and waking up, it makes sense to work on both. And if we are to work on both, why not use tools that work on both? And supplement with tools addressing one or the other, as needed. 

Some tools that invite in growing and waking up: Inquiry into beliefs. (The Work.) Exploring sense fields. Allowing experience. (With heart for healing, and as choiceless awareness for awakening.) The Big Mind process. 


Initial outline…

  • suffering/happiness motivation
    • grow up, takes care of most of it
    • waking up, takes care of what is left + makes it easier to (continue) to grow up
  • quiet love for God/truth
    • waking up, an impulse towards
    • growing up, to make it easier to wake up + live from within awakening (growing up becomes a tool for living within awakening)
  • same root
    • identification with stories
    • sense of I-other, separation, something missing
    • want to grow/wake up to find that wholeness, to come home, released out of being caught up in the struggle


  • suffering/happiness motivation
    • a desire to grow up, take care of most of it
      • heal, mature
    • a desire to wake up, take care of the last bit
      • also supports growing up, free from identification with stories/identities
  • quiet love for God/truth
    • addressed by waking up
      • remove veils, beloved, home, serve (your will be done)
    • also a desire to grow up
      • supported by growing up
        • less caught up in stories/identities (less needy etc.)
      • live within that context, as skillfully as possible

(if try to address one at the other level, can get a little weird.)


  • suffering/happiness motivation
    • mostly addressed by growing up
    • final bit by waking up
  • quiet love for God/truth
    • addressed by waking up
    • supported by growing up 
      • less needy/neurotic/distracted
      • less identified with stories/identities
  • desire to grow + wake up, in both
    • suffering/happiness motivation
      • a desire to grow up, take care of most of it
      • a desire to wake up, take care of the last bit
    • quiet love for God/truth
      • a desire to wake up 
        • remove (apparent) barriers
        • let your will be done, not mine (allow the last to fall away)
        • be with the beloved, come home
      • a desire to grow up, to live within that context
        • serve, explore, experience
  • mutuality
    • growing up supports waking up
      • less caught up in stories (less needy etc.) 
    • waking up supports growing up 
      • identification released out of stories/identities (no need to protect stories/identities)

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