Actions and Motivation
I’m often asked by my clients and readers: Now that I have peace and the self is falling away, why do anything? What motivates me to direct the self to act? Ah, that is so thinking like a self! A mind thinking like a self thinks it does things because it is motivated, usually by guilt, desire, or duty to do it. And the basis for these motivations is the belief that the self is you and you need to get or to express something, tangible (material) or intangible (feeling). And without those motivations a mind identified with a self cannot understand acting.
I’m going to tell you something that I don’t know if you can understand until you can see it for yourself, but it is amazing:
The self acts not from motivation, but because it is going to act. There is no other reason. And here’s the mind-blowing thing I’ve come to see as I have learned to simply watch the self act without judging it: The self has never acted from personal motivation! It has always acted because it was going to act. Its actions are the result of cause and effect at the level of form. All the rest—motivation, interpretation, judgment—was simply going on in my mind.
I’m sure you’ve had experiences where you didn’t know how to act because you had conflicting motivations. You want to do something, but for some reason you felt guilty about doing it. So should you or should you not do it? The fact is, the action of the self is not related at all to your conflict. If you do it and you feel guilty the source of your guilt is not the action but your thoughts about it. If you don’t do it and you feel deprived because you really wanted to, the source of you inaction was not really guilt, either. That’s just a story in your mind. So is your sense of deprivation. All of your thoughts and feelings about the self’s actions are completely unrelated to the self’s actions, before, during, and after the actions!
Another way you may feel conflicted about an action is that you are motivated by both the ego (personal thought system) and the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in your mind). For example, you may be on a spiritual path out of a genuine desire to know Truth. But the ego may also encourage the path so that you can be a “spiritual person”. But neither of these matter! Your self’s path is going to unfold as it will unfold as an expression of the Undoing manifesting through it. The rest is just a story you tell yourself in your identification with a self. These stories are how you identify with the self.
Sometimes feeling motivated toward an action is the ego. In that case, your sense of motivation has no relationship to whether or not the self takes that action. At other times, your sense of motivation to act or not act is the story of the universe unfolding through you. How can you tell which it is? Sometimes it is very clear. You know something will unfold as you feel it will. But at other times you won’t know clearly where the motivation is coming from, especially if the ego feels strongly about it one way or another. Then all you can do is let it unfold. You won’t know until you acted or not if and you were to act or not!
So my approach to directing the self in its actions is to live in “I don’t know”. I don’t know which of my feelings is coming from the ego and which from the flow of the universe. I don’t know if I will direct the self to act or not in any given situation. I just get the self up each day and have it do what it is given to do that day. And I know that all my thoughts and feelings about its actions, before, during, and after, are really quite apart from its actions. They are just stories in my mind.
Still sorting out what is the ego and what is the Holy Spirit? That is one of many things I help my clients with. Email me at Liz@acimmentor.com to set up an appointment. Learn more at www.acimmentor.com.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others email it to me at Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the newsletter/blog.