This post is written for the benefit of one and all, with a clear awareness that the one writing the post is especially in need of an upgrade to the motivational.
“The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.” – The Dalai Lama
If you reflect on your day, you may notice that you did some things (i.e. your human animal) that you might not have done if the entire world was watching. If the entire world watched you throughout the day, what activities might you give up? And what might you start doing? What would you do more of? Less of?
Imagining the entire world is watching your every move is a nice mental exercise that can help elevate one’s behavior and tune one into what really matters.
What really matters?
In reality, the entire world is not watching the every movement and thought of your little human animal. Yet, there is a Presence that is aware of everything at all times – described as Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient; everywhere present, all powerful, and all knowing. As the saying goes, “Every hair on your head is counted.” There is only the One which knows All, perhaps because it is all. The One that knows all is All. So, at first, when we hear of this omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient being it might frighten us, but if we consider the truth of omnipresence – being everywhere at all times no matter what – that means it is also present wherever you might think you exist. There is no place you can exist that is outside of omnipresence. Wherever you exist, the Presence is present as well. There is no separation! So even if the Presence is all powerful and all knowing – meaning to knows all of our shortcomings and can do anything to correct us how it pleases – it cannot do anything to us that it does not do to itself. Where could such actions take place? Omnipresence means everywhere present, including every single nook and cranny that we might try to hide in or claim as our own.
Nothing is our own. God is everywhere at all times, and is all-powerful and all-knowing. We have nothing to fear because the Supreme would never harm itself, and we do not exist separately from the Supreme, so there is no part of us to harm. What we might call ‘harm’ or ‘pain’ or ‘suffering’ on the physical level is really not harm at all. When we stub our toe, we might say that it hurts, but that hurt serves a purpose to awaken us and elevate our behavior and consciousness. Everything serves the purpose of spiritual evolution. We are free to place whatever labels on our experiences that we choose – and ultimately we can know that there really is nothing wrong with anyone or anything – Reality is perfect as it is. The world is the perfect spiritual school to teach us what we came here to learn – which is largely to wake up to and become aware of that which is Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent, and aware of that Supreme One – fear dissolve and Infinite Love reveals itself as the reality.
Back to the discussion on motivation – given that nothing is hidden from the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient – that every hair on our head is indeed counted – and that we have nothing to fear because we are part of the Supreme and the Supreme would not harm itself – then we can see the good and the value in every experience that we might otherwise label as negative or painful. We can also know that we will not escape reaping the harvest of that which we sow, meaning – if we sow thoughts and actions of selfishness, greed, lust, gluttony, anger, etc., then we are going to experience the fruits of selfishness, etc. – which is ultimately painful because it is not aligned with Truth. Nothing is hidden and there is no escape. What we sow, we must reap. If we steal, at the very least we’ll feel guilty on some level, and at the most we’ll be tried and convicted, and still feel guilty. However the reaping manifests externally doesn’t matter so much as its internal manifestation. The feeling of guilt what is unbearable – not being imprisoned. Being wrongly convicted might not be the most fun – but the wrongly convicted can still have peace of mind knowing they didn’t trespass against their set of moral and ethical standards. It is when we violate the law of Love (i.e. morals, ethics) that we reap something we might label negative. When we are aligned with the law of Love, we feel good and reap goodness. As we sow, so shall we reap. There is no escape – which is actually a good thing! – because that also means no act of kindness goes unnoticed and the justice of God is guaranteed. A virtuous, loving life is its own reward. Feeling good internally matters more than any matter of external gain and success. Who is the truly rich – the one who smiles all day with nothing but 2 cents in his pocket, or the one who lives in a place with 50 servants but constantly feels miserable?
To upgrade our motivation, let’s be sincere about what we are really seeking. What we are really seeking is not material gain and short-term pleasure. What we are all really seeking, in our heart of hearts, is lasting peace and happiness that is independent of external circumstances. We all know (on some level) that the world is fleeting, that what is born must die, and what comes must go. But that which is undying and unborn, and that which is permanent and everywhere and always present, is infallible and incapable of being harmed. Jesus says, “Store up treasures in Heaven, not on earth.” Treasures on earth do not last – but treasures in Heaven, such as spiritual awareness, education, reverence for life, lovingness toward all that is – those treasures are with us eternally.
When we are really sincere in asking ourselves, “What is it that I’m seeking?” we find that beneath the desires for money, fame, sensual pleasure, tasty foods, entertainment, power over people, a loving family, etc. – beneath all the superficial, worldly desires is the underlying desire to be happy. One of the core delusions is that happiness is something to be sought outside of ourselves. In Reality, happiness is always present and accessible and is just a matter of awareness. Our True Nature is happiness itself. We don’t have to seek it externally.
When we accept that we are happiness itself and we don’t need to seek it externally, then the worldly desires fade away. Worldly motivations dissolve. Money and pleasure and gain no longer motivate us – but we are motivated by the opportunity to love, to serve, to learn, and to grow. We are motivated by the potential to truly serve not by giving mere dollars, but by actually giving our entire lives for the benefit of all. The true gift is the gift of oneself – and through this we abide in true happiness and supreme peace.
Gandhi said, “Joy in life comes from living for the welfare of all.” Seeking selfish gain and pleasure does not bring us joy. What brings us join is going beyond our small, petty identity with an individual body and mind, and instead realize our grand identity as one with all life, and thus the human vessel takes on the role of being a servant to all of life. The human no longer lives just for itself, but it lives for all.
Ramana Maharshi said, “The greatest service you can render for humanity is your own Self-Realization.” The process of moving toward Self-Realization is what we call spiritual growth. So the reality is that we don’t serve humanity by what we have or by what we do, but we serve humanity by what we have become. By becoming loving, becoming spiritually-oriented, becoming free from selfishness and free from ignorance, that is the true service, the Supreme Service.
Dr. Hawkins mentions how a spiritual aspirant does not have to change what they are doing in the world – and that changes is the motivation and the intention. The intention is always to love and serve, to evolve spiritually and to know God. The actions that follow on the worldly level are largely irrelevant. So long as the intention is aligned with Love, Truth, God – the actions can manifest in an infinite variety of ways. Sri Swami Satchidananda even tells the story of an enlightened butcher. A butcher?!? Yes. The worldly role does not matter much at all. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj ran a tobacco shop and served humanity as an enlightened sage.
Of course, there are noble professions and ways of serving that can catalyze the process of spiritual growth, but if one clings to them as a necessity, then they are a hindrance. It is noble to feed the poor and the hungry, but it is not necessary. Especially if the ego juices the experience and starts projecting the ‘Holier than Thou’ vibe, it is best to avoid such activities.
I regularly joke with people about my grand aspiration to go work at Waffle House. To me, it seems like it would serve as the perfect venue to practical radical humility and lovingness in all circumstances, to transcend opinions and judgments and come to know the Lord in All.
Many beings of Higher Consciousness live in solitude, and because of the reality of our interconnectedness and oneness, they still uplift the masses by their mere presence on the planet in the collective field of consciousness. Trying to save the world is like trying to lift a ship higher by picking it up out of the water. Much more valuable is to instead raise the level of the sea, then all ships are lifted. The ships are like the individual human vessels, and the sea is like consciousness itself, to which we are all connected and share in. So, by all means raise the level of consciousness, and in doing so we are all lifted.
What would motivate one beyond seeking material gain and instead to prioritize lovingness and spiritual growth? Well, with humility and sincerity we accept that what we truly value is happiness, not external things that come and go. We can love that which comes and goes, but projecting happiness upon those fleeting things is only setting ourselves up for failure and misery.
We’ve got to be real with ourselves and accept that happiness is the true treasure which we seek, and when we seek for it for only an instant we find that is within us and it actually what we are. So we already have that which seek. From that point forward of lacking nothing, it is all for fun.
It is all for fun!
We already are the happiness that we seek. Our responsibility is to tune into that happiness and enjoy. Then we share that happiness with all and have fun in the creation. Abiding in a state of happiness lifts the entire sea and serves humanity as a whole. Simply being happy and doing nothing is a far greater service than being miserable and donating thousands to charity. The unseen is far more valuable and more powerful than the seen. Focus on the unseen levels of attitude and intention and the seen will take care of itself. As Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God (e.g. Happiness) and His Righteousness (e.g. being happy) and all else shall be added unto you (i.e. material needs are met).”
It is liberating to know we can prioritize our own connection with happiness above material survival, and material survival takes care of itself. Swami Shankarananda recently visited Satchidananda Ashram and told a story about how he spent 3 months in the desert carrying nothing but a single liter bottle of water. He mentioned how the first few days he found himself hungry, but after that the whole experience became effortless where almost immediately after finishing his bottle of water, someone would show up to refill it, and someone would come by and offer him at least one nourishing meal a day, if not more. Prioritizing the Kingdom of God, his material needs were met. There is nothing to fear when we trust that the Lord is our Shepherd.
As Jesus said, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” Free from what? Free from all seeking external pleasure and gain, free from the delusion that happiness is something to be found externally, free from all attachments and aversions, free from clinging to any material thing. And free to love! Free to enjoy and appreciate every moment to the fullest 🙂
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!