✨ A special gift on the auspicious occasion of Sant Ravidas Jayanti ✨
Does spirituality hinder us from being motivated and effortful? || Acharya Prashant (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): Are we able to actually put in efforts into anything? Is there really that we have ever given our heart and soul to something? We are talking as if we let effort freely flow through us and what I’m saying would block that flow. Your question assumes as if we effortlessly let effort flow through us and something being said here is going to block that flow. I want to first question the question itself. Are we really capable of vigorous action? Do you see that happening?

We are capable of – remember – effort but not action and these are two very different things. We put in a lot of effort while ensuring that there is very little action. What do you want, effort or action? What if there is action without too much effort? Please tell.

Our stream of energy is blocked by our resistance, our fear, our expectations. Action does not freely happen through us. The internal fountain is not allowed to express itself freely, so you require then a lot of motivation, persuasion; that which you call as effort. Yes? To experience freely is to unblock the flow, then action happens. Then the required effort, the right effort that is needed to sustain the action is also there. What we have is mostly wasted effort, effort that doesn’t materialize into anything.

Have you not seen people thinking, planning, strategizing, striving, and doing nothing? Does that happen or not? Don’t you see how this internal mill keeps moving? Where is action? Do you call this as action? This is not action, it is only headache. In real action thought is needed only in a healthy quantity, beyond that thought is not needed at all. What we have is an excess of thoughts and very little action. Yes?

Questioner (Q): What is the right motivation that changes this proportion? I think this is something that everybody is facing and everybody is being disturbed.

AP: Again, if we look at the question itself, are we short of motivations? We already have a bag-full of motivations, have we not? Would it help to add another one to this bag? Kindly tell me, are all of us sitting over here not motivated by something, not drawn by something, not attracted by something, not in desire of something? That’s what motivation is. Right? Motive is to have a goal, to ask for something. So we already have enough of that. Why ask for more?

Motivation will lead to effort, we just talked of effortless action. Effortless action is also motiveless action. We have known working via motivation – not only via; via means motivation comes in between – we have known working because of motivation. Motivation is the engine that powers all our effort. Right? First comes motivation and then comes planning and then from there comes whatever little action that comes. Are you getting it? Is that how it happens – first there is the arousal of desire and then from there we have the rest of the movement. Yes? The desire is the motivation. Are we one till here?

So, desire is the motivation. So it is obvious that you would think that a different quality of action would come from a different quality of desire or different quality of motivation that’s what the internal logic is. Do you see that? We have only known one kind of action – action that comes from desires, action that comes from goals or motivation. So when the speaker here says that a totally different quality of action is possible, immediately the mind interprets that, "To me, a totally different kind of desire is possible?" Or in the words of the questioner, "A right kind of motivation is possible?" Do you see where the question is coming from?

Now to your credit, you at least thought of a different kind of motivation. Now take one more step and jump. Not only can you have a different kind of motivation, you actually can be motiveless and that is a different quality of motivation – to be motiveless. And when you are motiveless, there is magic. There is then action without motivation. Then there is action without desire.

We cannot conceptualize it because if you ask your mind or the set of your experiences then they will say, "If you don’t want anything why are you going to act at all?" That would be the little wise that keeps speaking from within. It would say- “Huh! The one who doesn’t want anything doesn’t do anything, the one who doesn’t want to reach doesn’t move at all.” That’s what our common sense says. Does it not? No, it is not that way.

The one who doesn’t want to reach anywhere plays freely. I don’t know whether he walks or runs but he surely dances.

Motiveless action is not a desire. Motiveless action is not fancy. Motiveless action is what we are born for. It is our reality and unless we live in it, we won’t be at peace.

Are you getting it? But again don’t try to think about it because thinking is to be motivated. Do you see the whole process of thinking? Why do we want to think? We want to think to be sure, to be convinced and that is just another motive. Yes?

Motive will never convince you that motives are not needed. Thought will never convince you that thoughts are not needed. Thoughts will never convince you that motives are not needed.

At this point, the role of this speaker or any book ends. After this is just your own internal surrender, internal surrender to non-action. After this point, the speaker is helpless. You have to go all by yourself, all alone. I can only tell you what you must not do, I can only tell you what is going to surely fail. But what would help you is something totally internal to you.

The speaker has no control over it. The speaker cannot put that in an idea or words. Cannot even really communicate it even if the intention is there to communicate, it cannot be communicated. So you probably just need to trust. Take baby steps, see whether it feels particularly bad to act without motive. Mind will tell you that acting without motive would be boring or probably even devastating. It is not so; even if I say this I know that these words will not convince you. What would convince you is your own sincerity. You have to sincerely go into this. You have to let it happen to you. I can only appeal.

Q: Just as you said, take baby steps. Are baby steps again not thinking and doing?

AP: Baby steps are just to convince the mind that great damage is going to happen. So please don’t interfere, don’t block. Right? You see this has to be consulted even for its own dissolution. You cannot oppose the mind and appease it. We all talk about spirituality as a disappearance of the mind but the mind won’t just disappear without its consent. You have to convince it, sit across the table, you talk to it.

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