just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Exploring Purpose and Motivation

Published on 12/05/15
by randy


How often do you sit in the wonder of your purpose? What’s this all about? What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? No doubt, thousands of books have been written on this. Thousands of people make a living at giving motivational seminars. The answers to these questions seem to change throughout the course of a lifetime, much like the colors and textures of a leaf moving through the seasons of spring to fall. While there’s no definitive here, when I explore this question today I’m drawn to ‘awareness’. I’m here to develop awareness to the intricacies and workings of life. Perhaps my greatest awareness is to the suffering caused from growing negative emotion and thought. It seems that when I can let go this negative and just hold a sense of peace and balance through life’s challenges, then I’m meeting this purpose. Awareness practices help me to better come to know what alleviates the growing of negative emotion and thought. I better see what brings a sense of freedom from suspending the pull of what’s bringing me down.

The negative emotions and thoughts generally come from a perspective of ‘dissatisfaction’. Things aren’t the way I want them; I wish they were different; This feeling of restlessness hurts. The main negative emotion here seems to be fear. The antidote is to release the restlessness. Awareness practices aim to strengthen our skills at noticing these pain suffering attachments. They help us come home to the present moment’s experience with a fresh experience. This practice is not the same as attachment to a belief system that asks us to ignore the suffering in life. On the contrary, it grows our capacity to meet others in their suffering, deepening our sensitivity to the complexities of being born, living within these mortal bodies, and facing the surrender of these bodies. It’s hard to face death without fear. It’s hard to go through life without succumbing to greed, to thinking we need more and more and more. Without awareness practice these emotions can take over our life. We can reach the end of our time in these bodies wondering why we didn’t wake up to the precious nature of life. Why didn’t we do the work to gain sensitivity to the harm caused from our negative emotions? Why didn’t we develop a more disciplined practice to let go fear, greed, and the illusion that we’re separate, struggling for our own egocentric benefit? Why weren’t we more practiced at driving our words and actions from love rather than carelessly causing harm from our lack of intention/attention?

Every spiritual tradition, at its core, says we’re here to love one another. Sounds easy, but in reality, this is the most difficult challenge of all. It doesn’t just happen. Certainly we have different degrees of challenge given our basic make up and experience. Yet, no one escapes the challenges of releasing negative emotions and thoughts. The older I get, the more respect I have for these practices and their impact on quality of life.

These practices bring us more and more to a perspective of ‘no complaint, no complaint’. We tend to speak less and listen actively. With awareness training the purpose is to go deeper in understanding, even with our enemies. These practices are based on faith, direct personal experience, and a deep appreciation for the opportunity to participate in life, no matter what. This training gives us great respect for the necessity of a ‘reset’ when the negative is growing. So how can we reset when doubt, fear, greed, and a sense of small belonging seem to grow beyond our ability to let them go? The answer is to ‘let go’. Surrender these to sleep, meditation, and forgiveness/gratitude practices. Isn’t it ironic that the way to ‘wake up’ is to ‘go to sleep’? It’s one of the most effective ways to stop the momentum of negative thought and feeling.

So what are you doing to ‘wake up’? What daily practices do you engage in to deepen your awareness? Can you explore this from the elements of body, mind and spirit? What thoughts have you attached to that could be holding you back from freedom? If you had a meter that measured negative, neutral and positive thought, what would your day look like? What would your life look like? These are the questions I’m now taken with in the fall season of life.

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