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


Published on 29/10/15
by randy


What moves us to do what we do? Why are we so defensive whenever another questions our motive? The fact is, this is such a complex area far beyond black and white answers. It’s especially true when we’re moving to make choices for apparent health from what we’ve judged to be harmful behavior. Whether changing positions on political party, gun control, abortion, war, abortion, gay rights, etc., we’re introducing flexibility to a thought we’ve held onto for a long time. A thought held onto for a long time is called a ‘belief’. It takes a lot of energy to actually change our behavior from what we’ve held as belief for a lifetime. When I was young, raised on a farm, my first lucrative job was trapping gophers. Their dirt mounds damaged farm equipment and I received a bounty from my parents and our county. I don’t know what motivated me to not kill that last gopher. I was an active member of the NRA, was a mediocre marksmen, and when I shot my first pheasant it was my last. I can rationalize reasons for my change of behavior, but even I don’t know the exact reasons for these changes. As a young child through my junior year of high school I only saw myself flying jets for the military. I felt the deepest sense of patriotism for all this wonderful country had given me. My sense of ‘us vs. them’ was a positive experience as I co-captained Minnesota’s No. 1 ranked high school football team. My junior high and senior high education stressed the ‘us vs. them’ motive to surpass Russia in space, nuclear weaponry, and military might. We ‘believed’ we had to be prepared to get them before they got us. My belief in us against them was loosened with the Vietnam War. We had been indoctrinated to believe it was a war between communism and democracy. The domino theory believed that if we didn’t win in Vietnam we’d fall under the control of China and/or the Soviet Union. In 1968 that motive was questioned as more and more information came to light. It was the first war where we had difficulties identifying the enemy. It was the last war where we had a draft. I suspect our military would still be in Vietnam if we hadn’t had the draft. The military belief is to never give up. However, in 1968 everyone had ‘skin in the game’ because of the draft and we were all involved in deciding how to go forward. With time, we discovered that 58,000 of our young soldiers were killed and three million Vietnamese died under a false motive. It was a civil war and not a war of ideology as had been sold to us. My motive to fly a military jet plane radically changed and I acted by enrolling in a liberal arts college instead of a military academy. Upon review of then Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara’s documentary, Fog of War, years later this incorrect motive was substantiated.

So today we still can’t identify our enemy. We sell weapons to one group only to find out later they’re in the hands of the very people we’re fighting. Without skin in the game (a war tax taken directly from everyone’s income/assets, or a draft) we find it easy to fall into an ideological belief sold to us through those who ‘know more’. In the face of new information that continually knocks down our original motives we’re left with anxiety over what to so many seems like wasted money and lives. The notion of ‘us vs. them’ has become more and more elusive as allies become enemies and previous enemies become apparent allies. In the confusion, someone looking from the outside could find some humor in enemies collaborating to kill another enemy only to come back and kill each other. That’s the nature of the illusive motive, the confusion of who’s fighting who, and the strongly held belief that it’s ‘us vs. them’.

The whole concept of ‘war on terror’ capitalized on this. It was an ill defined enemy allowing wars to extend indefinitely. So many of the so called terrorists today are angry civilians who had a family member or friend killed under the motive to turn a totalitarian state to a democracy. If another country invaded us under the motive to change our belief for the better, and if they accidentally killed my family and friends in the process, I’d have to work pretty hard to not want to retaliate. We’ll never know how many friends and family who were our friends turned ‘terrorist’ once we killed their friends and family and called it ‘collateral damage’. Throughout the Iraq War we heard military strategists suggest that we could save one-hundred citizens from terror, but as soon as we accidentally killed an innocent civilian we were back to ground zero. Not only had we lost the good will of those we were trying to help, but in the process we appeared to grow the number of terrorists. The nature of motive must continually be examined. It’s a moving target and our problems stem from our unwillingness to hold some flexibility in our held thoughts, our beliefs.

I hope I’ve used somewhat skillful means to present the topic of motive. As a democratic society we can never let go our thirst to identify motive. So much harm is done to the environment and to each other because we stop exploring the never ending question of that elusive target, motive. I personally find today’s official line motive to continue wars in the Middle East until all the terrorists are dead as an insult to our intelligence. The military is trained in this thinking. As a society we have to forever push the question, “What’s driving the ‘belief’ that our decision makers are holding on to?” That’s where the real dialogue of a democracy happens (in my belief). Most spiritual traditions also ask us to explore what’s driving our actions through the basic question, “Is it fear or love?” It’s my experience that love has a much better track record than fear, but that’s just another thought (belief) that I must continually be open to reexamine.

Sidenote: I went to post this on my Word Press website and was blocked with the following message:

There have now been several large scale WordPress wp-login.php brute force attacks, coming from a large amount of compromised IP addresses spread across the world since April 2013.
A large botnet of around 90,000 compromised servers has been attempting to break into WordPress websites by continually trying to guess the username and password to get into the WordPress admin dashboard.

Yes, continue to examine every belief system, exploring the never ending questions of motive. It’s my belief our survival depends upon it.

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