On motiveless motivation


If there is a seeing-through of the idea that we are the ones in charge of our lives, that there is indeed anyone “at home” to make decisions, and anyone “at home” to enjoy (or suffer) their consequences, the mind becomes very quiet, very silent. After all, the motivation to think arises chiefly from desire — and not just any desire, but rather desire which arises from the identification of ourselves with the imaginary entity called a person.

Actually, that’s the only thing which is normally called desire at all.

What happens in place of this if the mind is quiet? Well, it depends on who you ask. For the ‘person’ whose mind is quiet, nothing can be said to be happening at all! What happens when you’re distracted, when you’re not paying attention — in that moment, do you notice what goes on around you? No, you do not. So what is the experience of the world like when you’re not paying attention to it? The non-egoic ‘state’ is like that.

And yet from the ‘outside’ standpoint, the mind and body seem to continue to act. But what motivates them to act? And the answer is that something beyond normal identity-based desire motivates them. Something else. Something that we can call non-egoic desire if we like, but it’s really not like desire at all. It’s something else. It doesn’t do, think, or feel because it wants something. It does — why? Because — unclear. It just does. For its own inscrutable reasons.

Its motivation is motiveless.

In fact, only this motiveless motivation is ever in operation — even in ‘egoic’ motivation.