Right Motivation suggests that we do not have to be at the mercy of our neuroses if we do not want to be. The conscious mind, when properly oriented, can, with practice, rise above the conditioning of its subconscious influences and intentionally direct a person’s activity. More often than not, as therapists know all too well, we are run by impulses we cannot see. Habitual and repetitive patterns of reactivity dominate the untrained mind. Buddhism, practical as always, takes this as a given, but says it is only a starting place. We can shake free of our unconscious influences if we first admit they are there, if we can find and identify them, over and over again, as they appear in our day-to-day lives. Right Motivation encourages us to come out from our hiding places, to use our powers of observation for our own good, and to be real with ourselves. It is the branch of the Eightfold Path that brings conscious intention to the forefront- that asks us to use our intelligence to our advantage, and to not let our fears and habits determine the direction of our behavior.
when I remember that life is skillful, and I wasn’t simply born with all the answers….
inquiry for today~ what are your 3 pillars that guide and serve?
Socrates famously said, “To know the good is to do the good,” but I’ll risk picking a fight with one of philosophy’s heavyweights to say I think Socrates got that one wrong. Maybe he never felt guilty a day in his life, but for those of us who’ve ever languished in the gap between what wee know is good and how e’re actually behaving, we’re going to need a bit more than knowledge. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, right off the top of your head, “What are three things I should really improve about myself?” I’m going to guess you could’ve kept going past three. When it comes to what we want to change, most of us know it- or at least tiptoe very near it.
Sometimes, taking action is not the problem, either. We’re willing to stand up and fight. Patanjali tries to catch us in the second chapter of the yoga sutras: “Yoga action requires discipline, self-study, and surrender.” Knowing the good is not enough. Reshaping our selves requires belief combined with behavior, and Patanjali encourages three virtues for taking action that will make a difference: discipline, self-study, and surrender.