Author Topic: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear  (Read 3766 times)

jj83

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New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« on: June 08, 2010, 04:11:52 AM »
Last August I attended a 10-day Vipassana meditation course as taught by Goenka. It was the best experience of my life. I have continued to practice meditation for the past year, but I am having difficulty adjusting to my new outlook on life, especially in regards to my career.

I’m a 27 year-old, self-employed computer consultant for small businesses. I have been for the past 8 years. As with any small business, I have had my ups and downs. In the past when I would reach a low point, the fear of being broke would set me straight. It was not the healthiest of processes, but it seemed to work for me. I will be the first to admit that my business is not as streamlined as it could be, but that is not my concern with this post.

My concern with this post is in regards to successfully incorporating my more equanimous state of mind into my career. I’m more relaxed. I’m more content more of the time. I’m more present to such a degree that fear does not affect me as it did before. The overwhelming feeling of fear that plagued my past does not rear its ugly head anymore.

Instead of “kicking it into gear” when the going gets tough, I find myself more apt to go with the flow. That sudden burst of urgency created by fear in the past is not there. I do realize that a degree of fear is still a part of my career (fear in regards to growing my business), but the acute fear is not.

My question is… what can I do to attain that same level of motivation that the acute fear once provided me? What’s a healthier way for someone who meditates to remain motivated? Right now, my mind is in a place where I have no problem leisurely spending time, whereas before, it seemed I was more often in ‘go-go-go’, ‘more-more-more’ modes.

P.S. I’m attending my second 10-day retreat in July (next month).
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 04:14:46 AM by jj83 »

mik1e

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Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 08:25:57 AM »
Very nice question, JJ!

You may believe me or check my words by your own practice, but the root of all fears is the fear for yourself. Even when you are worried about, say, your relative, you actually think: "What I will do if he dies?"

So, the first step is to eliminate the fear for yourself -- does not matter what happens afterwards. In this practice you don't focus on your fear -- you focus on the state without fear, and put all your efforts on achieving it.

Another efficient state to focus on is merging with  Infinity. I usually use the term Infinity, because, in opposite to God, it has no emotional loading. When you focus on this state of "total dissolving", all disturbances in your mind (including fears and experience of previous lives) are perceived just as annoying  hindrances, and you get rid of them without focusing on them specially.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 08:32:43 AM by mik1e »

Morning Dew

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Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 09:10:38 PM »
Hi JJ and welcome to the forum friend  :)

I have not so much wisdom but this fellow has some you could find helpful to provoke you a bit;
Freedom From The Known
On Fear

Quote
Another efficient state to focus on is merging with  Infinity.

How does one do that? Using the mind or ?

Remain relaxed  :)

mik1e

  • Guest
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2010, 01:03:50 AM »
Quote
Another efficient state to focus on is merging with  Infinity.

How does one do that? Using the mind or ?

Actually, everything what you do consciously, is based on mind activity. But different actions involve different levels of the mind. The higher (wider) states you reach, the less mental (logical) is your mind, and the closer it is to pure perception -- without analysis or estimation. After some level, fears become incompatible with these vibrations. So, you get rid of fears (and many other dirtinesses) without focusing on fighting with them intentionally. You eliminate them like you would move back stones from your path: your main goal is walking along the path, not moving the stones.

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2010, 01:43:57 AM »
I've got to say that this is a deep question, one that strikes at the heart of what it means to live in the world as a lay practitioner dedicated to the dharma. I should mention that I am not very qualified to answer your question. (I happily earn a very modest income! Maybe I need more fear?  ;D )

What I hear you asking in your post is NOT how to stop your fear. It sounds like you are already figuring that out. Rather, you want to find a way to stay motivated now that your fear is diminishing. And since you are asking this question, you obviously BELIEVE that you SHOULD try make alot of money (even though you no longer fear being broke). So, one question I have: what is driving that belief?

Let me suggest that there are many wholesome motives that could be driving you to make money, and with practice, they can be quite energizing: kindness, compassion, and the desire for wisdom (to name a few). I think its pretty safe to say that the more you develop in the dharma, the less you will see wealth and property as valuable in itself. However, wealth can certainly be a powerful means to an end. Perhaps you can be motivated by the desire to support family and/or friends? Perhaps you can be motivated by the opportunity to give dana/charity? Perhaps you can find daily opportunities in your work that allow you to develop on the path (perhaps in your interactions with employees/colleagues/customers?) All these things can push you to excel, but it takes some skillful introspection (and aspiration) to figure out what works for you.

With metta,
KN

May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

elliberto

  • Guest
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2010, 08:06:49 AM »
Am not qualified to answer that question.
Just wanted to say I'm really happy for you that you're practice has given you the freedom to not need fear anymore as a motivation for making money. You now have the freedom to figure out a motivation that is more in line with you as a person.
The way I see it, that's a great gift way more than it is a problem.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 08:30:06 AM by elliberto »

Morning Dew

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Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2010, 09:29:29 AM »
Quote
Perhaps you can be motivated by the desire to support family and/or friends? Perhaps you can be motivated by the opportunity to give dana/charity? Perhaps you can find daily opportunities in your work that allow you to develop on the path (perhaps in your interactions with employees/colleagues/customers?) All these things can push you to excel, but it takes some skillful introspection (and aspiration) to figure out what works for you.

Aren't all these based on DESIRE which comes from the known from the conditioned mind? Me willing to help hungry kids in Africa etc ... I do sponsor two kids in Africa but that can also be an escape into ego if ignorant of what is. One thing is understanding without attachment that such gesture is breeding good, and another thing is if I do this to make my little self feel good about this  :) don't you think?

If you struggle to keep your motive to practice look no further into "how to" but stay with that feeling of despare of desire to have motive to practice and you might see just another ego game conditioning your mind  :)  as soon you feel low, down, stressed, confused, etc ... you can rest assured that is the ego playing and all you can do is watch it, nothing more, nothing less.

The book I linked you to might give you valuble pointers (Freedon From The Known)

Remain relaxed  :)

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2010, 09:38:14 AM »
Quote
Another efficient state to focus on is merging with  Infinity.

How does one do that? Using the mind or ?

Actually, everything what you do consciously, is based on mind activity. But different actions involve different levels of the mind. The higher (wider) states you reach, the less mental (logical) is your mind, and the closer it is to pure perception -- without analysis or estimation. After some level, fears become incompatible with these vibrations. So, you get rid of fears (and many other dirtinesses) without focusing on fighting with them intentionally. You eliminate them like you would move back stones from your path: your main goal is walking along the path, not moving the stones.

Ok, I see. But why do you use the word FOCUS ON if one has reached this state of no logical? Are you suggesting that one is to maintain the optimistic vs pesimistic atitude on the path? Doesn't this create another separation, yet another thought game? Do I look at the galss half full or half empty kind of.

Isn't non-action the only right action? Sorry but this you are saying does not make much sense to me. It kind of sounds a bit New Age  :D (a joke) 

Remain relaxed  :)

mik1e

  • Guest
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2010, 11:27:08 AM »
Ok, I see. But why do you use the word FOCUS ON if one has reached this state of no logical?

I am limited by words which exist in the language (and by my knowledge of the language, too :))

Of course, the STATE, which could be named "focusing on", changes while you are moving higher and higher. But we can still name these different states by the same word, keeping in mind their main property -- namely, that the "main goal" of your movement is constantly in the center of your picture of world. Naturally, when you reach your "destination point" the main goal will change (say, to being in the state). Actually, your question is related to this (final) state.

Are you suggesting that one is to maintain the optimistic vs pessimistic attitude on the path? Doesn't this create another separation, yet another thought game?

It is your interpretation of my words (which is not correct, since I tried to avoid emotionally loaded definitions). I can imagine here only one opposition: emotionally slaved vs emotionally free state. This "separation" is natural and exists objectively, i.e. does not depend on presence or absence of an observer, like difference between day and night. So, if you chose one of the states, it will be not a thought game, but just consent choice. And consciousness expanding techniques (like vipassana) allow you to make such choices on higher and higher levels.

Isn't non-action the only right action?

Of course, yes. But one needs to have solid criteria to distinguish between real non-acting and convincing himself that he is non-acting :). There is a lot of guys in New Age who like very much to chat about such things :).  If you would like to say that "non-doing" means "action without goal", in general you will be not correct. In this state you definitely have no personal goals, but the goal of the action (after achieving which the action stops) still exists.

Sorry but this you are saying does not make much sense to me.  

We both may be not right...
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 11:31:36 AM by mik1e »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2010, 11:43:06 AM »

My question is… what can I do to attain that same level of motivation that the acute fear once provided me? What’s a healthier way for someone who meditates to remain motivated?

The question is the wrong question. What you actually need to do is start looking at your life afresh and seeing if your priorities are really the same now as before. I doubt they are.

The path does not just include meditation. Right livelihood is just as important. If your work is not in and of itself providing the motivation you need then maybe, just maybe ... you're in the wrong line of work.

Warmly and welcome to the forums,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
    • Thai Forest Tradition
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2010, 12:00:04 PM »
Dear JJ,

Psychologists refer to a situation called 'positive stress' where the amount of stress that a person is under is just enough to kickstart him into high performance and not great enough to batter him down. However the point of view of psychologists is principally a Non-Dharmic one. Since they do not practice meditation and do not understand the profoundness of its practice, they make the mistake of thinking a little stress is required and even beneficial.

A mind that is free from stress and fear is an extremely powerful instrument. Such a mind has the ability to transform your entire life - of which performance at work is merely a little part. A completely stress free mind is infinitely better (and alert) than even a slightly stressed mind.

Could it be that you have confused a relaxed mind with a lazy mind?

The benefits of meditation transform your working habit in such a way that you still give a 100% everytime but without feeling the need to externally push yourself especially when the going gets tough. Not only does your output increase but the corresponding stress that accompanies it also decreases.

I would suggest you continue with your meditative practice and simply observe the changes it brings about. It cannot change you in such a way that you stop doing your work and then break down at crunch time.

Ulitimately, however, it is worth noting that living in stress is no way to live even if that means that sometimes your work cannot be done. So if your job is a high stress job, you could consider changing it.

Warmly,
Crystal Palace
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 12:02:23 PM by Crystal Palace »
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2010, 11:54:27 PM »
Hey everyone,

I'm really enjoying this thread, and all the fruitfull comments.

TIB, I feel like your comment really cut to the chase with razor-sharp brevity:

Quote
What you actually need to do is start looking at your life afresh and seeing if your priorities are really the same now as before. I doubt they are.

And Crystal, your whole posting was awesome. I found this comment especially deep:
Quote
Could it be that you have confused a relaxed mind with a lazy mind?
That is a valuable distinction that I look forward to further exploring in my practice.

Also, to address Morning Dew's point, you are correct to infer that in my view, desire (and even fabrication) is NOT bad, and in fact, should be regarded as tools to be skillfully used in one's practice. The problem is the quality of our desire, our relationship to it, and our delusion that desire is inexorably fixed to its present object. Specifically, the problem is what the Buddha called, "Tanha" or thirst-- a compelling an insistent form of desire, characterized by clinging.

Having wholesome desires (like compassion and loving kindness) are fundamental to the eight-fold path. As meditation practices, they also involve skillful fabrication. The Buddha frequently mentioned the importance of right effort as characterized by desire, and what is right intention but a form of desire? Indeed, the eight-fold path is itself, arguably, the most perfect fabrication of them all. What do you all think? I'm no sutta-scholar, so I'd be genuinely curious to hear other viewpoints on this.

I should mention that I agree that on the cushion, we generally should "fabricate nothing." Or to put it more accurately, we can carefully observe the fabrications until we see their arising and then (by not adding any fuel) their ceasing.

With metta,
KN

May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: New sources of motivation to replace motivation via fear
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2010, 10:33:39 AM »
KN

This is a fruitful discussion. In short, practice is practice - and what happens off the cushion is real life. Not to say that practice is not real but that the qualities and changes it facilitates off the cushion in daily activities and relationships are the matter at hand.
TIB, I feel like your comment really cut to the chase with razor-sharp brevity:

Quote
What you actually need to do is start looking at your life afresh and seeing if your priorities are really the same now as before. I doubt they are.

As I said earlier this year:

Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist date=1266697132
....
In the mean time, personally I have become heavily involved in local chaplaincy work at the university. ... etc ... All this other stuff means I have a little less time to be online here.

I apologise if my answers in the next few weeks are sometimes short and to the point. I know there are others here with plenty of experience - and old threads are a rich resource both for reading and quoting.

This community means a great deal to me.

Brevity is often my style, except when the needs of explanation demand more ... or just when I'm having one of those days :)

In addition to the above that draws me away from here and means my answers are often short I have just been asked to lead a project to teach as many people as possible how to meditate, in an area with a population of 250,000 ... aked to be trustee of a charity orphanage and hospital in Sri Lanka .... Oh .. and been elected as chair of my estate tenants association.

I find I have less time to be online unsurprisingly.

The other aspect of this is something older members of the community can say something about perhaps. Generally that is what I do best, cut to the chase. My given Dharma name of Lekshe Gyamtso or "Ocean of excellent understanding" is not accidental. Khandro Rinpoche saw in me a deep Dharmic understanding. That is what I saw in her and learned from her - her teachings soaked into me like rain into a dry field:



   ·   Generosity

       ·   Avoiding Harm

       ·   Patience

       ·   Effort
   Discipline / Shila

      ·Meditation               {process
          ·Shamatha            { "Shamatha/calm-abiding" leads to
          ·Samadi                  {"Samadhi/one-pointed mind/concentration"
          ·Trying to achieve   {-through "Vipassana/insight"
        understanding         {


    ·   Wisdom
   Combine all five (the above) to become wisdom mind.

“Do not allow arisings to become solid obstacles”.



This Dharma/Dhamma/Truth/Ageless wisdom is a guide to the path in simple English. Pithy, perfected, profound and workable. KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. By being stupid in a sense of naive and open, yet awake and receptive, and by using the philosophers golden rule, do unto others (compassion) ... as our compass, and knowing the path and liberation are not goals but process as described above, attainment without grasping is in everybody's reach.

Realising the Truth is not for the feint hearted, though the middle way rejects (most) asceticism, it is still a path which requires self discipline, change, and "fully facing" (with equanimity) the reality of your greedy, hateful, and ignorant "self".

Warmly,

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 11:45:54 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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