Excerpt About Spiritual Practice

Experiencing a Selfless Motivation to Practice

At some point, if we make the inner turn and become interested in engaging spiritual work we begin to be motivated to practice. In the beginning, the motivation has a lot of self-centeredness in it—this is unavoidable because we still come from a self-centered sense of who we are. This is natural and normal for everybody. As our practice matures and develops, as we have more understanding of what reality is, we begin to experience a selfless motivation. Our practice can express compassion, kindness, love, appreciation, service, generosity, giving. Our practice expresses true compassion and love, not because that is what works best but because that is how we actually feel—we are selflessly inclined. And as practice matures further, the motivation to practice is altogether transcended. You don’t need motivation in order to practice. This doesn’t mean that love and compassion and service are useless; it means that practice does not depend on motive, is not contingent on motive, whether self-centered or selfless. This development implies a greater degree of realization. Of course, there might come a time when you don’t feel motivated to practice and you feel that something is wrong with that. This is why I’m mentioning it. You might think, “I don’t feel interested in or excited about practicing or engaging the path or engaging the truth. What’s wrong with me? What happened to my heart? What happened to my motivation?” But when you explore it further, you might realize that you haven’t actually stopped practicing. You realize that practice continues, maybe even more diligently than before, but without your needing anything to push you to do it, whether that motivation be suffering or love, avoidance or attraction.

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