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Psychological Motivation (and Beyond)…


Motivation is oftentimes a very good thing. Your teachers wanted you to have plenty of it when you were a youth in elementary school. Most people look at a man or woman who has very little gumption as being rather mediocre and unproductive. Motivation helps one to accomplish things; oftentimes these things are necessary for good health, community prosperity, and the planet’s wellbeing.

It is prudent to have motivation for one’s so-called self and immediate family. It would be even more prudent to engage in motivation that helps the environment and the planet as a whole. Too many people were educated and conditioned to have motivation for the “self” while, all along, not seeing this self as including and being other life forms and the planet as a whole. Most of us were educated and conditioned to strive for a small, fragmentary self that is (for the most part) considered to be something apart from the whole. Most of us graduate from school, being so very proud of our graduation, and then go out (conditioned and programmed to have motivation for fragmentary concepts of rather separate selves and separate groups); then we ruthlessly compete, struggle, disagree over our separative images and beliefs… and continue to cling to motivational patterns that are isolating, divisive, and devoid of real, holistic compassion.

Although motivation has its place, it is wise to go beyond motivation at times. Thought/thinking is always tied to motivation. Thinking occurs for a reason (usually a very conditioned reason); thinking always involves moving in some direction, acquiring, avoiding, or getting… (all involving motivation). However, a very intelligent mind can see the limitation and the fragmentary nature of motivation; then, if it is lucky, it can sometimes be where motivation is not necessary, where motivation is no longer needed. This motivationless state is where thinking is transcended (without effort) and put aside (for the time being); it is of a causeless bliss and joy.

Can one, out of psychological strife and motivational effort, bring such a state into being? Of course not. The psychological ending of conditioning does not merely depend upon motivational patterns. Thinking (as internal, psychological motivation) has its place, but wisdom goes beyond what is of no use in terms of wholeness and profound awareness. One of intelligence does not set aside a special time to “go beyond motivational thinking” or to “indulge in meditation.” It is not what one can arrange to happen via set motivational undertakings. It happens naturally, spontaneously, without pre-programmed calculation… or it does not happen at all.


Pearling is what occurs in aquarium plants that — when in enough light — emit bubbles of oxygen into the water (that naturally stream upward during photosynthesis). The photo is of some of my Corkscrew Vals pearling. All plants, terrestrial plants included, emit oxygen into the atmosphere during photosynthesis — thank goodness for us — as a natural by-product.

Pearling of Corkscrew Val Aquarium Plants … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2021

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My Blog primarily consists of close-up nature photos (that I've taken locally) combined with original holistic-truth oriented prose and/or poetry involving mindfulness/awareness. I love nature and I love understanding the whole (not merely the parts and the details). I'm a retired teacher of the multiply handicapped. I have a number of interesting hobbies, such as fossil collecting, sport-kite flying, 3D and 2D close-up photography, holography, and pets. Most of all, I am into holistic self-awareness, spontaneous insight, unconventional observation/direct perception, mindfulness, meditation, world peace, non-fragmentation, population control, vegetarianism, and green energy. To follow my unique Blog of "Nature Photos and Mindfulness Sayings" and for RSS feeds to my new posts, please access at: (On my regular Blog posting pages, for additional information and to follow, simply click on the "tack icon" at the upper right corner... or, on my profile page, you can click on the "Thomas Peace" icon.) Stay mindful, understanding, and caring!...

16 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I really like this post Tom. Motivation is necessary, of course, to get things done but it does not lead to an experience of joy. I think too often we expect that if we follow a path ‘religiously’ there will be an experience of wonder or joy at the end of it.

    There is also the problem of underlying drivenness that often disguises itself as motivation. It took me a long long time to distinguish between the two…

    I like the word ‘grace’ to describe those moments of breakthrough that come unbidden creating meaning/joy/illumination in our lives.

    I also like what you say about your fish tank breathing out oxygen through its plants.

    The greatest threat we are facing is the loss of oxygen as climate change intensifies…


    • Yes, Sara, there is no path ‘religiously,’ but true spirituality really exists.
      Grace is a good descriptor of those moments of joy and illumination in our lives. However, one feels, oftentimes such moments are unrecognizable, beyond the known, beyond categorization, beyond mere grasping; that is true humility too.
      Loss of oxygen, yes. Our planet is in far greater danger than people realize. The Amazon is going, the California forests are going, the permafrost is melting and so many are denying climate change.


      • I see spirituality as the relationship between humans and the rest of nature,,,And I am glad you like grace – it works for me – but it is impossible to describe what happens inside those experiences…. oh this climate change thing is beyond distressing -alternate realities don’t believe – and i find myself asking what planet do these people live on.

    • Thought you might like this:
      “I want to know my own will
      and to move with it
      and I want, in the hushed
      when the nameless draws near
      to be among the wise ones-
      or alone”


      • Thanks for the Rilke poetry!
        It would be a wonderful poem but ‘will’ doesn’t exist, especially not for the individual.
        An excerpt from The Infinite Reason, a poem by Archibald MacLeish:

        Rilke thought it was the human part
        To translate planet into angel —
        Bacteria to mortal heart

        Fermenting, into something rich and strange,
        The orchard at home, the sky above Toledo:
        Sight into soul was what we lived to change.

        The key, he told us, was the angel’s need,
        Not our necessity — and yet
        No angel answered for his heart to feed.

        The truth is nearer to the true than that.
        The truth is, the necessity is ours.
        Man is creature to whom meaning matters…

  2. I have noticed that if I have the “right” motivation I am more likely to accomplish something. Like for example I hate driving but received two checks in the mail I had to deposit at the bank so I had to drive to the bank to deposit them.


  3. Winter saps our motivation with its cold and snowy weather and gray days. This month of February was hard to deal with after a fairly mild Winter. Walking to the Park keeps me going through the long Winter, but walking behind a shovel every day in frigid temps did not. It’s hard to recapture the vim and vigor of youth sometimes. 🙂


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