A Meditation on Life: Motivation

Experience teaches me again and again that I cannot make somebody… myself included… care about something.

Experience teaches me again and again…

… that the enthusiasms generated by a fiery sermon or rousing pep talk fade as quickly as they arise.

… that an incentive can change my behavior, but it cannot make me care.

… that the capacity to care about something is a process of awakening… of being moved by a truth, about the world or about myself, that I did not see before.

… that such a truth is typically so obvious in retrospect that it is embarrassing to admit that I once believed otherwise.

… that such awakening is not an act of will, but a process of growth… a natural response to intimate contact with reality… in all its beauty and horror.

… that a true awakening penetrates my heart and my guts, not just my intellect.

… that, if I am fortunate, such awakenings may come by the gift of grace, but if I am wise and courageous, I can entice them into revealing themselves by intentionally living life outside my comfort zones.

… that each awakening is necessarily both disruptive and liberating, both humbling and empowering… demanding that I abandon so many beliefs and behaviors I once held dear, while releasing me into a universe of possibilities I could not have known otherwise.

… that, despite the burdensome responsibilities imposed by each newly-bestowed freedom, I would not choose to return to my former state of ignorance.

… that such an awakening is a most precious gift… not just to myself, but to the whole world… a world where we all know that there is no shortage of things to care about.

Next Meditation: Self-Determination

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