Inspiration versus Motivation

Believing religious affiliation to be the key to achieving success, a young man eagerly submitted his body for baptism by immersion. But when the initiation ritual took an unexpected turn, he became horrified. They held him under the water for so long that he was in danger of drowning. Only on the brink of death was his head allowed to burst to the surface, wide-eyed and gasping. When he demanded an explanation for his near-suffocation, he was told: “Success is attained not by any affiliation but by desiring it as strongly as you just felt the desire to live and breathe.” He was, in effect, being asked how motivated he was to succeed, how insistently he was willing to struggle for it. 

Our foregoing story is a variation of a very old parable that is no more than half valid because survival-based life-or-death “motivation” for the purpose of ego-preservation and culturally-defined gain is only one approach to achieving liberation from the absence of something desired. The other approach is “inspiration”: identification of oneself with such a powerful inner vision or enchanting shared dream that, in the extreme, one is willing to sacrifice anything—including ego and its trappings—to achieve it for self and (usually) others. The first approach is fixed on receiving through assertive or aggressive action; the second relies on relinquishing and opening to meta-cultural guidance. 

Some personality types are predisposed to, or “wired for,” taking motivated action and following an enculturated value system expressible in terms of commonly revered goals and standards inculcated by authorities. At the other extreme are types fundamentally inclined to take inspired action, to follow an internal guidance system consisting of the ideals of freethinkers and prompted by psychic breadcrumbs such as synchronicities. Considering that the spectrum of personality types is rooted in a set of purposeful primal forces also known as Laws of Nature, can it be true that the way of inspiration should be universally embraced and motivation discarded and shunned, as some New Age gurus suggest? 

In a recent post we introduced the Master Myth of the Emergence and Quest of the Liberator, which is the unabridged dramatic allegory typically perceived through a “dim window” as The Hero’s Journey of contemporary mythologists or as The Fool’s Journey in more esoteric circles. The story begins with the emergence of Source Energy Awareness (SEA) from eternal imprisonment—a total liberation from unmoving endless omnipotence to experience a never-ending matrix of chains of seemingly chaotic cause-and-effect events representing every imaginable desire, restriction, shock, and subsequent release from limitation extant in the infinitude of multidimensional Multiverse. 

How better for the self—as an extension of SEA—to achieve success in any desire-driven endeavor than to emulate the Creator? So, was creation of Omniverse/Multiverse the result of motivation? Or was it inspiration? The truth is that the liberation initiative that created Omniverse cannot be labeled or characterized exclusively as either motivated or inspired but as a kind of hybrid action where motivation gave rise to imagination that conjured the inspiration through which Creation was birthed from out of the great stillness and no-thing-ness of pure Awareness. The two work best in tandem. 

Motivation arises from tension—an emotion-based reaction to “what is” versus “what is not”—whereas inspiration comes out of a relaxed emotionless state of mind. The further truth is that this motivation-triggering tension contains within itself both the challenge and its resolution; the two transpire simultaneously. But while the challenge piece is clear, its resolution often is not. In such cases, the elusive resolution is accessible via inspiration. Subsequent action taken to actualize the resolution is then both motivated and inspired.

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2 Responses to “Inspiration versus Motivation”

  1. Valiant Says:

    Sometimes I’m strongly inspired to take a specific action without having sensed a problem or expressing a desire. How do you account for that?

  2. PluribusOne™ Says:

    The original motivation is often forgotten by the time the inspiration arises. This is because we are constantly experiencing tension and desire and unless we make a conscious effort to allow inspiration to emerge it may be a while before we are in a frame of mind where it happens automatically. So, when it emerges we may not make the connection to the earlier-experienced feeling of lack and desire.

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