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What is motivation? It is the dynamic by which we are driven to perform a particular action. When we are motivated, we feel an urge arise unbidden from our depths. We are ready; we feel that the time is right; we know that "this is what I am supposed to be doing"; we want to do it regardless of our previous failures, or any rationales to the contrary, or any pain or difficulty which we will encounter.
- The ego. The ego's motivation is to create our human world, e.g., our home, income, social life, a healthy body, etc.
- The soul. The soul's motivation is to explore the archetypes of spirit; we discern soul's motivation through intuition. This motivation is not contrary to the motivation of ego or the a-field elements:
- Ego. Soul respects the ego's drive to create our human world, because that human world is the arena in which soul will function for its study of archetypes.
- Charged a-field elements. Soul does not interfere with the dynamic by which the previous elements discharge themselves. The soul uses all of these experiences -- the pretty and the ugly -- as a means for learning about the dynamics of spirit and its archetypes.
- Charged archetypal-field elements. In every situation, we are confronting archetypes. Intuition can guide us in generating the particular elements (i.e., thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions) which constitute an appropriate response to those archetypes. However, if we are not aware of intuition (or if we ignore it), our thoughts, imagery, energy tones, and actions will not be entirely appropriate; for example, we will not say exactly what needs to be said. Because of this inappropriateness, the elements do not fully discharge their charge; instead, when they leave their permanent record in the archetypal field, there is a charge which lingers. It is this charge which compels us to recreate the archetypal situation for the specific purpose of discharging the residual energy. Thus, much of our motivation derives from these charged elements; for example, if we have generated hateful thoughts toward "irresponsible people," we will be compulsively motivated to perform irresponsible acts until we have resolved the charge. (This compulsion is often called "karma.")
- Values. During a decision-making process, the mind refers to our "values"; for example, if we must decide between a high-paying job and an enjoyable job, the mind might discover that we value "enjoyment." We feel motivated to comply with our values; contrarily, when we do not comply with our values, we experience the painful sensation of "guilt." When we are motivated by our values, we are energized and excited; we find the drive and desire and resources to endeavor, and we feel satisfaction when the goals are reached, regardless of people's reaction. What we have achieved is real to us, because it satisfies our values. But if we accept other people's values as our own, we probably feel a weaker drive and an emptiness at the conclusion (if we had enough enthusiasm to persist toward the completion at all).
- Desire. Motivation is the psychological process which is triggered when we experience desire.
- Pleasure and pain. Although the motivation of ego and soul might lead us into activities which are incidentally painful, we are generally motivated by a desire to achieve pleasure or avoid pain. (Even then, we are motivated by pleasure and pain, because we feel fulfillment when we comply with our values, and we feel guilt if we do not comply.) These are two different motivations; some people are influenced primarily by a desire for pleasure, but other people's lives are guided mostly by their aversion to discomfort. The first group experiences more satisfaction and fun; we can join that group by expressing our goals in a positive way; for example, our motivation can be to earn money "for our family and our own comfort," rather than to earn money "to stay out of debt."
- Archetypal field-work.
- Self-talk. For example: "I am a responsible person." "I feel good when I fulfill my duties." "I can find something interesting in everything that I do." "Life is a fascinating adventure." "I enjoy exploring the many facets of life."
- Directed imagination. We can visualize ourselves performing a task which needs to be performed.
- Energy toning. To motivate ourselves, we can cultivate the energy tones of pleasure, excitement, passion, exhilaration, etc.
- The "as if" principle. There is a time for examining our motivation -- but when the introspection degenerates into rationalization and psychologizing, we need to cease the introspection, and then turn to the chore and "just do it," acting "as if" we are motivated.
- Intuition can suggest goals which naturally motivate us.
- Intuition can reveal our contrary motivations. For example, if we have not been motivated to study for an exam, intuition might show us that we have a "fear of success" (and so we secretly want to fail the exam).
- Physiological needs. These needs include hunger, thirst, health, housing, etc.
- Safety needs. These needs include physical security (e.g., a home which is secure from prowlers), a stable environment, law and order, and freedom from fear and violence.
- Love and belonging. These needs include friendship, affection, acceptance, social connections, etc.
- Self-esteem. These needs include self-respect, achievement, recognition, etc.
- Self-actualization. The previous four levels are founded on a sense of lack. But after satisfying those basics, we start to become complete, distinct individuals who are inspired to pursue the expression of our full potential, our self-actualization.