Detached, Disinterested, Desireless, Unmotivated?

“For cognition to be complete…it must be detached, disinterested, desireless, unmotivated. Only thus are we able to perceive the object in its own nature with its own objective, intrinsic characteristics rather than abstracting it down to ‘what is useful,’ ‘what is threatening,’ etc. To the extent that we try to master the environment or be effective with it, to that extent do we cut the possibility of full, objective, detached, non-interfering cognition. Only if we let it be, can we perceive fully…in many..situations, to give in is to overcome, to be humble is to succeed.” Abraham Maslow – Toward A Psychology of Being

Lately I’ve noticed the gold in the process of letting go, releasing motivation. It’s especially useful when life backs you up against the wall once again. Me and this here wall (forgive the intentional murder of grammar), we know the be, the grin up against the next big obstacle with the chips fallen all around and the fan coated in stuff no one’s too keen to smell and the room too and none of it anyone’s fault. No one to blame. No victims. No helpers. Just life. The power in comprehension birthed from a detached, disinterested (Even!), desireless, un-mo-ti-va-ted growth process is, well, unique. You know what it does to blogging? Well, it brings out this weird kind of whatever yeah ok, that seems like a great idea “approach.” And voila! A post emerges. It’s not like there’s a heavily worn path to this location here but it’s a must for me.

When restoring the stuff, the fibre of “Who” “I” “AM” apart from all that’s been intentionally left behind, this particular bit of the process claims a potent, vital, critical point on the path of growth. It reveals how attached we become to attachment, to interest, to desire, to motivation and how much energy we put into trying to keep up these forces, maintain their existence. STAY MOTIVATED…an often exhausting endeavor in manufactured earnestness, no? It requires massive doses of courage to detach, allow disinterest to be what it is, allow a lack of desire to simply be, and believe in self apart from…gasp…motivation.

What is discovered? An organic wellspring of something unable to be named slowly bubbles up and things happen. Life emerges. Motivation isn’t as much a goal as a by-product in this particular phase of personal growth. And if our lives are “merely” about surviving, putting food on the table and a roof over the heads we love, detachment can provide a haven from the storm disrupting long-established motivation into a frenzy of confusion. How to be motivated in an increasingly difficult world? It comes from a death, a stalling, a time of allowing the seed seemingly lost under the concrete to find the inner vibe and…

the unfolding

It’s not that all planning, all cultivation of motivation goes away forever. It’s that a both/and reality coexists oftentimes in cycles and seasons that inevitably create a whole reality of unity.

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7 thoughts on “Detached, Disinterested, Desireless, Unmotivated?

  1. To put a little Tao-spin on it: “to want to be always cheery, want it and demand it of others most desperately, is to linger amid the dregs of unhappiness but, usually, without recognizing or knowing where this want and demand are coming from.” Oddly enough, to state this point before the “cheery and always motivated types,” one always manages to come out as negative, a bore, and merely surrendered — on the surrender part it is probably true, but in a way and from a place they cannot as yet fathom. The “stay motivated” gurus and those who insist that all change should and must be positive (otherwise why the hell would one want to change), a strictly forward moving line, are those I mostly dislike and distance myself from (that amounts, sadly, to distancing oneself from nearly everyone).

    “Motivation isn’t as much a goal as a by-product in this particular phase of personal growth.”

    Watts’ insights in these matters have proved invaluable to me. I will pursue them in earnest in the future.

    • Watts has set me free to accept my somewhat ruthless refusal of the perennial sunshiners…the motivation gurus you mention. i suppose some need that non-stop race ’round the nascar track that goes nowhere but fast fast fast to the finish line. i prefer the journey, the meandering walk where i know i want to put one foot and then the other and i know i’ll want to sit at some point and i might even want to curl up on the moss by a river but i don’t know where i’ll end up, i just know i’ll enjoy the steps. (motivation? what? unfold along the way.) i might just sit at the trunk of a tree and feel the pain that won’t go away today. but to run furiously from it in a search to be “better” is to abort a necessary work of growth. (not that i’m much for wallowing in self pity but there’s a big difference between that and simply allowing what’s unfolding within) besides, i can smile and laugh and give and receive when i’m still dealing with a phase of disinterest in any big scheme for accomplishment etc and even when i’m in pain. i think some folks feel the inner pain or turmoil and immediately judge themselves somehow as failing because they feel something other than happy. instead of recognizing it as an inevitable fact of being alive and loving. so all these efforts to run and distance and “fix” and go go go and be anything but what is felt inside commences. and the motivational gurus are more than happy to help the sprinters get as far away from the inner world as possible.

      Watts has a book about becoming who you are that’s worth the time (they all are). I have another that’s a collection of some of his essays and their insight into this issue is powerful. I forget the title and the book has disappeared into a bag … :0) (glad for your comment, pierre…)

    • 🙂 that’s my fault. this is not a well-written post. but i had to just let it spill, regardless of my lack of time. this is just inadequately saying that we don’t have to scramble for big motivations and perpeutal days of “upness” or even interest in much of anything. and that we can grasp (comprehend or know) a situation, a person, issues more fully when we let go and allow them to be instead of scrambling for solutions or “better” attitudes. when some of us are hoping for a way to find solutions in a seemingly impossible set-up this particular freedom is needful. maslow was especially speaking to therapists who get lost in the “there’s a cure!” mode of seeing clients instead of just letting go and learning their essence, their lives/situations on deeper levels by just releasing, but he also points to how very much this is true in life itself. i’m sure you know this truth well… so appreciate your presence here leslie…

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this to me, JRuth! You are dear. I do know what you are talking about. The allowance for life to happen and an opening for taking the journey sometimes is all we need. Thank you! “Unfolding” is perfect!

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