Whatever we do, we do because of something. Usually, all our motives can be reduced to a simple wish for happiness. We chose ‘A’ because we like it more than ‘B’. We would like to choose ‘C’, but we have no courage, so we chose ‘D’ because when we summarize all the pluses and minuses, it seems that we will gain more. Sometimes, our choice is ‘E’, but we cannot say why. We are attracted to ‘E’, and that attraction promises pleasure and happiness. If it would not be so, we would not think about ‘E’. Instead, our thoughts would be about ‘H’, ‘G’, ‘K’ or about something else with the same promise of happiness.
When it comes to spirituality, the motives are the same. It is our understanding that we will benefit from some particular procedure, technique or knowledge. We would hopefully become more peaceful or stronger; more creative, successful or attractive, and that evidently means happier. Of course, from time to time, we find out that we were seduced by false promises, or we just change our approach, the way we think, the teacher we believe in… But, all in all, the principle behind spiritual activity is the same as for anything else in our life.
In the book ‘The Elimination of Karma Factor’ I wrote about the “human condition”, spiritual maturity and absolute freedom, explaining the difference between these three “stages”. Among others, the difference is in the motivation behind action in the human condition and spiritual maturity, in comparison with the motivation behind absolute freedom.
One of the strangest moments marking the beginning of the end of the spiritual path (see the article ‘Omnes Viae Romam Non Ducunt’) is the unusual attraction to absolute freedom while our life is still following the old ways of human condition, spiritual maturity or some mix of the two. It is an unexplainable phenomenon we cannot fit into our present way of thinking. In the beginning, it makes us wonder: we ask ourselves why we have such thoughts when we do not know what absolute freedom is all about. We cannot define what it is exactly we are attracted to. In time, the wonder turns into a yearning we cannot explain, blended with some kind of shudder or even fear. In the end, the yearnings transform themselves into complete one-pointedness, a kind of monomania. Still without explanation, we know that nothing else matters apart from finding the way out of the situation we find ourselves in.
The readiness for the final deconstruction of the illusion comes down to knowing the answer to the question why we would do such a thing. If you know the answer, or you don’t ask that question at all, because you know that any alternative is worse, then you are ready. If you ask “why”, and you expect an appropriate explanation, it is not your time yet – it is better to wait.
In principle, I could end the story about motivation right here: the one who understands, understands. However, due to the frequency of the questioning of the purpose and the meaning of absolute freedom, with the side intention to remove any mystical connotation from the readiness for enlightenment, I will answer, as far as it is possible, the following question: Why look in the direction of the “end of spiritual path” at all? Why aspire for enlightenment; why deconstruct the illusion and live absolute freedom? What is the meaning and the purpose of that, and what we will accomplish with it?
The answers are actually simple: there is no reason for that wish; its fulfilment is not meaningfully connected with anything we do in life, so we can rightfully say we will accomplish nothing.
If you want to soften the blow of unconditionality and non-causality of absolute freedom, you could say that the best things in life have no cause, nor do they have any purpose besides themselves. They come by themselves and they lead nowhere but to themselves. Love is the example of such “purposelessness”. If you see the cause and the reason for love… hey, are you sure you are talking about love?
However, the comparison between the absolute freedom of enlightenment and love, even an unconditional one, is just a comparison. If nothing, love will create in you that warm, comprehensive feeling of loveliness, peace and content. Thus, love is not outside the reach of reasonable doubt that we are dealing with the need. And needs have causes. This is why there is so much controversy about “unconditional love”. This would be the love you feel independently from you own needs. No matter what you want, you give that love to another person without conditions, whatever happens, whatever she feels or gives back. If you have ever felt such a love (few have) then you know that it creates some kind of contentment inside you, too. That contentment can cause the need for creating the feeling of unconditional love again, and again. Spiritual people often satisfy that need in religion, because it is hard to find it among people.
However, in absolute freedom there is not even that small trace of personal interest. Simply, there is nothing to hang on and say: “I want this because of this and that.”
However, in spite of that, the will for absolute freedom appears. It came by itself. At first it sneaks among our thoughts like a thief in the night. Sometimes we feel its presence, but mostly we are not aware of it. After some time it appears loud and clear in a form of “confinement insight”; the comprehension about our own imprisonment in the patterns of thoughts and behavior. The exit is not to be found anywhere. In the book ‘The Elimination of Karma Factor’ I wrote about this extensively. The following paragraph is just a reminder:
“We tacitly accept the confinement, even if we master the skill of reprogramming ourselves, because, each and every act in that direction is guided with at least one explainable why and because. We know what we want (on the basis of our assessment of useful, good or whatever makes us happy). But why we want it (meaning why our assessment is such and not otherwise), is not known to us. It will never be known, even in freedom – especially in freedom. But with karmic loops present, it is knowable – everything comes down to them, meaning we are just programmable puppets. We are seemingly following our own desires, but they are actually the predictable result of karmic loops. This is the worst form of enslavement – the one in which the slave thinks that he/she is free, but still does everything according to the wishes of his/her invisible masters.”
All in all – somewhere along the path, after we have tried each and every thing, in the midst of many attempts and failures, fulfilling the desires, following the longings of the heart and soul, worldly and spiritual, we suddenly find ourselves facing that huge inapprehensibility we can think of only as freedom. Whatever illusions we had, they have their end. At that end, at the moment of the falling apart of the construction we believed in, we see something; something impalpable, unspeakable, disconnected from us, far away but still here, right in front of our eyes and heart. We don’t want it. We didn’t ask for it. We strive for the fulfilment of our desires, and not for that; that huge all-pervasive abstraction, which can turn itself into just anything in a blink of an eye, which can swallow us and disperse us all over the universe as if we never existed. The scariest thing is that we know – we know for sure – that it will happen just like that, only if we move a little bit closer.
If you ask for the meaning and reasons for enlightenment, your question is misplaced. Nobody ever stepped into absolute freedom because they wanted it, and especially not because they saw some purpose in it.
But, when you gradually slip closer to it, you understand more and more that you don’t feel well at the place you are now; you experience it as a prison made from your own needs and desires. You are choking, shriveling. Even if you become the most successful and happiest person in the world (according to any criterion you can think of), you would still be just a prisoner. And that situation, that thought about imprisonment, you can bear each day less and less. When the flood comes to your throat, just before it will enter your mouth and lungs, you understand that you have to step over it. It is not because you want it (how can you want it when you don’t know what is ahead; you don’t understand it and you never will) but because anything is better than remaining in the prison.
But, please, remember: if you didn’t already know and understand what is written above, you don’t understand it now either. You’ve just received the information. However, it may help you one day, when your time comes.