Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to the more happiness, less suffering podcast. I'm Casey Howe, senior meditation and Dharma teacher for insight.
Speaker 1 00:00:07 And I'm dr. Monisha bossa psychiatrist in our little podcasting studio in orange County, California. We bring wisdom from the couch and the cushion to your real life questions and struggles. So grab a cup of tea and join us. We're so glad you're here
Speaker 1 00:00:31 And welcome back to the more happiness, less suffering podcast. We're really glad to have you back with us. And today we're going to be talking a little bit about motivation, um, and how we sort of better understand our motivation and the why's and how's of how we use it. Um, and so as always, we're going to begin with a poem, and this is a poem by Wendell Berry called the peace of wild things. When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound and fear of what my life and my children's lives may be. I go and lie down where the wood Drake rests and his beauty on the water and the great Heron feeds. I come into the piece of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water and I feel above me the day blind stars, waiting with their light for a time I rest in the grace of the world. And I'm free.
Speaker 0 00:01:46 Yeah, thank you. I was really good. Or the good poem and yeah, we just came from, um, facilitating a workshop and the workshop was on self compassion. And afterwards we did a little, a little debrief and a we're talking about just kind of what came up for us, what came up for the group. And, you know, for me, I was thinking when I was doing the exercise that we led on self-compassion, um, self discipline came up a bit as a form of, of self compassion. And I think that when we're like kind of overworked and you know, we're running, running and running, then obviously self-compassion will look a certain way. Um, if we, you know, really want to feel like we're doing what we want to be doing here and kind of reaching those, those goals and whatnot, then self-discipline really can look like a form of self compassion. And so, yeah, we wanted to talk about how do we fit those both in the same box, if you will, as positives and what determines that? So our actions could look one way, but behind that, like our intention really matters and why, you know, why we're doing that? Why do we want to reach those particular things in a certain way? Um, really makes a difference.
Speaker 1 00:03:17 Yeah. I feel like I go through this struggle literally every morning when I'm thinking about going for a run. And I think about part of me feels like I need a little bit more rest. And the self-compassionate thing to do would be to give myself another half an hour in bed. And part of me is like, no, but you'll feel better later in the day, if you get up and you go for your run and, you know, there's the self discipline piece that you spoke to. And so it's like a daily struggle of kind of feeling like these two are at odds like discipline and compassion almost are like on opposing ends of the spectrum. And, you know, I like what you said about, is there a way to maybe see both as positive or maybe they're not really opposing forces?
Speaker 0 00:04:06 Yeah. I call it in my mind. The snuggle struggle. Yeah. Because I have a big time snuggle struggles. So I have, I like snuggling. And so I have my dog, sometimes my cat too, and my fiance and she'll sleep in and they'll all be just passed out. And of course I want to stay and snuggle. And then I also have my morning routine. I have my meditation, I have a few exercises that I like to do, you know, maybe want to write a little bit, whatever I want to do in the morning routine. And I know that when I stick to the morning routine, you know, I'm, I'm happier, but then, you know, the snuggles it's tough, you know, so, so yeah, same thing with your running. Um, and so like what is a self compassion and, and, uh, what is compassionate to yourself? And it is definitely in combination.
Speaker 0 00:05:04 And I think part of our wisdom has to be with this, this part of ourselves that is pointing to this self worth. And, uh, what do we mean by kind of being who we really are and who we want to be? I think that the wisdom that we find in, in meditation, or kind of those little deeper States of awareness can get us in touch with something that's really authentic and, and it's okay and it doesn't need anything. It doesn't need to like the certain types of achievements, like mundane achievements or worldly achievements. And, and I think that once we tap into that, I like to think of these things as more of just challenges and, and it's just fun. You know, it's a fun thing to do to, to be better than I was the day before. And, um, to accomplish these things that I set out to do to challenge myself, to do it, um, there's integrity involved.
Speaker 0 00:06:07 If I have a responsibility to other people, then the need, that's a part of it and that I don't want to drop the ball on my responsibilities. Right. So that's a part of it too. Um, so it's not, it's not just, um, it's not a simple answer, but I think that we could definitely come from a different place if we're doing it. Not because, you know, if I don't do it, I'm not a good person or I'm, if I I'm a loser or something like that, it's all about I'm okay. Like Suzuki Roshi would say, you're totally okay. And you have work to do. I love that. It's like playing with those two truths, you know, that we have work to do. And we're okay. But there's something that I think there's a voice within us that we know like, Hey, these types of things, you know, these things on my agenda, I should really strive to get those done. And then of course, looking into them and making sure that it's, um, you know, coming from a good place, not like a fear place or not coming from a lack, a lack place or an approval place. Like I'm looking for approval for some, from somebody else. Um, really I'm looking for me to do this
Speaker 1 00:07:28 And I love what you said about how it can be fun. You know, I think so much of the struggle comes in when that to do list is made up of tasks that when we are coming from those other motivations, like when we feel like we're not enough, if we don't do those things, or we're not worthy, if we don't do those things or were less than if we don't accomplish certain things, you know, then there's this whole striving aspect. Like I need to get these things done and accomplish these things in order to feel okay about myself. And of course we know that that's like a constantly moving finish line, you know? So I think to come from that place of saying, yeah, I'm perfectly okay as I am. And these are directions that I would like to move towards, or these are directions I would like to move in because they're personally valuable, they're meaningful, they're an interest or a passion or a hobby, or I've made a commitment think when we really investigate, um, where that motivation is coming from.
Speaker 1 00:08:27 And, you know, really being clear on, I don't need to do these things in order to feel complete as a human being or for my own sense of worth. Um, I'm really doing them, you know, for one of these other reasons. And I'm perfectly okay as I am, and this can get tricky because it does require us to live in sort of this both and place, you know, where it's kind of more the, the gray of things like, yes, we can towards self-improvement and betterment and goals, and we can still be worthy and whole just as we are. And, you know, that's a, that's a tricky, uh, you know, balance to hold, you know, that kind of both and balance.
Speaker 0 00:09:13 Yeah. And I think the fact of the matter is, is that things in life that fruition of, of certain tasks, uh, certain endeavors just didn't happen until we move through the uncomfortable. And so there has to be that, that discipline, you know, in meditation when I was, you know, taught meditation, this is, you know, your, you know, decades ago, discipline was at the forefront of the teachings. Um, now it's, it's almost like a bad word, you know, because people strive so much and then it's, then it's actually, it's not beneficial at all when we strive kind of too hard and have that, um, that self, uh, criticizing, you know, voice being self critical. And so we kind of backed off and moved more towards self-compassion, even when it comes, uh, to, um, you know, to, to, to meditation and kind of keeping up your, your daily practice.
Speaker 0 00:10:11 But again, self-compassion could look like self-discipline, you know, those things, you know, are definitely harmonious. And, and that's just the fact that it, every time we reach a point of like discomfort, or I don't want to, if we back down, then we're not gonna get to the point of, I can't wait to meditate. Like, that's how, you know, my practice is, Oh, crap. I missed it. You know, like, or like, I, I thought this half an hour would be for that. And then I got stuck on a call and it's like a sadness. It's not a, it's not like I'm disappointed in myself. It's like, okay, I can't wait for that next space and time when I could just be right. Um, and you know, I was talking to a friend and, and she's been running for a couple months, you know, she used to run and then she got back into it and, um, and then she started, she started running again. So she's fairly consistent. And she's like, it's like a superpower. She's like, I feel like a S like a superpower within me, like, um, even running for, you know, two to three miles, four days a week or something. So I feel that the same thing when we, when we feel that, and of course that only comes after, you know, that comes after pushing and striving and all those things. And then we have to learn that things that are really a benefit are gonna come in that way and that we could do it.
Speaker 1 00:11:40 <inaudible> yeah, it's, it's, it's tough. And sometimes maybe there's a ways to work with that, you know, I think, you know, sometimes when we, you know, if we go back to the running analogy, know, it's like, okay, maybe I'll go for 20 minutes instead of an hour, even though, you know, an hour is what I set out to do. And I thought I should do, you know, kind of recognizing that sometimes smaller steps are better than no steps and that we can be okay with kind of middle ground, you know, um, if we reach a middle ground place with something, you know, I, I think a lot about medical school in that regard too. Cause it was just such a, it was such a longterm motivation, so much delayed gratification. You know, when, when you're going through medical school, you might do it because in the end you want to help patients.
Speaker 1 00:12:31 But when you're studying, you know, biochemistry in your first year, you're like, what on earth does this have to do with what, you know, sitting in front of a patient is going to look like, you know, eight years down the road. So it's like, I think sometimes sort of staying connected to the purpose and the meaning of the longterm goal, you know, can help us when we feel far away from that. You know? Um, so yeah, it's like, I feel like it was really disciplined that got me through medical school because, you know, on a day to day basis, you're not doing the thing that you're really ultimately signing up for, you know, but in the end it gets you to this place that's worthwhile and meaningful. Um, but if you lose sight of that, it can be really easy to get lost along the way in terms of why, why you're doing it. So sometimes I think, yeah, staying connected to the bigger picture, meaning and purpose, and kind of being flexible along the way and kind of maybe what that discipline looks like. You know, it doesn't have to look like 10 hours of studying every day or, you know, running five miles every day. Maybe there's like a small step or a middle ground version that still keeps us in that pattern and still keeps us moving towards our goals. But with a little bit of flexibility.
Speaker 0 00:13:46 Yeah. Yeah. I really liked both of those points. That intention and purpose is really, I think it's just everything, you know, if we lose sight of that, then we don't know why we're doing it and it's not going to really be a benefit. Um, yeah. I, I checked my mind with the whole little bit, all the time with things that I don't want to do. Um, you know, I just, I, I just started, my dad had a really good thing that he'd have us do, which is just get into the garage. Cause all of our workout equipment was in the garage. They just get there, you know, and see what happens. But, uh, yeah, just do just two, five pushups, you know, if you want to do 30. And um, and I request this all the time, like with my one on one clients with meditation is, you know, we've said this before on the podcast, which is just, you know, do a minute, you know, do five minutes or what I like to do with, um, you know, this people that are maybe suffering from really strong depression or something that, that are not really, um, uh, that their minds are not really on board, a long meditation practice, which is listened to a meditation.
Speaker 0 00:14:54 Like even before you go to bed, like put the headphones on, you know, put the headphones on and listen to a meditation, don't even quote unquote, do it. Right. You know, because have it in your, in your world, you know? Um, yeah. So I think all of that, I mean at the baby steps and, and that grows, you know, that could like a flourish into like this, this passion, you know, there is an athlete I was listening to and he was saying that he hated what he was doing, you know, um, the sport that he was in, he said he hated it. Um, you know, his parents were really hard on him and, and um, but he pushed and pushed him, became, you know, really the, one of the best of all time. And, uh, then it became fun, you know, like later. And he's like, wow, you know, I've done so much and everything.
Speaker 0 00:15:49 And I'm just watching like his motivation. It really, when it became his, you know, it wasn't his parents' dream or this and that when it became his, you know, then it became something that he wanted to do and then he wanted to stay on top and then he loved to train and he out trained everybody and, and all of that, but you know, it just goes to this, it points back to this kind of a messiness when it comes to motivation and all this stuff. And it's not always easy, but it's always fun, not always fun. And we have to look within ourselves and say like, Hey, when is this perseverance? And when is this, you know, slacking? Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:16:31 Yeah. Right, right. And when is it okay to pivot? Because you know, something isn't fun long enough that you're like, yeah, maybe this is a for me, you know, and I think that really comes back to why it's so important to just have a self awareness practice of some sort where we're really able to investigate those questions with some degree of, again, self-compassion, you know, unless we create sort of a safe internal environment to really ask ourselves those, those questions and sit with the answers and, you know, sit with them long enough to really come to a meaningful resolution and understanding of, you know, what's driving us in our decisions and our choices. And, um, ultimately I think we, we always want to be creating the space and opportunity to be asking ourselves those questions. Cause it is messy. You know, it's very messy. And I think this is a lot of what therapy is about, you know, kind of bringing some of these questions to the table and creating the space to really say, okay, why am I doing this? Why am I not doing that? You know, and really trying to look at, you know, what it means and where it's coming from.
Speaker 0 00:17:44 Yeah. And I kind of go, always go back to, um, the, you know, and, and, and looking at things in a, in a certain way where again, we're freed up from that attachment. Oh, like, I need to do this, or I need to do that. So we could make those wise choices, you know, like you're saying, like take a step back and, um, and make that wise choice. Like I remember when I've done longer retreats, um, there's all this resistance that comes up sometimes and a lot of pushback and sometimes the conditions are, um, they're not so good and the food's not so good. Um, um, the conditions, you know, as far as temperature in some very, very hot, and I've been in conditions just really, really hot, there's no way out, you know, and just meeting all of those with the same answer, like, you know, you just have to look at to keep going, do your sets, whether it be, you know, three or four hour long sets multiple times a day. And, and you just have to keep looking and being with what is, and not, you know, of course I want to go into distraction and go read a book or go for a hike or go, you know, whatever. But being able to make that, that distinction like, Hey, in this case, it really is about self discipline. I've, I've come here to just do it.
Speaker 2 00:19:06 That's the only thing I need to do.
Speaker 0 00:19:10 And it's rare that I get this opportunity so on and so forth, you know, so like, Hey, let's just really puggle down and, and do it. Um, but I think that it comes from, uh, from that perspective of, of, Hey, I don't need to, it's not gonna, you know, these certain situations where it's not about fear, like we've mentioned, it's not about self, it's not about approval from somebody else. You know, they've been able to look with them with that pure motivation, because I have seen people work really, really, really hard to day get approval from somebody else, for example, or from these. And they're like, wow, that's someone. So it was really kicking butt, but it's actually coming from a place of, um, you know, feeling inferior and having to prove something, um, maybe in a, in a, not so positive way, you know? So I think meditation and self compassion and all those things opens the door to that new perspective. So we do things because we want to do them not because we think we have.
Speaker 2 00:20:13 Yeah, absolutely.
Speaker 0 00:20:16 All right. So as we normally do, we're going to end with a little meditation today. So hopefully you could join us if you're not operating a vehicle or heavy machinery, if you could actually pay attention and in a safe way. So go ahead and, um, move into a nice, comfortable meditative posture. And of course go and feel free to leave this on if you are driving or something like that. And just allow
Speaker 3 00:20:48 The words to kind of resonate with you, just settling in, giving yourself permission to be here. And we spoke a lot about perspective and being aware of motivation, being aware of intention, being aware of the why, why am I doing this? So maybe, maybe allowing to come to mind something in your life that is important to you, something that you would like to achieve a goal, maybe a dream and connecting with the why, and then seeing if you can make it your own, make it enlivened. So just spending a few moments on your own, doing this, then seeing if that intention can be more than just mental, seeing how it feels in your body. You really connect with a nice, pure motivation. You'll feel it in the body.
Speaker 3 00:23:40 Does the body feel energized a little bit more alert or, and you can notice how it feels emotionally again, do you feel uplifted maybe even joyful, maybe inspired then lastly, maybe being real with yourself, with the challenges that you might face on your way to reaching this, this goal, this aspiration, and matching those challenges with your intention. And now when your motivation and your intention to expand, to be greater than those challenges, maybe even welcoming those challenges and allowing yourself to feel that accomplishment, even if it's just in the mind's eye right now, and may all beings reach their highest potential, may all beings without exception, maybe I'll be happy and free from suffering.