Motivation in Meditation

Motivation in Meditation

Sometimes, you lose your motivation right at the last stretch of doing something i.e., when you are close to reaping the rewards, you throw in the towel, and you say I cannot do it anymore. What should one do in such a situation?

Answer: First of all, always remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of things will take 20% of the time, and 20% of things will take 80% of the time. So, when you think you are nearly done, you are far from done. You might think ‘Oh, I can see the end’. It may seem like a tiny black hole, but plenty that is left to be done. 

Sometimes, people come and tell me that something untoward or wrong happens to their plans, often at the last second. For example, they say, ‘My deal was about to get done but failed at the last second.’ 

The truth is, no deal is ever done until it is done i.e., until it is signed. You have commenced the work, the customer has made the payment and the customer is happy – that is when any deal is done. So, when you think that I am 90% done, there is a 95% chance that you are not even 9% done. It is just an illusion, because the 20% work that you think is left ,will take 80% of your time. 

Think of building a home. The structure is built, and it seems it is all done; but then the fitting, plastering, painting, woodwork, plumbing, etc. are yet to be done. These will take three times as much time as it took to build the house’s structure, which you thought was a big deal. The big deal starts after the house is built. 

So first of all, it is an illusion to think that 90% of the work is done. There is no way of knowing if 90% of the work is done in subjective goals. Only if you have absolute quantifiable measures, you could say that 90% of the work is complete. If someone says to you, generate $10,000, and if you have generated $9,000, you can say that 90% of my work is done. If the goal is to be successful, you can never say 90% of my work is done. So, 80-20 rule applies to pretty much everything in life. When you start something, you cover 80% ground very fast, but the rest of the 20% is the real stuff. It is the finishing touch which is going to take all the effort.

And unfortunately, the thing about motivation is that you have to build it every single day. Nothing in the world can say that you will be eternally motivated, because the moment we have challenging bits, the moment we have boring bits, the moment we have adversities looking at us, we say, “Who will bother with this”. But, pulling through that, is what differentiates good people from great people. That is just about the only thing. 

When two people are in love, they want to get married. Their first thought is that once we get married, everything will be fine. But it is only 20% of the job. The real work is going to start after you get married. The same goes for everything else. Somebody works hard, gets a degree, and thinks when I get a job, I will be happy, but the work has just started – unless it is a government job in India. I met this bureaucrat once and he said, ‘Swamiji, when I cleared the administrative exam, I thought that now I will have no troubles in my life. But now I have more troubles in my life than I ever did before’. I said, ‘Why don’t you quit then?’ – (I didn’t say that – nobody quits!)

Everything comes as a package. If you want to taste a mango, it comes with the skin, and the stone in it. If you want to taste an orange, it is going to have some seeds in it, it will have the skin on top, and you will have to remove it. So, whatever we do, it simply will not be all fun. If it is, then it is usually not good for you, and you should re-examine what you are doing. This is why people feel, ‘My work gets stuck at the last minute’, ‘The deal doesn’t go through at the last minute’, etc. Motivation is something we build every single day. It is food for the brain, for the mind. We feed ourselves twice or thrice a day, with or without chilli, subject to individual taste. Similarly, with our brain as well, we have to feed it on a daily basis.

Q) In my book, ‘A Million Thoughts,’ I have talked about different kinds of meditation. The question is that if someone is meditating multiple times in a day, should they do just one kind of meditation, or can they alternate between different kinds?

A) It is perfectly okay to alternate between different kinds of meditation.

Rather than not doing any meditation, it is better to alternate. But eventually, the goal should be to build the intensity of one particular kind, so that one may build perfection. For example, in the medical field, some people like to be specialists and other general practitioners. It is up to you whether you would like to be a cardiologist or a general practitioner. If you would like to just be in a state of meditation, you can alternate between different kinds – you get tired in one, you do another, and so on. Or you can build your intensity, focus, and specialize in one kind of meditation. 

In the beginning, I specialized only in concentrative meditation. It took a lot of effort, but I focused just on that. I could have taken the easier route – I could’ve said that I am tired now, and I will do another kind of meditation. But, when I was meditating for 22 hours a day, I would alternate between different kinds of meditation. But even if you were doing contemplative meditation, say for an hour, you would still need concentration. For example, say you were contemplating ‘Why do I get angry’. Without concentration, you may go off on some other tangent within a few minutes. You may even end up getting angry. You may get angry for not being able to find out why you are angry in the first place! To be able to contemplate – i.e., to be able to analyze, examine, dissect something objectively and dispassionately – requires concentration. It is the hardest kind of meditation to build your concentration on, but the rewards are huge. 

The best is to focus on one kind of meditation, second best is alternating between different kinds, third best is to do something every day, fourth is to do it intermittently. (and fifth is not doing anything).

Rather than not doing any meditation, it is better to alternate. But eventually, the goal should be to build the intensity of one particular kind, so that one may build perfection. For example, in the medical field, some people like to be specialists and other general practitioners. It is up to you whether you would like to be a cardiologist or a general practitioner. If you would like to just be in a state of meditation, you can alternate between different kinds – you get tired in one, you do another, and so on. Or you can build your intensity, focus, and specialize in one kind of meditation. 

~Om Swami
This content has been transcribed from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGJmFUlid3Q

Om Swami
contact.omswami@gmail.com
4 Comments
  • MeeraOm
    Posted at 09:32h, 11 November Reply

    what a great way to teach …80 20 rule!

  • Mansi Dwivedi
    Posted at 19:46h, 12 November Reply

    Thank you Swami 🙂

  • Sunil
    Posted at 02:32h, 13 November Reply

    Too beautiful to build motivation and strength swamiji.. Thanks a lot.

  • Sanjay Bose
    Posted at 16:27h, 20 November Reply

    Thank you Guruji for motivating us for meditation.

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