Edited from the end of the chapter 'Conditioning Factors', in A Geography of Consciousness.
Do we possess the power of self motivation?
The simple answer is that it is impossible to be self motivated. The best we can achieve is a relatively large amount of conscious motivation mixed with a number of unknown and unrealised motivations. There is probably a degree in which we are all 'mediumistic' and there is probably a larger degree in which we are controlled by one of the entities with which we are associated.
We are acting 'mediumistically' when we channel our unconscious motives as well as when we channel our higher nature. We are also at the mercy of the 'things' which other people are receiving and translating into the world around us.
To be independent and in command of all our motives in the face of all this would be a victory indeed. One thing seems fairly obvious however, and that is the fact that we can only hope to cope with all these factors if we salvage the ability and awareness of our own individual divine nature. For without this overall attitude of our higher consciousness, we are not even able to see what the problems are which beset us.
So we have a certain amount of freedom of choice, but we are in a situation where we do not necessarily gain what we want by using this freedom. Rather do we profit best by sensing which are the sweet apples and which are the sour apples, and accepting the fact that we have no control over what is in the baskets.
At the moment our idea of freedom is the ability to make ourselves miserable and ill by eating all the apples in the first basket we choose. We don't like people to think we have made a mistake, and we feel that to possess and to consume a larger number of apples than other people is a measure of our success and intrinsic worth.
But freedom is far more subtle than that, for it involves the ability to choose that which is most fitting for the nature we possess and the situation in which we find ourselves.
Since we typically hardly concern ourselves with what we are, or what the significance of the universe is, it is not surprising that our concept of freedom is nothing more than a tribulation to us, and a mockery of our potential responsibility and aspiration. So not only is it virtually impossible for us to have freedom of motivation, or as people call it 'free will', but neither is there any particular point in possessing it, since it will not bring us to what we really want, but only bring us to what we think we want, or what we think we should want.
The little motivation we have should all be concentrated on the very light touch necessary to manipulate the helm of our ship.
We must realise that our job here is to learn to sail our ship well; then, and only then, to make a journey in it. We do not control the wind or the water and it does little good to pretend to be a type of boat which we are not. We must take a good look at our ship and our sails for they are already there. We must study the wind and the sea and learn to use them to move about safely and efficiently. We must ask and seek to know what lands are at hand, and we must decide which are the most favourable to the capability of our craft and the direction of the wind and state of the sea and visibility. We must record of how much food we can take and how well we can sale. By the time we have done all this, there will be no 'choice'!
To make a journey in a craft which we cannot handle to a destination we are not in a position to reach, just for the sake of feeling we have made a free choice, is a form of insanity which we are all inclined to indulge in, but which has no place in the scheme of things. The sooner we understand this the better, and it will save us the time and energy we waste in talking about freedom; for what we are really doing is trying to avoid the experience and understanding which is beyond the verbal level and beyond the level of prestige and self satisfaction.
This is the poetic and intuitive consciousness which enables us to begin to have a true knowledge of what is. After we have achieved this consciousness, the idea of freedom of choice or freedom of motivation no longer concerns us, because we will be too busy living our true nature.
What freedom of choice really means - how we should understand the matter - is as the ability we must develop to sense the whole of the situation in which we are involved, both in our own nature and in the world around us, and then to take the best course available.
Then we will recognise that real freedom is not in choosing, it is in seeing the irrelevance of choice.