Updated: Dec 30, 2022
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
– Louis L’Amour
You are going through an authentic awakening process or trying to integrate the post-awakening phase in your life. You have a drastic loss of motivation (a very common symptom), and you begin to question what is the meaning of life itself and what is in store for you (sometimes how to even feed your family because you have no motivation to work) and you feel just stuck. You have no desires in even things you were passionate about before and you feel lost and completely stuck and you don't know what to do, how to do. A debilitating phase! Even getting out of bed is sometimes difficult.
In this phase, this question often arises after they have connected to their true nature (even if they are glimpses). Every opening created by an awakening weakens the ego or the separate-self. Here the ego's motivation that was once driven by its willpower and achievement of goals is losing its hold. Eventually, it loses all the power.
My favorite teacher Adyashanti calls it the limbo state. This is not the state we will live forever, but we "have to" pass through this state. The purpose and motivation are nowhere to be found, and sometimes there is no motivation to even find a purpose, except for occasional lingering purpose/motivational thoughts. It feels empty, devoid of something, insanely void, and a kind of not-knowing; it is confusing.
At this stage, it is very important to examine yourself and observe that after awakening, the ego that was looking for value, impact, and worth is not running you anymore, but peace and stillness are the driving forces. You are in between this transition. What do you do? KEEP GOING, not anywhere, but be fully involved in what you do moment by moment. This is an important integration step, and by just paying attention to your relationships or work or whatever you do will help accelerate the integration process. This is extremely crucial at this step. What happens eventually is your mind and body realize that they can function well even without this drive of willpower.
If thoughts about purpose come to you then - from a purpose standpoint, we always have a purpose. The mere existence of us is a purpose. "Living life" is our purpose. Many understand this at a cognitive level, but it is actually very important to feel it with your heart and body. I want you to ask this to yourself. If you are looking for purpose as one big thing, what happens to other things you do in your life moment by moment - like cooking for your family, interacting with kids, driving your kids to their classes, interacting with your co-workers, playing with your dog, enjoying the sip of coffee, taking an evening stroll, painting, singing, dancing - do these mean nothing to you? Our conditioning associates purpose to something that is hugely climactic - that gives us a lot of recognition, power, or money. Do catch this!
You are transforming the being or the stillness that you are to integrate into the human life before the new purpose/motivation flowers. It takes some time for the ego/separate-self willpower to be wiped clean. The new purpose you find will not be like the old way. In fact, it is apt to say that the new purpose will find you!
The ego's purpose sprouts from lack, and it desires to fulfill this lack, and it achieves and feels fulfilled until it finds another lack, and this goes in an endless cycle. For instance, you feel the drive to serve people and make the world a better place (this is a widespread purpose people are identifying with now). This is a wonderful purpose, only if it truly is for you, coming from your authentic self. But this can also stem from a place of lack, to make the ego feel good and better about itself by feeling that it is making a huge impact, to feel special, to get the recognition, fame, to prove that the ego is not worthless. Many people are being conditioned through several teachings that serving people is the only purpose. In reality purpose can be completely different.
But once you realize your true nature, all these conditioning and stories fall away. It is very important to get on with your day-to-day life and observe that you can actually operate without this drive of lack. I hope that just by telling you that this is a phase, and you "have" to go through this phase, it will help you accept this phase and not resist. Keep going with your life; it may feel that nothing is happening, it is boring, but trust that it will be transformed. How soon? Depending on how soon you can befriend this limbo state. When you have no issues with your limbo state and can still continue with your life without getting into the bandwagon of purpose, the transformation follows.
The transformation starts with mundane things, with a flash of inspiration. It just feels right to do an action without an inclination to get something from it. It feels more like curiosity and exploration. It just feels right, moment to moment only. The joy comes from the activity of doing, rather than from the result. It is experiencing a feeling, a pure action of expecting nothing in return, no goal orientation, but still doing. Imagine a child doing certain things just for the sake of doing, it feels something that way.
These actions seem very aligned with life and with what you need (not what you want). There is no need to manifest or use any law of attraction now, because, just by you being in the moment, and responding, actions that are aligned happen.
So if you are in the post awakening or awakening phase and feel no purpose or motivation, that's a good thing. Because this gives you the space to explore your true nature and go deep within that stillness. The stillness eventually dances (Eckhart Tolle puts it as "Stillness speaks" and Adyashanti calls it "Emptiness Dancing" or "Radiant Emptiness"). Please give the emptiness some acclimatization time.
What comes out of this may surprise you. At this phase, PURPOSE FINDS YOU. It may be a very simple action or you will change the world, you may continue your job or change career, you may start a hedge-fund company or get into non-profit organization and altruism, you may become a creative artist in the entertainment industry or a spiritual teacher, you may become the next big entrepreneur or find solace in gardening by being a stay at home mom or a dad, you may become the next biggest youtuber or find complete peace in teaching art work to kids - but it is in alignment. It is what your TRUE NATURE needs, to experience life. We won't know till it happens, and we don't need to know because whatever happens is in alignment with us and with life. But please be careful not bang your head on any other conditioned purpose, no matter how good others feel about it, else it might derail you, because you see, this is about you, not about other people's conditioned thoughts.
Motivation from ego/separate self - Striving, putting a lot of effort, trying to focus, not being adequate and enough, struggling, lot of decision making with the intention of getting the "small me" a recognition either through money, power or community. It wants to feel special by trying to remove the feeling of "I suck". It wants to prove its worth.
Motivation from true nature - Effortless, joyful, intelligence unfolds in a mysterious way, feels very aligned, not much of planning, extremely fulfilling in real-time and does not have to wait for the action to end, inspired by clarity, and most important it is moment by moment. This is good news because you reading this now is your purpose this moment, interacting with your kids, sipping your morning cup of coffee, playing with your dog, singing or dancing to music, interacting with your colleagues, running a business - everything is your purpose!
Through and after awakening, your purpose/motivation becomes what is needed moment by moment, effortlessly aligning with life, because alignment is your motivation and the actions happen through this alignment with life.
Take a deep breath and enjoy this now moment, because that's where you will eventually be!