You cannot avoid seeking and desiring while living functionally in society. That is why many spiritual paths follow a direction of renunciation. They do not renounce bliss or happiness or joy or passion but they renounce the forms to which we limit them.
However, I firmly believe it is still possible to follow a spiritual path while living in society. It simply requires a different approach. Because in the end, the spiritual way is not about becoming something you aren’t already but finally discovering the truth of what you and your existence have been all along.
Your question is actually in three parts, to my eyes. The first is how to be motivated without desire. The second is how to discern what needs to be changed and to change it without desire. And the last is how to avoid seeking and exist as bliss.
So I shall address these parts in order:
1. How to be motivated without desire? I think it’s important to distinguish between desire and passion. A desire is something you think will make you happy once it is fulfilled. Like desiring a girlfriend because you think that will make you happy. Whereas a passion is more like something you enjoy the totality of, inclusive of the good and the bad.
Take for example someone who has a passion for building homes and constructing living spaces. There are some fascinating and rewarding bits, like putting the final piece into place or having a breakthrough in terms of aesthetic or structure. But there are also some boring things too, like using calculus to optimize the space being used, pulling the nails out of some mistaken creations, and so on.
What keeps you focused and driven even when you find yourself with bloodshot eyes at 2am staring over blueprints? Passion.
A passion isn’t looking to be fulfilled or finished. It doesn’t demand to be fulfilled, as if you are waiting for happiness only once you finish building the house. The whole messy process is part of the experience.
In my experience, the best motivation comes from your passion. Passion seems to link both head and heart. It’s not some basic primal desire nor is it some sterile academic interest. It is a fusion of head’s inspiration and heart’s fire.
2. How to discern what needs to be changed and to change it without desire? Using desire as a lens through which to determine what needs to be changed and how to change it is probably the cause of all suffering between groups of humans. Desire is by nature a selfish thing and often masquerades in forms of service so as to keep itself alive.
The most important thing for pinpointing change is clarity of vision. You cannot see clearly when you are desirous just as you cannot shop at the supermarket effectively when you are hungry. It’s as simple as that.
This doesn’t mean you have to stop feeling the way you do but rather you must be willing to factor that in. It’s like knowing your throwing arm pulls to the right and accounting for that when throwing a pass. Be aware of your own feelings and desires as such.
Meditation is crucial in learning to open yourself to the full expression of emotion and thought even while being unencumbered by it. Meditate daily.
3. How to avoid seeking and exist as bliss? Now we come back to renunciation versus society.
You are already bliss. You cannot avoid seeking. But what you can do is seek knowledge of your blissful existence with all the desire you can muster.
Every desire you have should be driven into that one desire for liberation from the suffering of confusion and firm abidance in the blissful reality of your existence.
It is a common saying that a spiritual seeker should seek truth the way a drowning human seeks air. There is no room for maybe’s or if’s or but’s. You can’t even really say a drowning human desires air because it is much more than that. It’s more than even needing air. A drowning human claws toward the promise of air with all the ferocity of the animal kingdom.
But finally in the end even that is left behind. Our desires, especially our highest desire of blissful liberation, will never be satisfied. It is only in their dissipation that the radiance of happiness and bliss shine forth. This is why we are never happy to stay in a state of desire but seek to satisfy our desires. It is in the desire’s absence that happiness and peace shine forth from within. Yet we misattribute that shine to the desire itself and so continue seeking it in cycles.
Daily meditation is the only continually reliable way I have found to manifest all of these changes spontaneously. You don’t need to know what’s happening. Sometimes knowing or expecting can even get in the way. Just sit and meditate daily. Read the words of self-realized teachers such as Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and you will continue to unfold in your journey.
And lastly, don’t confuse ultimate existential truth with the relative experience of body-consciousness. Don’t try to draw conclusions about relative experience from insight into the ultimate. Otherwise you may get caught up in silly games and distracted from the original intention of your path.
Namaste :) Hope this was useful.
Wow… That’s all I can say.