When you do things for the right reasons, you get great results. However, if you do the same things for the wrong reasons you can never be happy with the result. In other words, the Why is far more important than the what and the how.
Let's examine a few good deeds that are destined to leave you dissatisfied, if done for the wrong reasons:
• Helping someone in need. Did they ask for help? What did you expect in return (without communicating it)? And how did you feel when your agenda didn't eventuate? Why did you want to help? So you can feel good about yourself and have clear consciousness? Or was your attention solely and selflessly on the other person, simply being there for them without any attachment to a particular outcome?
• Wishing for someone to be happy. Firstly, how do you know they are not? Secondly, do you want their happiness for their sake or for your own? What's the big deal if they were not happy? What does it mean about you? That you are failing as a parent, as a child, as a partner or as a friend? Is this really about them or are you perhaps desperate to alleviate your own suffering?
• Doing a spiritual course. Did you do it simply for the experience? Or are you trying to fix yourself, or perhaps to gain more coping mechanisms so you can control the world around you better?
• Going out of your way to please people. Are you doing it just because? Or are you trying manipulate them into giving you their attention, love and approval.
So now ask yourself:
• Could it be that your motivation is rooted in fear, control and desire to manipulate (in order to get something in return or to fill an apparent void)? Or are you acting for the sake of the experience, just because it feels good and right.
• Are you attached to a particular outcome? Or are you simply staying committed to the process no matter what the result will be.
• Are you giving or are you trading? Do you get upset when people don't respond in kind? Or are you giving unconditionally expecting nothing in return?
• Are you acting with integrity or are you being selfish? Are you trying to look like a saint but feeling like the devil?
The test as to whether you are doing something for the right reasons is simple. Check and see how you are feeling. Are you happy or are you grumpy and resentful? If you stay happy no matter what, then your motivation is rooted in unconditional love and acceptance. If you are grumpy, then your motivation is selfish, manipulative and greedy. Examine yourself carefully with the awareness that you can be doing the same thing for a different reason and achieve a completely different result. Get clear on the WHY knowing that when the WHY is big enough the HOW takes care of itself.