What does it mean to be overcoming the ego? Does it mean we lose our motivation? When we subdue a powerful motivating force and replace it with an intellectual new idea this new motivation is obviously going to be very unfamiliar and lacking in potency of our previous driving force. So necessarily we will at first appear less motivated and dynamic.
We can see that if someone asks a person to do something where there is a big reward for the ego, that person finds energy that they didnt even know they had! Even someone who has been slow and lifeless for years can surprise everyone by suddenly moving with incredible speed!
When there is no reward for the ego most people will refuse to do anything. If an act of altruism rewards the ego people feel more motivated. Always general program students straight away raise their concerns that without the primal force of the ego, they will become bored and unmotivated.
Therefore at the beginning when you meet Buddhist who is not following the desires of the ego but instead trying to think of others getting the reward, of course when you ask them to do something they might appear reluctant. This is a sign in reality that they are not relying upon their old way of thinking.
They cannot develop the motivation to help you:
- so that you will be their friend
- so that they can develop a sense of achievement or congratulate themselves
- so that they will develop a reputation in a social circle and impress people
- so that you will help them later on/owe them one/return the favour
- to get into your good books
These are ego motivations. The motivation they are trying to generate is in its early stages. It is a motivation for no personal reward or benefit. But it is not powerful because they are training in it. Therefore it is not a fault that they cannot muster the same level of enthusiasm for helping others that comes when seeking personal reward. They havent mastered no reward motivations. But it is a great quest and so we should respect that they are trying their best and allow them the liberty to strive for these things without judgement. Because if they do succeed eventually it will be a great achievement.
In summary it is incorrect to say that people are not sincere about cherishing others because they appear less fired up. The fire is usually delusion or ego. If the fire is tamed this is a sign of a genuine wish to change.