WILL: Whip Master Or Wish Magnet?

Have you ever considered will as a crazy sexy super power?

Or do you see will as a whip master, like a military mandate in the mind—coercive, ironshod, pushy, punitive—shackling your good and healthy faculty of creativity or desire for wellbeing to a shaming or blaming directive?

Our culture emphasizes will as a faculty of force we use upon ourselves to get ourselves going. And so many of us know where an ironshod will can lead: to blame and shame on self or others, a sense of futility when force fails, a sense of infidelity to a commitment or vow.

Modern studies on will and will power[i] are discovering that force, humiliation, stress, and overload deplete will power. Force and humiliation weaken the focussing part of the brain.

In fact, modern studies on will power are finding an exquisite alignment with ancient perceptions of will in the Sacred Psychologies, as my teacher Paddy called the old paths at the core of the world’s great spiritual traditions.

ETYMOLOGICAL MAGIC

There’s a hidden elegance to will; and the secret to unlocking it is buried in the etymological history of our word will and its roots in volition.

While neuroscientists twitter and tingle at brain discoveries and connections, linguascientists tweet and trip all over the joys of etymologies. And poets revel in both.

We all know that volition has to do with will or the power of choice. But way back when, when words were spelled and used differently, our English words will and volition had a lot more to do with the art of wishing, and with feelings of hope and well-being.

Volition comes from the Old English, willan, wyllan, meaning to wish and to desire. This Old English word descends through a long line of connected words, like the Old Norse, vilja, and the Gothic, waljan, meaning to choose; the Latin volo, velle, meaning to wish, to desire; the Sanskrit vrnoti varyah, varanam, to choose; Old Slavonic veljo, veleti, to command; from the Greek elpis, to hope; and from the PIE language root, wel/wol meaning to be pleasing.

In the old days and old ways, then, wishing was considered an act of a disciplined mind that can command its direction of focus; and wishing was considered the act of a caring heart that aligns itself in a serene and joyful manner with the most desired and keeps it there through loving attention.

MODERN SCIENCE & ANCIENT WISDOM

Modern neuroscience is also discovering this connection between the focussed brain and the loving heart.[ii]

Here we see neurobiology and etymology in agreement. Will as a pleasing, hopeful wishing toward the future and as the choice power of mental focus leads to wellbeing.

This thing we call will is actually a desirable, pleasing, and healthy faculty of being human.

In seeking the root of the matter, the definition of will leads to a perception of will that profoundly challenges the military macho of a coercive, domineering force. And so do new modern studies on will power.

Your willing power is more akin to a focussed and pleasurable act of wishing for that which is most pleasing to the soul, to the mind, to the body, to the heart; and to the faculty of focus which keeps the attention on the chosen path, desire, or wish.

We’ve gone from the idea of an iron will, that is, from forcing a path of action; to an idea of something intensely desired and pleasing, that is: to choosing, allowing, and enjoying a path of action.

WILL & DESTINY

Will as desire, wish, pleasantness, choice, and command is also a primary key to destiny.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says: As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.

An insuperable will surrenders ego and force to desire, focus, vision, action; and enhances wellbeing. The Great Will of our destiny is never forced; it is only allowed.

When you put all this together, you get a crazy sexy super power of insuperable ability.

WILL STRENGTHENING ACTIONS

~meditation, governing attention

~balanced diet

~limited screen time

~pleasant time in Nature, less time in office/factory

~frequent mental focus breaks

~enough sleep!!!

~joy actions

[i] -Baumeister, Ray and John Tierney (2011). Willpower. USA: The Penguin Press.

-See The American Psychological Society, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx

– McGonigal, Kelly (2012). The Willpower Instinct. The Penguin Group: New York & Toronto.

[ii] Ibid.

Karma & Will: Dedicated Focus Brings Radiant Results

Gandhi understood will. He understood the vibrant vibratory power of an insuperable will dedicated to a higher purpose. Many of us might not call our own will power insuperable, but dedicating our focus in that direction strengthens will and extends our vibrational oomph.

Gandhi combined the great traditions of Western secular law and Eastern spiritual law in his practice of Soul Force. Soul Force is non-violent ceaseless persistence of a group will in a common liberating purpose—in partnership with the cosmic dynamo of organizing élan.

Gandhi inspired the peaceful liberation of India from British rule. The emotional magnetism of soul force was unstoppable. Ultimately, he was murdered for his devotion to non-violence and liberation.

His path wasn’t easy. His death was messy, tragic, iconic. His legacy—unshakeable. How did he sustain the mental focus and strength of devotion to hold to the course of destiny? Firstly, he knew that he had to be the change within himself that he desired for his beloved India. He had to align with the liberating force of the All Soul. So, in his daily life, he rested his mind in meditation and his heart upon The Bhagavad Gita.[i]

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the sacred Hindu and world scriptures. The title means “the song of god.” The Gita was Gandhi’s bible. It’s a gorgeous poem about karma yoga—the yoga of dedicated action—and union with The All Soul. It’s a Book of Wisdom, a Book of Power, a book of super power definitions and practices.

If this text were a book of power in a fantasy story, it would be the much thumbed, used and worn, scraggly little leather bound pocket book that a Glinda, Gandalf, Yoda, or Dumbledore might carry deep in a secret fold of a luminous skirt or roughspun cloak. But The Gita is not fantasy, though the powers it describes as available to the devoted heart and insuperable will are indeed fantastic.

The Gita describes the laws of yoga that liberate us from conditioned living to creative living, from ignorance to enlightenment, from mediocrity into majesty. It focusses much discussion on the relationship between karma and will.

In yoga, tapas is a synonym for will. Tapa means self-governing. B.K.S Iyengar describes tapas as a fervent, unwavering, disciplined devotion to practice.[ii] And that takes will power.

Literally, tapas means fire. Figuratively, it can mean austerity. Poetically, it’s the fire and focus of the awakened, liberating will. Tapas is the practice of dedicated attention and intention toward a desired path. In yoga, such dedication of willing practice leads to union with the divine esprit of limitless manifesting power.

Gandhi was determined in devotion and devoted to his determined path. Caring, committed, and co-operative in soul force, he didn’t budge, he wasn’t budged. He had an insuperable will.

While reading The Gita fed his soul, daily meditation focussed his mind and strengthened his will. Any meditation that trains your attention to focus on one thing is a primary practice to develop will power—our power of creative choice.

Ultimately, the insuperable will is surrender of ego, of the Me-centre. It’s a surrender into the limitless I AM—what I sometimes call the cosmic orchestrating élan of everything. It’s the paradox of giving and receiving: giving over everything gains everything.

A willing discipline leads to willing surrender. And surrender leads to liberation. Tapas, that animated joyful devotion to a particular practice, opens a path for your wild and singular destiny to blaze its way through your heart and into your life.

A practice of daily living fuelled by a deep driving desire, guided by dedicated will, and supported by action, may not always be easy. A disciplined devotion may not be easy at first; but dedicated focus brings radiant results.

If you want your wild and singular life magnetized by the liberating blaze of living flow between finitude and infinity, practice a willing devotion to disciplined attention. It leads to a willing surrender of ego unto trust—a trust in the vibrant vibratory source of everything. Then destiny is yours.

[i] Stephen Mitchell, (2000). The Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita. New York: Three Rivers Press.

[ii] Iyengar, B.K.S. (1996). Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali. London: Thorsons. p. 30-31.

Soul Force

Gandhi understood will power. He understood the vibrant vibratory power of insuperable will dedicated to a higher purpose. Many of us might not call our own will power insuperable, but dedicating our focus in that direction strengthens will and extends our vibrational oomph.

Gandhi combined the great traditions of Western secular law and Eastern spiritual law in his practice of Soul Force. Soul Force is non-violent ceaseless persistence by a group will toward a common liberating purpose—in partnership with the cosmic dynamo of organizing élan.

In yoga, tapas means self-governing. It’s a synonym for will. B.K.S Iyengar describes tapas as a fervent, unwavering, disciplined devotion to practice.[i] That takes will power.

Literally, tapas means fire. Figuratively, it can mean austerity. Poetically, it’s the fire and focus of the awakened will. Tapas is the practice of dedicated attention and intention toward a desired path. In yoga, such dedication of willing practice leads to union with the cosmic dynamo of organizing élan.

Gandhi was determined in devotion and devoted to his determination. Caring and co-operative in soul force, he didn’t budge, he wasn’t budged. He had an insuperable will.

The Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu song of the lord, was Gandhi’s bible. The Bhagavad Gita describes the insuperable will as surrender of our little ego willfulness, the Me-centre, into the limitless I AM, the Great Will of The Infinite.

A disciplined devotion may not be easy; but dedicated focus brings radiant results.

If you want your wild and singular life magnetized by a living flow between finitude and infinity, practice a willing devotion to disciplined attention. The liberating blaze of discipline leads to a willing surrender of ego unto trust—a trust in the vibrant vibratory source of everything. Then, destiny is yours.

[i] Iyengar, B.K.S. (1996). Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali. London: Thorsons. p. 30-31.