Where There’s A Will….
Have you noticed the modern dilemma of will – a crisis of will that has “caused” a loss of individual will and responsibility? Have you noticed that a crisis of will hampers our ability to resolve all that we currently face in a world fraught with ecological, economic, biological, psychological, and physical challenges? Have you witnessed the inertia of our will and its decision-making is evident in the upheaval of the transition age in which we are now living?
Although many of us adhere to the adage, “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” we tend to interpret it as giving us permission to use “will power,” the forceful quality of the will that demands that we immediately solve a problem, whether it be personal, community, national, or international in scope. Demanding the will to perform leads us down a path of control and control leads us up a mountain of resistance. We go against the will as if it were an enemy.
Recently I asked a colleague how she uses her will. I asked her because she often speaks of her resistance and indecision. To my surprise, she responded by saying she uses her will by being obstinate, stubborn, intractable, reluctant, grudging, oppositional, indecisive, and indifferent. She then added, “I want to want to want to use my will to change and grow but I am stuck. I have a to-do list that spans into eternity and I have yet to make any of it happen.”
Clearly, our will does not thrive when squeezed into a box. Rather, our will flourishes in the spaciousness of a deep and profound desire of our heart. Capacities of the will evolve naturally when we commit to a spiritual intention that we want to manifest in our lives. Our responsibility is to place ourselves in settings that serve as a spacious container for our will to thrive and thus for our spiritual intention to manifest. Our responsibility is to be with inspiring and supportive people. Once our intention is in place, the hard work of self-effort begins. We will need many skills and competencies to successfully fulfill our intention.
Let me give you an example. Recently people have asked me about my role in manifesting the Institute’s philosophical foundations through The Trilogy. In other words, what did I do as a founding leader to bring this about. For me, the Institute is a manifestation of a deep, unshakeable spiritual commitment I made nearly forty years ago – a commitment to experience inner peace. My inner life at the time was in shambles and in need of healing. I did not make a to-do list that would lead to an Institute nor did I visualize its possible existence. Rather, my psyche, my soul, held fast to my spiritual goal of inner peace. That’s all I wanted. I decided to surround myself with people striving to do the same. I read many spiritual and self-help books, attended multiple inner work and spiritual workshops and classes, developed a spiritual practice, connected with nature and animals, and found a spiritual teacher. Gradually, I recognized that the Institute manifested as the perfect setting for me to learn inner peace. Of course, I am still a work in progress as this intention is not attained quickly nor easily. Fortunately, others have been served by the Institute as well.
When we establish a spiritual intention for our life and truly mean it, we benefit from placing ourselves in settings and with people that nurture our intention. Our will naturally develops in all of its aspects – strength, skill, goodness and connection to the Divine – when it is nourished. Why is this so? Our psyche is very suggestible and is neurologically rewired by what we are exposed to from our external physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual environments. If we wish to have a strong and healthy will, we need to allow a nurturing environment to manifest. In the presence of a nurturing environment, our will gradually becomes healthier all by itself. Our will awakens and moves toward health, wholeness, and integration with other functions of our psyche…..always.
Copyright © Susan S. Trout, March 2011. All Rights Reserved.