EDUCATING THE WILL

By Gregory Mitchell

Will is the impelling factor, the directive intention, by which we get things done in life. It is the primary expression of our state of being, the source of our initiatives. The quality of the manifestation of our will is determined by our understanding - the "why?" and the "how?" - of the world around us.

Our will is manifested through the choices we make. Choice, therefore, is the pivotal factor in a self-controlled destiny. Choice begins from the moment we separate from the consciousness of our parents - choice of what we will do, wear, eat and feel begins from the moment we awaken each day. It is only through choice that we discover what works and what does not, and in this way we learn by experience.

When choice is consciously made, experience becomes Self-created. When we live without consciousness, our actions simply reflect our conditioned patterns of thought (habits, fixed ideas and accepted beliefs) or other people's instructions, and we are no longer in charge of our own life experience.

Decisiveness is a great help to practical success as well as to strength and clarity of mind. For example, a distinguished man was asked to what he attributed his phenomenal success in life. His top recommendation was to make a list early each morning of the things which he wanted to do during the day. He said that with the aid of this practice he was able to do much more; not because he worked harder but because he had ceased to waste time in idle speculation as to what he should do next, and whether he should do it now or leave it to later or the next day. He discovered that these troublesome questions had the power to sap his strength and resolution, such that he got much less done before.

Wishing and willing are quite different things. Suppose I consider whether I will or will not pick up my pen. I cannot wish in this matter - I must decide either to pick it up or leave it where it is. Wishing is an acknowledgement of inability, a dependence upon external events. Willing is the use of your own power. The person who has educated his will does not grumble about the things fortune brings to him through no apparent action of his own, but is content to make the fullest possible use of the opportunities that do prevail. He or she does not dwell again and again on the same thought or argument. If something does require to be thought over, it is brought forward and all the facts bearing upon it are considered, so that a clear conclusion is derived; and then the matter is dismissed from the mind.

The great Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi stated: "An average man's mind is filled with countless thoughts, and therefore each individual one is extremely weak. When, instead of these many useless thoughts, there appears only one, it is a power in itself and has a wide influence."

We know that many great scientists and inventors ascribed their unique discoveries to their ability for strong, focused, thinking. This was the case with Isaac newton, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur and many others, who were conscious of and able to apply their extraordinary powers of concentration to exclude all else but the object of their investigations.