Willingness Versus Willfulness

‘Nothing is wrong with you.‘ Where there is a will there is a way’ is eminently true.
 At first the will is your own which has to be strengthened
 by the thought of GOD
 until you convert it into the almighty Will of GOD.
 You seem to be playing a particular game
 which you do not really desire to throw up.
 You can change the game if you will.
 You are not weak and helpless.
 Every strength and will is within you.
 GOD-vision is yours that very instant
 when you will it with concentration.
 Why don’t you?
 Simply because you do not choose to.’

Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Everyone has willpower even though some may deny it. The important issue here is how we use it and for what purpose. It usually depends on how much we want something and the use of our will with desire. Desire and will are inseparable life-long partners.

Addictions contain immense desire. And an addict has the motivation to go to great lengths to fulfill their desire. A smoker who has run out of cigarettes will get a cigarette to smoke. An alcoholic who wants a drink will get one. A compulsive eater will not starve. Infatuated lovers potentially break up homes, destroy their family life or someone else’s, to obtain the object of their desires. An avaricious, materialistic person shopping for a gift for a dear one will find it difficult to not grasp something, the best, for themselves. Desire makes people manipulate and cheat if necessary to get what they want. Unless entirely free we are all addicted to something; patterns and habits, if not objective people or things.

It’s not that those with addictions are without willpower. They have immense will power and tremendous willfulness to get what they want. However, they use their strong will and willfulness as a tool to satisfy their desires rather than as a tool for self-control. When a smoker says, “I do not have the will-power to stop smoking.” What they are really saying is, “I know I am supposed to not smoke, and I know that I should use my self-control to not have a cigarette. But I really want a cigarette and I will realize this one way or another. To satisfy addictions we need a great deal of willpower and clever manipulation. As Swami (Sri Sathya Sai Baba) says:

Some people say that they are too weak to scale spiritual heights. But you have the strength to commit sins and do wrong actions.
The strength required for good or bad actions is the same. In fact, it is more difficult to commit bad actions than to be good and meritorious… 
Cheating is more arduous than being honest…

The Truth is, that when someone really wants something, they are likely to go all out to get it. Realistically, it’s very rare for the ego to deny itself. A fierce combat, sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle, is initiated within the desire body. This struggle continues on the Path until the fight is over. It remains until there is no desire left, no ego left.

When one is on the Path to increasing awareness and consciousness, one is involved in the struggle. To begin with, nothing very much spiritual happens for some time even though one might think otherwise. Some mistakenly believe that the fight is between the desire body and the Spiritual body but the struggle is actually within the desire body itself! It is a contest between the desire self who wants its own willful worldly way, with all the paraphernalia that goes with it versus the desire body who also wants all the goodies they think is available in spiritual life and on the spiritual Path. The desire body always wants to have its cake and eat it!

This preliminary struggle of the fight within a desire body can go on for a lifetime. When people are new to their spiritual Path they really do believe that they can get something if they try hard enough. That they can have it all. They bring their ideas of worldly achievement into their spiritual showground. Their aim is to, achieve, succeed, gather, collect and to be validated. They want to become clever, learned, understand, purify, be charismatic, be liked, be elevated and be enlightened. They see devotees with Gurus who look like they have something(s) that they have not seen before. Or they see people emanating peace or acceptance. “I want some of that,” the ego will say as though it’s something it can purchase or receive through guile if they try hard enough.

The desire body believes itself to be in a huge Divine sweetie shop filled with all sorts of amazing goodies and wrappings. Yippee. Here is the answer to any sense of loss the ego struggles with or is afraid of. And so the ravenous greed begins. At the same time, the desire body, which still wants to continue in the same old desire laden way gets stronger too and uses apathy. Apathy that resists change.

Like a big fleshy grasping Octopus, the desire body extends its tentacles out to grab Divinity and eat it! An impossible task. At the same time, it continues to hold onto all the things it’s in the habit of having. The desire body is a consumer, albeit an unhappy and continually unsatisfied one. The desire body that remains strong on the spiritual path, does not become reduced but at the very least doubles in size.

When the desire body becomes this huge, powerful jealousy, avarice and competitiveness come into play. The desire body now becomes even more competitive, more jealous, more vicious if it believes that it is not getting what it wants. It becomes the enemy of those whom it sees has what they want. Divine gifts, grace, Guru, peace, attention, understanding… The desire body can now even hate God or Guru, or other spiritual seekers because of its poisonous desires of jealousy and competitiveness.

What the desire body does not understand is that there is nothing to get on the Path that will ever satisfy. The truth is that the desire body will never be satisfied. How can it be, when desire does not belong to the object but to the subject? It is only, when we do not have an expectation of getting what we want, can there be any respite or peace. But can any desire control itself? It is only when one can witness the desire that one can train themselves to not succumb to desire through the power of strong determination and vigilance. Through a strong use of positive will.

‘You must have not only freedom from fear, but freedom from hope and expectation’

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The Truth is, that peace means giving up all desires. Using a strong will and determination to release the desire body, bit by bit until it shrivels and dies. When there is Grace, there comes a point in time, when the ego has a certain reality of its coming doom. There is the awareness that there can be no going back and that to go forward will involve pain and eventual destruction if desire is held onto. The ego will realize that it must be sacrificed. It may fight to begin with but it will lose the struggle if we are determined to stay strong and resolute. If we give in, become casual, apathetic, the ego will rule.

‘Not doing anything takes the form of laziness, and in order to be lazy we have to develop a certain kind of intelligence. 
Laziness has tremendous intelligence in it, in fact. When you are lazy, as soon as you have the urge to do anything,
immediately a kind of answer comes to you that you can present about why you don’t have to do it.
 Later you can say: “I didn’t do it because I didn’t have time. Thus and such happened and I didn’t have a chance to do it.
It was because of that.” This automatic answer that comes to you is very convenient. One has to be very intelligent to find these kinds of excuses.
There is tremendous intelligence in laziness, but it is misused intelligence.’

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Sometimes, it’s just not mere laziness but a demonic determination to not stop hurting oneself and others. When you hear someone say, “I would like to change, and I don’t really want to do that again but I am not sure if I can stop…” know that this is codswallop. What they are really saying is that they do not really want to change, that they prefer to stay as they are. There is always the choice. A choice based on how honest and true someone is in changing and in becoming less desirous, more generous and spiritually open.

When this realization and the awareness of choice comes into play in the subconscious, very commonly something happens in the ego/desire body. There will now be a vacillation between eagerness and apathy, happiness and sadness and the highs and the lows. It’s like a game as it becomes more transparent to the desire body that to get anywhere one needs to do hard work. And realistically, the desire body does not want to do that unless it’s for a real craving for some habitual or sense satisfaction. There is less hard work at trying to get the spiritual goodies that once seemed so real and tempting. Actually, the price is just too high for the ego. There is still meanness but now there is anger as well, perhaps a deep resentment. There is the realization that there really might be nothing to get; that it is loss that is required and that one is to sacrifice. This is a terrifying, momentous realization for an ego with a big desire belly and lots of greedy tentacles… Commonly, one of the ways an ego deals with this kind of scenario is to go to sleep, on every level it possibly can!

When sleep takes over and we sleepwalk in life, there is no urgency, no eagerness to hear, to see, to act, to be, to try, to serve, to help, to grow, to change, to mature… When eagerness is lost, when persistence disappears, the Path is no more.

Let us not encourage casualness. This indication of lethargy and disrespect. Let us not be casual with

1. Sentient Beings
2. Time
3. Timing
4. Any Kind of Service
5. Communication
6. Promises
7. Pledges
8. Commitments
9. Our Path
10. Our Speech
11. Our Thoughts
12. Our Actions
13. Our habits
14. Our Feelings
15. Our Reactions
16. The Expression of our Emotions
17. Our Teacher
18. Spiritual Teachings
19. Books of Spiritual Teachings
20. Our Spiritual Practice
and last but never least
21. God What is our Path?

At the very least, this means being a good human being. But, we need to ask this question repeatedly until the answers and the understanding comes.

Be eager. Eager and willing to grasp opportunities to pray, to serve, to help, to care, to be present on all levels, to be there.

Be Positive with a healthy enthusiasm, and use the natural restraint of wise discrimination. Remain awake as much as is possible to hear, see and do good.

Enjoy growing, in letting go.

To avoid apathy, the death of our spiritual Path, we must not wait, delay, get absorbed only in oneself or our small inner circle. when we have the opportunity of grace:

1. Serve
2. Hear the Truth in Teachings
3. Read the Truth in Teachings
4. Be Kind
5. Help
6. Give Generously
7. Share
8. Care
9. Listen
10. Hear
11. Devote to…
12. Be
13. Be Attentive
14. Be Present
15. Be Clear
16. Be Direct
17. Share Loving-kindness
18. Have Gratitude
19. Show Gratitude
20. Share Gratitude
21. And last but never least,
Remember God

Let us not be one of those people who do not really listen or hear. Who make promises they do not keep. Who like to appear magnanimous but whose promises come to nothing when it really matters. Let us not be like those people who cheat and lie, who pillage others and use them for their own ends.

Let us not cheat on life. Life was not given to us to merely indulge in lethargy, self-absorption, self-seeing or misery. How can a life like this be of any use? The world needs all the help it can get now and always. We are all needed, even if only to say a prayer of kindness each morning for the happiness and welfare of all beings. Our eagerness is needed. Our staying power is essential. A positive, clean, pure intention is needed by the world right now.

Cultivate an eagerness that goes beyond the ego’s sleepiness to jump to attention for another. Divine prompting does not ask one to consider and wait a few weeks. Cultivate the ability to be of service “right now,” if one is graced with the opportunity.

As a result of apathy and casualness, others, waiting for help, become hurt, experience loss and sometimes even die. The opportunity for something good that can happen will just not happen. Service requires unconditional effort, eagerness and persistence. It is not a whimsical game of being there, giving or helping only when it suits.

‘No one succeeds without effort.
 Those who succeed owe their success
to perseverance.’

Ramana Maharishi

Finally, dear readers, a prayer from One who never stopped their perseverance, who diligently and earnestly loved God and expressed this Love for God towards all sentient beings. St Francis of Assisi. Let the words of His prayers inspire you to not delay in helping, to not be complacent and to be ever ready to express goodness as much as you can.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love;
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt the true faith in you.
O master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there’s sadness ever joy.
Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Loving blessings to all,


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