Will (Video Script)
Philosophers and theologians have argued over the existence of free will for centuries. Are people really free to make choices and create their own destiny? Or is the universe so rigid in its lawfulness that everything, including every thought and action, is predetermined in some manner.
To be sure, we have touched upon these perennial questions from the perspective of the destiny of the mind in a previous lesson. Now it is time to expand the inquiry into the role of will in a search for God.
We speak of will power and being strong willed; willful and willing. But just what is will?
Will is a gift of Creator that makes possible individuality and the self-reflective awareness of being, so essential for relationship. Will defines who we are.
As an attribute of spirit, will is active. The power of will is a source of energy that can motivate and drive.
Will is expressive and creative in the choices we make.
When awakened and focused, will can change mental patterns by which the mind builds. In fact, the Cayce readings insist that will acts in opposition to mind.
Whereas mind relies on patterns and forms that already exist from past experience, will can imagine alternatives and focus attention on new options that change the future.
Thus, will guides the mind in the building process. To the extent that the will is asleep and mind continues to build using old patterns, then yes, life does appear to be predetermined, just as some philosophers have observed.
The Paradox of Will
Will presents another spiritual paradox for the seeking soul. Will is a gift of God that allows us to be expressive and creative. And yet, to use will optimally we must be submissive or obedient to the greater good as represented by the will of God.
To be self-centered or willful, limits the soul and diminishes its power. It is not God’s will that we limit our abilities or power, but that is our choice, if we so decide. Attunement to the will of God can occur through prayer and meditation or working with ideals.
Will And Choice
Choice is probably the most familiar expression of will. Choice requires options, like a test question with a list of possible answers – or simply the binary option of true or false. Thus choice is a rather focused expression of will, very useful for solving problems or making decisions.
If the will is asleep the mind defaults to past patterns and we remain stuck there. If the will is awake and attentive, we can make simple choices about what to eat, what to buy, how to treat others.
At a deeper level, we can choose a spiritual ideal and identify corresponding mental and physical ideals. But choice is not enough. We must act upon the choice to empower it. The power of will – attuned to a spiritual ideal – makes the choice practical and even probable.
Thus soul development is dependent upon the choices we make each day. This is a three-step dance: make the choice; act upon the choice; take responsibility for the outcome.