Just like any other art, it requires attention. Just as the painter becomes fully absorbed in their art; just as the musician will enter and become immersed in another world once he focuses on his musical work; so the willful person throws one hundred percent of his attention into every task.
It often happens in life that we are thrown into difficult situations. We do not know what to do or how to cope in these situations. Sometimes it is as if life is prodding us, provoking us to action when we do not want to be active; constricting us when we do not want to be constricted; emptying us when we do not want to be emptied. Life has a way of being "cruel" like that. Yet what I've come to learn is that the true cruelty in life would be to allow us, children of life, to sit on and stagnate without growing. To go from moment-to-moment not learning anything, not exerting ourselves. If this were life, that would be true cruelty, that would be true suffering.
Therefore, the willful person exerts himself without waiting for life to prod him first. He will do before waiting to be asked to do. The willful person says: "I do not wish to know what my destiny is, for I know what I intend to make it. I know that there will be many various and difficult obstacles in my way, but I will overcome these obstacles. I will strive diligently and patiently, I will refuse to be daunted." Once this firm conviction is established and (most importantly) maintained, the person would find that their personal karma immediately takes this as an opportunity to release itself much more rapidly upon the life of the person, to pour down the lessons that would've normally been held in check for many years to come. Consequently the person in question will develop assets of their character in a matter of weeks which would've normally taken many years to develop; their mind would become sturdy and focused through the constant meeting of challenges which life tirelessly throws at it. The power of this hastened and improved development will always be proportionate with the intensity and depth of the above conviction inside of the person, so we find that we won't be given tasks that are too great for us to cope with; whatever difficulties that do manifest in our life, we will be able to cope with.
One's sense of personal will power is certainly one of the more important and useful assets that one could strive to develop during their lifetime. It would give that person the smallest glimpse of true freedom, because it gives power over those unwanted forces which act upon us, such as unwanted feelings, cravings, bad habits, destructive or harmful tendencies, depression, useless or repetetive thoughts, etc. All those nasty things which we do not want in our life because they drag us down. Yet it often happens that we are already so controlled by these nasty things that we can no longer see what is good for us and what is bad; what helps us along our path towards real happiness and what hinders us along this path. It is always easier to just give in to those circumstances which hinder us. What tends to happen is we blind ourselves by doing so, by eating our candy instead of our vegetables, we get used to eating the candy and throwing away the vegetables, so much so that it seems like the normal thing to do.
Here's a little exercise for you to try in order to test your own personal will power: Ignoring bad itches. That's right. How good does it feel to scratch a nice itch? Of course I mean those really itchy-scratchy itches, that you just have to scratch. Some of you reading this will even begin itching now, in many different places, but whatever you do, don't scratch! Invite the itch to crawl across your skin and to intensify. Don't try to turn your attention away from the itch, that would be running away. Fix all your attention on the itch, but don't allow yourself to be overcome by the desire to relieve it.
If you are patient and persevering it will eventually fade away by itself. It is likely that you'll find it easier to do after reading this post. Therefore I invite you to challenge yourself at ignoring your really bad itches later today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, when the memory of this post has become but a vague blur. If you are bad at this at first, you will become better the more you practice it.
Will power lies within the same line as what we call desire. Desire is a lower form of will power, and will power is a higher form of desire. We often come across objects and people that bring out our desires in certain ways - that which attracts us, we will grope after. That which excites repulsion within us, we will naturally avoid. What happens is that our many different desires tend to scatter all of our energy aimlessly. If we retract our desires, if we withdraw all our desires inwards so that they can no longer find expression, a curious thing will happen; those energies which usually found expression through our childish desires are now forced to move upwards in order to find suitable expression. This gives the impression of fusing all of our desires into a single, concentrated point. Once all our desires are controlled and united into a single force, ready to rush out at any given moment, but held in suspense through the action of the person, this is the true Inner Will.
It is a misconception that the drawing away of desire also draws away our ability to love. On the contrary, it greatly deepens our ability to love. It widens our capacity to give out and receive loving thoughts.
All of us have heard of the saying "Where there's a will there's a way," and this is remarkably true! There is no doubt in my mind of the power that a refined Will has over all types of matter. If the power is strong enough practically any result can be achieved, even without the person being able to know and explain exactly how he did it. It is obvious then that the forces of Nature bend and shapes herself according to the Will that is present.
Of course, to develop a strong will power in order to use it for anything less than noble reasons would certainly be a very tragic course to take. The truly willful man would be able to easily dominate the minds of those around him, yet he would shudder and immediately shrink away from even faintly encouraging such a thought as that within himself, never mind actually acting on it. What we can be most certain of is that the truly willful man always uses all his abilities and all his strength and power to strive towards the greater good, to spread only beneficient and loving thoughts to those around him. He is ever on the watch for opportunities to lend a helpful hand, a kind remark, or a powerful and earnest good wish. He will exert all his energy not for the good of himself, but for the good of others, not thinking of himself at all - because he is strong enough to do so. He puts other's wants before his own needs. In this way he becomes a pillar of strength for the weak to hold on to, a bright light that tirelessly shines out to embrace and illuminate all. Remember the old saying: "Love is the law, but love under a strong will."
Edited by D_420, 23 April 2012 - 11:10 PM.