“Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” This sentiment was perhaps crafted to inspire positivity and stick-to-itiveness in the face of challenging circumstances. If the will is “the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action,” then the task, according to this platitude, is apparently simple: know your goal, intend it, act on it, and all will be well.
But if the will is the initiating force, where’s the way to the will? Is the will an inborn quality, or is it a trait we can develop? If you don’t naturally feel the force of will, how do you then find the will to develop it?
The first step is simply identifying that you want to engage your will. For some people, this may be as simple as deciding: “I have a goal that I want to accomplish, but I’m having difficulty taking the steps to get there.” For others, it may require some inquiry into what they want from life. It may require nudging from friends, family, counselors, or colleagues who see, or are impacted by, their loved one’s stagnation. For others still, it may require unpleasant circumstances that illuminate the limitations of not engaging the will: “I’m suffering. I don’t know why. I don’t know what I want. But something has to change.”
Ultimately, this seed of the will ~ the will to engage the will ~ reflects an internal readiness for change, and emerges on its own when the individual is ripe for it. There is no forcing it into being. There is only nurturing the conditions ~ warmth, encouragement, awareness, lovingkindness ~ that will awaken the seed to begin to crack open.
This postcard is the first in a series on Engaging the Will.