Right from the get-go, our work on the matter faltered into a series of inexplicable misunderstandings, silly errors, missed deadlines, failed appointments, and bad luck. I found myself encountering obstacles I should not have been encountering. I also committed blunders I would normally never commit. All the while, the individual trying to help me also made one clumsy misstep after another. To top it all off, I had to cancel the crucial appointment that would have essentially sealed the deal because I had fallen ill.
I phoned my associate to reschedule the appointment for a later date, but I ended phoning him back almost immediately after I had ended the call. Right then and there I knew I had to let go of the whole process we had initiated and approach the matter from a different angle, regardless of the time and effort we had both invested into the goal. I told the man who had been assisting me to forget about the rescheduling, and that I had decided to step away from the business and try a different approach. To my mild surprise, my associate greeted this news with relief. We wished each other the best, and I ended the call.
After this conversation, I took a few minutes to reflect upon the entire ordeal. The first thing that occured to me was that it should not have been an ordeal at all. In fact, what I want to achieve is incredibly simple and routine, and it should have gone off without any sort of hitch, yet for reasons neither I nor my associate could understand the seemingly basic matter degenerated into a complicated and stressful nightmare. It was star-crossed from the beginning, as if the universe had actively conspired against us, or at the very least, had cursed my attempt to accomplish what I needed to accomplish within the framework I had chosen to achieve my objective. So much had gone wrong that it had all quickly taken on the overtones of a farcical tragic-comedy.
As I reflected upon this series of unlucky events and developments, I suddenly understood the relief I had heard in my associate's voice. Toward the end, he had felt the same as I had. We had both reached the point where we were trying force something that simply refused to be forced, and we had both come to the realization that it would be in everyone's best interest to just cut it loose and let it drift away.
This is by no means an easy point to reach, especially in matters pertaining to business. We live in societies nurtured on the understanding that success requires will power and determination, that the difference between success and failure is really only a question of grit and stick to itiveness. Winners never quit. Never give up. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. These sayings are welded into our minds, spelled out in the same sort of heavy, iron block letters that used to adorn garish concrete socialist monuments in the Eastern Bloc. Failure to heed the "wisdom" contained within these oppressive messages regarding will power indicates there is something wrong with you. There must be. After all, there can be nothing inherently wrong with the wisdom itself. The wisdom of will power is truth. Your inability to abide by dictums addressing will power reveals your inability to live up to this truth. Failure can neatly be chalked up to one thing and one thing only - you simply do not have what it takes to see a goal through to success.
Perseverance can be a virtue, no doubt about it. This holds particularly true in our own contemporary world which brims with short-cutters and easy-streeters, people who abide by a philosophy of expediency. Unwilling to invest sincere time and effort into accomplishing goals, many modern people focus their will power on avoiding tough challenges, or abandoning challenges the moment they become tough. I definitely took this approach in regard to this particular bureaucratic matter. I simply did not want to invest the time and effort to "properly" complete the process. Pitted against this kind of approach, perseverance can indeed pay dividends, and it is often worth continuing pursuits others avoid or back out of, but even perseverance has its limits. The trick seems to be recognizing what these limits are and knowing when to accept them as limits.
Much of western civilization is constructed on faith in the power of will power. Our history books teem with biographical snippets of dogged individuals who inscribed their names onto eternity through the act of imposing their will power upon the world - tenacious, firm, steadfast giants who expended their life energies altering the fabric of the universe through the sheer power of their resolve. These were people who simply refused to take no for an answer. They stood up and locked horns with the cosmos and would not back down, even when faced with insurmountable odds. And this sheer, almost foolhardy purposefulness is what made them what they were and, inevitable, helped make the world what it is. They wielded their unwavering determination like signet rings, and pressed their indelible marks upon the sealing wax of the world.
As grand, noble, and impressive as these individuals and their stories are, they sidestep an often neglected but crucial kernel of wisdom. Will power can be a great power, but is necessarily "good"? And is it as strong as it is touted to be? In the grand scheme of things, The Will is infinitely greater than will power is. Not only is The Will stronger than will power, but The Will should never be ignored, especially when will power finds itself pushing up against it. But what, exactly, are will power and The Will?
In his Geography of Consciousness, William Arkle describes will power in the following manner:
Will Power is taken in its usual secular and common sense definition, and interpreted as the use of normal psychological disciplines to attain a particular goal.
Will power is a matter of 'getting what we want or believe we need'; it is a matter of strategically using our mind, understanding, predictive ability, force and manipulations to attain an objective.
Will Power may or may not achieve what it sets out to achieve - but it is essentially an attempt to impose ourselves upon the world; and therefore extremely prone to be evil in motivation and effect.
Arkle then goes on to explain The Will:
The Will is something altogether different in its nature and operation. It is our true, higher, individual Self; that contains an element of, and is in communication with, God.
Therefore The Will is a source of the power strength, and purpose of God as this specifically applies to our (real) selves.
The Will is therefore necessarily good, and (being divine) this good is harmonised with the good of all other things.
We have no conscious power to influence The Will by a strategic decision - any more than we could change God's will; we can only recognise The Will, and choose either to accept or to reject it.
Arkle then explains what happens when will power forces itself to work against The Will:
Mostly we choose to ignore or reject The Will, and instead attempt to impose our false selves upon the world by Will Power.
And mostly this is un-successful - and this failure is both necessary and fortunate as the results of success would be disastrous to ourselves and to others (including the whole environment).
When (as is usual) the Will Power goes against The Will; The Will 'sabotages' our plans, by all kinds of means including psychological sabotage, but not confined to that - since The Will is divine it has power to influence other things in the environment - leading to what may be termed 'bad luck' but is actually a necessary failure to get what we want, because what we want is opposed to what God wants, and therefore creation is 'weighted against us'.
I thought of Arkle's interpretations of will power versus The Will as I reflected upon the unfortunate events I had experienced over the past two months pertaining to the matter I was pursuing, and I began to consider that what I experienced might be a case of will power pushing up against The Will, as it were. It certainly felt as if creation was "weighted against me", as least within the scope of the particular goal I wished to achieve.
I have since decided to take a different approach to the matter. Though the goal remains the same, the means through which I plan to achieve it have changed. It is my hope that this shift in approach might create more conditions more conducive for the attainment of my overall objective. I do not believe the problem lies is the objective itself (it's a relatively impersonal matter with no overarching ethical or moral implications and no real connection to my Self, True or otherwise), but in the methods I had chosen to achieve it. In other words, I am taking my will power out of the equation, and I am going to attempt to deal with the business from an acceptance of The Will. Of course, I have no clear, conscious knowledge of what The Will actually wants in terms of this particular goal and why it so vehemently blocked my attempts to circumvent bureaucracy, but I am convinced it did not accept the way in which I had initially chosen to achieve my objective. It is my hope the new way I am going to attempt will be more aligned to my True Self, and thus more aligned to The Will.
As Arkle explains:
But a person who knows, accepts and lives by The Will (in however brief and incomplete a fashion) finds the opposite - he finds that not only his own mind (mental powers) but also 'things in general' cooperate in ways that are good.
This includes genuine synchronicity - which is a consequence of harmony between ourselves and our environment working towards the good, caused by The Will spontaneously (over time) reproducing in our surroundings 'a drama which represents the significance of our being': i.e. synchronicity, or 'meaningful coincidence' (as we interpret it).
Time will tell whether or not the steps I am currently taking will lead me in the direction Arkle describes above. Regardless, one thing is certain, the path I had initially taken had not worked and was never going to work, no matter how much I forced my will power upon it all.
And what of the great people of history? The ones who moved the world with nothing more than will power? Well, perhaps it was not their will power at all. Perhaps it was something higher and more subtle. If so, will power may not have been the driving force behind their grand achievements after all, as Arkle outlines in the following:
By this account synchronicity is mostly an operation of God-within-us, rather than a situation created by God's power external to us. It is evidence of a truly vast and intrinsically good power - a divine power of subtle harmonisation that we may recognise (or reject); but which it is impossible for us to control, exploit or 'use' to achieve our personal desires.
This also explains divine providence, that sense of God's Will working in the world (but only with our chosen cooperation) can make situations that seem like a near-incredible 'good fortune' by a sequence of apparent 'luck'.
Forcing things through concerted effort is often lauded as the key ingredient to success, but according to Arkle, the greatest successes only come when force and effort are taken out of the equation and The Will is granted enough space operate. Contrary to popular belief, instead of driving success, will power could positively hinder the proper attainment of goals.
All of this will undoubtedly strike some as speculative and somewhat outlandish, but in my mind, the inherent "goodness" (and effectiveness) of will power deserves a reevaluation.