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Essential Will

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Essential Will?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Essential Will

Avoiding Seduction Away from Inquiry

The true function of the Will is to help us become steadfast so that we are not swayed, and not distracted or seduced away from the inquiry. We keep on exploring regardless of what happens. Keeping on doesn’t mean that you have to push; sometimes it can be very gentle and delicate. Steadfastness is mostly a matter of simply being there with your experience, being aware of what is going on, remaining interested in the truth, and continuing to explore whatever limits your openness.

Determination to Persist

Essential Will gives us the determination to persist with whatever thread we’re following and not let ourselves get distracted. This determination manifests in different ways. One way of experiencing it is as a dedication and commitment to the practice.

Essential Will is a Platonic Form of Being

Will Essence is an essential aspect, a Platonic form of Being, with its own perspective and its own issues, which must be resolved for its realization. Most students have their first encounter with the Will Essence by resolving the castration complex.

Essential Will is the Capacity for Endurance, for Persistence

The Will Essence is very important for separation and individuation, as important as the Strength Essence. Strength gives the individual energy and the initiative capacity. Will, on the other hand, is a kind of strength, but it is the strength of persistence, of being able to stay with the task till the end. It is the capacity for endurance, persistence and carrying through. It feels like a sense of solidity, of inner support, of determination and confidence. If the Personal Essence feels like "I am" and the Strength Essence feels like "I can," then the Will Essence feels like "I will." It is confidence in one's abilities.

Essential Will Makes Our Inquiry Unstoppable

The presence of the element of Will makes our inquiry unstoppable, makes it impossible to seduce, because the distractions are all seductions. They are promises that the situation will improve if we go along with them. These seductive distractions are called the “devil” in some religions: the tempter who is always telling you, “Well, if you just fantasize a little bit, you will feel better.” …Your mind is always tempting you to stay away from staying present and open to the truth, promising something better or easier. That’s why the purity of your commitment will have a great deal to do with your access to essential Will.

Essential Will, as an Expression of Being, Has No Goal

The commitment to the inquiry—the determination not to give up or let yourself be distracted—is also a commitment to the quality of your experience. It is not a commitment to an ideal of being a good person. It’s a commitment to experiencing yourself and reality in the here and now regardless of whether you like what’s here or not. It’s a commitment to maximizing and optimizing the quality of your experience at each moment through being real, authentic, and focused on the truth. The challenge is for our commitment to be free of any goal orientation. Will is what underlies our determination and commitment. And essential Will, as an expression of Being, has no goal, no direction, no effort, and hence no intention. However, for a long time, our identification is with our ego-self—regardless of the presence of Being and its manifestations. So we will tend to experience our essential Will and inner commitment as an intentionality: the intention to begin inquiring and the intention to stay the course. Intentionality is the basis of the ego-self’s commitment, which manifests as a kind of stubbornness and bullheadedness.

Manifestation of Will in the Service of Truth

When the Citadel aspect is present, it gives the individual the possibility of looking at ego inadequacy in an objective and unemotional way. One feels so supported that the state of inadequacy loses its threatening property. The Citadel gives one a sense of solidity and support, with no grandiose ideas. One is clearly aware that it is an essential presence, and not a physical or mental power, that it is a support for Being and not for ego. The sense of support and protection related to this aspect is much deeper than the state of awesome immensity. One begins to learn that the realization of this aspect requires from one something specific. It is not a matter only of inner understanding. It is a state in which Will and Truth are harmonized, are functioning as one state. This means that its influence is to manifest Will in the service of Truth. It is actually solid Will in the service and support of objective Truth. To embody (realize) this aspect, one’s actions, and all of one’s life, must function according to objective Truth. At this point one learns, usually through the difficulties of trial and error, that one cannot continue to experience Being if one lives his life according to the belief that he is the ego individuality. One’s action, behavior, style of life (all manifestations of Will) must be in harmony with the Truth of Being. One cannot indulge in false identifications, regard essential experience as some sort of reward, and expect to live the life of Essence.

Real Will is an Implicit Confidence that the Organism Will Function Correctly

This experience of loss of Will leads to the child trying to get the regulation through the exertion of effort. This he does by trying to control either himself or his environment. This activity of trying, effort and control is the false will that the child starts building. This is, obviously, linked to the building of ego structures, particularly the defensive ones. When there is objective understanding of the Will Essence, we find that trying, effort, control and so on, are antithetical to the presence of the real Will. Real Will is an implicit confidence that the organism will function correctly. This allows the attitude of surrender, which brings about the manifestation of the Merging Essence. So we see that the loss of Will, resulting in effort and willfulness, impedes the smooth functioning of autonomic regulation. This in turn disturbs the capacity for functioning in the world. There is no sense of inner support, or confidence in one’s capacities. The final result is a deep sense of inadequacy, of not being able to function in the world as an integrated and mature individual. It is illuminating to see the organic, multi-leveled interconnections in the functioning of the various essential aspects. Essence is not only the ultimate ground of human existence, it also governs our functioning.

Some Situations Reflecting the Absence of Essential Will

In the Diamond Approach we find the concept of Will indispensable for understanding ego and its development. Its importance for essential realization is even greater. Many systems of inner work, including Gurdjieff s, are based on this aspect of Essence. Schools that use the martial arts are using the aspect of Essential Will. In terms of ego development, structure and conflicts, the understanding of Will can bring a greater clarity and specificity. The absence of Will is reflected in the following situations, which we discuss only briefly:

* The moment one identifies with a defensive structure one cuts himself off from the Will of Essence. Understanding this can bring a precise understanding of the difference between the beingness of Being and the activity of ego.

* Castration anxiety is a direct consequence of being cut off from the Will Essence. The Oedipal situation augments the situation, but does not create it. For more detailed discussion of this point refer to our book The Void. It is enough for us here to mention that the state of castration itself is nothing but the state of deficiency resulting from the loss of contact with the Will Essence.

* The exaggeration of masculine identifications and qualities in some men and women is a reflection of absence of Will. Will is considered in most cultures to be a masculine quality. Thus having a masculine image becomes a way of covering up the hole of the Will by an ego structure with masculine characteristics; this is an emulation of Will. Rigidity and inflexibility in ego structure is a way of covering up the Will deficiency by creating something that emulates its sense of solidity. 

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