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False Will

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is False Will?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: False Will

Aiming to Free the Will

There is a certain practice we do for understanding and freeing the will: what we call taking aims. This practice is paradoxical, because it seems to be the manifestation of the false will. That is how it can seem at the beginning. But we are trying to use our will to stay steadfast with the truth when we take aims. The aim is not to accomplish something: it is to be in the present, to see the truth, always. If you want to understand a certain issue, you take an aim to do some action relative to that issue, so that you will be able to understand it. For instance, you might want to understand your desire to get recognition from other people. So you take an aim that for the next month you will observe how you try to get recognition from others. Or for the next week, for a half hour every day, you will not do anything to get recognition from people. That is taking an aim. In time this will lead to the perception of the true operation of the will. However, you will for some time confuse this with the false will; that’s fine, it will create a question to deal with. Working with aims is one way to stay steadfast with the truth on your own, in your own space, so that you will be less dependent on the group. Taking an aim always involves stating exactly what you will do, and how often. The precision is an important part of it.

Building of Defensive Ego Structures

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.

False Will is an Imitation of the Real Will

Our understanding that the personality of ego is an imitation of the essential person, the person of Being, can be made more clear by what we call our “theory of holes.” This perspective, which was developed in detail in our books Essence and The Void, states that whenever an essential aspect is missing or cut off from one’s consciousness there results a deficiency, or hole, in its place. This hole is then filled by a part of the psychic structure that resembles the lost essential aspect. One fills or covers up the deficiency with a false aspect in its place. An example of this theory is the issue of Will. Will is one of the aspects of Essence, an element of the true human potential. In childhood it can be cut off and lost from one’s sense of who one is. The absence of this aspect will be felt as a sense of castration, of a lack of inner support and a lack of personal confidence. This deficiency is then usually defended against by creating a false will. The false will is a willfulness, a hard and rigid kind of determination, a stubbornness. This false will is an imitation of the real Will which has been cut off. It is a psychic structure constructed out of self-images and object relations from the past. The essential Will, on the other hand, is an aspect of Being, an existential presence, an actuality in the present. It is flexible and realistic, and does not have the rigidity and hardness of the ego will. It manifests as a natural, spontaneous and implicit sense of inner support and confidence.

Futility of False Will

The soul’s increasing realization of her essential nature spontaneously puts pressure on the structure of separating boundaries, illuminating it and causing the soul to feel an exaggeration of the sense of separateness. One of the ways this inner pressure manifests is that the soul begins to feel constricted, even though she is deeply in touch with her essential nature. She feels limited in a way that causes existential suffering. She longs to be completely essential; she yearns to melt into the sweet juices of essence; but whatever she does, whatever practice she engages in, whatever attitudes she takes, nothing works … at this point the soul may reach the depths of despair about ever being released from the trap of isolation; whatever inner efforts she makes only dig her deeper into this dilemma. Eventually she begins to see the futility of doing anything to free herself, even the spiritual practices of meditation, prayer, concentration, contemplation, inquiry, attention, and so on. Whatever she does is her own individual action, exercising her own will and intention, and it is becoming clear that this is an expression of the dilemma itself. It is all based on her own individual desire. To desire is to be the individual she is, to long and yearn for her freedom is to be the same limited person, and it is this individual that does the spiritual practices and works on herself. This separate person is, in fact, the same individual who wants to surrender, and because she wants to surrender she cannot; for by wanting it she is being the individual who turns out to be inseparable from the separating boundaries of the ego.

Letting Go of False Will

Letting go of the false will might be scary; you might feel as if you are falling into emptiness; you might wonder whether you will be able to function without it. But when real will is present there is no feeling of fear, no feeling that the emptiness is bad and that you will fall into it. If there is no true will, and no false will, the experience is fear. Basically it is a fear of falling, of no support, of no recourse. But when there is emptiness, which is the lack of a contraction, and the presence of true will, you experience openness rather than fear. This situation leaves us in a dilemma. We are afraid to let go of our false will, our hardness and rigidity, because we are afraid we are going to fall on our faces, with no support and nothing to hold on to. We will have nothing to push against in order to act. It will just be a huge vacuity. To avoid this feeling we harden ourselves, create a false will so that there will be something under us from which we can spring into action. This happens because you believe you need something to support you, and the belief creates a blockage against the true will. It is the belief itself that creates the blockage, which appears near the solar plexus. When you see this belief, the blockage goes away, and you see that emptiness, rather than something you might fall into, is an openness from which spontaneous action arises. Then instead of fear there is confidence.

Saying "No" to Experience

Another way to see true will is to understand that it is simply the attunement to what is natural. What’s happening right now is what is natural for us. To say “no” to what is naturally happening is to create a separate, false will that has its own idea about how things are supposed to happen. And as we have seen this can only lead to division and conflict. The moment we say “no” to our experience, we are using false will. True will is simply letting go of the false will that wants to take our experience somewhere else. So when we are willing to be completely in the moment, we have a better chance of seeing what is actually there, what is actually happening. If we are saying, “No, I don’t want this, I want it to be different,” that blocks the experience and gives us less chance of seeing the truth clearly. So when true will is operating, it enhances our awareness of what is there. It allows us to have a more complete and full perception. Only when we have this complete perception can we truly understand what is there. This understanding of what is happening is in itself a discharge, a regulation. When such insight happens it is like an orgasm—it is a release of tension. Just as your mother released your tension when you were hungry or in pain as an infant, allowing a relaxation, the process of simply seeing what is there and understanding it releases what is false in us. Discontent, pain and conflict are not part of our natural state. When you see and release what is false, it goes away. This is the discharge, the regulation. And what remains is what is real.

The Determination of Essential Will

The kind of determination that is important for inquiry is not like a bulldozer that pushes through regardless of the situation. We call that "iron will," which is a false, reactive substitute for real Will. Our ego uses iron or false will to make things happen when it is out of touch with the will of the truth. The determination needed in inquiry, on the other hand, is responsive and has a sense of appropriateness and subtlety. As an expression of the White or Silver Diamond of Essence, it is precise and intelligent. It is also flexible, manifesting in accordance with the requirements of the situation. The determination of essential Will can become firm, dense and solid, or it can be fluid and flexible. Sometimes it’s powerful, and at other times it’s delicate and light.

The Feeling of Castration

One's understanding of what will is changes as one's work progresses. Initially, what we take to be will is the pushing and efforting of the ego in its attempt to make ourselves, others, and reality itself, conform to how we think it should be. We call this false will in our work, and when we inquire fully into it and begin to disidentify from it, a sense of deficiency is exposed that carries with it a feeling of castration. We feel that something is missing, that we are inadequate, that we have no inner support or capacity to persevere. This painful sense of deficiency often manifests as the actual sensation of an emptiness where we know our genitals to be, and they may feel devoid of feeling as we are working through this "hole" or sense of absence. These are all indications that we have lost contact with the essential quality of will, of which fake will is a facsimile, an attempt on the part of the personality to recreate that which it believes it has lost.

Facets of Unity, pg. 131

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