Talks with a seeker who has dived deep into the Teachings – Part 1/9

Question: Where does personal will come into the picture? Is it an illusion, or is it something that can be learned and perfected, or is it a fantasy?


Answer: Personal will is not an illusion, it is part of the illusion. The difference is that with this understanding I now know that what I previously thought was my personal will, whatever I decided to do in life and whatever actions I took, was not in my control. I understand that my life has been shaped by the way my parents treated me, my childhood, my school, my parents’ religion, the geographical area where my family lived, and my parents’ economic status. None of that was in my control, although all of that and more shaped me as an individual.


My will is based on my genetics and conditioning, neither of which are in my control. I exercise my will based on something I learned, saw, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched, and none of that was in my control. I read a book by an author, I saw a video on YouTube just by chance, I got drawn to the Teaching, and none of that was in my control. Realizing all of this, I come to understand that so many events have never been in my control and there truly is no such thing as personal will. What I previously thought was my personal will is actually God’s Will.


Now, how do I operate in life knowing this? I operate exactly the way I was operating. I do precisely what I think I should do with my personal will, but now I know two things. First, it is not truly my personal will. Second, no matter what I do, my actions are ultimately not in my control, and the results of those actions are God’s Will. Life has shown me that no matter how much I exercise my so-called personal will, what happens thereafter has never been in my control. Sometimes I get what I want, many times I don’t get what I want, and sometimes I get something completely unexpected. None of these outcomes have ever been in my control.


Question: I see, but what is Will? Is it energy, or is it the ability to focus? How would you define Will?


Answer: It is stated in the Bible in four words: “Thy Will be done!” Whatever happens is Will, and what is Willed to happen is what happens. Within Maya (the illusion), the individual ego is under the illusion that they are a separate autonomous entity, and they believe that what happens is a result of their own personal will as opposed to God’s Will. This belief, and the fact that an individual’s personal actions often do not lead to their desired outcome, creates suffering. The path of Jnana Yoga (the path of Knowledge and Understanding) removes this misconception. The knowledge dawns that no one has been set up in opposition to God, and it is Maya that has created the suffering. This is the beauty of the Teaching that the individual ego discovers, and it ends the suffering.