I will tell you something. Human will is the most underestimated and the most misunderstood faculty on earth.
It is a very simple tool but one that is very effective. When we will something, we stop worrying about it, wishing for it or hoping for it. We decide and we will for it to happen, and then we let go of the process and even the outcome.
It is not a conscious effort we make. Will is operating for us when we stick to a practice we love. When we stay in the moment, moment by moment, day by day doing something that fully engages us and has us being happy doing it. It operates for us when we cut out the voice that tells us that it is not worth it and that we should stop doing it. It could be anything you are doing. Writing, running, making art, cooking, playing sports, reading. Anything. When we spend an entire week (in my particular case) reading non-stop, the books that you recently purchased at the book fair. Not returning phone calls or falling prey to a thousand possible distractions. Taking your own work seriously.
Will also operates for us when we are in doubt and at the verge of faltering and stopping. It listens to the voices in our head intently. For every counter argument that your brain cooks up for you, urging you to give up on a task at hand, your will comes up with a stronger retaliation convincing you to stick to the work. It is wise and pays close attention to the details. It reasons with our feelings and talks us into making the right choices for us. It is a good servant and would do anything that you are telling your will to do.
For a second, stop whatever it is that you doing, and follow my lead. I require you to self introspect basically. Think the following questions through. Isn’t it miraculous when every atom in your body is responding to your will? Doesn’t it feel amazing when you feel your will working for you? Now think about all those times when the voices in your head ruled your decisions. Those times when you were helpless against those voices. Was it a better time? They misguided you, did not let you complete the tasks that you initially resolved to finish and always kept you out of the line of fire which, in a way, hardly ever let you live your life on your own terms. These were the voices that were always criticizing you before anyone else got the chance to. These were the voice judged and condemned the course of action that you wanted to adopt.
The ideal thing to do would be to turn these voices off. I say it would be the ideal thing to do, not the most practical, though. I, for one, haven’t turned them off and don’t want to either. This isn’t an inability to protect myself from those little enemy voices that I breed within myself. It is just that I respect the fact that those voices came into being as I grew up and helped me when I needed to protect myself. At best, they are an inner council that I turn to when I need to balance. At their worst, they cripple me with guilt, indecision and self-doubt.
This week, I have felt at peace with myself. I have spent most of the time during this week alone, in silence. I have used this solitude to listen to my inner voices. There has been a repetition of some old tapes and a re-run of footage of the times that I have tried doing something and failed miserably. A year or two back, an hour with these cynical thoughts would have been enough to urge me to give up. Merely listening to the voices that want me to worry about the chances of failure would have had me backing out. But not anymore. I have learnt better.
I am still afraid of making mistakes and falling from glorious heights. I am afraid of hurting myself if in the need that work that I so religiously took upon, does not bear the fruits that I expected it to. There is a slight twist in the tale now, though. Now I am not alone. I have with me my greatest weapon, a weapon that belongs to all of us by default but is so inconspicuous to the extent that it goes undetected for a million lifetimes and more. I am talking about human will. The human will to do the work we love. The human will to tune out the voices in our head and continue doing what we are doing. It is not easy; you cannot expect it to be. But it is impossible either. “
Where there is a will, there is a way,” is an adage worth living by.
The feeling is priceless.
Hold a book in your hand, forget about those thousands of commitments that are yearning for your attention and spend a week willing yourself to do what feels good to you.