I spent several years with Swami Ramdularay and one of his many one-liners was: “Main manobal ke paksha mein nahi, atma bal ke paksha mein hoon” (I am not in favour of willpower but spiritual will). What is the difference between the two?
Using willpower we try to change the circumstances of life. Many great businessmen and statesmen have willpower. We use our will to control people and situations and the more willpower we have, the more successful we are. Willpower is the force and power with which we are able to fulfill our desires.
With spiritual will, we do not try to change outer circumstances but we change from within. It is a kind of self-control wherein we understand ourselves and try to change. We do not spend our force in fulfilling our desires but in understanding them and trying to be free of their hypnotic hold.
The first step in spiritual will is a deep acceptance of the facts of life, whereas with willpower we are impatient to change them. Thus in spiritual will there is a state of deep relaxation which brings peace and stillness in even the most difficult situations in life.
The Lord’s Prayer says, “May thy will be done”. What does this mean, what is the Lord’s Will? Is there some higher form of will with which we can connect? Every student of spirituality tries to connect with God’s Will. If we observe situations in life, we will find that some of our desires are fulfilled very easily and in some we face a lot of friction, struggle and, more often than not, failure.
Is it possible that when our will and God’s Will are together, things move easily and when they oppose each other, there is struggle and failure? The yogi tries to see what His Will is in every situation in life. This art of reading His Will is called ‘viveka’ or the discerning capacity in the scriptures. It lies hidden in all of us and every student works to awaken it.
The yogi always keeps his personal will aside so he can allow himself to become an expression of this higher will. In doing so he feels great joy and happiness.