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Will: Am I Finally Understanding It?  

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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
08/06/2009 4:12 am  

This is my first forum post. I've been exploring Thelema for a couple of years, but still consider myself very, very green.

I think I might finally be understanding a little bit more about Will than when I started, and I'd like to see what your thoughts are.

An example of what I think Will is:

I love the study of religion (have since I was a kid), especially those of the esoteric variety. So I study it. I am in it for the journey.

Similarly, I love to code (software development) just for the sake of doing it.

I've come to think that both of these examples (the 'doing' of it) are fair examples of following one's Will.

However, from time to time I have observed myself getting caught up in fantasies about how "wise I'm becoming" (uh huh) or how others might admire my software development skills. I sometimes fantasize about where it might take me. I have come to the conclusion that these sorts of distractions are absolutely not my Will.

Does this sort of thinking make sense to anyone else? Is this distinction approximately what Crowley was getting at?

Thanks!


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IAO131
(@iao131)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 461
08/06/2009 6:02 am  
"mgorsuch" wrote:
This is my first forum post. I've been exploring Thelema for a couple of years, but still consider myself very, very green.

I think I might finally be understanding a little bit more about Will than when I started, and I'd like to see what your thoughts are.

An example of what I think Will is:

I love the study of religion (have since I was a kid), especially those of the esoteric variety. So I study it. I am in it for the journey.

Similarly, I love to code (software development) just for the sake of doing it.

I've come to think that both of these examples (the 'doing' of it) are fair examples of following one's Will.

However, from time to time I have observed myself getting caught up in fantasies about how "wise I'm becoming" (uh huh) or how others might admire my software development skills. I sometimes fantasize about where it might take me. I have come to the conclusion that these sorts of distractions are absolutely not my Will.

Does this sort of thinking make sense to anyone else? Is this distinction approximately what Crowley was getting at?

Thanks!

93,

As a preliminary warning/disclaimer, you will get 1000 different answers from 1000 different people.

A good prima facie idea is that the Will is not the drives, desires, beliefs, and ideals of the ego. The True Self is 'behind' or 'beyond' the ego and includes all things, because it is coterminous with the Universe (Spinoza says 'Deus sive Natura'... I say 'Deus sive Natura sive Ego' but the I which excludes no 'other'). The will is the dynamic nature of this Self. Thats the least controversial I can try to give.

IAO131


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IAO131
(@iao131)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 461
08/06/2009 6:04 am  
"mgorsuch" wrote:
This is my first forum post. I've been exploring Thelema for a couple of years, but still consider myself very, very green.

I think I might finally be understanding a little bit more about Will than when I started, and I'd like to see what your thoughts are.

An example of what I think Will is:

I love the study of religion (have since I was a kid), especially those of the esoteric variety. So I study it. I am in it for the journey.

Similarly, I love to code (software development) just for the sake of doing it.

I've come to think that both of these examples (the 'doing' of it) are fair examples of following one's Will.

However, from time to time I have observed myself getting caught up in fantasies about how "wise I'm becoming" (uh huh) or how others might admire my software development skills. I sometimes fantasize about where it might take me. I have come to the conclusion that these sorts of distractions are absolutely not my Will.

Does this sort of thinking make sense to anyone else? Is this distinction approximately what Crowley was getting at?

Thanks!

...Oh, and welcome to the forums!

93 93/93,
IAO131


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
08/06/2009 11:30 am  
"IAO131" wrote:
A good prima facie idea is that the Will is not the drives, desires, beliefs, and ideals of the ego. The True Self is 'behind' or 'beyond' the ego and includes all things, because it is coterminous with the Universe (Spinoza says 'Deus sive Natura'... I say 'Deus sive Natura sive Ego' but the I which excludes no 'other'). The will is the dynamic nature of this Self. Thats the least controversial I can try to give.

Thanks for the welcome.

OK, I'm not well-versed in the technical aspects of philosophy (I do not know jack about Spinoza, for example), but perhaps I can dig deeper here.

Doing my Will is something like living moment to moment and seeing each moment for what it is. Typing this email in full awareness, or walking to the subway in similar fashion. When I research religion or write code in a fully aware manner, without dressing up my ego in the process, I might also be doing my will.

The moment that I lose that immersion and start making things up, I am not doing my Will. As an example, while typing this reply, I can "see" certain aspects of my personality surfacing - things like fears of "how is the Lashtal community going to respond to my newbie questions" and "who cares? I'm smarter than they are, anyway".

I am under the impression that the practice of exploring one's Will was to become aware of the difference between what is real and the games that I normally play with myself by coloring that reality. Does that clarify anything?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
08/06/2009 12:12 pm  

To add something else - perhaps the practice of "experiencing things as they really are" is not the act of dong one's Will, but is the tool to discovering the Will moment by moment. What I described doesn't seem much difference than the practice of meditation.


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IAO131
(@iao131)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 461
08/06/2009 5:20 pm  
"mgorsuch" wrote:
"IAO131" wrote:
A good prima facie idea is that the Will is not the drives, desires, beliefs, and ideals of the ego. The True Self is 'behind' or 'beyond' the ego and includes all things, because it is coterminous with the Universe (Spinoza says 'Deus sive Natura'... I say 'Deus sive Natura sive Ego' but the I which excludes no 'other'). The will is the dynamic nature of this Self. Thats the least controversial I can try to give.

Thanks for the welcome.

OK, I'm not well-versed in the technical aspects of philosophy (I do not know jack about Spinoza, for example), but perhaps I can dig deeper here.

Doing my Will is something like living moment to moment and seeing each moment for what it is. Typing this email in full awareness, or walking to the subway in similar fashion. When I research religion or write code in a fully aware manner, without dressing up my ego in the process, I might also be doing my will.

The moment that I lose that immersion and start making things up, I am not doing my Will. As an example, while typing this reply, I can "see" certain aspects of my personality surfacing - things like fears of "how is the Lashtal community going to respond to my newbie questions" and "who cares? I'm smarter than they are, anyway".

I am under the impression that the practice of exploring one's Will was to become aware of the difference between what is real and the games that I normally play with myself by coloring that reality. Does that clarify anything?

Yes... Im not sure why you need the approval of LAShTAL members for your beliefs, though. Thats a fine explanation of Will that I can both accept and take issue with, just like (just about all) others. My best advice would be to read Liber AL and Crowley's works...

IAO131


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
08/06/2009 7:52 pm  

Will works with, as, and through 'the drives, desires, beliefs, and ideals of the ego', IAO. I think it's just an over simplification to put it beyond these, like some kind of ghost in the machine. Why not let it be an aspect of them all, a precipitate, generated and self-generating?


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
09/06/2009 12:49 am  
"FraterFR" wrote:
Will works with, as, and through 'the drives, desires, beliefs, and ideals of the ego', IAO. I think it's just an over simplification to put it beyond these, like some kind of ghost in the machine. Why not let it be an aspect of them all, a precipitate, generated and self-generating?

Actually, we're having a discussion on this in the other thread "Is Thelema not so different?"

I would argue that it's the ideals of the ego that are the ghost. If you don't get beyond them, if you don't beyond get fantasy, it's going to be mighty hard to find your will.

mgosuch: it sounds to me like you're on the right track. When you are "in the moment," you can also leave behind attachment to the result of your actions (see AL I:44). You will just to will.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
10/06/2009 2:14 am  

I'd like to post to say 'thanks' to all of you for your time on this matter. Your responses were very thoughtful and helpful.

I am not so much looking for validation from the community, but more of a sounding board for my ideas. I do not have a physical group of people to discuss these matters with, and therefore I need a little help from time to time to see if I'm getting it.

Thanks again!


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
10/06/2009 7:54 pm  

'I would argue that it's the ideals of the ego that are the ghost. If you don't get beyond them, if you don't beyond get fantasy, it's going to be mighty hard to find your will.'

I'll have a look at the other thread, but I still find this kind of viewpoint a bit simplistic. The idea of 'finding one's Will', as if it were the golden fleece, out of reach, the goal rather than the journey, feels too romantic/easy. What are you doing if you are not doing your will? You cannot do anything but your will. Realising this is an an important step - the idea of illumination or realisation as an aspect of gnosis. Then you can just get on with peeling the potatoes, but from an enlightened, willful perspective 🙂


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
10/06/2009 11:14 pm  
"FraterFR" wrote:
What are you doing if you are not doing your will? You cannot do anything but your will.

Well, in one sense this is correct; but practically speaking, if "will" is just a word for "anything you do, ever," then it becomes meaningless.

To sum up the other thread, you might always be doing your will, but it's also always possible to do it better -- that is, to remove restriction and lust for result from the process.

Crowley clearly thought it was possible to act against your true will. He writes that people can be misled by a "fancy picture" they make of themselves, instead of investigating their actual nature. So we might say, speaking very broadly, that the practical task of "finding and doing your will" is to identify and eliminate the hold that such "fancy pictures" have on you.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
11/06/2009 2:46 am  

To create such an easy (clearly discerned and fenced-off) separation between 'Will' and 'non-Will' (for want of a better term) is to me an example of such a 'fancy picture', Los, in that it is an artifice. It is un-checked dualistic thought. Maybe I am being a bit too anti-binary, too dzogchen about it? But then again - that is my Will.

I think that the idea of 'working against one's true will' is just a pretty story that we tell ourselves after the fact, to make it all better. It is an over simplification to say that 'fancy pictures' aren't serious or that our perception of what we believe to be our 'actual nature' IS serious, for that matter. I fear that our Will is, contradictorily speaking, much more complicated and much more simple.

Then again, it is through very serious work, serious practice, that we come to this kind of realisation, it seems, the realisation that our Will is omniscient and there is nothing to be acheived - for it has been acheived. I'm not there yet - but I catch glimpses.

Love in Extension


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IAO131
(@iao131)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 461
11/06/2009 4:02 am  
"FraterFR" wrote:
To create such an easy (clearly discerned and fenced-off) separation between 'Will' and 'non-Will' (for want of a better term) is to me an example of such a 'fancy picture', Los, in that it is an artifice. It is un-checked dualistic thought. Maybe I am being a bit too anti-binary, too dzogchen about it? But then again - that is my Will.

I think that the idea of 'working against one's true will' is just a pretty story that we tell ourselves after the fact, to make it all better. It is an over simplification to say that 'fancy pictures' aren't serious or that our perception of what we believe to be our 'actual nature' IS serious, for that matter. I fear that our Will is, contradictorily speaking, much more complicated and much more simple.

Then again, it is through very serious work, serious practice, that we come to this kind of realisation, it seems, the realisation that our Will is omniscient and there is nothing to be acheived - for it has been acheived. I'm not there yet - but I catch glimpses.

Love in Extension

93,

Perhaps it is exactly NOT the digital black/white picture but rather the 'analog' one he is espousing, i.e. we are always doing our will but to different degrees... of 'purity' (pure will), perhaps. "I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself, / (They do not know how immortal, but I know.)" (Whitman)... that is, one can understand things 'better'... " Initiation means the Journey Inwards: nothing is changed or can be changed; but all is trulier understood with every step." (Crowley).

IAO131


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
11/06/2009 7:37 pm  
"mgorsuch" wrote:
This is my first forum post. I've been exploring Thelema for a couple of years, but still consider myself very, very green.

I think I might finally be understanding a little bit more about Will than when I started, and I'd like to see what your thoughts are.

An example of what I think Will is:

I love the study of religion (have since I was a kid), especially those of the esoteric variety. So I study it. I am in it for the journey.

Similarly, I love to code (software development) just for the sake of doing it.

I've come to think that both of these examples (the 'doing' of it) are fair examples of following one's Will.

However, from time to time I have observed myself getting caught up in fantasies about how "wise I'm becoming" (uh huh) or how others might admire my software development skills. I sometimes fantasize about where it might take me. I have come to the conclusion that these sorts of distractions are absolutely not my Will.

Does this sort of thinking make sense to anyone else? Is this distinction approximately what Crowley was getting at?

Thanks!

93 mgorsuch,

As yours is probably the most important question of all related to the subject of this website, I thought I'd toss in my own two cents. There are by now a myriad of approaches known to determining the true Will, ranging from the most mundane forms if introspection, self-analysis and processes of elimination to some rather exotic 'shortcuts.' The important thing is to know and do your true Will, and your own quest is apparently already underway. I would suggest that you read the works of Aleister Crowley, and to supplement those with such things as appeal to you naturally, many of which you will 'stumble upon' along the way.

93 93/93
Camlion


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
11/06/2009 11:30 pm  

Welcome mgorsuch,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

It's been quite a while since I posted here, but I do remember some wonderful discussions about Will in the past.

In my own experience, learning one's Will is a sort of checks and balances procedure. You can always do what you feel is right, have a passion for, and feels natural. That's only a small part of it though. Those thoughts of "how well I am doing this" are things of the Ego as it has been said. It's good that you recognize this. Note that there are differences between aspirations and delusions. One may think, "I am very good at this; I bet I can make a lot of money", and that thought can be taken so many different ways, depending on the nature of the person having the thought. If indeed you are very good, and you see it as a means to enable yourself to live a long and prosperous life that will enable you to accomplish the Great Work, then the thought itself isn't so much Ego in my opinion, but an idea leading you to the means which will further enhance your own aspirations. If on the other hand, you take a different view, say a pompous one, then your Ego could verily get in the way.

Thelema as I have come to know it is not about book smarts or typos. It's not about who makes the most money or has the most flamboyant display of themselves. Many people have wonderful connections with their Inner Selves that allow them to shine as beautiful bright stars. Many also have that same connection and strut their stardom. In the end, it's your own perception of the the Universe which matters, and if you see yourself saying, "No, that's not how I want to be", then it's okay to think of another angle. It has always been interesting to me how one can sometimes perform the exact same set of actions but with different intent, and experience an entirely different outcome. The ability to be aware of those intentions and direct oneself either way is a special one then, in my opinion.

Yeah, I haven't been around for a while, but for those who don't know me, I do tend to ramble. 🙂 I'll try not to do so much of it this time around.

Love is the law, love under will.

Az


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