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Willpower

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Will

 “Your training is nothing.  The will is everything.  The will to act.”

-Ra’s Al Ghul

Batman Begins

 

 

            Imagine for a second your practice (whatever that practice might be) could be absolutely perfect in every way.  Imagine money and time are not a concern for you so you have the opportunity to devote yourself entirely to the path.  You happen to have the unconditional support from your family and loved ones and strangers high five you on the street and congratulate you for your efforts.

Will your practice be successful?

This depends upon one key element; your willpower.  If you don’t have the will or if you can’t find the will inside you, then nothing else is ever going to matter.

If you have the willpower, you can change everything about the world or at the very least, everything about your world.  The good news is a tremendous amount of willpower already exists within you even if you can’t see it for yourself.  It’s like how our eyes can’t see themselves or our teeth can’t bite themselves this doesn’t mean the eyes and teeth don’t exist.

Willpower like any other muscle can be strengthened and there is no better exercise for strengthening the will than meditation.  If you make the commitment to sit for just five minutes, twice a day, you’re making progress.  Ten minutes of meditation a day might not sound like much, but it is infinitely more than no meditation time at all.  A little of something is more than a whole lot of nothing. If you can put in those ten minutes every day for about three weeks then it’s become a habit and the hardest part of this journey will be behind you.

If you’re already sitting daily then more power to you.  If you’re not, start today.

If you’re practice happens to be pleasant all the time, if there are times when you don’t absolutely dread facing it, when seconds seem like days, when you just want to forget the whole process and walk away, then you are doing it wrong.  But would you honestly really have it any other way?  This is your spiritual journey.   These are the fires in which you’re going to forge yourself in.  They had better be hot.  As Noah Levine once wrote; “Before you can find liberation you must first face incarnation”. Or as Pema Chodron once wrote; “It is only to the extent that we expose ourselves to inhalation that we can find what is truly indestructible within us”.

There are going to be obstacles along the way and the biggest one you will face is your own ego.  In comics they say a hero is only as good as his/her villains.   Fortunately for us, our villain is so strong and powerful he will actually make us believe we are him.  The little voice inside our head we’ve all been listening to ever since we first could understand language, the voice telling us who we are and how we are supposed to behave in any given situation.  Our practice should be about severing this voice.  About realizing it is usually wrong and responsible for most of the pain and suffering we experience in life.  It’s the voice telling you the pretty girl is completely out of your league, telling you not to ask for a raise or to stand up for yourself when people (or your ego) are being abusive to you.  It’s also the voice telling you that you’re completely made out of awesome.  Everything this voice says we need to question if it is in fact true or even helpful to us.

There is this really ugly human condition I’ve noticed strongly linked to a lack of willpower.  I call it the drowning in a kiddie pool syndrome.  The syndrome goes a little like this…I am a pretty serious gym rat and a dear friend of mine decided to lose some weight and asked if she could start going to the gym with me.  For about three weeks she would call with excuses as to why she couldn’t make it to the gym that day.  She was averaging about a one in four times of actually making our workouts.  When she did go, she would complain about how she had a headache or was menstrual or she didn’t eat or whatever else would cut the workout short.  Then one day she yells at me because she isn’t seeing results.  Upon hearing this I did what any sympathetic compassionate person would do, I boob punched her.

My father went through a similar condition when he was having health problems towards the end of his life.  When various health problems started to manifest, my father went to the doctor who told him he needed to eat better and get some exercise.  Dad did none of these things.  He continued to freebase bacon and watch television for the majority of the day.  When things got really bad for him and death was close, he once told me he would give anything to feel healthy again.  So I boob punched him.

If you are drowning in a kiddie pool, you can splash around frantically and scream your head off about how unfair it is you’re drowning when you have so much to live for, or YOU CAN STAND UP.  Don’t be the person who drowns in the kiddie pool.  You have the same 24 hours in a day everyone else has.  I promise you, there is someone out there right now who has things much worse than you do and who would give anything to be in your situation and who happens to be doing more in a day than you do in a week.

Don’t be the person drowning in a kiddie pool.  Stand up and do it for yourself.  If you have people in your life who support you…great, but don’t make them the source of your motivation.  Find the inner well of abundance within you and utilize it.  I promise you it will never run dry and is way deeper than you can imagine.

If you don’t mind staying in the geek world a little while longer, it’s almost impossible to talk about willpower without mentioning Green Lantern.

For those of you who are unfamiliar (you are really missing out), Green Lantern is a superhero who has a power ring which can turn his thoughts into reality.  The ring works on the willpower of whoever wears the ring.  The stronger the will, the strong the constructs the ring creates.  The ring does nothing without the will of the user.  It’s just a magnifying glass of sorts.  There is one very important element I would like to mention here: the ring needs to be charged periodically.  In almost every comic book we see a Green Lantern recite the Corps Oath and charge his magical ring.

Never once have we seen a Green Lantern charge his willpower.

Why is that?  It’s because you as a human being have the capacity to generate a never ending supply of will.  You are a will factory.  If you would channel your will into laser like focus you can truly do anything.  You are the power battery that charges Green Lantern’s ring.

But for some reason we feel if we were to unleash the full potential of our will, then other people might feel insecure or like we are trying to show them up somehow.  Like we need permission to be the best human beings we can be.  I will prove it to you.

There is a very interesting thing happening in the world of Marathon running right now.  A few runners are coming very close to breaking the two hour marathon mark which is something thought to be impossible.  I promise you this record will be broken but that’s not what I want you to pay attention too.  What I want you to notice is how many other runners break the two hour mark in the year after it’s once been achieved.  There will be dozens.  It’s like the human psyche needs someone else to do it first so we will have some unspoken permission to cut lose and go for it.

The exact same thing happened when the four minute mile was broken.  Over a hundred other people broke the four minute mile within a year after the initial time was broken.

If you are waiting for someone to give you permission to do something wonderful with your life, please believe me when I tell you that you already have it.  The human machine wants you to achieve everything you possibly can because then it’s alright for them to do the same.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.  The journey of a thousand miles begins does NOT begin with a single step, it begins with the will to set your foot upon the path.  Your will is the key to your unconditional freedom.  If you don’t believe me, sit with it on the cushion for a while.

 

9 comments

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  1. Susan

    Why I have not seen this one yet? It’s awesome. I’m bookmarking it. Thanks Darren!

  2. WilliamEsok

    Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!…

    1. Darren Lamb

      Thanks Will. I’m glad you like it. 🙂

  3. MartinOi

    It agree, this rather good idea is necessary just by the way

  4. WilliamEsok

    very good submit, i certainly love this web site, carry on it

  5. WilliamEsok

    I’d should verify with you here. Which isn’t one thing I often do! I enjoy reading a submit that may make people think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  6. Jane Brunton

    Boob Punch? Really? Is there something I am missing about Buddhism. I had sincerely hoped that enlightenment would mean less violence, especially towards women.

    I am willing to listen to an explanation

    Jane

    1. Darren Lamb

      Hello Jane.
      You’re completely right. It’s a bad joke with immature humor. Sometimes my mindfulness is that of a ten year old. I will try to be better. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

      1. Jane Brunton

        Okay. I like you again now!

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