When desire has proceeded through unconscious growth accompanied by expectation so clear as to admit no shadow of doubt to cloud it, it becomes what we call a will. What, then, it a human will? It is desire ripened into a knowledge of power; ripened to the point where it feels that it is master and can stand alone, commanding what it pleases, begging and borrowing of none. At this point, if a man will learn the Law of Growth as he may learn it, he can take himself up where unconscious growth dropped him, and go on growing through all eternity. This he must do if he is to continue his existence on this planet. He is a self-created being and cannot shuffle off the responsibility of his existence. He must do his own growing. Even the death of the body, should his spirit survive it, will not release him from the work. Death is one of the things he must conquer before he can make further advancement. He must conquer death for himself, or he must so recognize the principles of its conquest by others as to become a participant in this conquest. This latter kind of conquest is salvation by belief. It is a species of mental healing, a kind of self-hypnotism. In time it may ripen into a more positive kind of salvation.
Desire, in its forth going in search of happiness, never positively commands that for which it is reaching until it comes to the place where it sees its own power. As soon as it sees its power it knows what its true character is, and is able to pronounce its own name, and that name the Human Will.
The human will—these are words of unmeasured and immeasurable power. What strength the thought of them confers! Whosoever can pronounce them understandingly is no longer under the bondage of fear, no longer compelled to submit to sickness, poverty or death. Such can truthfully say, "I am what I desire to be. My intelligence has at last crowned my desire and shown me my own mastery. I have that measure of understanding that enables me to see myself as I am. I have been building myself all through the ages without knowing what I was building. Now I know. I have been building a human will, the world's conqueror.'' Intelligence has ripened blind desire into that positive personality, a human will.
Let us look at the will for a moment—the will which has come to a knowledge of man's true relationship to all things. Why! what a vaunting thing it is! It sets aside all those limitations so long prescribed by its fear. It tells him at once what he wants is incarnate in himself. The intelligence recognizes the Tightness of desire; desire is guided by the intelligence; the two are at one—that one the will of the man—and it in harmony with the Law of Being.
What we will we love; therefore, to be a human will is to be a human love. We do not will that to be which we do not love.
Intellect in man has been shaped by contact with the outside world. It has been pressed into a mold, as it were, by its environments, and these environments seem to it to be utterly unyielding and inflexible. Therefore, the intellect in its present phase of development prescribes boundaries to the will, to the vital life force within us, and it has been imposing these bounds for centuries to the retarding of our growth.
The man who is afraid of his will is afraid of his love. He is afraid of the best part of himself, for the will is the highest attribute he possesses. It is not only the highest, but it is the strongest; it is that which makes him go. To go aright is a matter of experience with him; but to go at all is the great point. The will turns ever in the direction of happiness. It never seeks unhappiness. All so-called sins are simply mistakes; they are misdirected efforts at the attainment of happiness that everyone will avoid if he certainly knows how to do so. The old idea that human nature is depraved, and that we would rather sin than not, becomes positively absurd when the character of sin is understood. A sin being the mistake a man makes in the pursuit of happiness, it is folly to suppose that he will make mistakes willfully, when every mistake he makes helps to retard the pleasure he is seeking. It is as if we said a man would go the way he does not wish rather than the way he does wish to go.
Christian Science in denying individuality denies not the functions of the will alone, but those of the intellect also. This is a very grave mistake. Individuality is the visible expression of the universal will. If "at the beginning" was "The Word," then individuality is the spoken word, the word made manifest. Without the will there is no individuality, and in proportion as the will is strong or weak so is the individual strong or weak. The will is the individual.
^Nature is not a myth, as Christian Science asserts. Man's personal life is an assured reality, and all the efforts of Mental Science are directed toward the establishment of the man more firmly in it. This is the one matter of infinite importance, and instead of ignoring it, every aim of my life and of every word I have written, or shall write, will be directed toward the establishment of it more firmly in race belief. The will is a force. It pushes onward; it is expansive, and if an uneducated intellect did not hold it in check, it would soon carry the race out of the ruts in which it has been moving for ages.
That desire should be held in check until the intelligence had ripened to a comprehension of its uses seems to have been a wise thing. No doubt it has been the proper thing, for in nature "whatever is, is right." But now that the intellect has grown to an understanding of the uses of desire and begins to cast about, wondering how it can cooperate with, instead of seeking means to crush it, desire may wisely be given leadership. As soon as the intellect learns the value and uses of desire, the seeming two will have become consciously one; that one, the indestructible will, and in the language of theology, man will have made the atonement (at-one-ment) and may rightfully exercise authority over all things below him, both animate and inanimate.
The evolution of the universal will through our personalities will bring heaven to the world, for the universal will is love.
Without personality there would be no uses, nothing to do, no works to bring forth, no faculties of brain to develop. A heaven without personalities would be even more uninviting than the one where saints wear crowns, play on harps, and have one eternal Sabbath.
To be forever busy in making our surroundings better and enlarging our sphere of activities, knowing that there is no limit to our faculties any more than there is a limit to the Principle of Attraction—this is heaven.
Obedience to the will, which is the voice of the Life Principle in man, involves constant effort. Will inspires to perpetual conquest. Conquest is life; there is no life but by conquest. Anything short of continual conquest is death.
Irresolution or weakness expresses itself in all the various forms of disease, including old age, and ending in death. The constant conquest essential to one who means to outlive and outdistance all the weaknesses incident to humanity on this present plane looks appalling to a person of ordinary habits of indolence; for, I repeat, that constant conquest involves constant effort; and habits of indolence are among the first things to conquer. If one yields to habits of indolence in thought he expresses this condition in the absence of action, and sinks deeper and deeper into a state of lethargy leading down to death. We must patiently cultivate a dauntlessness of will that is ready to overleap any barrier and undertake anything, and we must begin this in the small things of everyday life.
Small conquests are great in their time, and no conquest goes uncounted in the general makeup of character.
Perhaps you feel too weak for the day's work. Say, "My intelligent will is competent to manage this;" then put your hands to the work, remembering that the will in you is from that unfailing source, the vital principle itself—the steam power in every motion ever made, whether great or small—and see how fast the strength will come.
Perhaps you hesitate over some business undertaking, the success of which rests with you, and with no one else. Look to your intelligent will for moral support. Trust it as the saint trusts his oracle. Do not cloud it by doubt, and it will lift you over every difficulty and crown you with victory. Note this—that I use the words "intelligent will." I make a distinction between intelligent will and the brute will, though they are both one in different states of development. The brute will and the intellectual will are the same thing, only that the intellectual will has been lifted to a higher plane through the development of the reasoning powers. Man has been invincible through the strength of the will on all the lower planes of existence. The will he exercised was the will of the brute. Man may become absolutely invincible by the cultivation of the intellectual will, and may wield an infinitely greater power than he ever before wielded. Disease, old age and death are but intellectual negations, or denials, of the strength and perfectness of the will. The will is the moving power of the man. It is a man's very self. It is great and strong in proportion as the strength and power are recognized and confided in.
The will should be the executor of the intellect and our bodies the executors of our wills. It is said that man is dual. Very well; he is will and intelligence, or love and intelligence. These two are one. A knowledge of this fact is the marriage everywhere spoken of in the Bible. It is that union which will produce the fruit of righteousness (rightness) or holiness (wholeness); that is, it will make us right, or whole, put us in harmonious relations with the principle of being, and so enable us to command it.
The will is the man.
The will alone has rights.
Nothing besides the will has any rights whatever.
The whole aim of life should be to live the will and to .make the will personal in our bodies.
Every place in this chapter where the word "will" is used the word "love" may be substituted without changing the meaning materially. The will of the man is the love of the man. That which he loves he wills, and when intelligence is truly married to desire, the resultant will is rightful ruler of all things.
But to go back to the word "desire." Desire is love in its outreaching form. It is love before it comes to an understanding of itself, reaching out towards an understanding of itself. It cries, "More! More!" every moment. More what? More food, the creature thinks. More knowledge, more recognition of itself, is really what it wants—a better understanding of its infusing Life Principle—and this it gets constantly, and as constantly yields a better materialization of itself, or a better personality.
At last it reaches that point of understanding of itself where it gets an idea of its own power, and then desire takes on a more positive character and culminates in will. That is to say, when the intelligence recognizes the true nature of desire, all that out-reaching which had appeared as desire simply, feels the power enshrined within it, and so calls itself a will.
So long as the idea of force alone enters into an understanding of the will, it has not been lifted out of the realm of brute instinct. To lift it out of this realm we must get into the knowledge that there is a higher force than brute force. This higher force is love.
During the period of unconscious growth, desire was always accompanied by faith or expectation. It was blind faith, to be sure, but it was faith of a most unquestioning nature. This faith was based on the creature's dumb recognition of one of the greatest facts connected with the revelation of the new truth. It was based on the fact that there is no time but the present. The eternal now contains all, and the creature in its gut reaching desires held within itself the positive promise of fulfillment of its every wish. Indeed, because there is no future, but only one eternal now, the desire of the creature and the fulfillment of desire were blossom and fruit on the same stem. The asking for a thing was simply the making it apparent in the creature's personality. It was an out-blossoming of itself, like the newly opening buds on the plant. The animals demonstrated this fact simply because their intelligences were too undeveloped to contradict it. It has only been during the period of man's ripening into a consciousness of the truth that faith has been separated from desire; but this, too, is passing with the growth of his intelligence, and we are now rounding the last turn in the road, into a fully matured understanding of the Law.
"When you pray, believe that you receive and you have." This sentence from the Bible contains the whole truth as regards both the conscious and the unconscious growth. Whatever you desire, be sure the tiling exists, or you would not desire it. As it does exist, it is yours by reason of the fact that you do desire it. Therefore, rest in faith—nay, in absolute knowledge that you already have what you asked for, and it will soon begin to materialize to your conscious perceptions.
Your desire is co-related to that which you desire, and the one cannot exist without the other. This is an eternal fact, and I think I have repeated it more times than there are pages in this book. But the hope of the race, and the stimulus of the race to greater effort, are in it. It is absolutely indisputable, and it is the containment of all hope.
When desire culminates in will by the knowledge of many things, chief among which is the fact that we have built ourselves through our growing intelligences, and are, therefore, masters of our surroundings; and furthermore when we know that all we desire exists now, and is ours for the clear seeing of these great truths, we are in a position of mighty strength. We have emerged from the negative plane wherein we felt dependent upon so many things, and, indeed, where we seemed but as pensioners on an unknown God, and beggars on the face of creation—to the strong place in a personal intelligence, where we perceive the independence and majesty we have attained to, resting as it does upon our personal conquests through a period of thousands of years—and we are strong. We are human wills—human loves, and we glory in the freedom of our condition.
For though, as concerns our internal and unseen selves, we are of the universal Life Principle and dependent upon it, yet our external lives are in the personal. Our work is in the personal. The universe of uses is related to the personal, and these personalities that we are building will always endure for the purpose of materializing more of the universal vitality—the Principle of Attraction—or drawing its eternal harmonies forth into organization.
Though the true power within us is of the Principle of Attraction and invisible to us, yet the life we are seeking is not in the invisible, and is not to be found by a denial of our personalities. It is to be found and made available in the world of uses by drawing these powers out and adapting them to our everyday work. It is for this purpose that we investigate the unseen force, which seems to lie behind or within these personalities. We want to know what it is. We want to know its strength, its power and majesty, because the knowing makes every glorious attribute of our unseen selves visible and available in the external life. Our whole duty as citizens of the universe is to make visible the unseen powers that already exist, and have always existed.
Man draws all his power from the great unseen, the universal life or vital force. Theology has taught this in a crude way, making man absolutely dependent upon an all-powerful personal God. The truth is that, while men and all things have but one source from which to draw, each may draw in infinite variety and without limit. It is simply a question of the knowing; of a recognition of the relation of the personal to the impersonal will; of man to the infinite. There is not a creature nor a power, either seen or unseen, that can say "no" to him. The power to know is man's, and to know is to be. He can know what he wishes by giving himself to the effort. This places him in a position of absolute independence. He can stand up in the face of all creation and say, "I am monarch of all I survey; my right there is none to dispute. No man or power can claim mastery over me. I am myself by virtue of what I know, by virtue of intellectual clear-seeing, by virtue of my intelligent desire being in harmony with the infinite will. Seeing myself but incarnate will, and knowing that in the realm of the high and positive forces the supply is always equal to the demand, I feel myself more than a king. I walk on thrones. There is nothing greater than I."
Let those who will, teach poor, deluded humanity how to die; I teach it how to live. The reign of the world's negative religions is passing. I call them negative because their every idea negatives man's power as a self-savior. The reign of the positive religion, the religion that teaches self-salvation, approaches—is here. The stale-junk-and-hardtack-ideas packed into books so carefully by our forefathers do not feed us. We have grown luxurious and demand the very best there is because we know there is nothing too good for us. Princes unto the manor born, we claim our own. We are what we are by virtue of claiming, and not by begging, and we beg no more. Living human wills, with every possibility enshrined within us, what more do we need? Whosoever can climb to such heights can rejoice and say, "I glory in my freedom; the freedom to know all there is to be known, and I know that by the knowing I shall grow and keep on growing. By the knowing, which is the growing, I shall make my body, this personality of me, a newer version of new and higher thought daily." To whomsoever would be free I say—hold yourselves in freedom, for you are an intelligent human will. Do not let prejudice set a limit to the operation of your cultivated will. Remember that the cultivated will is always umpire, and give your thought its proper place as its executor.
Remember also that the foes to the operation of the will are only imaginary. You are your own will, your own love; and love dissolves all opposition. The very moment you weaken in your desire for something, fall back on your will. "Oh! divine will, where art thou? Manifest thyself! Conquer and preserve now in my time of need." This is the prayer to offer. It is a prayer that is always answered, and it is one of the prayers the answer to which comes to stay.
One thing more remains to be said of the will. Desire always seems to hold what it wants in expectancy, but will has learned its power to command. It makes a statement of what it wants, and then falls into a reposeful attitude of kingly possession. "These things are already mine," it says. "I have them now. They are a part of my individual being." Then it dismisses the matter, and behold! that which it spoke for shows forth when the hour of use arrives.
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More Articles by This Author Helen Wilmans
- Born in 1831 and died in 1907
- Studied under Emma Curtis Hopkins
- Was a journalist and author
- Was active in the Mental Science Movement
- Was charged with postal fraud for healing through mail. Fighting this charged caused her lose most of her fortune.