Byron Katie: God’s will and my will are the same, whether I notice it or not

God’s will and my will are the same, whether I notice it or not.

– Byron Katie

I cannot know what she means by it, but here is what comes up for me.

PERSONAL WILL AND GOD’S WILL

How do I understand the difference between my will and God’s will?

My will, or personal will, is what I want, and it may be different from reality. I want ice cream, and I don’t have it. I want better health and can’t find it. I want more money, and it’s not coming. I don’t want to lose the ones I love, and they are lost.

God’s will is what is. It’s reality. It’s the situations we find ourselves in and ultimately the experiences we have. We can also call this life’s will.

Often, it seems that my personal will is at odds with reality. And when that happens, I often create a sense of struggle for myself.

MY PERSONAL WILL IS ULTIMATELY GOD’S WILL

What I experience as “my will” is ultimately life’s will. It’s life taking that form.

As anything else, my will has infinite causes stretching back to the beginning of this universe and out to the widest extent of existence. It’s the local expression of movements within the larger whole. It’s life or the universe taking this local form.

Nothing happens that’s not “God’s will”, and that includes the apparent personal will. That too is God’s will.

That this apparently personal will happens, and the form it takes, is God’s will.

Nothing happens that’s not God taking that form.

PERSONAL WILL HAPPENS, IT’S NOT PERSONAL

Said another way, these thoughts, feelings, experiences, choices, and so on happen, and then a thought comes and says “I did it” and calls it “my thoughts”, “my feelings”, “my choices”. It’s the same with “my will”.

Something happens and a thought calls it “personal will” or “my will”.

WHEN I LOOK MORE CLOSELY, I FIND THAT MY WILL WANTS GOD’S WILL

Another side to this is the apparent difference between personal will and God’s will, or personal will and reality. On the surface, it seems that I want something else than what is and I struggle with that difference. As I examine this, I may find that what I more honestly want is what is.

Behind the surface layers of wants, desires, hang-ups, wounds, unloved fears, and unexamined stories, I find that what I really want is God’s will.

My most sincere wish is for what is, even if this is sometimes covered up by confusion, hurt, and reactivity.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THIS IS NOT WHAT IT IS ABOUT

We can report on what we find, or philosophize on it within stories, and that can be interesting. There may be valuable pointers there, and it may serve as a stepping stone.

And where this becomes more alive and transformative is in our own exploration.

When I inquire into my stressful stories, which all are about the apparent conflict between my will and life’s will, what do I find?

Do I find that my will ultimately is at odds with God’s will?

Do I find that my will is separate from or different from God’s will?

What happens over time when I keep exploring specific stressful thoughts? What shifts?

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Personal will mortally wounded

Several people – including Barry – suggests that what I am going through is a transformation of the will (aka “dark night of the soul”).

Where there used to be a very strong will, and others said I was a strong willed person, there is now very little. I seem unable to make clear choices (apart from on rare occasions), unable to follow up on plans, and unable to know what will happen with me even in the short term future in terms of what will feel right, how much energy and clarity I will have, if I will be able to follow through on something, and so on.

My personal will seems mortally wounded, and almost not there. What’s left of the personal will is the resistance to what’s happening. A struggle with what’s happening in my life, with the lack of personal will, with the absence of ability to plan and follow through on plans, plans falling apart and hopes dashed.

So how do “I” navigate in this new terrain? How to navigate if there is little or no personal will? How to navigate if there is little or no identification as a doer, a being, a planner?

In a sense, it’s familiar territory. And in another way, for the emotional levels of me, it’s very unfamiliar. It’s familiar at a global and awareness level. It’s very unfamiliar where beliefs are still held at an emotional level. That’s where the struggle seems to be.

All I can ask for is to be show the way, to be shown the next step, to be shown how to navigate this terrain, to consciously align more closely with love and reality.

And all of these are labels and interpretations. Is it true it’s a dark night? That it’s a transformation of the will? Is it true something is going wrong? Is it true I am not up to the task? Is it true I am making a mess of it? Is it true I should be over it now? Is it true I am making a mistake? Is it true I am holding onto resistance?

God takes over

There is the hologram that you have been identified with that spins and spins…then there is reality beyond that…the two are mutually exclusive…you asked for Self Realization…God takes over…what is yours is yours..Surrender to the mystery….love,b

God takes over.

It’s, of course, how it always is. If all is God, then all is God’s will, all is God’s love. Even what a thought may label bad, wrong, undesirable, unloving, identification, all of that too is God’s will, God’s love, and God.

And yet, something is different when there is a conscious shift into seeing this, and surrendering to God.

Surrender to God. What does that mean?

For me, it means surrendering to what is. What in me opposes what is? What beliefs and contracted fears are there? What’s more true than these? How is it to live from what’s already more true for me?

It also means following my inner guidance, my heart. What in me opposes following what this guidance tells me now? What fears are there? What stories do I tell myself to confuse myself so I am less receptive to this guidance? What is it “I” want that seems opposed to what is, and this guidance? What’s the fears behind it? What’s more real and true than these fears?

And it means surrendering to love and truth. If I am completely honest with myself and others, what will happen? Being completely honest is another way of losing control. As long as I hold back, as long as I tell little lies, I can maintain the thought that I am in control. Being completely honest, and I lose that illusion. What am I afraid would happen if I am completely honest? What fears are there? What’s more true for me? How would it be to live from this honesty?

I did ask for it, as Barry points out. I sat in front of the altar in Bodh Gaia for days prayer for full awakening no matter what it would cost. (In my early/mid twenties, of course, in the grip of youthful folly, and perhaps also a deeper wisdom.) And now, when I realize more fully, and at an emotional level, that “I” am not in control and never was, it brings up a lot of fear in me. There is really a sense of giving up control and giving my life more fully over to God. I have no idea what will happen, and I also see that I never did even when I earlier told myself I did.

Nothing has really changed. It’s all already God’s will. I never knew what would happen or where life would take me. And yet, it’s good to meet those fears me. Welcome them. Thank them for protecting me. Ask them how they wish me to be with them. Ask them what their deepest longing is, and what would satisfy them forever. Ask them who they are (in form) and what they really are.

And there is a change here too. Where I before had some confidence that I could follow and often achieve my personal wishes and preferences, it’s not like that anymore. At least, it seems to not be that way anymore. As a friend of mine said, there is my will, and your will, and then there’s God’s will. There is a sense of surrendering my personal will and preferences to God’s will, and much in me opposes it while it at the same time really wants it. It brings up neediness and fears in me. What if I won’t get what I want? What if I won’t get to fill the hole in me the way I thought I would fill it? There may be other, and more deeply satisfying, ways of filling those holes. And I don’t know what will happen. It may happen the way my personality wishes, and it may not. I don’t know.

Transformation of the personal will

A return to this topic:

It seems the dark night of the soul phase is also a transformation of the personal will. If it’s transformed, what is it transformed from and to?

The initial version of the personal will, the “normal” adult one, is based on preferences mixed in with beliefs and identifications. This one is not always very aligned with (a) what is, life as it shows up, or (b) the inner guidance, the quiet inner voice, the voice of the heart. There is often a struggle between the personal will and what is. And the personal will is often quite noisy compared with the inner guidance and may also – at least at times – intentionally override it. This form of personal will may stay more or less intact during the initial phases of the awakening.

During the dark night of the soul, the personal will is thoroughly humbled. For me, life went against it in many ways at once. The personal will became weak and feeble, and sometimes nearly unfindable. And the personal will was shown to not be “mine” but something life supported for a while in its previous form and not any longer.

What’s it transformed to? I can just say something preliminary about this.

A closer alignment with reality, life as it is.

A closer alignment with the inner guidance.

A willingness to give it all – anything human, any confusion, any situation – to the divine.

Trust in the love and wisdom of life.

Recognition that the personal will, as it shows up, is God’s will. (Without using that to abdicate responsibility.)

Realization of the nature of illusion and reality regarding the personal will. The nature of illusion: the dynamics of preferences, beliefs and the label “personal will” creating the appearance of a personal will. And the nature of reality: this too is presence, awakeness, and can be labeled divine.

Each of these are more thoroughly embodied.

And the first four may be revealed and embodied further as the beliefs and fears bringing us in another direction are identified and inquired into.

Transformation of the personal will

Transformation of the personal will. That seems to be one facet of what I am going through now.

What does it mean? What is it about? What’s the next phase for me here?

Here are some things that come to me:

(a) It’s a closer and more whole hearted alignment with my inner guidance, with the quiet little voice, with the voice of the heart. A large part of this includes noticing identifications – appearing as beliefs and fears – around following this guidance, inquire into these, and find what’s more true for me.

(b) It involves finding love for what is, as it is. Finding love for God’s will, even when it’s different from my own preferences as a human being. Here too, an important aspect is noticing and inquiring into identifications, beliefs and fears.

And it involves other forms of inquiry:

(c) Explore and notice that what a thought may label my will and God’s will both happen within and as awakeness, presence, love.

(d) Inquire into thoughts (fears, complaints) about my will and God’s will, and the labels my will and God’s will.

(e) Explore and notice that what a thought may label my will or personal will is also – as anything else, including identifications etc. – God’s will.

(f) Explore and notice the dynamics of the personal will. How what appears as personal will that’s opposed to God’s will is all created from identifications, from mind holding images and thoughts as true.

(g) Explore and notice the innocence in it all. How a personal will opposed to God’s will comes from a wish to protect this me, comes from deep devotion and love. How it wishes to be met with respect, love and understanding. How it wishes for a deep sense of trust and love. How it is awakeness itself, as anything else.

(h) Holding satsang with my personal will, befriend it. See it’s innocence. It’s love. It’s real nature.

As so much else, it’s an exploration of the nature of illusion – the dynamics of taking images and thoughts as true, and the nature of reality – the real nature of all of this.

Note: I wrote this without much of a plan, so it’s a bit rambling. I could probably easily organize it into three or four categories. (a) Alignment with inner guidance, the voice of the heart. (b) Finding (noticing) love for what is. (c) Inquiry into beliefs and fears around this, including what comes up when I consider following my inner guidance or finding love for what is.

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