The part played by Earnestness, Enthusiasm and Desire. The Manifestation of Will-Power. The Will and what lies behind it.
The majority of you know by actual experience in everyday life that we have within our physical organism that which we call “second‑wind.” We have essayed some physical task, and after a bit found ourselves “winded,” that is short of breath, and we are tempted to stop and rest our panting bodies. But, we have also found by experience that if we will stick to the task at hand the feeling of physical distress will usually pass away, and we will gain what is called our “second‑wind.” Now just what this “second‑wind” is, is a matter that has long perplexed physiologists, and even today they have not been able to hand us down a very good guess at the underlying cause of the phenomenon. It seems to be a fresh start acquired by reason of the opening up of reserve stores of vital energy— latent physical power stored away for such emergencies. All persons who have engaged in athletic sports know very well the details of this peculiar physiological phenomenon—its actuality is too firmly established to admit any doubt.
And, as is often the case, examination shows a curious parallel between the working of Nature on the mental plane and on the physical. Just as there is a physical “second‑wind,” so is there a mental reserve force or latent energy upon which we can draw and thus get a fresh start. The phenomena attendant upon physical “second‑wind,” as noted above, is almost exactly duplicated by certain mental phenomena.
We may be jaded while performing some tedious bit of mental work, and we begin to feel that we are “all in,” when lo! Some new in—and away we are off with a full mental “second‑wind” doing our work with a freshness, vigor and enthusiasm far surpassing the original effort. We have tapped into a fresh source or supply of mental energy. The majority of us have little or no conception of the reserve mental energies and forces contained within our being.
We jog along at our customary gait, thinking that we are doing our best and getting all out of life that there is in it—think we are expressing ourselves to our utmost capacity. But we are living only in the first‑wind mental state, and behind our working mentality are stores of wonderful mental energy and power— faculties lying dormant—power lying latent—awaiting the magic command of the Will in order to awaken into activity and outward expression. We are far greater beings than we have realized—we are giants of power, if we did but know it.
Many of us are like young elephants that allow themselves to be mastered by weak men, and put through their paces, little dreaming of the mighty strength and power concealed within their organisms. Those of you who have read our little manual entitled “The Inner Consciousness” will recall what we said therein regarding the regions above and below the plane of the ordinary outer consciousness. And on those hidden planes of the mind, are untold possibilities—the raw materials for mighty mental tasks and achievement—the storage batteries of wonderful accomplishment.
The trouble with us is that we do not realize the existence of these faculties. We think that we are merely what we manifest in our ordinary dogtrot gait. Another problem is that we have not had the incentive to take action—we have lacked the interest to do great things—we haven’t wanted to hard enough. This “want‑to‑hard‑enough” is the great inciting power in life. Desire is the fire which rouses up the steam of Will. Without Incentive—and that means Desire—we accomplish nothing. Given the great, earnest, burning ardent Desire as an animating force—the great incentive to take action, and we are able to get up this mental “second‑wind”—yes, third, fourth, and fifth winds—tapping one plane of inward power after another, until we work mental miracles.
We wonder at the achievements of the great men in all walks of life, and we are apt to excuse ourselves by the sad remark that these people seem to “have it in them,” while we have not. Nonsense, we all have it in us to do things a hundred times greater than we are doing. The trouble is not in greater than we are doing. The trouble is not in the lack of power and mental material, but in the Desire and Interest, and Incentive to arouse into activity those wonderful storehouses of dynamic power within our mentality—we fail to call into our disposal, and which is like all other natural powers and forces eager and anxious to be manifested and expressed. Yes, that’s what we said “anxious and eager,” for all natural forces, penned up and in a static condition seem to be bursting with desire to manifest and express into outer dynamic activity. This seems to be a law of life and nature.
Nature and all in it seems to be eager for active expression. Have you not been surprised at yourselves at times, when under some slightly higher pressure and incentive Something Within you seemed to break its bounds and fairly carry you off of your feet in its rush into active work? Have you not accomplished tasks under the stress of a sudden urgent need, that you would have deemed impossible in cold‑blood. Have you not carried all before you when you “warmed‑up” to the task, whereas your ordinary self would have stood around doing nothing under ordinary circumstances. Earnestness and Enthusiasm are two great factors in bringing into operation these latent forces, and dormant powers of the mentality. But one need not stand by and wait until you work yourself into a fit of fervor before the energies spring into action. You can by a careful training of the Will—or rather, by a carefully training of yourself use your Will—manage to get hold of the mental throttle, so that you may pull it down and turn on a full head of steam whenever necessary.
And when you have once mastered this, you will find that you are not any more tired when running under full pressure, than when you are crawling along—this being one of the Secrets of Success. To many a person, the term “The Will,” means merely a firm, steadfastness of mind, akin to Determination and Fixity of Purpose. To others it means something like Desire. To others, it means “the power of choice,” etc. But to occultists, the Will is something far more than these things—it means a Vital Power—an Acting Force of the Mind—capable of dominating and ruling the other mental faculties as well as projecting itself beyond the mental organs of the individual and affecting others coming within its field of influence.
And it is in this sense that we use the word “Will” in this lesson. We have no desire to take the reader into the dim realms of metaphysics, or even into the lighter but still arduous paths of scientific psychology, but we must acquaint him with the fact of the existence of this thing that we call Will Power, and its relation to the “I.” Of all the mental faculties or powers, that of the Will is the closest to the “I” or Ego of the person.
It is the Sword of Power clasped in the hand of the Ego. One may divorce himself in thought from the other mental faculties and states, but when he thinks of the “I” he is bound to think of it as possessing that power which we call Will. The Will is a primal, original power of the “I” which is always with it until the end. It is the force with which he rules (or should rule) his mental and physical kingdom—the power of which his Individuality manifests itself upon the outside world. Desire is the great motive power inciting the Will to action in life. As we have shown you the action of Will without the motive power of Desire is unthinkable, and therefore it follows that the culture and right direction of Desire carries with it the channel of expression and manifestation of the Will.
You cultivate certain Desires, in order that the Will may flow out along these channels. By cultivating the Desire along certain lines, you are making channels along which the Will may flow in its rush toward expression and manifestation. So be sure to map out your Desire channels clearly by making the proper Mental Images of what you want—be sure and make the Desire channels deep and clear‑cut by the force of repeated attention and autosuggestion. History is filled with examples of men who have developed the use of the Will. We say “developed the use” rather than “developed Will,” for man does not develop his Will—his Will is always there ready for use—a man develops his ability to use the Will—perfects himself in its use.
We have frequently used the following illustration, and have not been able to improve upon it: Man is like a trolley car, with the upraised trolley‑pole of his mind reaching out to the live wire of Will. Along that wire is flowing the current of Will Power, which it “taps” and draws down into his mind, and by which he is able to move, and act and manifest power. But the power is always in the Wire, and his “developing” consists in the ability to raise the pole to the Wire, and thus “tap into” its energy.
If you will carry this idea in your mind, you will be able to apply this truth more easily in your everyday life. A great promoter of the steel‑pen, and electroplating industries, possesses this quality to a marked degree. It has been said of him that: “He had, to begin with, a strong, powerful, almost irresistible Will; and whoever and whatever he opposed, he surely conquered in the end.”
Buxton said: “The longer I live, the more certain I am that the great difference between men, between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is Energy—Invincible Determination—a purpose once fixed, and the Victory or Death. That quality will do anything that can be done in this world—and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities, will make a two‑legged creature a man without it.”
In this last quotation and the one preceding it, the idea of Persistence and Determination is identified closely with that of Will. And they are closely identified, the idea being that the Will should be held close, fast, and steadily against the task to be accomplished, just as the steel chisel is held firmly up against the object on the lathe, until its work is accomplished. It is not the mere Determination or Persistency that does the work—these would be of no avail unless the Will were there to do the cutting and shaping. But then again, there is a double‑aspect of Will here—the Will in one phase does the work, while in another it forces the mind to hold it up against the task. So, in a sense the Will is the power back of Determination and persistency, as well as the force doing the work—the cutting‑edge of the chisel, as well as the firm hand that holds it to its work.
Simpson has said: “A passionate Desire, and an unwearied Will can perform impossibilities, or what would seem to be such, to the cold and feeble.”
Disraeli said: “I have brought myself by long meditation to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a Will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment.”
Foster says: “It is wonderful how even the casualties of life seem to bow to a spirit that will not bow to them, and yield to sub‑serve a design which they may, in their first apparent tendency, threaten to frustrate. When a firm, decisive spirit is recognized, it is curious to see how the space clears around a man and leaves him room and freedom.”
Mitchell has said: “Resolve is what makes a man manifest; not puny resolve; not crude determination; not errant purpose—but that strong and indefatigable Will which treads down difficulties and danger, as a boy treads down the heaving frost lands of winter, which kindles his eye and brain with a proud pulse‑beat toward the unattainable. Will makes men giants.”
So, raise that mental trolley‑pole, and touch the live wire of Will.