Let no one miss his daily appointment with God. The mind may suggest the movies or some other distraction; but when the time comes for God each day, keep that holy engagement. ~Paramahansa Yogananda
Are you experiencing a lag in your spiritual life? Have you been practicing for a long time and consider yourself a spiritual veteran, but are lacking in enthusiasm? Are you new to meditation, but can’t seem to commit to a regular practice? The intention to have a daily spiritual practice is a good first step, but it is not enough. Your intention has to be combined with the will to practice. And how do you cultivate will? If you want to succeed at something but do not know how, then your intention is useless. Intention and will must marry if you want to be successful in spiritual transformation.
Will is defined as the mental power to control and direct your thoughts and actions, or a determination to do something, despite the difficulties and opposition that may stand in the way; challenges, obstacles, and distractions do not take you off course. Your time together with God is a sacred commitment.
The part of you that calls you to conscious practice is your soul. The soul asks you to enter into communion with spirit. The soul provides the spark that ignites your spiritual will and repeatedly calls you to spend time together with God. Knowing the difference between investing in the self and investing in the soul is a key to spiritual fulfillment.
Qualities of the Self
At a gross level, the self is very obvious or noticeable; it is a material being, and it vibrates at lower frequencies.
The head guides the self. It is rational and analytical; it draws conclusions and “makes sense.”
The self is composed of personality, a combination of characteristics, actions, and qualities that are presented to be perceived and received by others.
The self is resistant. The personality/ego wants to have its own way, and if it does not get its way, it rails against or is resistant to “what is.”
The self makes every effort to exert control over circumstances, using its power to direct outcomes or manipulate authority.
The self is attached to its personal expectations of how things should look or be.
Qualities of the Soul
The soul exists at a subtle level. It is difficult to perceive or understand from without. It lives in the world of spirit, and it vibrates at higher frequencies.
The soul knows that the self is not the initiator, and it surrenders to what is. It yields or acquiesces to a higher authority.
The soul accepts and consents to receive circumstances just as they are, without any manipulation, resistance, or control.
The soul is characterized by radical faith and the willingness to risk. It is not attached to how things should look or be, but has complete trust and confidence in the guiding power of spirit.
The feeling center is a vibrational organ in the etheric constitution which emanates from the soul and informs the intuitive self, guiding and directing one’s action and non-action in the world.
The initiate is one who, by choice, abdicates personal fulfillment and submits to the guidance of the soul in order to serve something greater than oneself.
Choosing to align with an aspect of yourself that is already connected with spiritual will, or to the soul, is like sailing on smooth waters. Spiritual momentum carries you on the current, and there is effortless effort.
The small self is governed by ego. The ego is driven by patterns, programs, and behaviors that exist in our unconsciousness. To even contemplate the existence of the soul becomes very powerful because, as you self reflect, there is an opening to consciousness. This is how you begin the inner journey from darkness to light, from unconsciousness to consciousness.
As you nurture the qualities of the soul, the spiritual will grows within you and you are no longer seduced by distractions. Distractions are like water being poured onto fire. Embody the qualities of the soul: intuition, surrender, faith, acceptance, and non-attachment. Each one is like a seasoned piece of wood that feeds the fire. The fire burns up all resistance. Without resistance, you live in the flow of light. All you have to do is let the light in.
By stopping regularly to look within and become aware, you stay connected to the source of your actions and thoughts and can therefore guide them with intention. This nurtures the spiritual will, a steadily burning fire within you that provides light, warmth, and transformation. Something extraordinary begins to happen as you kindle and feed the fire of will through your intention. Your spiritual will brings you ever closer to the divine current. As you experience the divine current, you merge with divine will. Divine will is experienced as effortless effort, as love loving through us. It is here, in the merging of your individual spiritual will with divine will, that true transformation happens.
As you realize the divine current, your soul understands what “Thy will be done, not mine,” really means. You experience the ecstatic flow of love and support that holds you all the time. You understand that it has always been, is, and always will be there. In the past, when you did not feel it, it was because you left it; it did not leave you. Now, because you have tended the fire of spiritual will and created the experience of union, you will be sustained at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances. Blessed Be.