How the power of will can help us affirm wellness

As someone who has studied and taught about the 12 powers for several years, I have heard many students say they steer away from the power of will.

It’s easy to confuse the power of will with willpower (which often fails, just think about your New Year’s resolutions), or to believe that will is imposed by God, which means it is unwelcome and hard. Neither of these understandings inspires the practice of spiritual will, and neither explains the potential of our great, innate power of will.

Will is the spiritual capacity to choose, to commit, and to be willing.

Although choice involves effort, to choose is not to force. There seems to be a sweet spot in the balance between effort and allowing, where will becomes powerful. The power of will is less about exerting control over what is happening and more about choosing our response to what is happening.

A common message in Unity is: God’s will for you is prosperity, or joy, or love, or health. Let’s work with health as an example. What does it mean to say that God’s will for you is health?

It helps to interpret God metaphysically. What do we mean by God? In popular translation of The Lord’s Prayer, we read: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God is the heavenly or ideal. In relation to health, God is the ideal state of wholeness and well-being, the principle of health.

The Spiritual Capacity to Choose, The Power of Will, 12 Powers, Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett

I Will to Be Well

Charles Fillmore taught that our I AM or Christ nature is linked to divine mind, and therefore it is possible for us to manifest “on earth as it is in heaven.” Fillmore wrote:

The simple statement, ‘I will to be well,’ gathers the forces of mind and body about the central idea of wholeness, and the will holds the center just so long as the I AM continues its affirmation.

Christian Healing (Unity Books, 1909)

Jean, diagnosed with several autoimmune disorders, experiences chronic symptoms such as joint inflammation, fatigue, mental fog, and body pain. Getting out of bed each morning requires monumental effort, and relentless symptoms scream for her full attention. A student of Unity, Jean has been cultivating her innate power of spiritual will to transform her experience of daily living.

Before rising from bed each day, Jean devotes a few minutes to spiritual and mental activation of will. Affirming, I will to be well, Jean chooses to anchor her attention on the principle of wholeness and well-being. She recognizes signs of divine life in her body and mind, appreciating that even with the physical limitations of her current circumstances, she is capable of living fully.

Activating the power of will physically, Jean promises herself—makes a commitment—to demonstrate wholeness and well-being in one particular way and to do it daily. Understanding that some days she feels better than others, she selects a practice that is reasonable and definite, that can be done in 15 minutes per day for a finite duration, and that proves her true wholeness and well-being.

Willingness means I already chose, I committed, and now I simply follow through. I do not force; I allow myself cooperation with the idea of wholeness and well-being. I am willing to be well.

Even When It’s Hard

For several weeks, Jean committed to pranayama, yoga breathing exercises, to stimulate circulation and healthful body chemistry. At other times, Jean committed to mindfulness meditation, conversations with supportive friends, reading about the principle of wholeness and well-being, or journal writing about all that is going well in her life.

Jean finds that committing to one practice each day is not only possible, it is the sustaining power of will. It is the I AM continuing its affirmation.

There’s no doubt that some days are harder than others. Sometimes honoring her commitment is the last thing Jean wants to do. At such times, Jean draws upon the aspect of will that says: Even though I’d rather not, nevertheless I am willing.

Willingness means I already chose, I committed, and now I simply follow through. I do not force; I allow myself cooperation with the idea of wholeness and well-being. I am willing to be well.

Notice that Jean focuses on fulfilling her will to be well rather than trying to control her symptoms. Will is at its best when directed toward our inner spiritual capacity to fulfill the principle rather than fixated on the circumstances and conditions appearing in any moment. This focus “gathers the forces of mind and body” that transform us and our circumstances.

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