The beginning of this post considered three of the five aspects Hazrat Inayat Khan describes as constituting the heart: thought, memory and reason. The remaining two aspects are will and ego, characteristics that might seem surprising to some. We generally believe that anything connected with the heart is ‘good,’ but we have also had numerous encounters, sometimes not so agreeable, with ‘strong-willed’ people and people with large egos. How can we understand this paradox?
In Cosmic Language, the fourth part of vol II in the Message series, Hazrat Inayat says: Will is not a power, but it is all the power there is. How did God create the world? By will. Therefore, what we call ‘will power’ in us is in reality ‘God power,’ a power that increases by our recognizing its potentiality and proves to be the greatest phenomenon in life.
In other words, all that we accomplish in life, from the simple act of holding a cup to the complexities of, say, writing a symphony, all that we do or express depends upon this power. Nor is it only humans that have this power at their disposal. In the same chapter, Hazrat Inayat says: …in reality, birds do not fly with their wings, they fly with their will power. Fishes do not swim with their bodies, they swim with their will power. And when man has the will to swim, he swims like a fish.
There are two points we could keep in mind regarding will power. One is, as mentioned in the first quote, that the power of will increases by our recognition of it. If we confront a difficult task, and we doubt our ability to accomplish it, it is as if we have doubled the size of the difficulty; it is quite likely that our will shall fail us before we reach the goal. On the other hand, if we have confidence in our will, then the difficulties fall before us like the mountain being broken by the hammer of Farhad. And recognition of the will reaches its perfection when, like Farhad, we forget ourselves, and discover that it is not our will but the will of the Divine Presence that is acting through us.
Perhaps some might now object: if it is ‘God-power’ acting through us, how to account for the errors and wickedness of the world? The answer is that with the gift of individuality, we have been given a certain liberty, a portion of ‘free’ will (although how free is open to question) that we may direct according to our own understanding, harmonious or otherwise. The question is, what do we do with it? In the Gayan, we find the saying: Whichever path you choose, the right or the wrong, know that there is at the back always a powerful hand to help you along it.
The same paradoxical situation applies to the ego. Ego could be understood as ‘awareness of self.’ So long as that awareness is confined within the transient bubble of an individual, there are the makings of disappointment–frustration with circumstances and with other egos, and the ultimate disappointment that in some moment the bubble must pop. It is true that there are also joys and satisfactions coming from the play of the individual ‘I’, but ultimately the joys and the sorrows cancel each other out, and the outcome of the ‘personal’ equation is zero. Only when the individual ‘me’ is forgotten does the beauty and power of the Divine Self come into view, and zero is replaced by infinity.
To understand ego and will power, therefore—and to make proper use of them!—is the whole of the spiritual path, for in this do we come to recognise the ‘Divine Light which is hidden in our souls’ –and in all that surrounds us as well.