Comprehending the essence of our individual True Will is essential for approaching the K&C. If we don’t know ‘who’ is the traveller, and why he or she is on the road, then the destination is all the harder to fathom. And the True Will is the essence and summary of that ‘who’ and his or her purpose. It makes more sense to think ourselves as an agglomeration of activities than as a thing: dynamics interacting, rather than as assorted passive characteristics cohabiting with each other. As that notion becomes more real, so does an individual’s True Will formula come into sharper focus.
But True Will is often defined by our actions occurring solely in the positive or active sense. Let’s say I play the piano, I sing, I perform for friends: ergo, I am a musician. And thus, deep down, my existence might have a root formula such as “My True Will is attuning the world to beauty.” That would be fine, and valid, but in saying this I could well ignore a huge chunk of experience that was True Will-related. The things that ‘happen to us’ (which, essentially, we have chosen, influenced or generated in some fashion) are equally part of our total experience, and so equally part of the complete expression of our lives. We interpret them in certain ways, we ignore them or take them into ourselves, and we get from them whatever value we find in them.
Many people whose lives are not exceptional beyond the fact of their individuality participate in events that lift them out of themselves. Conscripted soldiers, witnesses to genocide, people who campaign for civil rights or participate in counter-cultural movements … individuals from many such backgrounds find that aspects of their True Will are brought out in their reactions, or their refusal to forget things that their spirit rebels against or yearns for. True Will may be first recognised in our reactions as much as in our actions, and in responses as much as in desires. At the least, it’s in these things as much as in things we knowingly choose to enact or to say.
Two nights ago, my neighbour’s house here in central Mexico was flooded in a terrific rainstorm. I stopped in for a brief visit after it blew over, and ended helping out till almost 1.00 am, the pair of us stopping trickles and seepages from the roof, and mopping up puddles. I then slept poorly from being with an upset, overtired person for too long and not realising the tension we’d shared at the seemingly unending influx of water. I woke ready for a bad day next morning.
But at 8.30, the sunshine was out on the green mountainsides, and up on my neighbour’s roof checking for damage in daylight, I was stunned by the beauty of the hills to the south, marching in ranks way off into the distance. I stood, red-eyed, with my hands still aching from all the squeezing and squeegeeing we’d done in the hours of darkness, and just stared. The Angel, remember, is best encountered in Tiphereth, the Palace of Beauty.
This might not seem like a True Will moment, yet it was. While once I would have rejected this irritating distraction from my righteous pissed-offness, I’ve changed that in myself through prolonged effort. True Will is about a knowing, a Gnosis, in the sense of going beyond what we have known before. It’s almost never fully appreciated or understood in its entirety, but its primacy in our lives is increasingly hard to deny as we progress through the Great Work
My surface concerns were, as usual, with “shadows (that) pass and are done,” my tiredness and ill temper. But overriding them was “that which remains,” the splendour of the vista from a good vantage on our shared hillside. Or rather the ability to snap out of one level and be in another: which is one result of persistent alchemical work. True Will has a visionary component to it, or otherwise it is simply mundane volition. For me, being able to share or generate vision in others is a key part of my True Will, and that can’t happen unless I’ve had the vision first.
I can’t share that precise image, obviously. But at some later date, I can share with others my certain knowledge of the real and restorative nature of beauty.