How to develop willpower? Anando found a great quote by Osho while editing.
I just came across an interesting concept while editing Osho’s Bhagavad Gita.
Osho talks about willpower. I had always thought willpower was something of the mind, and therefore not useful in meditation. But no!
Osho explains that it takes a lot of effort to become conscious, and it requires great willpower to get out of our unconscious habits.
Most of the time we are blindly following our unconscious senses – we let our bodies dictate to us when we should eat and sleep, have sex etc. We are governed by our body, and because of that, we never discover that we are more than our body, more than our senses.
He says to make the experience of being more than our body, we have to develop a strong willpower. First we have to crystallize a strong will, then later we have to drop it, after we have used it to become conscious.
How to develop this willpower?
I let Osho explain in his own words:
You need to do small experiments now and then… very small experiments, in which you declare that you are separate from your body. All the religions developed these types of experiments, but almost all these experiments, when placed in the hands of foolish people, become useless. Fasting was one such experiment, which was developed with the intention to give birth to will in people.
If someone is able to say with all his totality, ‘No, I don’t want to eat,” then the body will immediately stop demanding. And when for the first time you realize that you have an existence separate from the body, then a new energy, a new power is born in you, a new power starts sprouting in you.
The body is feeling sleepy and you say, no, I don’t want to go to sleep yet. And if this is total, if you have said it with all your totality, then the body will immediately drop its desire for sleep. You will suddenly realize you are no longer feeling sleepy, you are feeling wide awake. But we never experiment with this in our life. We never try to act separately from the body. We silently obey whatever the body tells us to do.
I am not saying that you should not fulfill what the body is asking. But at the same time it is also essential for you to experience sometimes, for few moments, being separate from the body. And once you have had this experience of being separate from the body – that you have a being which is separate from the body – you will be surprised that from that day on your willpower starts having control over your senses.
Gurdjieff was a very unique master who used to make his disciples do one small experiment. It was a very small experiment, and if you do it, you will also come to know what this experience of will is.
He used to call this experiment the stop exercise. He used to tell his disciples, I will suddenly shout, ‘Stop!’ And then you should immediately stop wherever you are and whatever you are doing, and freeze completely. If somebody has raised his hand and I shout ‘Stop,’ the hand should stop there immediately. And if someone’s eyes are open, let them remain open; if someone has his mouth open to speak, then it should remain open; and if someone has lifted his leg to walk, let one leg remain raised in the air and the other on the earth. ‘Stop’ means, stop completely and freeze in whatever position you are.
And those seekers on whom he had been doing this small experiment for two, three months… during this experiment they discovered that as they stopped the body, the body would tell them, put the foot down; the eye would say you must blink now; the lips would say close us. But they would ignore the parts of the body and would freeze completely – they would not blink their eyes; nor put their foot down; nor close the lips – they would become just like a statue. After doing this experiment for a couple of months they realized that there is another being in the body, which if it wants to, can command the body to act according to its wishes.
Have you ever given an order to your body? Have you ever given a command? You have only been getting orders; you have never given an order. Right now it is only a one-way traffic. The body is doing all the ordering, and you are doing all the obeying. And this has had very dangerous consequences. The greatest consequence is that it has made you forget completely that you have such a thing as willpower and will in you! And someone who has no will, can never become supreme. To have will means to have a soul.
But we go on asking our senses, please tell us what we should do. From birth till death we keep on asking our senses, what should we do? And the senses tell us what to do, and we go on obeying them. That’s why we are never able to have any experience which is more than the body.
The experience of the soul starts with will-power. It is only with will-power that the journey of the supreme starts.
Insight by Anando, previously published in the Italian Osho Times