The Gift of the Failure of Will
The Union Path Podcast
The Gift of the Failure of Will
[0:00:19] John Coleman: It's a funny thing how some of the most profound impactful, useful healing gifts in life can first present themselves in very unappealing packages. Some of the best things that ever happened to us. Some of the things that really caused the most positive growth that really caused the most positive change that are really the thing that changed everything. Can initially appear as unwanted can initially appear as more burden, more disappointment, more stress, more strain, more lack of whatever it is we feel we're striving after. It's a very difficult challenge sometimes to accept these gifts because they sure don't feel like gifts at first. The feel like backward steps, they feel like regression. They feel moving away from what we want rather than actually the shortest least effortful path to move towards what we want. One of these gifts that I believe most of us, if not all of us are given at some point is the failure of will. Especially if we've lived a life of high achievement. We've been driven, we've been motivated, we've been focused. We're the ones who do. We're the ones who get things done. We are the creators, we are the architects, we are the ones making this experience that we're having. Perhaps we even take great pride in this. We take great pride in our independence, we take great pride in our self sufficiency.
[0:02:08] John Coleman: We take great pride in the fact that we can do it ourselves. We don't need anyone or anything. We're unencumbered, we're free. We have everything we need and thus we can do everything ourselves. And what's challenging about this is that these ideas are rooted in truth. Truly we do have everything we need. Truly we do have all the resources necessary to do and to have and be what we really want. But it's not quite that simple or at the very least there's much more to it than that. There's much more to it than just making things happen. There's much more to life than force and will. Yet, especially in our American culture we so celebrate people who seemingly do things themselves, who are self made, who have a sense of self reliance that make them seem of some kind of independent world beater of someone who can do anything simply because they will. To do so obviously will is very useful. Effort is very useful, a sense of independence is very useful. But just because these things are useful doesn't mean that they're the whole truth. At any point in our life when we've become over reliant on being any particular one way, when we've overdeveloped a small set of skills that usually means we've let other skills atrophy.
[0:04:00] John Coleman: We're missing out on the wholeness that we seek because we're not really going through life in wholeness. We've narrowed down our lives. We've narrowed down what we do in our lives to a certain way of doing things, a certain mode of being in all of our independence, in all of our will in all of our drive and all of our effort we've actually become fractional parts of ourselves. We've actually availed ourselves to only taking part in a fractional part of life. The part that comports to these ideas of the virtue and benefit of effort and will. Especially now in this day and age we so idolize hustlers people who aren't bound to their current circumstance or state that they go out and they do things, they make things happen. And this truly is admirable. Life is meant to be dynamic. Life is meant to be fluid. We are meant to explore. We are meant to learn. We are meant to try. We are meant to do. But if our focus becomes overly invested in our own doing we miss a very necessary aspect of life. We miss a very necessary and enriching quality of life that actually stands far beyond doing.
[0:05:34] John Coleman: Because when we think about our doing when we think about our effort that really is the last step that's the last step in the expression of energy because we ask ourselves why are we doing what we're doing? Well, the simple reason is because we want to. Well, this idea of want what does this really mean? Want is the sensation of energy is the feeling sense of some sort of change that we ourselves would either like to express or like to see expressed. All action, all behavior is the expression of energy. And we as the actors get to choose which energy we express. We get to choose which energies we align with. We get to choose what flows through us. And if all of this energy that we're expressing is self generated is coming simply from our own thoughts and beliefs, wants and needs for how we want to be, for how we want our life to be, for how we want to be perceived for the status that we want to attain, for the life we want to live, for the person we want to be as defined through our own ideas of good and bad. Worthy, unworthy, enjoyable. Not enjoyable. If our entire life expression is simply flowing out of our own thinking our own desire to be something, to achieve something, to attain something then we're missing something. And maybe this isn't inherently obvious, but at least to me, when I think about these ideas, the thing that I feel is missing when I get too overly involved in my doing and too overly involved in my achieving, too overly involved in my attainment, too overly involved in my action, I'm missing the part of me that receives. I'm missing the part of me that wants to give, that wants to be of service, that actually wants to cooperate. To me when I get overly involved in my doing and my action that feels far more competitive than cooperative.
[0:07:58] John Coleman: I feel like it's far more about me trying to win something me trying to capture something and keep it trying to sequester something as mine and only mine and not anyone else's. And when I find myself in this state, honestly, I find myself having gone a bit astray. Definitely I find myself incomplete because I'm not really expressing the energy of life. I'm not really expressing the energy of creation. Most of the time I'm expressing the energy of my mind. I'm expressing the energy that conforms and comports to whatever identity I have assumed. I'm not trying to create more creation, I'm trying to create more me. I'm trying to be a bigger me. I'm trying to be a more important me. I've become isolated in my own individuality unconsciously. I've decided that I know everything that's right for me, that I know everything that's right to do and I'm going to do everything I can to make that so. But these are just ideas. Oftentimes these are just ideas fed through my own base desires, through my own vanity, through my own greed. Perhaps these desires are generated and fed to the need to undo or override some insecurity, some deep held belief that I have that how I am is not enough, that what I'm doing is not good enough, that there's somewhere that I'm judging myself lacking, that I'm finding myself of want. And I'm doing whatever I can to cancel this out.
[0:09:55] John Coleman: I'm doing whatever I can to undo this. But again, this, at least to me, feels very self centered. Feels like I'm doing a lot of work to reinforce my own identity, reinforce my own ego, as if I'm constantly endeavoring and striving prove myself to myself. And this sounds like compulsion. Perhaps this sounds like addiction. This sounds like doing things simply to undo something else. And as long as there's this conflict within us, as long as there's this constant push and pull, we'll never really progress. We can see that, right? As long as we're warring against parts of ourselves, as long as we're warring against life, as long as we're continuing to feed some sort of conflict, progress will be stunted. Perhaps progress will be completely stalled because we're not actually moving forward. We're not actually growing and we're not actually moving forward and we're not actually growing because we're not actually whole. We're not actually whole within ourselves. Whole within ourselves, below our thinking, below our ego, below our identity, into something deeper, into something more real, into something more true. We're fractional, we're split. And we're not actually whole in life either.
[0:11:25] John Coleman: We've split ourselves away from life. We've decided we're above it. We've decided it's in the way we've decided it needs to be conquered and that we'll live the life we want if we can get life to submit to our will, to our wants, our vision. And again, the nice thing about this attitude, the nice thing about doing this, especially for a long period of time, is that it will eventually fail. Our will will fail us. We'll get ourselves into situations where will is not enough or we'll tire ourselves out, we'll burn out. Because all of our energy, all of our action has been self generated. It hasn't been life flowing through us and expressing itself. It's been our ideas about ourselves expressing themselves. We've broken the circuit of life energy flowing through us and has simply decided to recirculate our own energy instead. But our own energy is finite. No matter how important to us this striving is, eventually we will run out of energy. Eventually we will fail. And at those times, at those moments that's when this gift presents itself because it gives us a doorway, it gives us an opening, it gives us an opportunity to think about trying something different. To take a long, hard look at ourselves, take a long, hard look at how we've been but what we've been doing and ask ourselves is this really me?
[0:13:04] John Coleman: Is this really what I want? Is this what I'm really here to do? To put it another way, is this what I'm called to do? Because this idea of pondering a calling forces us to ponder something outside of ourselves, outside of our own ideas, outside of our own self centeredness and to really think about our role, our contribution to a greater whole. This is why a lot of us embark down the spiritual path to begin with. Because, frankly, our self centeredness fails us, our independence fails us. We realize that there are limits to the value being alone. We realize there are costs of being alone. Because when we're our whole selves when we are united with not only who and what we really are but with a life energy that flows through us, we're never actually alone. Being alone isn't so scary. Solitude isn't so uncomfortable. Quiet isn't so maddening. Because when we're connected with something deeper when we realize that we ourselves are the vessels and expressors of life energy the we realize it's kind of impossible to ever be alone. Because there's always something with us. There's always a presence within us.
[0:14:47] John Coleman: There's always a source of action waiting to be expressed. There's always cooperation possible. There's always access to something far greater than ourselves. If we're willing to look, if we're willing to listen and if we're willing to act on what we learn and observe and not only that we learn there's a far less effortful life possible. There's a far more enjoyable life possible. Because we can let down this burden. We can drop this yoke of having to do everything ourselves all the time. Of course, this means we also have to give up taking credit for everything we do. But in my experience, it's a very small price to pay. The benefits in union far outweigh the costs, the peace and the pleasure of wholeness far outweigh any sort of personal gains that I've made or achieved through my own independent will. It's my belief, it's my assertion that we as humans are here as the expressive medium of energy. Whatever we want to call it, if we want to call it life, if we want to call it the collective unconscious, if we want to call it through some religious name or religious idea, it doesn't change what it actually is. It doesn't change the experience of walking through life knowing that we are the expressors of energy. And because we are the expressors of energy, we get to choose which energy we express. And the less self centered and the less self derived that energy is, the better it feels, the more rewarding it is.
[0:16:52] John Coleman: We do it for long enough. We even come to question the things that we had thought were rewarding and worthwhile before, because they just don't really seem to matter that much. Achievement, attainment, hustling doesn't really seem all that great anymore. Doing everything alone becomes really overrated because in that sense of that aloneness, on some level, maybe buried, maybe completely ignored, there's also a sense of loneliness. That the pride that we take in doing things ourselves, I would guess. I would think that at some level, underneath there, there's a loneliness too. Perhaps there's a bit of pain, perhaps there's a bit of despair that at some level, every human being craves connection. And we crave connection in all sorts of forms. But I believe the most fundamental connection we crave is the connection with life, is the connection with life. Energy is the connection with creation on a deeper level. And it's through our will failing us, it's through our constant, sometimes frantic doing failing us that opens the door to find a way to this connection, to find a way to this peace, to find a way to this wholeness that for some of us, for myself anyway, wouldn't have been possible any other way. I needed my will to fail me. I needed my striving to fail me. I needed my achievement to fail me, because what I was really looking for couldn't be found there. What I really wanted could not really be experienced.
[0:18:43] John Coleman: No matter how much I had, no matter how much I gained, no matter how impressive I was, no matter how big I had made my life, it was still incredibly small to the bigness, to the immensity of true connection, true unity. And in hindsight, that's exactly what I was trying to do. I was trying to override this hunger, this appetite for connection with trying to manufacture and manifest immensity on my own. But connection with immensity doesn't have to be manifested. It already exists. We already have it. As human beings, we are already a part of immensity because we are the expression of immensity. And when we get too caught up in our own doing, too caught up in our own force, we sever that connection. Because we're not only here to express immensity, we're here to serve immensity. We're here to give and receive. We're here to grow and create growth we are here to do in service of everything else. We are servants of immensity and we are served by immensity at the same time. There's no escaping it. Because when we break ourselves off from immensity, when we break ourself off from Union, from wholeness, with everything that is, we feel it on some level, we know it. And all of our striving, all of our attempts to replace it, this fundamental connection, this fundamental wholeness is never really satisfying, can never really do it because it's artificial, because it's manufactured.
[0:20:47] John Coleman: But the beauty is, once we realize this, the artificial manufactured means can never really give us what we want, that can lead us back to the real, that can lead us back to the true, that can lead us back to what already is. Because it's us who have gone astray. The failure of will is a benevolent hand leading us back home, leading us back to fullness, leading us back to wholeness. Because ultimately, this is what we've really been asking for. This is what we've really wanted. And for whatever reason, we haven't been willing to listen. We haven't really been willing to hear. We've gotten so wrapped up in our own personal force that we forgot how to yield. We've gotten so caught up in our own doing that we've forgotten how to receive. We've done so much talking, we've forgotten how to listen. And the beauty is, we can always bring ourselves back into balance. We can always bring ourselves back into wholeness. And it's precisely these times when our imbalance fails us that reclaiming our balance awaits that the opportunity was created. Because of course we would never do anything different if our current way of doing things never failed us. And so it is a gift.
[0:22:20] John Coleman: This failure, like a lot of failures, truly can be one of the best things that ever happened to us. If we let it, if we listen, if we use this as a gateway and opportunity to grow, to progress, to become more, which is ultimately all we really want, we are here to grow and progress. And each one of us will do this in our own way, in our own timing, for our own reasons. And when we encounter profound failure, that can be precisely the type of reason shifting that we really need. Again, this can actually end up being the shortest, least effortful path to get where we really want. But it seems like a setback. It seems unwelcome, it seems unwanted because that's not what we thought, that's not what we expected. But if we can use these type of experiences to learn that there's more to life than just our thinking, there's more to life than just our expectations, there is way more going on here than we think there is. And if we can become open, if we can stay open to what life actually is, what life is actually telling us, what life is actually asking of us what we are actually asking of life then we can make progress. Then we can live a different experience. We can definitely feel differently about the experience that we're living because we're living it and feeling it through wholeness, through fullness. And so if we find ourselves overly reliant on doing, overly reliant on will, overly acclimated and attuned to force and making things happen, maybe these are useful ideas to ponder. Maybe we can ponder the usefulness of more listening, more receiving, more cooperation, more service, more giving. Maybe we can really feel after our lives and ask ourselves how whole are we really? How balanced are we really?
[0:24:50] John Coleman: How good is this living? How am I doing what I'm really here to do? How am I living the life that's really mine? How am I a part of immensity and how is immensity a part of me? And if we've come to the point where our will or our doing has failed us the perhaps we can do more than just ponder these ideas. Perhaps we can really explore them. Perhaps we can really ask ourselves what value and benefit would letting go be to me right now? How would my life be different if I didn't push so hard? If I didn't try so hard, if I didn't need achievement and attainment so much? And then see where that leads. Try something different instead of so much doing. Try being and only being as an individual, being as part of a collective, part of a whole, reestablish those roots and those connections with everything else, with life and grow and express from that place and see what happens. Contribute to life and let life mold you as well. Create and cooperate doing and being self and union with a far greater whole and see where that goes, see where that takes you, see what that changes. And let your experience be the guide, let your experience be the authority because only you know how things are for you, only you know what you really want, only you can know who you really are.
[0:26:52] John Coleman: And spending time engaging with these ideas on as deep of a level as you possibly can is extremely useful. Because when we shift and change the point that we're expressing from all of our expressions will naturally change too. Our life comes into alignment from whatever place, from whatever state we express from. And using these failures, using these disappointments as a call to go deeper, look deeper, know more, can ultimately allow us to do and be more. Because when we shift our point of identification, when we shift the point of ourselves, of our true selves, of our real selves that we express from, our expressions change right along with it and ours, our expressions change, our life changes too. And ultimately this is up to us. Ultimately this is a choice that we can make whenever we like. It never ends. We can always choose again. We're always choosing the part of ourselves that we express from and we're always experiencing thing the reflection of that choice. So times of failure, in times of disappointment, even in times of stagnation these are the perfect times to look a little deeper, to express from a little deeper and then see how that change manifests the life you actually want.
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