We are each a complex system of ways of being, attachments, habitual behaviors, and decisions we have made. If there is a conflict between what one part of us wants and what another part wants, we pull against ourselves in opposite directions. It is a structural conflict. This is why the long-term use of will power leads to failure. When we stop applying willpower to override other parts of us, we naturally go back to the way we were.
Developing the will and concentration are important, but you can't effectively achieve great things through willpower alone. If you want one thing and at the same time you equally want another that is in conflict with the first, you will end up at square one.
For example, you may be trying to lose weight, so you determine not to eat the foods you have come to like best. You may feel you need to exercise more and so you force yourself to go to the gym, when you'd rather watch TV. You are using willpower so that one desire wins over an opposing desire, to suppress that part of you that wants something different.
If you stop applying force and restraints on yourself, you naturally revert back to your original behavior - your goal to lose weight and get fit unfortunately fails. It's like an elastic band: it's stretched by willpower but then pulls back at the first opportunity. The use of willpower alone - and positive thinking, affirmations, etc - in the context of structural conflict is why so many people fail to achieve their goals and life carries on the same.
Willpower is great and necessary sometimes to push through obstacles. But it isn't the first priority - it doesn't change who we are! If we want to achieve something, we need to become the kind of person who has that in their life. We need to recognize and release the conflicting feelings and beliefs and ways of being that drive us in an opposing direction. When we remain with our true desire, our heart's desire, we just naturally begin to achieve.
Often times there are many limiting beliefs, internal conflicts, destructive programming, etc. to sift through in order to change the structure of who we are (not just our behavior). However, the final result is always worth the effort. The final result reveals us at our purest and most beautiful level.
We adopt identities aligned with the goals we make for our life, the things we want to create and achieve. Some of these goals are original and personal, e.g. to help people through healing or to be a performer or inventor. Others we inherit from our cultural upbringing, e.g. the judgment of success as riches, the fashions of what beauty consists of. Some we bring from the unfinished business of childhood, e.g. to avoid the repetition of what was painful as a child, or to get vengeance. Some are basic human needs, for safety and survival, belonging and acceptance, self-expression, freedom and control of our lives, knowledge and self-realization. Goals may carry over from past lives, and we may have brought special purposes and talents with us into this life. Still more are part of the genetic, archetypal, mythological and informational collective consciousness of humankind, in which we are affected by each other's thoughts and drives and the collective memories of the past. And then there are astrological and numerological influences. Much of this is blindly followed if we do not live with full consciousness. These goals and influences may be mutually reinforcing or conflicting.
A goal may start as one thing but as irresolvable barriers occur, the goal shifts to a compromised form, what seems to be a safer and more workable solution. For example, we may originate the goal to be an inventor but not being able to obtain the funding we may accept a more run of the mill career as a scientist. This cycle continues, perhaps over lifetimes, and passes through a reversal, so that one ends up with an identity, with respect to a particular original goal, which opposes that which originated the cycle. We may end up defending our interests by opposing innovators in our field of work. The original goal still remains active deep inside however. This causes confusion, indecision, stress and unease, and a sense of not knowing who one is, what one really wants.
These kind of goal conflict structures are at the root of our being, though they are normally largely unconscious, only part of the structure being apparent at any one time. The rest is suppressed but still active behind the scenes, affecting our feelings and behavior profoundly. Normally this sort of structure only becomes unstuck if there is a surprising major success or failure that serves to end the cycle. For most of us, we're stuck with them for life.
Similar structures work within cultures, civilizations and humanity as a whole. We have group goals that become compromised to the extent that we end up pointing in the opposite direction - look what we do to the environment or to our babies with vaccines. Great teachings become distorted through myth and eventually our understanding is the opposite of truth - look at how Jesus' teachings were turned into the Inquisition. Ancient cultures practiced the sacrifice of the ego for achieving enlightenment; this was distorted over time until the Aztecs sacrificed bodies in their millions in their religious quest.
However we can rebuild the structures of our life. It requires deep introspection and mindfullness to fully uncover and resolve our deepest goal conflict structures. Meanwhile, we can make every effort to recognize our feelings and to see where they come from, the roots of our identity. To drop the safe solutions of the past that our ways of being represent, to confront our fears and expand our boundaries, to follow our heart's desire.
Using tools for transformation, such as you'll find at trans4mind.com, conflicting feelings can be released, opposing beliefs can be revised, and we can be the person who is true to our heart's desire.
This is something Peter put together that is close to his heart. It's a free daily meditation program to help you make the state of unconditional love an integrated part of your life, which is key to lasting joy and fulfillment.
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