Integral eco-archetypal image

Integral eco-archetypal image
Integral eco-archetypal image

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Act of Will

The work of the founder of Psychosynthesis, the renowned Italian psychiatrist and friend of Carl Jung, Dr. Roberto Assagioli that will continue to inform and inspire my practice as a Quantum One Life Coach is explored in his book “The Act of Will.” (Penguin Books 1974). This work is essential reading for anyone who is contemplating a career in coaching because it addresses the issue of the development of one’s inner powers.

Essentially, one must appreciate the very nature of the will because it this understanding that can empower the coach to look at what the obstacles as well as what the opportunities may be for his or her clients to actually manifest their intentions and goals.

Assagioli begins his work by breaking down the different aspects of the will into 1) the strong will, 2) the skillful will, 3) the good will and 4) the Transpersonal will.

Strength is only one aspect of will, and when dissociated from the others, it can often be ineffectual and even harmful to oneself and others. The skillful will consists of the ability to “obtain desired results with the least possible expenditure of energy.” But without the ability to choose the right goals, the other two aspects of the will may be devoid of any ethical consideration, or sense of love and compassion. Hence it is vital to cultivate a “good will” to foster the most virtuous or benign actions.

Finally, Assagioli speaks to the importance of the Transpersonal Will which is the will of the Transpersonal Self. This is the field of the relationship within each individual between the will of the personal self or I, and the will of the Transpersonal Self which can lead to the fusion of the personal and the transpersonal self to the point that one experiences being “in the flow, ’ or “wu-wei.”

Next, Assagioli looks at the various qualities of the will. These are:

1. Energy – Dynamic Power – Intensity
2. Mastery – Control – Discipline
3. Concentration – One-Pointedness – Attention – Focus
4. Determination – Decisiveness – Resoluteness – Promptness
5. Persistence – Endurance – Patience
6. Initiative – Courage – Daring
7. Organization – Integration - Synthesis

It is important for the Quantum Life One Coach to consider the combination of all of these qualities when supporting the client to cultivate their will if they are to achieve their highest and fullest potential. In assessing how a client may be moving forward in manifesting their goals and dreams, it is vital to look to see whether there are qualities of the will that need deeper cultivation. Is there a willingness to amplify or regulate and manage the energetic component and focus on the task at hand or to cultivate self-discipline? Is there a willingness to act promptly or decisively, or to take risks? Is there a willingness to persist in the face of obstacles, rejections and curve-balls or integrate all of the qualities and aspects of the will in order to achieve the desired outcome or results.

Assagioli has created a number of exercises to support the client in cultivating each aspect of the will. These range from “faking it ‘til you make it” to active visualizations, from intentionality to practices for the cultivation of a Transpersonal Self in which individuals align their lives with transcending values.

The act of will receives considerable elaboration by Assagioli. He identifies six sequential phases or stages of the act of will that can empower the client to move from intention to realization. The desired outcome will be a result of how successfully and effectively each stage of the act of will is carried out: There are five clearly written chapters on all of the six stages which are:

1. The purpose, aim, or goal - based on evaluation, motivation and intention.
2. Deliberation.
3. Choice and decision.
4. Affirmation: the Command, or “Fiat” of the Will.
5. Planning and working out a program
6. Direction of the execution.

A striking and very significant feature of this first stage is to explore the motivations of a purpose, aim or goal. This gets into the fine line between coaching and therapy. A well-trained Quantum One Life Coach will want to explore the motivations of each goal to assess whether there are unconscious motivating factors that may not at first appear on the surface. Lower and higher motivations may actually be embedded in a goal and there may be a multiplicity of motivating factors. It is important for a Quantum One Life Coach to tease these out to see if a goal is meeting a lower drive or urge. Assagioli takes the position that the “advantage of directing the psychological tendencies toward creative purposes accrues from the manner in which these tendencies, the very energies themselves, become transmuted and sublimated through being directed to higher ends.”

Assagioli completes his work by exploring the potential force of a “joyous will,” which, he considers, can often be intrinsic to the act of will. He goes even further in suggesting that there is a difference between joy and bliss, and that this difference is at the level of the Transpersonal Will because there is the potential for a harmonious union between the personal and Transpersonal Will, the potential for harmony between one’s Transpersonal Will and those of others, and “highest and foremost, the bliss of the identification with the Universal Will.”

The Quantum One Life Coach will always seek “to co-create your wildest dreams and highest aspirations with the Power of Imagination,” and in the process may empower a client from a place of joy to an experience of bliss. The question then arises: how does a client who may have no sense of the Transpersonal, attain a Transpersonal Act of Will.

Assagioli, and this practitioner of Quantum One Life Coaching would concur that this is an aspect of the will that may reveal itself in the process of identifying those unconscious higher motivations and also in the process of cultivating the other three aspects of the will.

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