Thursday, December 8, 2011

Willpower Exercise Day Two

I was really looking forward to moving 50 tacks from my desk into a box. I'm taking this very seriously. I re-read the instructions to clarify some things I had become unsure of, lit a candle, took a photo and started.

At first it was easy to maintain an attitude of contentment because I was so looking forward to this exercise. Then I thought, "Maybe I'm supposed to say 'I will to will' outloud?" So I tried that. It was like an incantation for a spell. Much more powerful said outloud. I found that the more I focused on the task, the quieter my vocalizations became. I had to remember to say them out LOUD.

I also resisted the urge to speed up and do the job quickly. It's supposed to take 10 minutes and in all, it took 4.5. Again, thoughts swarmed my head like mosquitoes to bare flesh. The more I tried to empty my thoughts the more they seeped in. My mind abhors a near vacuum it seems. I developed a character for some imaginary novel I might write one day WHILE putting the tacks into the box, and noticing their sharpness, their simple construction, their smooth surface and shine.

Again, focus on contentment and "I will to will". I still am not sure what that phrase means, other than the only reason that I'm doing this exercise/experiment, is to see if I can strengthen my will.
I'm starting to appreciate that the will holds focus on a specific task or direction, and that a strong will will hold its focus until the task is finished. It's almost like a shield or a force field which resists letting other thoughts take hold and redirect. Thoughts bounce through, but don't stick.

I can see that doing this exercise daily, I could get bored if I weren't really paying attention to all the inner chatter and workings of my mind. That if I get better at not just shielding my thoughts, but slowing them, or eliminating those not task-focused, I will feel quite delighted. That skill, that state of being, would be a lovely one to cultivate. Perhaps that's part of the power of will, that singular state of one-ness with the task. But I get ahead of myself. Tomorrow's another day.

p.s. After writing this entry, I looked at the other two entries about the Will and it struck me, "I wonder if the will is like a backbone that keeps all the actions in alignment?" Those of you who have a strong will, what do you know?

Wanna try? Directions here.

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