When the mind inquires into the nature of willpower, it becomes a question whether it is a power of the mind, a power of
thought, or a power of the brain. Those who cannot see beyond the power of the brain, call it brainpower; those who cannot
see beyond the mind, call it a power of the mind. Those who cannot conceive of the existence in man of anything above the
feelings, consider willpower to be a power of feeling. A Sufi understands it to be the divine power.
It is the Divine Will that is manifested throughout the whole universe, which has created the whole universe; and it is part of the
divine will that manifests itself through us. Everything we do in life is governed and directed by that power.
But there are two ways in which the willpower works:
firstly, when it is lighted with the light of intelligence;
secondly, when it is not so lighted, but works by itself.
When it works by itself, we call it accidental. We do things accidentally which we have not
intended to do. But when willpower makes our mind and body work consciously, then the light of intelligence is followed and
the willpower is acting consciously. This is the difference between various happenings. In the one we are conscious of what we
are thinking, we are conscious of what we are speaking and of what we are doing in proportion to our willpower and to the
light that is thrown upon it from the light of our intelligence. But we have acted without willpower when we have to say, “I have
done something I should not have done; I have said something I should not have said; I have thought something which I should
not have thought.” When a person says, “What I did is terrible, I said something I should not have said,” it means that during
the time he said or did it the willpower was there, but the strength and light of intelligence had not fallen upon it to the extent to
which they should.
There are two aspects of our being: the willpower or governing power, and the vehicles, the mind and the body. Both are governed and controlled by that one governing power. In one aspect of our being we are king, in the other aspect we are
minister, and in a third aspect we are servant. We are minister when our mind works, and we are servant when the body
works. We are king when the willpower works.
If a child throws a knife at somebody, it has not committed a crime, because it has not yet set that action down as a crime in its
world of experiences; it has not gathered it into that world. It only becomes a crime when the child knows it to be criminal.
After that it becomes responsible for its deed. Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge ye shall be
judged. We judge others according to our world of good and bad; the same world, the same scripture that is our religion
judges us also, when we do wrong. And no one would do wrong if his will-power helped him to do right, for how could he do
something which the scripture of his own heart tells him to be wrong, had not his willpower failed him? Therefore those who
repent after their crimes, faults, and failures show thereby that it is not that they wanted to do or have these things, but that their willpower failed them. The willpower was not strong enough to help them to carry out their own standard of good, as it should help all men through the journey of life.
The Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan
read the complete chapter on Willpower by the author here.