Ask: How do we best cultivate willingness?

How do we best cultivate "willingness" or is it by grace that we come to this? After a trauma in my life, it took me 4 years of suffering all the while thinking I was 'willing'...while praying and saying 'words' of surrender realize that I was really being resistant!” – L

            A Course in Miracles points out that you do not have to look for Love because you already have It. You only have to look for your obstacles to Love so that you can remove them and be aware that you have Love. It is the same with willingness. You do not have to cultivate willingness. You only have to look for your obstacles to being willing and the willingness will be there.
            Wanting, wishing, hoping, and intending are all passive states of desire. Willingness occurs when you allow the necessary shift or change to actually occur within you so that you will have the desired experience. Often, this shows up as taking action or a change in behavior. But if it is only an internal experience that you desire, then willingness leads to you having the experience.
            For example, Janel dreams of being a doctor. When she becomes willing to be a doctor she will enroll in the appropriate classes to become one. She will take action.
            John is tired of the consequences of his alcoholism. His life has become unmanageable. When he becomes willing to heal his life he will accept the means (rehab, 12-step program, therapy, etc.) to become and remain sober. His behavior will finally change.
            Becky wants to hear the Holy Spirit. When she becomes willing to hear the Holy Spirit within her she will hear the Holy Spirit within her.
            Willingness comes when you “hit bottom” or experience pain that threatens to be more than you can endure. Or it comes when you value the experience that you want more than you value whatever resisting it gives to you. So you can move toward willingness by looking for your obstacles to achieving what you desire. Without judging yourself, look honestly at what you value instead of the experience that you desire. Look at what you think you might lose if you get what you desire. Look at what you think you might lose as you work toward what you desire. Understand that some of your obstacles may take a while to undo. When they are removed, willingness will come. And if you are unable to find your obstacles, then accept that you are not yet willing to know what your obstacles are! You cannot force yourself to be willing.

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will said…

I have just been reading in the text about hearing the Holy Spirit. Janel goes to classes, John goes to an AA meeting, but what about Becky?

Is willingness to hear the Holy Spirit doing Forgiveness? Repeatedly reframing what you are looking at? In the personal mind repeatedly reminding yourself that you are dreaming?
ACIM Mentor said…
Notice that I said: "But if it is only an internal experience that you desire, then willingness leads to you having the experience." Becky was an example of that.

Yes, willingness to hear the Holy Spirit is practicing forgiveness. The personal mind is not always reminding you that you are dreaming because it wants you to think that the personal experience is reality. So it is always seeking to make it real to you.
will said…

In defending what you wrote you miss the point of the question. When I asked what about Becky I wanted to know what action she would have to take to have more willingness.

I don't understand "the personal mind is not always reminding you that you are dreaming." I thought the personal mind never reminded you that you were dreaming. That it's goal was that you never have awareness of the dream. That the personal mind would do everything in its power to keep you ignorant. That Forgiveness was somewhat like learning the pain, you have to force yourself to practice.
will said…
was supposed to be piano
will said…
Liz, I don't want to get too sidetracked. My question about Becky was a reference to my own difficulties in hearing the Holy Spirit. I am concerned that by possibly misunderstanding my part in increasing willingness I'm just sitting here spinning my wheels.
ACIM Mentor said…
My point about Becky is that when it is only an internal shift you seek, willingness will manifest as the awareness one seeks. Willingness is not itself an action. But it can be a source of action, just as in the other examples.

You cannot force willingness. It is there or not. If you are not willing, then look for your blocks to being willing.

I misread the third line in the second paragraph of your question. (I read "in" as "is"). If you have never had an experience that shows you that you are dreaming then reminding yourself that you are dreaming only leads to denial. But if you have had an experience that shows you that you are dreaming then, yes, you want to remember it to practice forgiveness.

I do not know to what the piano reference refers...
will said…

What brought all this on was late last night I was reading the PLACIM chapter 4. In the last paragraph it says "follow the Holy Spirit" a number of times. I've been doing this for awhile (the course) but have never had an experience that showed I was dreaming AND I have been telling myself it is a dream, trying to reframe my experience here in the dream. I thought I was supposed to be doing that, reminding myself it is a dream. Some of this is my own paranoia that I'm not doing this correctly.

My point about willingness is that your not going to get willingness if you are not putting some effort into it. That you have to DO something to get willingness. What do you have to do if your not hearing the Holy Spirit or have not had a dream experience. I don't know this is becoming so convoluted I probably just need to let it go.

ACIM Mentor said…
Willingness is not a doing. It's a state of openness that happens when you are no longer blocked to being open to whatever you are seeking to be willing for. The point I was trying to make in the article is that you cannot "cultivate" willingness. You only have to find and remove your blocks to being open.

You will have an experience that shows you that it is a dream when you are willing to have it. Until then you probably have fear to undo. Let the HS lead the way. Trust that you are being led in undoing your fear. The experience will come when you are ready for it.
Frank C said…
So, if I understand this blog (and subsequent comments), what you are saying is that, when you find that you are being "blocked" in having enough willingness, you would simply ask HS to help you remove whatever is blocking you from being willing enough? To undo the illusion of unwullingness in your mind? To help you forgive yourself for believing you are unwilling? I'm definitely willing to understand this better ;-)
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, ask the HS to help you find the thoughts, beliefs, fears, etc. that are blocking your willingness.
Anonymous said…
Hmmm... it was the 'asking' that I found failed me because it was my ego 'doing' what I thought was willingness. I had thought 'asking' was the same as willingness.

Instead I came to experience willingness as a feeling/awareness rather than a 'doing by asking'.

I had the 'feeling/awareness' of surrender & trust (for lack of better words), and at that moment everything changed. I do not know how I came to such a feeling other than it happened after I gave up on the asking. At that point I became aware that I had never been willing at all before that moment... Does any of that make sense?
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes. That is exactly the experience most describe. An feeling of opening up.

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