Robert Assagioli wrote an incredible little book about will, long before neuroscience gave us The Power of Habit or The Willpower Instinct.
The best thing about studying Assagioli is that it isn't difficult to read his writing. Its theme can be overwhelming; but the map to a coherent existence that it offers is priceless. Some of us yearn for a deeper existence and a life of meaning must be pursued consciously. By understanding the qualities of will, the types of will, and using will to harmonize our sensations, feelings, impulses, imagination, thoughts, and intuition we can lift ourselves to a higher realm of consciousness.
Assagioli's Relationship Between Self, Will and Other Psychological Functions
I was introduced to this diagram, which appears in the book, while studying at Ohr HaTorah.
I've only scratched the surface of the subject, but it feels profoundly true and a helpful instruction manual for living a life of virtue. Here are some definitions, gleaned from the book:
Repression: implies unconscious condemnation or fear (or both!) and the consequent endeavor to prevent the repressed material from emerging from the unconscious to consciousness
Endurance: It has been found that refusal to accept suffering can often create neurotic conditions, while generous acceptance of unavoidable suffering leads to insight, growth, and achievement.
Initiative, Courage, Daring: This quality has two roots: one is the recognition that full and lasting security is fundamentally an illusion. The other incentive toward courage is the enhancement and stimulation given by danger, by risk.
There is much more to say about this book and moral psychology in general. To begin, what core values define you? How do you actively emanate these values on a daily basis? Do you work daily to live a life of consciousness?
This post and this site is dedicated to slowing down long enough to remember to bring my highest values into every interaction with myself and with the world every day.