Willingness Part 1
NTI and ACIM both emphasize WILLINGNESS.
If someone were to ask me if I was willing to grow spirituality I would certainly answer, "Of course."
But I have to challenge that response.
How wiling am I?
In 12 Step Recovery literature there is a potent phrase, "...and are willing to go to any length to get it (recovery)."
My willingness is not just a thought, and it is not simply a desire or a wish. My Spiritual Willingness is is an expression of longing born of deepest yearning of my soul.
Just as faith is measured by choices of action and thought, so is willingness.
Taking a very earthy example: notice the difference between wanting to get in better physical shape and being willing to.
The desire, albeit an honest one, remains a desire, a wish in the mind until action is initiated.
MY Spiritual Willingness is expressed in what thoughts I chose to focus on and cultivate as well as my actions such as taking time to study, meditate, being consciously aware of the needs of others, keeping a compassionate heart, and even the practice of the little common courtesies of life, saying "please" and "thank you", holding a door open,
smiling more often, and being gentle with ourselves and others.
When it comes to changing an old thought pattern or pattern of behavior, we might find that our willingness seems to fall short. I can become aware that my willingness is not where I would like it to be. It does not have the power or spark to get the job done.
As with so many other steps on the path, I am encouraged now to accept myself where I am. That is the first step. I might find that instead of being willing, I am willing to be willing. Quite often I find I am more than a few steps from perfect. In those cases I discover that I am willing to be willing to be willing to be willing.
It doesn't matter how far from my goal I seem to be. I need to embrace, love and honor myself where I am in the process at this moment. When I accept, love, and embrace myself at this moment, just as God does, I open myself to the grace of being able to move forward another step. I do this until my willingness is now moving me towards transforming that old pattern.
I also think it is a misnomer to hold the thought of "my" willingness. Willingness is not simply my thoughts and my actions. Ultimately willingness is surrender. It is surrender to the love and guidance of the Spirit.