In the last episode of our mindset series, we bust the myth of willpower and motivation and how it cannot give you lasting transformation on its own.
- What is willpower?
- Why conscious will cannot change results.
- How putting your effort in will and action and forcing change is counterproductive.
- The Right Use of WILL.
Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.
Debra Maldonado 00:01
Hello, everyone, welcome to Soul Sessions with Creative Mind. I’m Debra Berndt Maldonado.
Robert Maldonado 00:08
And I’m Dr. Robert Maldonado. Welcome for you, who are new to the show, thanks for showing up, and thanks for listening. And those of you that know us, thanks for your support, we appreciate it.
Debra Maldonado 00:23
This is our last segment of our series on mindset. We talked a lot about cognitive biases, defenses, the ego, a little bit of shadow, the persona, and we thought we’d end it with this provocative topic called the myth of will power. A lot of people I know in a lot of motivational coaching, it’s all about “you got to have that will power, you got to believe you can do it.” And we’re going to bust the myth on that.
Robert Maldonado 00:59
I don’t think we have to go very far for that because we all do it. The way we’re taught that you must not have enough will power, if you’re not making your life a success.
Debra Maldonado 01:15
If you can’t lose weight, you don’t get to the gym, you’re not building your business, you can’t find the right person or don’t work on your marriage or any type of endeavor you approach to change your life, there’s this myth that you have to have a lot of will power for it. What is that about? What’s the philosophy behind that idea of motivation? It’s really because anytime we make change there’s resistance. We have to stretch out of our comfort zone. We need a strong will to move through that resistance. That’s the theory.
Robert Maldonado 02:01
It’s based on the idea that we are individuals and that our actions are free, that we have an agency, a sense of ourselves, that we’re able to act upon the world, to make those changes that we want to make. But we know especially from Jung’s work that the persona doesn’t have a real independent will. It’s simply acting out of conditioning, out of trying to fit into society. It’s a very narrow sliver of freewill. You do have a few choices. Obviously, you either say you’d like chocolate or vanilla.
Debra Maldonado 02:51
Sometimes that isn’t even true. You don’t choose that, you have this tendency or a preference, you can’t force yourself to like chocolate if you like vanilla better.
Robert Maldonado 03:04
Under conditioning, we would say that you don’t really have free will, because you’re acting out of what the cues of the environment are telling you you should act or you should respond in a certain way.
Debra Maldonado 03:19
Someone would say “I’m conditioned to be a certain way, I’m conditioned to stay in my comfort zone. So I need to face a lot, we have that strong will to face the adversity out there that shows up that used to stop me. I just have to plow through it. I got to bust through it. I got to— ” what do they call it, that aggressive masculine way of talking about reaching goals. You just got to grit through it, go for it, just take it. This idea gives us a misperception that you have an agency of control on a conscious level, that as long as you’re healthier, you’re believing you can do it, you’re going to go toward it, you’re going to take the action, you’re going to get a result, like that carrot or stick conditioning. The problem is that we are conscious beings. We’re not just objects in the world moving other objects, which is what that motivational kind of will power is saying — you just got to keep failing until you make it, you got to crush it, as Gary Vee would say, you don’t have to crush anything. You have to understand how do things get created in the first place? When we think of using will power, if we don’t understand how things are created, we’re going to use it. The myth of willpower is that as long as I keep taking action and not giving up, I’m going to succeed. There’s an element of that, but it’s not the complete story.
Robert Maldonado 05:02
It’s not the complete story, that’s a good way to put it. In the beginning, when we are over identifying with our persona and ego, and our conceptual limited mind, we don’t have free will, because the mind is geared towards fitting in, towards survival. That’s a very narrow sliver of what’s possible for human beings. We’re reducing and limiting ourselves to this task of survival, of fitting in into society. There’s nothing wrong with that, we need to do that. But it’s not the complete story. The complete story is that there is freewill, but if you want to access freewill, you have to do internal work and ask yourself “Who am I? Am I just this persona that needs to fit into society and survive? Or is there something more?”
Debra Maldonado 06:03
When I first started as an entrepreneur, I knew my thoughts create my life. But I still didn’t understand on a deeper level. You understand intellectually that there’s this consciousness and that you can move things. But we get caught up because the world feels so real to us that we feel like we’re fighting a battle with the external world. When we think of willpower, I was working a lot. And I was like “I’m a really good worker, and I’m trying everything. I’m taking all the action”. I didn’t have any problem with motivating myself. I was just like “Why was I keep hitting a wall?” Willpower can’t just be enough. I’ve experienced and many of you could probably relate that you can really be like “I’m committed to this” but you keep hitting this wall. And you wonder “What is it? What else do I need? I feel like I can’t want it more.” For me, I think what you just said about who’s the one acting — I was acting out of fear, I have to make it. We’re putting all the power into money and success, that’s going to give me some kind of security. My will was directed to getting that security externally. I was chasing myself because what I was putting out there was insecurity of “I don’t have enough, I’m not abundant, I’m not safe, I got to go out and make something happen out there.” But the assumption was that it’s out there, not in me. I was basically on a gerbil wheel working really hard. I call it rearranging the furniture, just trying to make it seem like I’m busy, but I’m not getting the results I want. We see this happen too, with a lot of love coaching, a lot of women would be like “I’m not going on a date every week, doing all the right things, I’m getting my persona nice and pretty for the pictures and writing the profile, or keeping my boundaries with people and being good at picking. But it’s still not showing up.” You can want something really bad. But just wanting it bad and working hard for it isn’t enough. We wish it was, that would be easy. But we’re not in that mechanical universe. We’re in a conscious universe. So now we have to think, if the external isn’t going to give us the power, or the power isn’t external, where is it?
Robert Maldonado 08:31
That question of where is the locus of control. In psychology, there is this concept of the locus of control. If the individual believes the locus of control is external to them, meaning I’m waiting for things to change, I’m waiting for the economy, I’m waiting for my boss, I’m waiting for that result to show me that I am successful, or that I will be happy, or I’m worthy, depending on external circumstances, that locus of control, where we’re projecting it out, where we’re saying, it’s out there somewhere, the power is not within me.
Debra Maldonado 09:17
It’s like a deficit thinking. I have this negative, and I have to get out there to even it out.
Robert Maldonado 09:23
The internal locus of control is where you want to be, because then you start to get the true sense that you’re creating it, you’re the one that determines how you respond to the environment and what it means to you, instead of waiting on the external to verify your perception.
Debra Maldonado 09:48
To clarify, we’re talking that you really have to match the action with the mind versus just taking action and putting your attention toward the external or towards something that you want to attain, because I’m moving the power inward.
Robert Maldonado 10:08
Because you’re clarifying the true nature of the mind. In other words, if you believe the power is outside, but that’s not true, you’re in a delusion, you don’t have the right perspective on things, you think the power is outside of me. And that’s false. Because really, what everything teaches us is that the power is in the mind, the mind is the cause of how you experience your life. If you’re working externally, and focusing that will externally, you’re simply playing into a misperception. You’re thinking, if I work hard enough, like you were saying about somebody fixing up their persona to appear nice to the opposite sex so that they can find a partner. That’s the wrong approach essentially, because, again, you’re buying into the false appearance of names.
Debra Maldonado 11:20
This reminds me — and this is probably relatable to a lot of people that are coaches or people that put themselves online, or are speaking in public — I remember when I first started public speaking, I was terrified. I’m a true testament that anyone can get over their fear of public speaking. I still have a little bit of nervousness and stuff. But in the beginning, it was really hard. I remember my energy was going out to the audience, it was like all of my personal power was diffused and being placed in the people and their response. I was putting my power out to the audience and trying to pull them back into me to listen and agree with what I’m saying, or be inspired by what I’m saying. It was a very powerless place because you’re putting yourself at the mercy of these people that really want you to entertain them and want you to inspire them, but you’re coming from that assumption “I have to convince them that I know what I’m talking about.” It came from me when I first started, I didn’t know how I was at the time and had doubted that and myself. That kind of shift, if you think of it from a visceral energy, you’re putting it out there, those people’s clapping, or their nodding gives me the power. I would notice someone who’s agitated or looking distracted, and I’d be pulled into them, trying to pull them back. It was a very hopeless, helpless place to be. Of course, that’s where I got nervous. But then I started to align myself with my power within and I spoke what I needed to share. Then whatever happened out there was inconsequential because I was here, doing what I was supposed to do. My power was directed inward and anchored in myself. That’s a good visual or metaphor for how someone can approach this. Is that your power? Is that locus of control within you? You’re not out there trying to convince the world to participate or listen to you? Or it’s separate from you. You are the world you’re putting yourself out there. Then what you see is actually what you’re putting out versus trying to pull something back in. Like you said, we cut it up in pieces, and we’re trying to put it back together again, and pull it back in, where we don’t see that we’re seeing ourselves.
Robert Maldonado 14:01
Let’s go inward into the mind, what is happening in the mind. That sense of I, first of all, is a false construct. We’re all conditioned to act as if there is a real I in our mind. That’s that ego mind that I am the one that’s choosing to act, I am the one that’s speaking, I am the one that’s going to the store, to work.
Debra Maldonado 14:31
I am the one who had the past history. I am the person who experienced all these experiences. That’s why I’m the way I am now.
Robert Maldonado 14:40
That I is the the whole base of that idea of freewill that if there’s an I, I must then be the one that is making the choices and acting upon the world. But as soon as we start to examine that, if we look for that I, it’s nowhere to be found. It doesn’t really exist except as a mental construct, almost like an app that helps us survive in the world. So as an app, as a function, it works for survival.
Debra Maldonado 15:23
It’s like our body, it functions for us to live, it’s not solid because it changes every seven years completely, and it ages and all this stuff. So for us to think the body is solid, it’s the same thing. We can easily see that these I is a subjective, conceptual experience of our individual life.
Robert Maldonado 15:46
It works really well for survival and for social fitting in for social harmony and interaction. Most people are duped into believing, because they never question that, that there must be an I. Because everybody is just assuming there is one, and I’m going along with the program. And if everyone acts as if there’s an I, there must be an I. But as soon as you start to question and to do that internal work, that self inquiry, you find that no, there’s no real I to grab on to.
Debra Maldonado 16:32
It was hard to understand when I first heard this concept in Buddhism, they talk about the I in the Eastern philosophy, Vedanta. But when I started understanding it from the Jungian perspective of the persona, that made all the sense in the world, because our persona is a mask that we put up to interact with the world. We create it, and we have a different persona for when we’re at work, we have a different persona in a romantic relationship. We have a different persona when we’re a parent. Already, you see that this I is flexible and not as solid as we think it is, even though there’s aspects that are consistent. But if that’s flexible, then everything must be flexible. We can like look at it from just a practical standpoint. Am I that corporate person that everyone believes? Or am I the little sister to my brother and my family? Or am I the parent to my kid? And then who am I? Questioning the concept of who is this identity that’s actually trying to make something happen in the world, what is it? I know we’re really getting deep here, I want to talk about willpower. How does that affect you?
Robert Maldonado 17:52
In regards to the will then if there is no individual self, like that self concept, that I, or what is in psychology called the ego, the I, the sense of I, it is an apparent reality and apparent way of existing. It’s functional, it works for survival, but it doesn’t take us to the higher level of existence which is really the key to what Jung called individuation. He says individuation, the integration of your awareness as a conscious social being and biological being with the unconscious mind, with the power, the psyche, the reality in other words, the absolute reality—
Debra Maldonado 18:43
People think of the unconscious mind — just to clarify, this isn’t your belief systems or personal unconscious. This is the deeper spiritual aspect of who you are that you’re not conscious of.
Robert Maldonado 18:55
That integration, that self inquiry and getting to “Who am I? If there is no I, what is the absolute reality behind that?” The realization of that then gives you the real sense of will, or the real power to choose.
Debra Maldonado 19:16
Because now you’re not aligning the will with the ego’s desire which is out of fear and lack and needing to prove something to the world, you’re aligning with the true self which is your Divine Self that just wants to create, that wants to express itself through you. There’s a much different energy to something that’s “I want to go out, the divine wants to create a successful coaching business.” But the ego saying “I need to create a successful coaching business because then my friends won’t look bad at me, I want to impress my colleagues, I’ll have money in the bank and I won’t go back broke”, all those things that the ego creates from, that’s where we lose sight and get lost in the dream. When we realize that the divine in us— we’re aligned with that, we use the will to align toward ourselves, toward just aligning. Then what we create is from pure creation. It’s actually a lot more powerful than your little ego trying to scramble around the world, trying to piece things together. Because what you end up doing if you come from the ego is that you get to see your fears. You can work really hard, if your ego’s afraid and feeling lack and feeling disconnected from everything and feeling like it needs to grasp on to a life raft, that’s what life is going to feel like for that person. They’re going to feel as though they’re working really hard, they’re exhausted, and it’s something out there better shaped up to save me, a partner, money, maybe the right dress size, or the jeans size, when I weigh good on that scale and this number, then I can feel good about myself, do all those external things. We end up just living our life like chasing this mirage.
Robert Maldonado 21:12
And here’s the tricky part. You cannot use the external definition of success to determine whether a person is self-realized or not because you can be conditioned to succeed and to have money and to have business success.
Debra Maldonado 21:34
There are various modules out there that can do their tricks to make a lot of money.
Robert Maldonado 21:40
If you’re conditioned to succeed, you will succeed, you will create abundance for yourself in the material world. But it’s not real freedom, because it’s still coming out of conditioning. In other words, you’re compelled to act that way by your past experiences. While we’re talking about freewill, it is really the ability to choose your life from a conscious perspective. That requires the transcendence of ego.
Debra Maldonado 22:09
Now, I can attest to this. I know so many people, I was in the corporate world for decades. There’s this assumption, you can be really successful in the corporate world, or even as an entrepreneur, they’re working themselves to death, they have that success, but the price is this. It may become easy for them, but they have this feeling of “The reason I have success is because I worked my butt off and I work seven days a week, or I have to sacrifice my family.” One woman I worked with at VH1 was really successful. She was the vice president. And her daughter didn’t even know her because her daughter was raised by nannies. She said “Now I wasted all that life.” She was successful and admired but she’s like “There’s another part of my life I didn’t have”, and that’s from conditioning. Don’t you think, culturally we are, especially in the West, we’re conditioned — and maybe in the US more than overseas because in Europe people are more relaxed. But here it’s so much about work, work, work work, get on that treadmill and get only two weeks vacation a year, that’s the only time you can really enjoy your life. I don’t know, I just feel like you’re really defining success for yourself. Knowing that it doesn’t have to be so hard, you don’t have to struggle in the world to have it, it can be much easier than it appears to be.
Robert Maldonado 23:46
Let’s look at that easy part. Because from the perspective of the ego, it feels like an impossibility to make real changes. Because you’re basically chasing your tail when you’re working out of the ego, no matter how much effort you put into something and no matter how much you progress along those lines. You sense yourself to be the same person, nothing changed. Now you have more money, or now you have this success. But I still feel the same, I still feel limited. We know that phenomena’s true because of that imposter syndrome and people that burn out.
Debra Maldonado 24:38
And celebrities, you see people that are really successful and make it and they’re just depressed now because everything they want is there. I remember when we first started working together, and my big dream was to be on the success stage for this coach that I admired. I got to be on the stage and I had all the badges that said “Speaker”. I had all these things, I reached so much success because I had just started out and I thought I want to be like those women up there on that stage. When I got there, I took my little badge off, put it down and said: “I’m still me, this external thing didn’t do anything to me.” It was such a powerful moment for me, I just stood there and looked at it. I worked really hard for this illusion. That’s when everything started to change for us in a bigger way because I started to really get that. It’s not just that external success, it’s never going to give you anything back. It’s a spiritual success. You often talk with our coaches and say “What are your spiritual goals?” And they’re like “Spiritual goals? I never even thought of making spiritual goals.” I think that is really important.
Robert Maldonado 25:55
That limitation is from the ego perspective, not from the higher self perspective, meaning from the integrated perspective, the actions that you’re taking are not the effort of your false self, that individual I self. Things that are very easy, because you’re like a surfer riding a wave, the energy is not coming from your individual willpower or that effort that you’re making as the I, it’s coming from the universe.
Debra Maldonado 26:32
You’re supported, you’re floating. Another caveat here is that it doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be difficulties or challenges. When we say easy, there’s going to be challenges. But if you have the right perspective, you’re going to approach those challenges much different than if you approached it from the ego perspective. With the ego you’re battling the challenges. With the higher self, you’re actually using the challenges to grow, to evolve, to create and use it as creative energy.
Robert Maldonado 27:02
In some spiritual practice you hear this idea of the will of God, the Divine Will, or the universal collective will, when Jung would say the collective unconscious. It is a true source of power, it is the true source of movement, even social human culture is moved by this foundational power. When you perceive it, when you understand it through that introspection, that self analysis and asking “Who am I if I’m not beholden to this I, this persona, this ego that I’ve felt myself to be all along, then where is the action coming from? What is the motivation for me to act?” That motivation is what’s called a higher purpose, it is the purpose of self realization. In other words, human life, its primary purpose is to realize that it is the universal consciousness, it is the universal mind, acting in human form.
Debra Maldonado 28:11
These little things that we do, like find love, make money, are like a fool’s errand to get us to that realization. They’re set up for us, the ego set up for us for those desires. When we realize this isn’t working, it drives us to seek inward. I remember times in my life, where I felt like everything out there wasn’t cooperating, I had to turn inward, it was the only place to go. That’s really where all the source of it is. You often said, when I first met you, it’s just self acting, the ego doesn’t act, the ego just takes credit. I had a hard time understanding that, but this conversation is a way to explain it, that the self is always acting, it’s always moving toward more life. But the ego is perceiving it as something’s wrong, first of all, taking credit, and also taking blame for things that are going wrong and misperceiving what’s happening versus seeing that these barriers that you’re experiencing are actually the way to growth. That will is basically using your will toward yourself, toward inward to hold that higher purpose. That’s where your mind should be not getting those things, as much as realizing the self. In many spiritual traditions— I worked with people from many different spiritual traditions, in the Middle East and all over Christians — they all say this idea of giving it over to God, I’m going to dedicate my action to God. Krishna talks about that in the Gita, you dedicate your actions to me. That is a really great, if a simple tool that we can use is we’re not giving up the power to something external. We’re giving up our ego misperceptions to our higher knowledge, our higher self. Like a lower desire for a higher desire. The lower desire is this “please feed me, please love me, please make me feel worthy.” The higher desire is “Let me express myself fully through you.”
Robert Maldonado 30:31
All the spiritual teachings affirm that you’d never actually lose your spirit or your soul or the higher self, because you can’t be anything but that. It’s simply that it’s covered over by the illusion that you are an individual I. That illusion comes from that sensory perception of the world, the way we experience the world makes it appear as if we are acting as individuals.
Debra Maldonado 31:12
It’s like a dream. In a dream we have the appearance that we’re having these experiences, and then we wake up. It’s the same thing with our waking life. It’s dreamlike, it has the appearance of real solid things happening, real conversations, real things.
Robert Maldonado 31:29
There’s nothing wrong with the ego. It’s simply that when we over identify with it, we fall into limitation and lack of inspiration. It is the nature of suffering. That’s where suffering comes from, the way we experienced that as human beings. We’re over identifying with the ego, with a persona, with the I.
Debra Maldonado 31:57
A lot of people ask, why do we have an ego? What purpose does it serve if it just causes suffering? Why would we have this concept of ego?
Robert Maldonado 32:12
First of all, it doesn’t just cause suffering. Over identifying with it, staying there and hoping things will change or that we’ll find a way to survive forever. If you look at a lot of cultures, especially in science now, the whole emphasis is on “Can we prolong life infinitely? Can we find the genetic code and just survive forever in the physical body?” That insistence on finding life and purpose in the physical body is what keeps people stuck in suffering. If we’re willing to accept that this life is temporary, very much like in some of the Buddhist philosophies that says it’s an impermanent appearance that we’re experiencing as human beings. But there is this deeper ground of being which is emptiness or the self, or the spirit, then we’re acting in a much more realistic way, where we’re seeing that I can’t hold on to the pleasures of the world, although they’re real, or the experience of those things are real.
Debra Maldonado 33:44
So the pleasures and the suffering are both temporary,
Robert Maldonado 33:47
They’re all temporary. So to try to hold on to them is the seed of suffering. We’re insisting and hoping, and betting that some of these will last. But there is no evidence that it will last, it is impermanent, it’s always changing, it’s always in flux. The sooner we accept that and start to look for the deeper ground, that leads us to that spiritual realization.
Debra Maldonado 34:20
I think there is that natural joy, a spiritual joy of just being, it’s not the same as a human emotion. But it’s that peacefulness, bliss, that deliciousness, and then the ego covers it up. I think we can experience that in our everyday life even before enlightenment, because when we’re in creation mode, it feels blissful. If you’re an artist, or you’re writing, or you’re dancing, or you’re doing something creative, cooking, there’s some kind of bliss in that, just the act of creating. I think — if you want to make it very practical — that’s where you can start to get a taste of your true nature. I just want to paint to paint, or I want to journal because I want to create a story. People are happiest when they’re creating and creating without attachment is that creating without any purpose. I’m just gonna draw, like the Buddhist monks, they do the mandala with the little sand and they spend hours and hours, and then they shove it away like it’s impermanent — it’s the same thing. Creating just for the sake of creating and being in that bliss is a way to start training your mind. So whatever goal you have, holding the vision of “the divine in me wants to create, how can I use that in my process, the everyday goals that I want”. Maybe you want to make more money, or have a relationship, or have a better relationship, or get pregnant, or have better health, whatever it is, how can I use it? How can I be creative with it? How can I access the creative power I have within me that just wants to create. It’s about more life, it’s about expression, it’s about just being us. That’s who we really are. When we’re in that place, we don’t really need anything back. Because in the Gita, Krishna says infusing the action with that higher purpose is a success in itself. So the will really is not about external, it’s holding your mind in that state of creative bliss.
Robert Maldonado 36:43
The realization of the self is not some mystical thing that we’re waiting to die to experience. It’s the realization of the everyday life like some of the Zen masters say, it’s your everyday mind, meaning making coffee, making the bed, go into work, your everyday experience — that is the divine, you’re observing the Divine Consciousness expressed in human form, in human life, in the everyday experiences of your life.
Debra Maldonado 37:32
I think people do this with personal development too, I hear this all the time for years and years, “I’m tired of working on myself.” They’re approaching spiritual development with the same way they try to create everything else. If I work really hard and get rid of all my stuff, my baggage, then I can have a life, instead of enjoying the process of self discovery. It’s the same thing as how do we have just joy in what we’re doing, in creating and self discovery, instead of thinking “I’m gonna suffer to get the reward.” That’s the ego’s way of thinking. I have to suffer and sacrifice, then I’ll get the reward at the end. But if you have the reward already in you by doing the action, it’s not out there anymore. It’s in here. It’s the same thing like I said in the beginning, about the speaking. I was speaking from my heart, I didn’t need the audience to give me the feedback, although it would be nice. But I wasn’t overly concerned about that. I was present in my moment, just expressing, the people that need to hear will hear. That non attachment really helps us free us from that versus I’m acting for and suffering through it until I get that reward at the end. That’s how we’re taught in school, if I study hard, I’ll get good grades, and I’ll get rewarded. That reward and punishment system is a part of our conditioning. If we want to escape our conditioning, we have to approach life outside of that reward and punishment dynamic.
Robert Maldonado 39:17
Ultimately, we need to go through that conditioning. It’s not like we did something wrong or something bad happened to us because we’re conditioned. We need the conditioning because it puts us firmly in this world. It gives us a sense of the world and the beauty of the world in a very stable way. You notice things don’t just float away into space, the rhythms and the laws of nature are very consistent for the most part. There’s always the element of change but there is this consistency. What we want to do is simply understand its nature, what is the nature of this appearance of the world, what is the nature of my mind, and live from those higher principles. This is called subtle knowledge because it’s not apparent, it doesn’t come to us through our senses.
Debra Maldonado 40:22
You can’t read about it, or even listen about it, you have to really experience it.
Robert Maldonado 40:29
You have to take that internal journey of asking “What am I experiencing? Is it true? Is it real?” Then you start to discover that subtle knowledge for yourself, you start to have a direct experience of it. In other words, it’s not something you have to believe in. That’s why when they asked Jung, do you believe in God or the spirit, he said “I don’t have to believe, I know, I’ve experienced that directly.”
Debra Maldonado 40:55
That’s really important because once you get to that place of knowing and the fear goes away, you start to really be a powerful creator in the world, because you start to know that what I’m putting out there, what I’m creating, the power is in me, it’s not in random chance. Someone asked a while ago “What if the universe wants something different?” I’m like “You are the universe.” You get to realize that you are the creator of your life, you’re conscious, you can consciously create your own destiny, the laws of patterns and the past go away. There’s some people that follow their path of life, “These things are going to happen to me.” You can break free of all that through individuation and understanding this higher knowledge. That’s really where the real freedom is. Ultimately, what we’re trying to get to is freewill versus will power.
Robert Maldonado 42:01
Freewill is our true nature. Like you were saying, we’re happiest when we’re exerting that power to create. But that power comes through that internal searching, looking inward.
Debra Maldonado 42:18
I love this conversation today. It wrapped up the mindset. There is one question: what practice brought you to this realization? Lots of meditation. Well, reading Vedanta.
Robert Maldonado 42:32
For me, it started with reading the Gita. Around the same time I started reading Jung. For me, it started very early, and I did go through a phase where I lost the track, or I felt that I lost it. You get involved in creating that persona. You have to, you have to survive in the world and go out there and get lost in the action. Then gradually it starts to reaffirm itself.
Debra Maldonado 43:08
You find yourself going back again, you go off on your own, then it pulls you back in. Now that you played in the world, it’s time to remember who you are. It’s a journey that we all take. For me it’s the same thing. I read “The Science of Getting Rich”, that’s Wallace Wattles. He says, use your will toward yourself. His book is actually based on Vedanta. He says it’s Hindu philosophy. It’s kind of archaic, for most people it’s a little old fashioned, it was written a 100 years ago. But I remember thinking the higher desire versus the lower desire. I thought the higher desire is to create, life wants to create, wants to expand. So if I’m that consciousness, why wouldn’t I want to expand. The only thing that’s getting in the way is the lower knowledge that I don’t think I have the power. You have that fear. What you believe, where you identify is what you experience in the world. As you identify with the higher knowledge, this higher self, which is always there, just hiding behind the thoughts and the busyness of life, then the question is why do we have an ego in the first place? We do need to build it up. But I also think that there’s something really special about being both the ego and the higher self in the world, having that dual experience. Because without the ego, you can’t see the duality. You can’t see the dance of life. If you’re just thinking you’re one with everything, it really isn’t that challenging, it’s just bliss. In the Upanishads they say, in the great tree of life, there are two birds sitting in the tree. One bird sits and eats the bitter and sweet fruits of life, that’s the ego. The other watches in non-attachment, that’s the higher self. I mean, both are the higher self in a way but it gives that perspective. An aspect of yourself is going to feel sad when someone you love dies. You have excitement when you reach a goal that you never thought you could, and falling in love — all those things that we want to have, those experiences. Also remember the higher knowledge as well. We can have both, we don’t need to reject the ego or reject our humanity, and even reject our past and our mistakes. It’s not about perfection and being this idealized person that doesn’t make any mistakes and is never angry and is in perfect bliss all the time. It’s about being messy, but also remembering who we really are. All right, we have a treat for you for our next series, starting next week. We’re going to do a series on relationships, not only romantic relationships, which we did a lot on. We’re going to talk about all relationships, we’re going to talk about parenting, work relationships we all have, if you’re in a business, there are relationships that you have to deal with in business. We’re going to talk about your relationship with your parents as an adult, siblings, intergenerational relationships. So lots of fun subjects around that relationship topic.
Robert Maldonado 46:40
It plays into attachment theory, into object relations theory, which is not a well-known psychology, but it grew out of psychoanalysis, Freud’s work, that the way we relate to each other is based on projection. We internalize our parents and see the world from that template our relationship with them gives us.
Debra Maldonado 47:15
Also the family systems, the siblings. We talked about it in one of our previous calls, but we’ll revisit that again as well. Then how do we change our friendships? A lot of people that go through individuation see a lot of friends fall away, relationships that they thought were solid don’t work anymore. How do we grow? How do we deal with those relationships from our past ego as we’re evolving? How do we form new partnerships, the importance of having a community too. Having relationships with people that really get you. “Thank you for bringing these concepts into understandable applications.” You’re welcome, I really enjoyed this. So thank you, Rob, for your work, all your wisdom shared. And thank you so much for joining us, everyone. We’ll see you next Friday for our next series we’re going to kick off on relationships. Join our Facebook group, make sure you subscribe to our channel here on YouTube. We do post bonus videos here a lot, so make sure you’re on that. We’d love to see you around in our community and say hello.
Robert Maldonado 48:35
Thanks for watching. Stay well.
Debra Maldonado 48:36
Take care, everyone.