Are will and ego the same thing? My current personal exploration on the subject of will brought me to this article, which I’m sharing for its potential value re: clarification of terms. I found it quite illuminating!
This is not Part 2 of Right Use of Will, but serves as a useful supplement to the conversation, imho. oxW
Q: Isn’t a strong ego a requirement for success in anything, including spiritual practice?
Often people think they need a strong ego to live successfully in the world and to be successful in their spiritual endeavors. This is not true. We cannot be successful in either the external world or the internal world while we are tossed about by a powerful ego. What success in both realms requires is a strong will.
The difference between ego and will is that the ego is blind, while the will has vision. Will has its source in the pure Self. Ego springs from a false sense of identification (avidya) with the external world, and is usually concerned with preserving self-image and self-identity. Ego is characterized by stubbornness, selfishness, and an unwillingness to compromise.
The ego is like a little pool.
An egotistical person crouches in that little pool like a frog—his world is small, his borders insecure. He has only a vague awareness of the grove of trees surrounding his pool, and he cannot even imagine the frog-filled marshes just beyond. From his perspective, only his own feelings and voice are meaningful.
But the power of will is like a spring whose source is the Pure Being.
Will infuses the mind and body with enthusiasm, courage, curiosity, and the energy to act. In yogic literature this force—the intrinsic power of the soul—is called iccha shakti, and it is from this force that all the various aspects of our personality, including the ego, receive the energy to carry out their activities.