Besides strong, skillful and good, another aspect of the will that Assagioli writes about is the transpersonal will, which touches on the spiritual dimension of the human being. Many people can lead a rich and useful life without this aspect of will. But others, who have had a direct experience of a transcendent reality, will recognize the transpersonal will operating in their lives. Their goal will be to use the other aspects of will—strong, skillful, and good—to tune into the transpersonal will, come into relationship with it, and use it to act in the world as well.
Transpersonal Will Activates Personal Meaning
We may find ourselves longing to tune into the transpersonal will when we feel a need to understand the meaning of our life. We might feel as if our life—despite our worldly success in work, family, and on a personal level—lacks meaning or value. Or we might be facing a sudden, unexpected crisis, like a death in the family or loss of job, that calls up this need.
The Three Stone Cutters
There is a medieval story about three stone cutters who were cutting granite for a new cathedral. When asked in turn, “What are you doing?” the first replied in an angry tone, “As you can see for yourself, I’m cutting stones.” The second answered, “I am earning a living for me and my family.” And the third said joyously, “I am building a great cathedral.” All were doing the exact same thing, but the first felt a sense of futility, the second a personal purpose in his work, and the third recognized a greater meaning and connection with a greater whole.
In this story, the personal will of the third stone cutter was aligned with his transpersonal will and that alignment allowed for joy and meaning to enter his life. Often we experience transpersonal will as a “pull” or “call” to something higher. Assagioli describes the transpersonal will as operating from the superconscious (as opposed to subconscious) level of the psyche. There is a feeling of vertical movement which we may feel captured by. Jung, in fact, had the following written above the door of his house in Kussnacht: “Vocatus, sive non vocatus, Deus aderit. God will be present, whether called or not.”
Developing Transpersonal Will
There are a number of techniques we can use to answer the call of the transpersonal Self and better align ourselves with the transpersonal will. Some of these include: meditation, prayer, quiet time, keeping a journal of our thoughts and actions and reflecting upon them in the evening, and using active visualizations to connect to higher qualities, like courage, patience, or forgiveness. Basically, we are using the other aspects of will to connect with the wise and loving person inside us who intuitively knows the right speech, the right thoughts, and the right action at the right time.
These techniques are commercially available and can, at times, be exploited for the sake of so-called “well-being.” Actually, they have a much higher purpose. In fact, when we consciously try to tune in with the transpersonal will, we are seeking to further expand our awareness and manifest that awareness as compassionate action in the world. In this way, we are brought ever closer to love, beauty, our authentic selves, and, ultimately, joy.