“The integral yoga, which involves a deep understanding of the normal psychology of the human being, as well as the impact of the descent of the higher spiritual force to manifest the Divine Will in the manifestation, has to develop its own terminology and specific definitions so as to ensure clear communication and understanding. One such instance of this is distinguishing between ‘will’ and ‘willing’. Will, as a concept, is reserved for the expression of the higher intention in the manifestation. Willing is what arises as a result of pressures on the body-life-mind through its interactions in the world.

We tend not to distinguish these two normally as they enter us subliminally and arise as if from within ourselves, and we thus call them our ‘will’ in action. A close consideration, however, can aid us in seeing both the source and the nature of the various impulsions upon which we act and react.

The Mother notes: “I have another question about what I told you the other day, when we discussed the distinction between will and ‘willings’. I told you that ‘willings’ — what Sri Aurobindo calls ‘willings’ — are movements arising not from a higher consciousness coming down into the being and expressing itself in action, but from impulses or influences from outside. We reserved the word will to express what in the individual consciousness is the expression of an order or impulse coming from the truth of the being, from the truth of the individual — his true being, his true self, you understand. That we call will. And all the impulses, actions, movements arising in the being which are not that, we said were willings. And I told you in fact that without knowing it or at times even knowing it, you are moved by influences coming from outside which enter in without your even being aware of them and arouse in you what you call the ‘will’ that a certain thing may happen or another may not, etc.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 3 Hidden Forces Around, pp. 55-56

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/@santoshkrinsky871
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at http://www.aurobindo.net
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at http://www.lotuspress.com