By: A. W. Finnegan
In the Path of Initiation, that is, alignment with the True Will, Truth, and Spiritual awakening through self-awareness and character building, one deciding factor in how far the initiate will go depends on their focus, drive, dedication, persistence, and devotion to their Path. For it is this drive we call the Will, the Will-power that is applied continuously to the building of character and alignment with Self for undertaking the Great Work.
As this occurs, the challenges presented to the initiate on the Path will test and challenge the Will to such an extent that some who do not have the Will necessary will perish in the great big abyss of reversion of character and back to the ocean of ignorance and self-annihilation. That is, they will go back to being the wandering, aimless sleepwalker that has no sense of purpose, caught up in the nonsense of aimless vice and misdirection, falling prey to the petty whims, social trends, and all forms of lower vice behaviors that keep humanity drifting back and forth between the external throes of glimpses of light and further darkness, with darkness having the more dominant hold.
It is perhaps the most paramount aspect of the Path and all who begin the work. The path of Truth and self-discovery is one of perpetual growth and refinement, and this is the allegorical practice of alchemy, the refinement of the chemical or spiritual substance that makes the initiate, that shapes the Philosopher’s Stone to be more readily able and with better discipline to carry out the Great Work. The Will has to be developed and shaped to be unbreakable and strong, but this does not occur overnight.
Building the Will occurs with intention, dedication, persistence, and applied effort. It is to be continuously fed with energy in some ways comparable to exercising to get in better physical shape, or feeding the body to process nutrients. The Unbreakable Will is not something that is simply acquired suddenly, it is shaped and refined over time and oftentimes this means having to go up against the vicious elements of adversity, failure, and considerable strain or challenge and not be defeated by it.
The Will can often be measured in the passion it expresses, and the drive that animates it, but more important than this, is the resilience and persistence factor in which the Will continues onward even when it has at first failed or lost a battle but certainly not the war. These hardships, these times of challenge or adversity, are the defining factors which show the initiate just how powerful or unbreakable their Will is at, because these are truly the moments that serve as feedback.
The Fixation of Fire is the attachment of oneself to their Drive or sense of purpose, symbolized by fire, as something comparable to a passion. The purification is that continual process of refinement that one must undergo to shape their Will to be an unbreakable bond between the individual and their sense of purpose. Fixation is The process of solidifying a substance. From Latin figere, ‘To attach’  but also can be interpreted as “fix.”
Since living in the physical and mental sphere without the inner spiritual Self is more or less out of alignment or broken, the reunification and alignment process would very much imply the fixing of oneself and their purpose for being alive. The purification process that follows is the building of the Will to carry out their purpose and with moral obligation and care it will usually be a purpose or talent that can be expressed in such a way to benefit others, which becomes a service in the Great Work.
As I stated in my previous article, The Sublimation of Blood & Death: Alchemical Refinement and Transmutation of Life Eternal, is that good times, the peaceful moments, they come around, and we can appreciate them when they surface, but these are the resting periods, where we are to recharge for the battles ahead. The strain is where the growth takes place, just as in physical exercise this is true for the endurance and stamina of the Will. The Unbreakable Will is a force to be cultivated within the self, and the stronger it gets the more useful and powerful its ability to affect change in the external world becomes.
The Will can also be measured in focus. This focus is the unwavering alignment to a task or goal in which is influenced and applied with persistence and drive. The repetition of applied focus strengthens the ability for more durable tasks and objectives. However, also needed is much discernment and discipline, as it becomes comparable to an art-form. Whatever the application is, the Great Work demands not only Will-power but originality and creative expression. There is a process in writing or art, where one has to forget and step away from the material for a certain amount of time before returning with ‘a fresh set of eyes.’ This takes applied discipline and discernment and overtime the art is crafted and fine-tuned by the initiate.
Also necessary to the crafting or building of Will, is the understanding of limitations, patience, and refining or redirecting of Will-power or energy to make up for imposed limitations that the initiate does not have control over. These are challenges that may come our way, or perhaps they may have already been present from the start. Limitations can be found far and wide and the Will must identify the limitations to effectively find ways around them.
For instance, trying to spread the message of truth in a world full of ignorance has obvious limitations. The number of people with knowledge of Self and Natural Law will be few and far between. This is a limitation that cannot be fast-tracked or superseded by Will alone in the short-term sense. The initiate or servant of Truth and Natural Law has to use their inherent creative energies and the Will-power to find suitable solutions to best work around these limitations that would be most effective for what is available to work with. To deny a limitation will put oneself out of alignment with Truth and their Work will suffer.
One must learn to be creative in ways to make up for all limitations and the Will plays an important part in this because the inherent or imposed limitations can sometimes make one’s work feel hopeless or too difficult and it is the Will that is called in to push back against this force of pressure. Applied Will and Focus drives the initiate forward, learning to become formless like water to form around the new terrain that may quickly change or move about. This can be in many ways comparable to the practice of martial arts, but in many instances, the fight may be more mental than physical and demand more originality than traditional or established approaches.
The Great Work is the most important undertaking in the life of the initiate and devotion to it must be paramount and the Will builds all in the greater service of the Great Work and its influence in the physical domain. The Great Work can be personally appreciated but it will be built to inspire and influence others, like an offering to humanity, which one has sacrificed their personal time and effort. If the initiate is aligned with his or her True Will, cultivates it with Care and Nurtures the Love and appreciation for doing the Great Work, the Work will be just as much driven in the service and upkeep of Self as it is for all, because when the Self and True Will is built under the principles of Natural Law and building of character, it will naturally be good for all, including the Self.
Depth must be sought throughout the entire spectrum of physical, spiritual, and mental reality in order to make any significant contribution to the Great Work, and in fact the three realms (spiritual, mental, physical) should be equally interwoven to make the Great Work most effective. The seeking of Depth is another tenet in which the Will can be built and shaped by. Depth is always important when it comes to inspiring others because comprehending Depth allows the Depth of that Work to pull minds beyond their present state and when this occurs it inspires one to think beyond where one is currently at and expand their mind and inspiration.
The shaping of the Will, as well as a life that fits the Heart and Soul of a person does not come all at once. Some may just be awakening to the deeper, inner meaning and purpose of life. In this sense, one may be working a job just for money but it’s a job that doesn’t make them happy or align with their True Will or anything fitting to their meaning and purpose in life. Perhaps one awakens one day and this is suddenly apparent. They are inspired and driven to do something different, something that nourishes the Heart and their sense of purpose, but the switch cannot always be made overnight or on a whim. They may be ‘stuck for the moment,’ and in being confined to this position, they may become anxious and restless feeling that they might never get to where they feel they are meant to be or do.
However, if they cultivate the Will over time, that is, keep the drive and sense of need alive through the realm of thought and through the Heart, they can slowly begin to start planning for the outcome or change they feel is necessary. In other words, the persistent drive to get to where they want to be will begin to manifest in acting towards the desired end or goal, and even if the change can’t be made overnight, knowing these mechanics can set the mind at ease and allow one to focus enough to understand the process is already initiated once the mind continues to cultivate the drive for what is sought. The mind will begin to implement calculated actions that serve their goal, and if they understand the process as a long-term goal, the anxiety associated with being ‘stuck for the moment’ can be mitigated and transformed to focus and drive to get beyond it, similar to the way that anger can motivate one to positive action if they act with logic, right thinking, and action when something about life causes anger and frustration.
As time goes on, the focus, action, and application to these desired ends is what the Will is composed of. It is non-physical but very much a focus that can be felt physically and measured with results in physical reality. The essence of the Will is a drive or life-force of energy that the human body in the physical domain is but a tool for its expression. The Will is the spiritual mind trickling through the mental and physical spheres, turning its gears to express the Will and purpose through the physical reality, and here involves spiritual, mental, and physical harmony, which is the necessary alignment or balance to carry out the Great Work.
This does not always mean the person will be calm, serene, and passive, but perhaps even fiery, active, and aggressive in their drive to express the Will, but this obviously has to be kept in line with morality and Natural Law. The spiritual Self was not meant to be felt merely through another dimension of space and time, but used to express and live in the physical domain, and expresses its sense of purpose using the Mental and Physical Body. The spiritual, mental, and physical spheres are to be aligned with each other in perfect harmony to accomplish one’s True Will and purpose.
If only the latter two are utilized in one’s life work, that is, using the mental and physical forces only to work one’s life away without the wishes or drive of the spiritual Inner Self, one is not aligned to their true purpose and is draining or sacrificing their True Will, their life mission and sense of purpose then is sacrificed for something either meaningless or obstructive to the Heart and Soul of the individual, or oftentimes stolen by another interest or group for selfish aims. The more individuals that sacrifice their spiritual meaning and purpose for something meaningless to them or does not nurture their sense of purpose, the more out of alignment and out of balance the collective becomes as a whole. Unfortunately, in this money-based society and culture, many are trapped in unfortunate positions that make aligning with their True Will more challenging, but rest assured it can be done, as they say "Where there's a Will, there's a Way..."
Every individual owes it to themselves to let the spiritual aspirations be their foundation and drive them to carry out that which aligns with their True Will, aligned with Morality, Truth, and Natural Law. By doing this, they can contribute and carry out the Great Work which can benefit all, whether in inspiration, teaching, appreciation, and that which helps others also tune into their own Inner Light, inspiring them to be the best version of themselves they can be. Far beyond driven is the Will, which acts in the service and upkeep of Self as equally as the service of All, to the imprints and vital energy of Divine Inspiration...
 Stratford, J. A Dictionary of Western Alchemy. Quest Books/Theosophical Publishing House. Wheaton, IL. (2011)