Posted by: Edward | September 17, 2008

Emotional Investment and Will

Will is that portion of that libido or life energy under conscious control. As the source of libido is desire or the unconscious drives that fuel all of our actions increase in will is directly linked to the goal of understanding ourselves, the greater our understanding of our desires and drives the greater our ability to redirect that energy consciously. The technical term for investment of this energy is Cathexis. It is through examining what we are invested in and how we maintain, diminish or amplify those investments that we can learn to choose to redirect those investments into other avenues and so bring them under our will.

Finding your Investments

So where are you invested? You are invested anywhere where you spend a lot of time or attention. You have investment in your work, your school, your family. You have investment in what you worry about, in what excites you, in whatever has strong emotions attached to it. Pick something you are invested in. Think about all the ways you feed it and keep your interest in it active. Generally the primary mechanism is just how much time you spend paying attention to it. Consider how much attention you pay this aspect of your experience. Have you set up habits or external factors that direct your attention back to it? Anything in your life that is associated with it and reminds you of it acts as an anchor stabilizing this investment as part of your life. What needs is this pattern addressing for you? It is by addressing these needs that this pattern claims the investment in the first place.

Needs and Emotions

Are particularly strong emotions involved in this aspect of your life? Regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant feelings it is the intensity of the feelings that matters most. It is easier to flip the polarity of the feelings involved than it is to feel neutral about things that we used to feel strongly about. This is why the most intensely pleasant relationships can turn just as intensely unpleasant very quickly. Rather than reduce their investment in each other the couple has flipped the polarity of the feelings. Generally the strength of the emotions involved is related to the relative importance of the needs addressed by this situation. Needs higher on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be more intense when they are being met but the feelings attached to a basic need when threatened can be overwhelming.

Choosing our Investments

Thinking about a given investment in these terms you should now be able to weaken or strengthen your investment. If you want to weaken it, get rid of any object or habits that remind you of it, find a replacement for the needs it addresses and when you find yourself thinking about it distract yourself with something else. If you do this over time its importance to you and the intensity of the feelings involved will naturally reduce. To amplify your investment in this aspect of you life, do the opposite. Surround yourself with reminders of it, associate things you do with it, get rid of alternate outlets for the needs and emotions involved, spend lots of time engaged with or thinking about it and get rid of any distractions. Depending on how invested you are these processes can take a while as both investing and un-investing happen over time.

Will and Personal Growth

Another way we can increase our will is to find aspects of ourselves that we are unconscious to and bring them into conscious awareness and control. I’ve gone into greater length about how to do this in Reclaiming our Projections. This whole process of increasing our will is part of the same goal as was addressed in Choosing to Respond. To put these in the old metaphors of occult practice both the right hand path and the left hand path lead to the same place. I encapsulate the right hand path with the question, who are you? The left hand path I encapsulate with, what do you want? Ultimately the pursuit of power and what you want requires you to explore who you are and exploration of who you are increases your power.

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