We get what we want.

This is a surprising law. The imagined narrative of our lives seems to contradict it. “Am I guaranteed to enjoy good health, or the benefit of using my talent to earn a living, or the fortune of a positive relationship with my spouse? Are you suggesting that by my mere desiring them, I will get them?”

No. This law distinguishes between desire and want, and proposes that if you haven’t gotten them, you didn’t want them. Desiring something means spending time in imagination about it; wanting something means developing will and spending time making directed efforts to attain it. Each of the many “I”s desires something, while a want persists, and so must come at the expense of desire. Desire must be sacrificed on the altar of will.

From this point of view, will is a muscle and desire is the weight used to develop that muscle. A weightlifter walks along the rack and stops at the heaviest weights he has lifted. This is his current limit. To raise this bar, he must train. There is no place for self-deprecation. His limit is a fact, not a failure. So should the traveler of the Fourth Way treat the limitation of her will. When she observes a group of “I”s in which she habitually indulges, she is observing a fact, not a failure. To raise this bar, she must work. Hence the image of a pyramid, with a fleeting desire to Be at its base and a permanent will to Be at its summit.

Where each of us happens to stand in relation to these two poles is a fact, not a failure, which leaves no place for self-deprecation. We must get down to work, find our present limits, and use them to train our will.

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