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When Willpower Is All There Is

There is very little qualitative difference between the struggle to become quiet and open in meditation and the struggle to diet, to stop smoking, or to break some other habit. In all such cases an internal battle is waged between willpower and personal desire. And when willpower is all there is, desire wins. It is no accident that organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous maintain that to find hope one must first admit defeat. At the outset, before anything else, "I can do it" must be replaced by "I cannot do it alone."....Sooner or later they discover that they cannot win in a direct battle...Rather, they must develop patience and faith and find a gentler, slower, more humble, and far less dramatic way of going about things.

- Gerald May, M.D., Will and Spirit (HarperCollins, 1982)