To aspire, is to desire with eagerness; as to aspire to a crown or after immortality; to aim at something elevated; to rise or tower with desire.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Aspiration is a strong desire for high achievement, or an object of such desire; an ambition. To aspire means to have a great ambition or ultimate goal, to desire strongly; to strive toward an end; to soar.Oxford English Dictionary

“Aspiring to be Gods, if angels fell;
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel.”–Alexander Pope

  Aspiration is the soul faculty of desire to ascend and become one with our Source of Being, God. Aspiration is a soul virtue; Every soul has the innate God-given power to aspire and ascend.

Edna Lister on Aspiration

Desire begins with aspiration, moves to inspiration, and leads to illumination.–Edna Lister, The Yoke of Love, December 7, 1941

Understanding comes only from advance beyond the point of your ability to reach at present, and to which you do not yet even aspire. This is the Father’s way.–Edna Lister, November 2, 1942

Aspiration and inspiration come under instinct; even an animal looks up (aspiration), listens and smells the air (inspiration). The creature consciousness is self-conscious and operates under instinctive appetitive desire, imagination and will. Man awakens and aspires to something higher than self, to inspiration of the Spirit. The ascending creator is personally conscious of desire, imagination and will and knows that when it leads to the self, it creates darkness.
  From soul consciousness you move into soul creation under surrender to God’s desire for you, which is love, imagination, which builds energy, and His will, which is wisdom. Then your pineal body and pituitary gland open to illumination and intuition. Thus, the fundamental principles underlying your ascension are desire for the Father of Wisdom, devotion to the Mother of Love, and faith in the Son of all Power.–Edna Lister, November 13, 1947

When conscience begins to awaken with the first inspiration, aspiration begins the long travail of ascension.–Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

Your aspiration for perfection is what awakens and attracts your Oversoul.–Edna Lister, June 21, 1951

From the earliest man, ruled by fear, hiding in a cave from his enemies, to the devotee of the highest intellectualism, the turning point in all civilizations has been the unconscious aspiration toward something greater than self. With this unconscious aspiration, urging us to look upward and see the stars for the first time, the faint stirring of conscious intelligence comes into expression within us.
  The sleeping soul, the higher creative consciousness of the mind that was in Christ Jesus, finally roused from its long slumber by aspiration, slowly opens its eyes, stretches itself and begins its long upward search. The search always ends in the ability to reach above the stars toward a dimly remembered Source from which the soul descended to take on a form of flesh.
  Only aspiration can keep your desire at the white point of heat. Aspiration is the pilot light that ignites desire and sends it seeking. In conquering enemies of the soul, you must use aspiration to ignite desire to ascend upward only. This conquering must be part of a plan that consciously directs and controls the path desire travels. Self-centered desire is forever at the mercy of fate, blown this way and that by every wind. Soul desire moves untouched on a planned path through the winds of earth.
  You have aspired poorly indeed unless your aspiration has increased your faith in and devotion to a universal Source of All Life. You run down like an unwound clock unless you allow your aspiration to soar upward. Faith and devotion can ascend no higher than aspiration allows desire to beam its powerful rays.–Edna Lister, Faith, the Challenger, 1953

A sigh expresses an unconscious soul aspiration.–Edna Lister, June 8, 1953

Aspiration is the basis of prayer.–Edna Lister, July 16, 1953

To aspire is to desire to do something active about attaining a desired goal. You aspire toward a goal, a mark, a prize, and can go no further than the greatness of your aspiration. You can become no greater than the point where your aspiration ceases, for there you create a sonic barrier, a ceiling too thick to penetrate. When you have no further need to seek, no need to do, old age sets in, whether you’re ten or eighty. Those who lack aspiration have a closed mind, they know enough already, are smug, self-satisfied and self-virtuous in their present knowledge.
  You can offer no high prayer without aspiration, nor attain fulfillment of your aspirations without prayer to give them their foundation and power. Aspiration must be resurrected from a low vibration, and prayer must ascend to a state of joyous ecstasy.–Edna Lister, Aspiration and Prayer, June 19, 1955

Living in the Christ Light involves three attitudes toward God—aspiration, faith and devotion. No success is possible without these three. From plant to creature, from the son of man to the Son of God, all seek the light. Light is magnetic to a seed or bulb in the ground or to the soul seeking the Light. Everyone aspires to greater things, from a new garden hose to a television set. Each must have faith in his ability to succeed. You must have unconquerable faith in God’s Light and devotion to God, to service.–Edna Lister, Your Divine Gift, December 25, 1955

God is still doing business at His same old stand; we know that He is always there. We cannot aspire toward a limping God, but because we know that we live under a triumphant God, we aspire.–Edna Lister, Aspiration, June 17, 1956

From your first breath of aspiration toward something greater than the self to worship, you must obey the law of forgiveness.–Edna Lister, An Ambassador of Love, July 5, 1956

To give up self, to surrender to be possessed by Spirit, requires the cleansing of self. All cleansing by the soul comes under aspiration. The soul calls, you aspire, and you move up in consciousness.–Edna Lister, Prove Thy Works, September 16, 1956

The forty-four mental faculties are soul senses. Eighteen are lesser, including the five outer senses that developed through the animal or instinctive intelligence. The next five senses are imagination (aspiration), intuition, desire, will, and love. You take your first breath of aspiration when you add the sixth sense (imagination) to the five outer senses. Aspiration is the soul’s first upward look. Intuition, the seventh sense, leads to truth.
  When you awaken desire, which is the lowest level of love, you add the eighth sense for higher development. Then you add the will, which is designed to express God’s wisdom. If you unharness desire from its yoke with will, it falls to mingle with the five senses of instinctive intelligence—the higher senses totter, closing the door to imagination, intuition and will. Love is the tenth sense—you cannot have love without a spiritualized identity.–Edna Lister, September 17, 1957

The spiritual senses include desire, will, intuition, illumination and aspiration. You can’t ascend to the Son of God stage without discernment, which forms the basis of aspiration.–Edna Lister, The Brain, Your Servant, October 8, 1957

You ascend as far as you give up self. This is available to all believers, according to their faith and degree of acceptance. You ascend according to your degree of aspiration—moment by moment you ascend according to your desire.–Edna Lister, January 9, 1958

Ascension is progress. As you aspire, Light seeps in and the whole world ascends.–Edna Lister, May 12, 1958

All souls have three capacities—aspiration toward, devotion to, and worship of a Source greater than self.–Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 27, 1959

Aspiration is the soul’s need for greatness, answering God’s call to "Come up now." Aspiration brings joyous exaltation, and opens the only way to an understanding of that yearning, brooding Mother love, the sustaining, nourishing quality in the love of God, when you let it use you.–Edna Lister, From Gethsemane to Ascension, May 8, 1960

Aspiration is the soul’s call for something greater than itself. Without aspiration you are nothing, for it is the only way you can cut through self love to become the Love of God. Every soul aspires to a Source higher than self. You want to know where you are going, how you are going, and what you will find when you arrive. All joy comes through aspiration, which is the candle of desire that you must light with the flame of praise.–Edna Lister, From Gethsemane to Ascension, May 15, 1960.

Faith is man’s expression of hope and aspiration on earth. Faith causes you to aspire to something greater than self and when you find this goal, you express faith in it and faith-full devotion to it.–Edna Lister, Is Faith Enough? June 21, 1960.

Aspiration is the savage’s first upward glance; it is instinctive intelligence.–Edna Lister, September 12, 1961.

Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. Psalm 25:1. To lift up your soul in praise is to aspire to be one with God. You can experience no soul exaltation without such aspiration. Life is as dull as ditch water unless you have some goal greater than anything of the material universe toward which to aspire. Only God will satisfy your soul’s desire.–Edna Lister, The Soul’s Exaltation, November 13, 1961.

The first movement in civilization and the first movement in expression of life must be an aspiration. The dictionary defines aspiration as to desire earnestly to do. There can be no life expression without aspiration. There can be no advance, no achievement. An individual without aspiration becomes smug, self-righteous, unhappy unless he can force everyone to do things his way.
  The beginning of desire is based upon aspiration toward something greater than what you have. Death of the body and ego begins when aspiration dies. There are all kinds of prayers but, to be valid, prayer must be free of self. There are many stages in prayer—some are demand statements to God—some never get above their hair roots, or spend their time ceiling bumping.
  The Christ within me salutes the Christ within you stage is the first step in prayer, and takes you to your hair roots. Ceiling bumper prayers are nothing more than mental statements of principle, fact, or law, which contain no devotion, love or aspiration. Next come the cloud climbers, those who see something greater than themselves. They are devoted to principle as ideas, so only climb the ladder to the clouds one rung at a time. Cloud climbers are filled with devotion to principle, but that is just one approach to God.
  You climb the ladder of Light and law to seek the throne of God. When you add God as personality to your prayers, you know that someone is at the other end to listen and hear you. Belief in just principle will not open the floodgates. They open when you declare that there is a Father. To open the floodgates, seek and listen for Jesus Christ knocking at your soul’s door. When you discover and accept that he and the Father yearn over you, not just a cold principle, aspiration becomes a yearning within you to become and to do. This yearning takes you to the love of God. Thus, aspiration resurrects the soul from the old to the new.–Edna Lister, June 7, 1963.

Power can and must use you as an instrument of Almighty God to speak the Word to lift the whole of creation to a desire and an aspiration to be perfect.–Edna Lister, February 1, 1970.

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New Testament on Aspiration

I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.–Philippians 3:12-14

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of aspire: Latin aspirare, to desire, steadfast longing for a higher goal, earnest desire for something above one.

Etymology of aspiration: action of breathing into, from Latin aspirationem a breathing on, a blowing upon; rough breathing; influence.

Aspiration is an abstract principle.

Aspiration is a soul virtue.

Aspiration is a soul faculty.


You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.–James Allen

A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.–Henry Ward Beecher

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?–Robert Browning


Allen, James. Vision and Ideals, As a Man Thinketh. London: Savoy Publishing, 1903.

Browning, Robert. Andrea del Sarto, The Complete Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1895, p. 346.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Knox, Thomas Wallace. Life and Work of Henry Ward Beecher. Hartford, CN: Hartford Publishing Co., 1887, p. 308.

Webster, Noah. "Aspiration," "Aspire," Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. Two volumes. New York: S. Converse, 1828. This work is in the public domain.

Related Topics


Prayer: The Broad Highway: Edna Lister, May 15, 1935

The Yoke of Love: Edna Lister, December 7, 1941

: Aspiration: Edna Lister, March 4, 1945