By Linda Mihalic

  Self is “a permanent subject of successive and varying states of consciousness; what one is at a particular time or in a particular aspect or relation, one’s nature, character, or sometimes physical constitution or appearance, considered as different at different times. Philosophically stated, self is the ego, often identified with the soul or mind as opposed to the body. Psychologically, self is an assemblage of characteristics and dispositions that we may conceive as constituting one of various conflicting personalities within a human being.”–Oxford English Dictionary
  Self-will is “stubborn adherence to one’s own will, desires, etc, especially at the expense of others.”–Collins English Dictionary

“Nothing can separate you from God in any way except your own will.”
–Edna Lister

  Self‑centered will and selfish desires are the opponents in your inner conflicts. Whenever you hear yourself exclaim, “Why does this always happen to me?”—you have been acting from self-will, not in accordance with God’s will for you. Egypt’s Pharaoh, refusing to “Let My people go,” is the epitome of self-will. “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened” by self, which presides as Pharaoh, the intellectual self-will, at the solar plexus.
  Self-will is the impetus of your most self-destructive uses of force on others. The Master revealed the perfect method by which you may escape the dictator of self-will—“Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” You must choose between the desirable and the undesirable.

Edna Lister on Self-Will

To say, “I will do this” or, “I will be that,” gives “little me” a free rein to take the bit in its teeth. Choose a higher expression—“I am now doing what I have always longed to do” or, “I am now becoming the person I have always longed to be.” These statements are designed to arouse your inner powers of soul to operate in the direction you consciously choose.–Edna Lister, Will, October 17, 1934

You are the dynamo, and Power must radiate from you. Do not notice this operating as self‑will in others. You are not a sponge to absorb other dynamos’ self-centered vibrations. Conquer these vibrations. You must be the Power as its servant.–Edna Lister, October 21, 1938

Nothing can separate you from God in any way except your own will.–Edna Lister, November 24, 1938

To count self-will and disobedience as free will is misuse of Mind, Substance and Power.
  How do you escape the dictator of self-will? The Master revealed the perfect method: “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” You must choose between the desirable and the undesirable.
  Unwillingness is self-will that pushes against Power, creating force.
  When your desire to become and to know consumes little self’s self-will, your spinal column, medulla oblongata, pineal and pituitary become the “burning bush.”
  When you bring self-will to bear on the Mind, Power or Substance of God, then individual mind forgets, the Power moving though becomes force, and Substance becomes diseased.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

Self-will is urgent and boisterous. Self-will is insistent and forceful. Self-will divides people. Self-will spotlights another’s sins. Self-will takes outer credit. Self-will is out for sex, success and security. Self-will creates crosses for self and others. Self-will creates frustration. Self-will leaves you complacent and unreal. Self-will makes you wallow in self-righteousness. Self-will says, “I know. You don’t. I’ll tell you what you and I are going to do.”–Edna Lister, June 5, 1944

Your desire for the full love of God to possess you must lift the anchors of self, which requires much surrender of pride and all self-centered willfulness.–Edna Lister, November 1, 1944

Do use divine Wisdom instead of any self-will.–Edna Lister, February 1, 1945

Willfulness, pride and arrogance beget self-pity, which sticks and must be dug out to enter the high place and stay up in consciousness.–Edna Lister, June 27, 1947

When “I will” is out of your vocabulary, you will be free.–Edna Lister, July 6, 1947

Self-will begets pride and arrogance, until you can only weep, say, “I’m sorry,” and pray for more strength. You do not want it hard enough, for if you want it on top of self, you want it for nothing.–Edna Lister, July 6, 1947

Some people play with the idea of ascending, but never surrender self-will. They take illegally, snatch and grab at happiness they have not earned, using the excuse that they do it for others! By such specious reasoning, they become the blind leading the blind.–Edna Lister, December 10, 1947

We create delays by individual or collective willfulness in dallying on giving up self.–Edna Lister, May 13, 1948

The optic chiasm of the thalamus is the seat of the all-seeing eye. Mating desire and will affects the third ventricle of the brain, the seat of will. When the self-will is strong, Light cannot get through the filmy, opaque third ventricle. You must draw the curtain of will back and raise desire to mate with it in the third ventricle to open the pineal and pituitary for illumination and intuition.–Edna Lister, September 28, 1950

Willfulness is a greased pole—once you slide down, it is hard to reclimb.–Edna Lister, The Golden Silence, September 28, 1952

The Holy Spirit goes into action as you when your self‑will becomes the will of God.–Edna Lister, Dynamic Nonresistance, October 2, 1953

The seat of will is in the frontal lobes of the brain, behind the forehead. The seat of intellect is at the solar plexus, called the "abdominal brain". Desire and will mate and become intuition and illumination, or I AM consciousness, the mind that was in Christ Jesus. “I take up my cross and follow him,” says the Disciple.
  Self-will isn’t free will. You lay your self on the crossbar to crucify your self-will. Desire must ascend to mate with will, which becomes Wisdom, as desire becomes Love, and the Holy Spirit is born within the soul. Love descends as the creative fire to the sacrum, will frees itself of intellect, ascends to the pineal body, and free will is born in a Christed one.
  Soul ascension immolates the self‑will.
  Ignoring another’s self‑will without lifting can lead to a dangerous argument where you may pay your debts and his, too.–Edna Lister, The Gospel of the Cross, October 18, 1953

When you pray, you must use all that you have now. At this point, self-desire and self-will fuse into free will, the infallible perfect will of God. Soul, which already is part of God the All, instantly absorbs self confidence into Oversoul I AM confidence. Self confidence must change into soul confidence when self desires and self will become soul desires and free will; the fusing of desire and will opens the door to I AM consciousness.–Edna Lister, I Ascend, July 11, 1954

Opinions come from expressions of the self‑will, prejudices from the emotional life.–Edna Lister, November 1, 1954

You build your own Calvary, and crucify yourself. While you must crucify the self‑will to exorcize it, you can choose to experience it with the glory of God or with the demotion of soul.–Edna Lister, July 23, 1955

To ask another to make a promise is an outer manifestation of rebellion, willfulness, pride and stubbornness.–Edna Lister, August 4, 1955

Never stoop to argue with a self‑willed belligerent, just let him enjoy his vacation from joy to wallow in darkness.–Edna Lister, Heavenly Manna, August 14, 1955

Opinions are born of mental willfulness. Prejudices are born of emotional rebellion.–Edna Lister, June 18, 1956

You want to have your way, free will in little things, which is safe only if you freely will love, joy and giving.–Edna Lister, December 2, 1956.

Christed consciousness is self‑will and self‑desire mated as I AM, ruled by imagination turned up as soul vision.–Edna Lister, June 6, 1957

By the time you reach the fifth degree of Mastery, you begin to understand the need to crucify will, to give up self‑will and become the servant of all Power.
  You crucify self an inch at a time until you learn to conquer by soul.–Edna Lister, The Wheels of Ezekiel, December 17, 1957

When you conform your self‑will to God’s will, you open the I AM center, the glands and the faculties of the golden bowl.–Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958

Egypt’s Pharaoh, refusing to “Let My people go,” is the epitome of self-will. Pharaoh’s “heart was hardened” by self, which presides as Pharaoh, the intellectual self-will, at the solar plexus.–Edna Lister, Ten Plagues on Egypt, December 2, 1958

Self‑will falls of its own weight.–Edna Lister, December 18, 1958.

The second law of expression is to lift self-will to a state of calm under trial. The Disciple learns mental balance by crucifying self‑will. The Master of law lays his self‑will upon the crossbar of the Master’s cross and assumes full responsibility for lifting everything.–Edna Lister, The Pioneering Mystic, May 5, 1959

If you are willful and demanding, you have an unconscious desire to make others in your own image and likeness, and will aggravate others.–Edna Lister, June 18, 1959

God did not create hate. Man exercised his self‑will and inverted His substance into hate and the darkness known as the “void.”–Edna Lister, How Can I Help Myself? May 31, 1960

Even mild resentment or rebellion reinforces the self‑will.–Edna Lister, June 7, 1962

A willful child must not be begged or asked “please.” Instilling a healthy fearful respect of authority is necessary for some children. Parents must exercise parental control with absolute precision and no rancor, every time.–Edna Lister, January 9, 1964

You may exercise self‑will or God’s will for you, whichever you choose.–Edna Lister, The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, April 21, 1964

The depth of your receptivity and the degree of consecration you will determines your spiritual capacity.–Edna Lister, Your Relation to God—Approach, Presence, Worship, December 1, 1964

The difficult, self‑willed, aggressive personalities love to beat the other fellow to the punch, and often destroy their own success by speaking out of turn.–Edna Lister, December 10, 1964

Cross vibrations are the selfish expressions of self‑will, which emanate from everyone. Cross vibrations create conflicts.–Edna Lister, The Religion of Jesus, October 22, 1967

You must sacrifice rebellion and willfulness to get back home to God.–Edna Lister, May 5, 1970

The greatest disagreement is thinking it’s against your principles, when you’re hiding self‑will.–Edna Lister, June 20, 1970

The self’s inner conflict between self‑will and divine will manifests as arguing and confrontation, leading to outer conflict among the parties involved.–Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1924‑1971

Self‑will gives unbridled freedom to the self to act the part of the soul, the conscious mind.–Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1924‑1971

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New Testament on Self‑Will

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.–Matthew 7:21

Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.–Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35

As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.–John 1:12‑13

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.–John 4:34

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.–John 5:30

I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.–John 6:38-39

Do the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.–Ephesians 6:6‑8

This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such–1 Thessalonians 4:3‑6

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.–Hebrews 10:35‑36

It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.–1 Peter 3:17

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.–1 Peter 4:1‑2

Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.–1 Peter 4:19

No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.–2 Peter 1:20‑21

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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 self: Old English self, sylf, “self, same.”

Etymology of will: Middle English willen, “to intend to,” from Old English willan, “to desire.”

Self-will is a soul soul taint.


Collins English Dictionary, Complete and Unabridged, Harper-Collins Publishers, 12th ed. 2014.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed., Oxford University Press, 1971.

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See Force