The art of deliberate creating is the art of having self-requirements. Having self-requirements means that we're not sitting around visualizing and waiting for the universe to fill our order, as though we're in some great restaurant. It means that we're prepared to be firm in our resolve about who we are, to live up to the identity of fulfillment, and to discount anything that questions this resolve or invites us to export our creative authority. When we can choose who we are and remain true to it, what we wanted and spent so much time pursuing comes to us.

This is arguably the most often overlooked point of practice in the matter of consciousness-as-cause. In the Course, we express the idea this way: "What we want wants something of us." It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of this idea, because "what we want" addresses only the truth of our desire, but "wants something of us" introduces the crucial element of willingness. Why is it crucial? Because willingness creates—desire alone, never. And ultimately what is this willingness? The willingness to be the one who is already existing in the desired state.

Often we see a student whose desire is clear and strong, but there is no corresponding willingness accompanying the desire. Not only this, but the willingness that is operating may be dead set against the desire. So the student wants something, but is not willing to have it, or is willing to have something that falls short of it or runs contrary to it, which amounts to the same thing. So, when we speak of "self-requirement," at the end of the day we mean that we are willing to be who we want to be, and unwilling to be otherwise. Then the plot thickens as we come out of the stillness with our intention aligned, and walk it into the world, because if there is any residual unwillingness to live up to what we have claimed—that is, if we're still even a little bit willing to cast the vote of our identity against fulfillment—then the world will test us and in testing us, show us where we stand. Sometimes it isn't where we thought we were standing.

It's well worth noting that willingness and the corresponding unwillingness to forsake what we've claimed inwardly is a matter of resolve, not a demand. We're not giving the Field orders; we're only taking up residence in a certain identity that pleases us. We're not telling the Field what to do, for practice is first and last a matter of being, not doing—and as we also say in the Course, in what is arguably the most important and defining statement of Field theory: "The aim of practice is alignment, not manifestation." That is, we don't meet our self-requirements in order to change outer conditions, but only to live in the sweet harmony of alignment—the state of friendship between desire and belief. The rest, we leave to the Field, and in this way, undertaking our practice for its own sake, we remain free of motive and strategy, and so, free of contradiction.

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