By Deepak Chopra, MD
Commitment is the ultimate assertion of human freedom. It releases all the energy you possess and enables you to take quantum leaps in creativity. When you set a one-pointed intention and absolutely refuse to allow obstacles to dissipate the focused quality of your attention, you engage the infinite organizing power of the universe. There is no limit to your ability to co-create with the universe, but to find that out, you must engage life with commitment. You must be willing to put yourself on the line, because when you commit yourself to anything, you express every aspect of who you are. If you give everything you have to your chosen pursuit, your strengths and talents, as well as your weaknesses and shadows, will all be exposed. Commitment brings up everything. This unavoidable fact is the reason why many people fear or avoid commitment; they so dislike what they perceive as their negative characteristics that they hold back, acting in the belief that life will be safer. They may attain the illusion of security, but at the same time they severely limit their experience of what life can bring. Here are a few of the most common decisions that keep us from totally engaging in life—and suggestions for making new, more empowering choices:
1. I don’t want to look bad.
This decision is about self-image, which is only a superficial impression of who you are. Be willing to forget how you look. Olympic runners usually cross the finish line drenched in sweat, their faces contorted with the effort. In their passion to win, they don’t care how they look. If you are focused on your own passionate commitment and your inner feelings of satisfaction, you won’t worry about your appearance either.
2. I don’t want to fail.
Those who are afraid to fall down usually were ridiculed or humiliated in the past. They have a conditioned belief that failing means they are worthless. Their fear is so great that they walk away from new challenges rather than risking failure. If this is you, it’s important to be a good parent to your scared self, offering yourself lavish praise and encouragement. Set minor goals for yourself, such as jogging around the block or making an omelet. As you do this activity, feel what it’s like to succeed. If things go a bit wrong, tell yourself that it’s all right. Slowly develop your connection to the voice of encouragement.
3. I don’t want anyone to see me fail.
This decision stems from shame, which is the internalized fear of other people’s opinions. Their disapproval becomes your shame. You can counter this decision by realizing that what others think about you reflects their beliefs about what is good and bad—not yours. Also refrain from shaming others. Your ego self may think that it can protect its vulnerability by gossiping or tearing down others, but in reality this only perpetuates a culture of shame.
4. I don’t want any pain.
This decision has to do with a fear of psychological rather than physical pain. Those who have suffered in the past without being able to find healing may have a great aversion to any new possibilities of pain. They avoid commitment in an attempt to remain invulnerable. It may help to remember that in the cosmic design, pain is neutral. In the physical world, pain motivates us negatively, while pleasure motivates us positively. True freedom is letting go of our attachment to both. The best way to begin this process is developing a state of witness consciousness through practices such as meditation and mindful awareness.
5. I don’t want to use up all my energy.
In reality, the thing that drains energy most is the act of holding back. The more you try to conserve your energy, the more it dwindles. For example, people who are afraid to love may end up constricting love’s expression. They close their hearts and stop the flow of compassion from replenishing their lives. To expand your channels of energy, learn to give. Whenever you feel like you don’t have enough, give to someone in need, whether in the form of money, time or attention. In addition, follow your passion. If you’ve ever committed yourself passionately to anything, you’ve no doubt noticed that the more energy you devote to it, the more you have.
Spirit responds to your vision of it, and the higher your vision, the more you will evolve. As you surrender to commitment, the entire field of potentiality opens to you, and fulfillment becomes your daily reality.