Lately I have made an in-depth study on what commitment truly is. Last year somebody shared with me that they felt I was completely withdrawn from life – not committing to life in full.
At first I resisted: “Who me? I have started up several companies, been successful in my career, have many friends, I was on television, radio, wrote columns in newspapers. How can you call me withdrawn from life?” But in truth I was. It took some weeks to fully admit this unpleasant truth.
Several things had happened in my life when I was young, then one final big tipping point event a couple of years ago and with that, I made the choice to withdraw from life. I decided that life was too painful to be in so I believed it was better to withdraw from life, even with little money to support myself, rather than committing to life in full. It was not a clear conscious choice, but I can see now it was still a choice.
In light of this revelation I decided to study how commitment really works, and return to leading a fully committed life. I had discussions with people about it, sessions with Esoteric practitioners and read inspiring articles like Commitment to Self –Commitment to Life and A True Commitment to Work, Getting a Job… and Life.
From here I started to re-commit to life, starting with some simple, practical things. One of the seemingly simple exercises I did to support all this was going for a ten minute walk every day. I began with focussing only on feeling my hands and my feet as I walked as a way to support myself to develop conscious presence. I also found that really paying attention to how I felt in my body when talking with people supported me to stay connected to myself – which was not my usual way as I tended to focus my attention on the other person or people I was with, or just lose myself in the story I was telling.
Another thing – and there was quite a list – was when I was sitting behind a computer, was to not ‘disappear’ into the screen. Always feeling my body, whatever part that might be.
Recently I had a realisation of another way of how commitment truly works. I had an awful day at work; actually and more correctly, I chose to have an awful day at work by choosing to not commit. I resisted the work that was there to do as I thought of it as boring and arrogantly considered myself too good for it. I did not work with 100% dedication and I secretly started sending out and answering private emails and doing personal things for myself.
What made it worse was that I still believed I delivered good results. Basically I thought I could get away with this – and indeed management did not notice – but in truth I couldn’t, not with the energy I was allowing to run my body, which was definitely not commitment or love. I became slow in my actions, my body felt heavy, and it did not stop when I left work.
At the end of the day I felt powerless and somehow a bit stupid as well. I walked in an unstable way and felt light in my head. This was not how I normally would feel, or who I knew myself to be, and with this I knew I had let another energy affect my body.
Later on with the help of a true friend I realised deeply how commitment really works.
I realised that when I choose to not commit to life in full, it creates an opening for ‘negative’, that is, unloving energy to enter. But when I choose to commit to life in full, the energy I feel in my body is very different – it is loving, solid and light. Therefore it is my choice that can seal off openings for this unloving energy to enter. This case at work was very huge and clear. But it also works with seemingly small things like doing the dishes, answering emails and cooking.
When I don’t commit to every aspect of my life in full, I allow unloving energy to enter. For example, when I choose to not commit in doing the dishes, but I do them anyway because I have to do them, but now slower and with an indulgence, this contains the draining and unloving energy that is not supportive to true commitment.
Therefore all of the choices I make, the quality of energy I choose to do them in, and whether I am fully committed or not, has an impact on my work, my energy levels, my relationships, my body, other people… on everything.
Leading a committed life now means for me to be fully committed to myself first, knowing there is nothing selfish about that. What this means is that I make it my priority to honour what I feel, treating my body with respect and care, as I would my best friend, and listening intently to what it is telling me. The commitment to the things I do is equally important, but always comes second.
By Willem Plandsoen, MSc, sales professional and student of life