We are a committed species, aren’t we? I am committed to my family, I am committed to my schooling, to my job — the list seems to be endless. The question exists, however, before all my other obligations, am I committed to myself, and what could this possibly mean? We recently spoke about goals and the value they hold in adumbrating my life. The soil that the garden of goals nests in is certainly one of commitments. These include the above-referenced commitment to me, to myself.
In my experience, once I became conscious at 20 or so years of age, I was inundated with principles and ideas. Many of these appeared alien and uncomfortable, but I accepted them as the “dutiful son.” Much later, nonetheless, I began to realize, the uniqueness of my own life and its remarkable and prescient character. It embodied untold wealth, as of yet uncovered. In my ignorance, I had stumbled upon a secret — the secret of life. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the tools to begin. These were not so easily found. They were not strewn in front of me. I had to search. For me, the most telling task of all was that I did not even know what I was hunting for — where were these implements? Indeed, no one even told me that they were a necessity. No one imparted the requisite time required in introspection, meditation, and prayer. I flailed around blindly for many years until I met my mentor — a man called Keith — who guided me in which private direction to choose.
Like any great sage, he encouraged without explicitly telling you what to learn or what to do. Now as a teacher, I realize his methodology. These devices were not external, they lay inside of me. It is the self who is the real teacher. All others, our parents, our teachers, our friends, only present what they believe to be valid and correct. The rest is truly my personal responsibility, my particular initiative.
We thus come to the great question: What if I believe that nothing exists, nothing is real? There is no path for me in life. To speak of a commitment to my self-development is just specious thinking. This is the great conundrum faced by every being — if I believe that life is hopeless, in its literal sense, then it is. There is little that one can do to change a person’s view of the world, so to speak. The Internet is fueling an epidemic of hopelessness (1) because of the surfeit of information washing over the average person.
We can not teach, we must simply be examples of a life lived with exuberance. The pain experienced by any addict is a very private one. Their hell is a place that only the individual can enter. You suspect that if such a soul entered into a commitment to the self then they would begin the lengthy path to recovery. (2) The entrepreneur Carlos Ghosn (3) leaves us with a thought: Commitment. This is my favorite word because in some way, people who are committed are always much more interesting and much more reliable, and much more, I would say, deep than people who are not.
A closing thought: How does one commit to oneself without appearing vain and egocentric. We live in a time that focuses on the achievement of the individual without discussing their value as an accomplished and loving human being. The great and iconic philosophers of past ages were mostly humble men and women. They sought to live lives of modesty and grace. Their commitment to personal development is the main reason that we remember them today. Christ is remembered as a teacher and a leader not for his vanity, but for his commitment to the spiritual development of people everywhere. His is an example that we would all do well to emulate.
To sum up: This week we spoke about one’s commitment to oneself and its intrinsic necessity.
To be noted: From Henry David Thoreau (4) — Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Just for fun:
This week, on your grand walk, please contemplate your own commitment to yourself.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Quote: To believe in me is the hardest task of all.