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The Essence of Commitment Is Recommitment

By: for gitadaily.com on Sept. 20, 2019
Opinion

Bhagavad-gita 6.26.

We sometimes resolve to do something constructive such as exercising, meditating, studying wisdom-texts or becoming more tolerant in our relationships. But we often fail to stay committed to our resolutions. On experiencing repeated failures, we may become disheartened, thinking, “Maybe I don’t have what it takes to be committed.”

Thankfully however, we all have what it takes to be committed; we just need to understand how commitment works. It works not by our making one mighty resolution that transforms our life forever; it works by our returning to our resolutions repeatedly, no matter how much we deviate in between.

Why do we deviate? Because our mind is restless (Bhagavad-gita 06.34). We become committed when we learn to maintain focus in spite of our mind, not because our mind maintains focus. And that means whenever our mind wanders off, as it inevitably will, we refocus it, patiently and persistently (06.26).

Consider the example of driving. While driving, the key to staying on-course is to keep coming back on course whenever the vehicle goes off course, as it inevitably will because of its mechanics and momentum. As we become more experienced and expert drivers, we get the car back on course so swiftly that it appears as if it never went off-course.

What applies to driving also applies to becoming committed. We set ourselves up for failure when we expect that commitment means our mind should no longer be distracted. Instead, we expect our mind’s distractedness and prepare to recommit ourselves. Such preparation for recommitment means that every morning we begin by reminding ourselves of our resolutions and repeat the reminders throughout the day whenever we get distracted. When we become expert at swiftly recommitting ourselves, we become committed.

Thus, when we ready ourselves for recommitment, sticking to our resolutions becomes less discouraging and more transforming.

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[ bhagavad-gita ] [ committment ] [ gita ]
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