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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Commitment?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Commitment

Approaching a State of Serious Commitment to the Work

Making a correct relationship to the teaching will create the correct relationship to your essence. The beautiful thing is that if you accomplish this, you are being what you are looking for! So even in giving to the Work, you are being given to. That is the situation, and it must eventually be understood and actualized. To do this, you need to look at your unconscious and understand everything in it that creates an ambiguity about the Work. Regardless of how much you believe otherwise—and especially during those times when you believe otherwise—the most important thing is to make a great effort to disidentify from the feelings when you are feeling judgmental, opposed to the Work, or preferring something else. You need to disidentify and understand what is happening because it is during those very times that you are trying to defend against something very important in your unconscious, and your unconscious is fighting like hell for it. It’s very rare when that is not the case when you are engaged in a real Work situation. When you approach a state of serious commitment to the Work—and therefore to yourself—it is very likely that your unconscious will raise hell because its job is to maintain the defenses that keep you away from your essence. So having these conflicts about the Work is a good opportunity to see what stands between you and your essence.

Commitment on the Journey of Inquiry

So what does commitment mean on the journey of inquiry? Commitment means that when you sign on, you intend to continue. This is needed to begin the process, and the farther we travel, the more we recognize that our commitment must deepen and expand for the journey to continue. It needs to get more solid to handle the various difficulties, barriers, and distractions that happen along the way. These distractions, which originate from our thoughts and emotions, from people around us, and from circumstances in our life in the world, can take us off course. Having a particular destination tends to motivate you; hence it is easier to commit yourself to the process. But if your aim is to pursue the truth without deciding beforehand what that truth should be, then commitment is more difficult. This commitment to inquire manifests as a determination and a persistence in the openness, which support you in inquiring into and discerning the truth as fully and precisely as possible. So this commitment to the truth means that you’re not going to quit. You’re not going to jump ship when things get tough.

Commitment to the Truth

So commitment implies intention, but it also reflects what you value. Commitment to the truth means that the inquiry is more important to you than the distractions that can arise. It means that the open endedness of inquiry is more important than any particular aim or result. It means that you prefer the truth to anything else, that you love it more than merely feeling good or relieving yourself of difficulties. So our commitment arises from the openness to the truth, and it expresses the love of the truth. Without this love, without this valuing of the truth and its revelation, why would we commit ourselves? And yet, even loving the truth and being curious, strong, and courageous do not guarantee that we will have the commitment, the determination, the will to keep us solid and centered in the face of all the distractions of everyday life. The White aspect itself must be available because it expresses the inherent will of our fundamental openness. Then our openness to the truth is a committed openness. It is interesting that the color of the Will Essence is white, for the kind of dedication and determination we are talking about implies purity. When you follow distractions, needs, and desires, rather than your love of truth, this creates impurity in your soul. Commitment is an expression of the soul’s purity because you don’t let yourself get identified with the distractions.

Fears of Loss of Identity

This may well be true, but it doesn’t solve anything. Students try to be committed, but we know now that the issue of commitment is related to some very deep difficulties. We know, for instance, that for a person to be able to really commit to the Work, she has to deal with her unconscious fears about separation. There is a deep fear in all of us of losing our sense of identity, our sense of who we are, our separateness, our individuality. Although there is no real loss of these things in the Work—quite the opposite in fact—there are genuine reasons for these fears. They come from unconscious beliefs that originated in infancy. The unconscious believes that if the person commits herself, she’s going to lose herself. There is a sense in which this is true. When we do the Work, we go through a separation from the false personality with which we are identified in the beginning. To maintain a commitment to the Work, we must work through these fears of loss of identity. Only then is it possible to see and develop our true identity.

Gradations in Commitment

Commitment is also connected with belief and faith. If you believe in something, you have faith in it, and you tend to commit yourself. The more you have faith in it, the more you tend to commit yourself. If you have faith in the Virgin Mary, you might commit yourself to going to church more often. You might commit yourself to saying your prayers morning and evening, putting your effort and your will into remembering to say them. At the beginning, commitment depends on belief and on faith. But just as faith can be based on direct perception, so can commitment be based on direct perception. So there are gradations in commitment or in strength of commitment; there is belief, faith, and knowledge. If you have no belief in something, you have no commitment. If you have strong faith in something, you have a lot of commitment. If you know something, then you have even more commitment. If you have complete knowledge of something, then you have complete commitment. What does it mean to have complete commitment?

No Such Thing in Essence as Commitment

Commitment is essentially a dedication – bringing yourself closer to what you want to do. So the act of will is pushing you closer to what you want to do. We say that at the essential level there is no such thing as faith, there is only knowledge. It is the same thing with commitment: there is no such thing in Essence as commitment. There is just Being. Because Essence is complete. So when you are your Essence, you are not committed to yourself, you are yourself.

Will is Needed for Total Commitment

The will is needed to get to that state of total commitment. At the beginning, you need to commit yourself a lot. When there’s belief or some intuition that gives you faith, you can commit yourself; yet you need will and strength to continue. When you know more, you still need your will, but only because there are still barriers. The barriers are there because the knowledge is not complete. When the knowledge is complete, there are no barriers and no need for will. You don’t need to will your essence to be there; it’s just there. Commitment is essentially dedication, bringing yourself closer to what you want to do. You use will to push yourself closer to what you want, to your aim. We say that at the essential level there is no such thing as faith; there is only knowledge. It is the same thing with commitment: In Essence, there is no such thing as commitment. There’s just being. When you are your essence, you are not committed to yourself; you are yourself.

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