Funny thing about commitment in spiritual practice—it is often required before you think you know enough to make the commitment. That’s the part where we get nervous—as we are getting ready to make our leap. If you have ever stood on the precipice of commitment, you know that is point at which you want someone to prove to you that you will make it. However, when it is time to make a spiritual commitment, you seldom get the particular type of proof you are seeking.
You might receive a sign that points you in the directions of making the commitments, as in a sign from God. Someone says exactly what you needed to hear, you are given something that is symbolic to you in confirming the direction you are contemplating, or receive clear guidance in a dream or meditation. Certainly, if you ask, you might be the beneficiary of Divine grace, to support you in saying, “Yes,” to the commitment before you.
What you are not likely to receive is absolute proof that once you make the commitment you will make more money, be in a flaw-less relationship, be guaranteed perfect health, never have any more challenges, and everything will be easy. The proof we want isn’t typically available to us.
Sure, you can go to a psychic or an astrologer or numerologist to gain some insight. And they can point the way, but they can’t prove to you that everything will be better. It’s not possible because these moments are intersections of faith. Faith is about acting on what you know to be your guidance as you step into the unknown.
For many of us there is a significant element of fear that arises as we contemplate the commitment we are compelled to make. What I have learned to do with that fear is to breathe and choose. Then I accept whatever choice I have made, without allowing myself to slip into regret when the challenges arise. Challenges come to help us grow, so there are likely to be challenges whether we choose to stay on the precipice or leap over to the other side. Challenges are not necessarily indicators about whether or not we have made the right choice.
There is no right or wrong choice. The chance to make a commitment is simply a moment of choice. In some cases, we have said a prayer—affirming or asking for a new opening in our lives—so when we ask for confirmation about an opportunity that is arising, we may receive guidance to move in a certain direction because it answers a prayer. But if we do not feel ready to fully receive that opportunity, or if we are wondering about our original request, it may not be time to leap. It may be time to be still and reflect.
The same is true in regard to fear when it comes to commitment. Fear is not necessarily an indicator that something is wrong and therefore nothing should be ventured. Fear can simply be a natural reaction to the amount of change and unpredictability involved with making a commitment to an unknown reality.
Here is something wonderful to know about fear. A friend and teacher once explained to me how to convert fear simply. He described fear like a panicky inhale, as he sucked in his breath with an overtone of panic. But then he demonstrate the rest of the breath with an exhale. As he released his breath, I could audibly hear the excitement in his voice as he ended the breath with an audible, “Ah.”
Such is the subtle difference between fear and excitement. So I learned to breath through the nervousness or fear, allowing my fear to become transformed into excitement. Isn’t this a beautiful way to move through the anxiety and become empowered to take action? Here are the four steps to consider the next time it is time for you to consider a commitment: 1) breath fully your inhale and exhale, 2) choose with conviction whether you will remain or leap, and 3) trust in your choice—whatever it is—because life is about exploring not about making a right or wrong choice, and 4) when the challenges arise, remember they are opportunities to learn, not reflections about whether or not you made the right commitment.