5/4/2011 11:24 PM
Conscious commitment is a pact between beings, rather than between personalities. In effect, partners say to each other, “Whatever the problems our personalities have, together we will not let them get between us. If our egos are at war, we will not let that ruin us. If our egos are at war, we till not let that ruin our deeper connection…we will always come back and meet on this deeper level. We will help each other wake up and become all that we can be. We will keep opening to each other and to life itself in and through this relationship.” With out such an alliance between our beings, our egos will likely conspire to perpetuate old habitual patterns and the container we create may become a prison or a hollow shell. Conscious commitment is to being together, not just staying together.
Of course, two partners may connect deeply on the being level, yet still be unable to work things out on the personality level. That is why the testing stage is so important. If they cannot find ways to work on things together, it means that their personality conflicts are more powerful than their being-connection. Therefore they cannot move toward greater commitment.
When Orage, a student of the Russian teacher Gurjieff, wrote that a great love could both take hold and let go, he was expressing the earth and heaven of conscious commitment. Letting go means creating a large open space in which we can let our partner and ourselves be, as we are. Taking hold means working with whatever comes up in the space.
Yet, if working on the relationship becomes too serious and earthbound, it will weigh a couple down. Just as a plant that is over fertilized will wilt, so a relationship that is fussed over too much will suffer. That is where letting go can provide balance, often through humor. We can create plenty of room in a relationship to kid each other, and ourselves and laugh at the gap between our lofty ideals and how we actually are. Conscious commitment keeps up awake, for it involves continually finding our balance on the edge of taking hold and letting go.
Above all, it is important not to be too idealistic about all this, force anything on ourselves, or try to be ahead or where we really are. Approaching commitment as a “Should” only makes us go unconscious, setting us up for further difficulties or failures. There is a Tibetan saying: “Knowledge must be burned, hammered, and beaten like pure gold. Then one can wear it as an ornament.” In the same vein, we could say: “Commitment must be burned, hammered and beaten like pure gold. Then it can display itself as permanent.”
Those of us who undertake this journey have to learn something new… how to let commitment evolve naturally, through many ups and downs, steps forward and back. So our uncertainty about whether we can handle all the challenges along the way is not a problem. For it is a part of the path itself.