On Commitment

October 31st, 2013

Over the last couple generations our society has become obsessed with non-commitment. Businesses offer money-back guarantees and easy returns, even without a receipt in many cases. Don’t like your pet? Bring them to a pet shelter. Your church pushing your comfort level too much? Don’t worry, just change to another church, or even religion. No harm, no foul. We are sold on the idea of infinite choices, with the safety of being able to back out of nearly every decision we make.

The problem is this leads to a society that is unable to commit to anything serious, so everything becomes trivial and amusing. More and more couples are deciding to not have children, simply because they don’t want to commit their next score to raising them. Many couples are choosing to not even marry because they are afraid of the lifetime commitment to their partner. More people are afraid to take risk, since there is a point at which you are committed to the risky decision, regardless of the consequences.

I am a firm believer in commitment. I believe in marriage for life, regardless of the circumstances. Only the Gods can break a marriage bond, regardless of what lawyers may say. I believe in committing to children, whether they are your birth children or not, as they are gifts from the Gods. I believe in committing to a spiritual path and religion, especially when it becomes uncomfortable. Commitment is what strengthens the soul and gives it substance.

Commitment is part of the Great Mystery. By nature, you never really know what you’re committing to when you are at the point of making that all-changing decision. You can’t go back later and say, “I didn’t know that would happen!” or “I had no idea this is what I was getting myself into!” The Gods don’t care what you thought you were getting into. You were mistaken in your understanding, but that does not negate the commitment, nor the obligation.

In any solid religion or spiritual path, there is always a requirement to commit to that path, an initiation. Many Pagans see initiation as simply a membership card, like a fraternity or sorority hazing rite. It is what you get when you’ve been with the group for a year and a day. It means you are a full member, at least until you decide to quit showing up because you’ve come to dislike one of the other members. Or when a spirit attracts you to a different group. This is not initiation, not really.

True initiations are life-changing commitments. That is the test of initiation. Are you going to commit to that path for the rest of your current life (and possibly future lifetimes as well)? Everyone has initiations, and either passes them or fails them. If they fail, they are sometimes offered second chances, sometimes not. For example, when you are born, you are committing to the new lifetime. When you get married, you are committing to that marriage bond (though the bond might not be exclusive, depending on the nature of you and your spouse’s mutual commitment). When you have sex with someone, you are committing to a shared bond that will last the rest of your life (and possibly a child). When you offer yourself in service to a God, you are committing to focusing your life on furthering Their influence in the world.

All of this is scary, for you may end up with consequences that are completely not what you want. That is ok; everyone gets scared. That can be a healthy fear if you push yourself to explore it. Sometimes this is a warning to not start down that path. But you need to not let it stop you from making the commitments that are in accordance with your Will and your Great Work. If you let it stop you from that, your life will be wasted in triviality and at the end, you will have accomplished nothing of value.

If the commitment you’re being asked to make is in accordance with your Will, you must make that commitment, especially when you don’t know what will happen as a result. This is how the Gods help you along. You have heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes with a price. Gifts from the Gods also come with a price. That price is commitment to follow through completely to the end. Use the gift They provided to its fullest and not waste it on hedging your risk.

The biggest question you should have when confronted with a question of commitment is this: “Is it in accordance with my Will?” When you know the answer to that question, the choice of commitment is obvious, though it may not comfortable. If it is in accordance with your Will, you must commit and you must commit fully to the endeavor. Otherwise, you should not do it at all. Do not “try it out.”

Since the question of whether to make a commitment relies on knowing your True Will, you need to have that known. If you have not achieved that yet, then you need to discover it and commit to it. Here is an article on Discovering Your Will to get you started.

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