Commitment is the impulse to maintain an active meditation practice. It’s concrete and practical, and it’s oriented toward doing—rather than thinking, feeling, “trying,” problem-solving, and so on.
Commitment works directly with your willpower and decisionmaking. For example, commitment could look like: “I promised myself I’d meditate this morning, so now I’m doing it.”
How Commitment Helps
Commitment is what translates the other four pillars into action.
Commitment is extremely important, because it’s what actually translates the other four pillars into action.
For example, you might be very inspired by reading an article from a favorite meditation teacher—but then just put down the article and turn on the TV. With commitment to a regular meditation practice, this inspiration can translate into action. Similarly, you can read, learn, and think quite a bit about meditation, without feeling much desire to do it; commitment takes that curiosity and activates it.
Commitment is also useful because it keeps you going through ups and downs in your practice. “I meditate every morning” is true whether you feel great or terrible, inspired or deflated, confident or clueless. This type of unwavering commitment is crucial for a meditation practice that stays strong under all circumstances.
How to Foster Commitment
- Make meditation a routine, with a defined place in your schedule: “I meditate after I shower in the morning.”
- Set concrete, defined meditation goals and work toward achieving them.
- Get going on a streak, and work not to break it.
- Make a formal promise to others (for example, post “This month, I will meditate every morning” on your Facebook).
Relying Too Heavily on Commitment
When your meditation practice relies too heavily on commitment without the other pillars, it can feel:
- Incomplete: “I meditate, but it’s really difficult and unpleasant and I’m not sure I’m getting much out of it.”
- Rote: “To be honest, I’m not sure why I keep doing this.”
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