Impermanence = No commitment ?

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Impermanence = No commitment ?

Postby painBody » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:36 pm

I've never heard Eckhart address the topic of commitment directly, nor have I heard anyone ask him this vitally important question.

Commitment, to me, implies a promise or pledge involving time. If you are committed to something/someone, you are making a promise involving some future moment in time. For instance, "I am committed to seeing this project succeed." or "I am committed to you, darling. I will stand by you no matter what." Let's focus on commitment in interpersonal relationships, i.e. commitment to your spouse/partner or anyone you care about in your life - a sibling going through a tough time, an ailing parent, a friend in need of your help.

Doesn't a commitment essentially mean that you are claiming to be able to predict/control the form a future moment will take, which is a denial or defiance of impermanence ? If you fully honor impermanence, doesn't every commitment become a bold-faced lie ?

So, I ask you guys - how do you honor a commitment while also knowing fully well that you cannot predict/control the form of a future moment (i.e. impermanence) ? Is it even possible ?
Last edited by painBody on Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:23 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: No attachment = No commitment ?

Postby dijmart » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:32 am

**Delete**

OP has changed original post.
Last edited by dijmart on Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No attachment = No commitment ?

Postby eputkonen » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:37 pm

If you look up the definition of commitment (I did in Google), you get two definitions:
1. the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.
2. an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.

The second I will skip, as there are no obligations nor would I want to try to restrict freedom of another.

The first, I like. Being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. Couldn't we be dedicated and yet not attached. I think we can from my experience.

Commitment to your spouse/partner or anyone you care about in your life


Well, I have been married for 7 years and with her for 10 years. I am not attached to her or the relationship, but I love her...we have a lot of fun together...and I will continue as long as she wants to as well. I am dedicated to her and our relationship, but I have no illusions that it is forever. It will end one day. There is no way to hold on. So I enjoy it while it is...for as long as it is. When it ends, I will let it fall away. For me, our relationship is not based on a need...I don't need her to be happy or to complete me in some way. I am dedicated because of the joy of our relationship...it's fun. Life is a little easier with her around. But at the same time, life would be fun and have joy without her as well. A different kind of joy...because some things are experienced in relation instead of alone. Also, I don't need life to be a little easier. I was quite happy being single as well. There is no attachment to being married or being single...and no attachment to her specifically. If she said she had to leave (for her growth, happiness, or whatever), I would let her go. I don't own her...she is not mine.

Not sure if you would call that commitment or not...so you might say it does or does not exist for me based upon your definition of it.
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Re: No attachment = No commitment ?

Postby painBody » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:55 pm

dijmart wrote:Interesting, I guess if one is truly not attached to a person/object/situation, in any way, then the only commitment factor might be one of fulfilling ones worldly duty or doing what's morally/ethically correct in a situation or for another person. This would most likely be on a case by case basis. But, if awareness/consciousness is love and compassion, why not help another, if able, as this is a non-dual existence.


Thanks, but which worldly duty are you talking about ? According to Eckhart, our "primary/inner purpose" is the flowering of consciousness within ourself. So, there isn't really any worldly purpose - that would be secondary. Morals and ethics are artificial, right ? Man-made ?

If you're talking about helping another in the now, of course, that is a wonderful thing, and I'm not questioning that. I'm talking about the promise or obligation to help another *over time*, i.e. "Sweetheart, I'm in this for the long haul. I will be there for you, no matter what." This sort of promise seems to be in total defiance to impermanence, as opposed to, "Hey, let me help you carry that box. It looks heavy.", which is in the now.

I guess the focus of my question is time. If we are to fully honor impermanence, we cannot really make any promises about the "future" ... we cannot sign any contracts that say, "When, someday, you have cancer, I will see you through that."
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Re: No attachment = No commitment ?

Postby painBody » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:09 am

Thanks, Eric. You make a good point - that this discussion hinges on what the true definition of commitment is.

Maybe my assumption that commitment implies attachment, is wrong. If we assume that attachment means deriving ones identity from someone/something, then, I guess it's possible to be committed without being attached. As you pointed out, you are not attached to your wife, but you are still committed to her.

But, I still see commitment as involving time. Which means that, if, someday, your wife were to fall ill, you would stand by her side (just an example). Would you say that's accurate ? i.e. you would stand by your wife if she fell ill someday ? Isn't that what commitment in a relationship means ?

If your answer is yes (you would stand by your wife), isn't that in defiance of impermanence ? Because, who knows what might change between now and that "someday" ? If your answer is yes, you are claiming to be able to predict/control the form of some future moment, right ?

So, I guess it's the relationship between commitment and time, that this discussion is more about. And, that's what I'm unable to figure out.
Last edited by painBody on Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Impermanence = No commitment ?

Postby painBody » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:22 am

dijmart and Eric, I have edited my original post (and title) in response to my realization that attachment isn't really relevant here, only impermanence is.

Please reread my original post. Thanks :)
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Re: No attachment = No commitment ?

Postby eputkonen » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:26 am

painBody wrote:I still see commitment as involving time. Which means that, if, someday, your wife were to fall ill, you would stand by her side (just an example). Would you say that's accurate ? i.e. you would stand by your wife if she fell ill someday ? Isn't that what commitment in a relationship means ?

If your answer is yes (you would stand by your wife), isn't that in defiance of impermanence ? Because, who knows what might change between now and that "someday" ? If your answer is yes, you are claiming to be able to predict/control the form of some future moment, right ?

So, I guess it's the relationship between commitment and time, that this discussion is more about. And, that's what I'm unable to figure out.'
....
Doesn't a commitment essentially mean that you are claiming to be able to predict/control the form a future moment will take, which is a denial or defiance of impermanence ? If you fully honor impermanence, doesn't every commitment become a bold-faced lie ?


No, I am not claiming to predict or control the future. I am fully embracing impermanence.

As I said, I know the relationship will end one day...there is no denying the impermanence of it. But I am free to enjoy the ride while it lasts. When it ends, I will let it fall away. I don't need to predict or control the form of some future...it will end, that can't be helped...but until then I am by her side.

If she fell ill, why would that change anything? I don't know why you would think something would be different because of that.

Again, you are defining commitment as some future seeking...that this (whatever it is) needs to continue.
And as I said earlier, I don't need her...our relationship does not have to continue...but as long as it does I will enjoy it. I can be dedicated to her and our relationship...without worrying or trying to control how long it lasts.

As for me, I don't think I would end the relationship - except through death. So, depending on who you ask...that would be fully committed. But I don't try to control or predict the future...if she said she had to leave, then so be it. If one of us died, so be it. Until then, I enjoy the ride.
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Re: Impermanence = No commitment ?

Postby dijmart » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:37 am

So, I ask you guys - how do you honor a commitment while also knowing fully well that you cannot predict/control the form of a future moment (i.e. impermanence) ? Is it even possible ?


I think most people know that.."shit happens", so we can say we will do this or that, however we know that's "if possible" or if when the time comes we even still "want" to.

For example, I came to work this morning fully expecting to work all day, until I got a text from my husband saying in 3 hours he needed me to come home and take him to the doctor (he made an appt), but couldn't drive, because he was very dizzy.

I had to call my boss and break my "commitment" that I would work all day. By showing up to work thats basically implying you will be there your full shift. Now I had made a new "commitment" to take my husband to the doctor. However, even though that's what I planned, it doesn't mean something wouldn't happen between me leaving work and getting home. I could get a flat tire, hit by a car, etc.

So, imo, all commitments are depending upon if conditions allow it and if there's still a desire to fulfill the commitment when the "time" comes.

Which also applies to my 30 year mortgage!!! :lol:
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Re: Impermanence = No commitment ?

Postby painBody » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:45 am

dijmart wrote:So, imo, all commitments are depending upon if conditions allow it and if there's still a desire to fulfill the commitment when the "time" comes.


That's EXACTLY what I'm talking about ! Now, you and I and others who are awakening, perhaps, are better at understanding and accepting that fine print you so eloquently articulated.

But, most people on this Earth take it more literally than that. And, they get quite pissed if you don't honor your commitment or promise, because they have not yet woken up to the reality of impermanence.

So, I think we agree that, strictly speaking, there can be no guaranteed commitment to anything or anyone, because of impermanence. And, that is what I've been trying to say here, all along !
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Re: Impermanence = No commitment ?

Postby painBody » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:51 am

Eric, I am simply saying that, because of impermanence, you cannot give any guarantees to your wife like "Till death do us part", which is a perfect example of a commitment/promise.

You said it yourself - you "don't think" you would leave your wife. But, you don't know (no one really does). And, if you don't know, then, making a promise would be a lie. And, to me, a commitment is exactly that - a promise.

Illness was just an example I used of something that could cause rift in *a* relationship (not necessarily yours). Others might be a hot new coworker, getting bored, no sex, whatever.

I think our argument is centered on the definition of commitment. You feel it doesn't involve time, and I do. Maybe, we need to agree to disagree.
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Re: Impermanence = No commitment ?

Postby eputkonen » Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:19 am

The future is unknown and not really under our control...so looking for guarantees or promises is unrealistic.
I don't try to give nor do I ask for any guarantees...but who said one is needed?
I also make no promises...nor do I ask for any.
Asking for promises and guarantees are just looking for ways to exert control over another - claiming a debt or being owed because of a promise or guarantee. It is a trying to gain possession.
I want my wife to be free to do whatever she wishes at any time. She never owes me anything.

And yet, we have a lasting relationship...even without guarantees and promises.
I don't buy that a committed relationship only exists if there are promises and guarantees which try to control the other person.
To be totally free, and yet remain together and dedicated to each other and the relationship is possible.

Back to Google:
If you look up the definition of commitment (I did in Google), you get two definitions:
1. the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.
2. an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.

I am going with #1...quality of being dedicated to the person/activity (as long as it lasts...knowing full well it will end and is impermanent).
You're going with #2 - "And, to me, a commitment is exactly that - a promise." So, it is an obligation that restricts freedom of action.
Last edited by eputkonen on Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Impermanence = No commitment ?

Postby dijmart » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:55 am

Hey PB,

Although I know the futility of promises I do still dish them out occasionally (when asked) with some people who desperately want them, but it doesn't mean I think they will necessarily come to fruition. It's for them to feel "secure" in the moment, although we know that's an illusion.
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