Speaker: Sandy Souder, October 16, 2016

Most of us know about the 10 Commandments. And actually, there is discussion as to if 10 is really the correct number, but that discussion can be put off until another day.

Today we want to look at the 10 Commitments.

What is the difference between commandments and commitments?

Well, look at the definitions: commandment means “an important rule given by God that tells people how to behave,” the act or power of commanding.

A Commitment is a promise to do or give something, a promise to be loyal to someone or something, the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.

So, with a commitment, we are pledging to honor something. And it’s within our integrity to honor that pledge. If we wouldn’t honor it, it would be against our integrity. And THAT would have us questioning that very integrity.

Can you think of instances in your life where you had a commandment to follow and where you had a commitment? And can you feel the difference?

Let’s take a look at these 10 Commitments and see what they could mean for us. You have a sheet in your bulletin so you can follow along. I invite you to make a note where you feel you could make a commitment and what it might look like.

1. I make a commitment to Love. Love has many meanings to all of us. If we look at the 12 Powers, it is the ability to attract, unify and desire. “faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

And also in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ”

Notice, commit to love… as in a verb. I believe we are to be loving and that will express what we truly are—LOVE. Because God is Love and we are of God, so we are LOVE also

This is unconditional Love. The love we all strive for. For ourselves and for others. And we are given the how in I Corinthians.

2. I make commitment to Wholeness. Wholeness means entire, total: containing all the elements, complete, undivided. On a spiritual sense, we think of wholeness as mind, body and spirit. So we would commit to taking care of all aspects of our being…. seems a healthy thing to do. But do we do it?

There’s a lot of information out there about wholeness. We each must discern what it entails for each of us.

3. I make a commitment to Positive Expression. This is easy… to define anyway… think positively, speak positively, act positively.

Easier said than done though, right? Can you at least start to watch your thoughts and words and deeds? The more we become aware of our thoughts, the easier it becomes. Soon we catch ourselves before the thought completes itself, and eventually we stop the thought before it starts. Before you know it the thought never occurs.

4. I make a commitment to Let Go. Perfect for fall… the trees give us the perfect example of letting go, except for the oak leaves, they hang on until spring, but they still let go, in their own time.

I know sometimes we need to process things before letting them go. But we have talked before about not camping in the Valley of the Shadow…grieve, fume, have your rant about whomever or whatever, if you must. But let it go as you walk through the Valley so you can be at peace and grow from the experience, whatever it was.

And you can move on.

Here’s an exercise from Richard Rohr to help: Imagine you are sitting on the bank of a river. Boats and ships -thoughts, feelings, and sensations -are sailing past. While the stream flows by your inner eye, name each of these vessels. For example, one of the boats could be called “my anxiety about tomorrow.” Or along comes the ship “objections to my husband” or the boat “I don’t do that well.” Every judgment that you pass is one of those boats. Take the time to give each one of them a name, and then let them move on down the river.

This can be a difficult exercise because you’re used to jumping aboard the boats—your thoughts—immediately. As soon as you own a boat and identify with it, it picks up energy. This is a practice in un-possessing, detaching, letting go. With every idea, with every image that comes into your head, say, “No, I’m not that; I don’t need that; that’s not me.”

Sometimes, a boat turns around and heads back upstream to demand your attention again. Habitual thoughts are hard to not be hooked by. Sometimes you feel the need to torpedo your boats. But don’t attack them. Don’t hate them or condemn them. This is also an exercise in nonviolence. The point is to recognize your thoughts, which are not you, and to say, “That’s not necessary; I don’t need that.” But do it very amiably. If you learn to handle your own soul tenderly and lovingly, you’ll be able to carry this same loving wisdom out into the world.

5. I make a commitment to Thinking and Feeling. This too, can sometimes be painful. If we think things through we can come to the root of disagreements. Byron Katie has a great process called The Work. And it is work, but it helps us see what is true. If we keep in mind that the only moment we have is the current one, then many things that happened are no longer true and we can let them go.

The ‘feeling’ part comes along as we work through the thoughts and events that happened and we find ‘our Truth’ to them and can learn from them and then let them go.

It also can be a part of our everyday life. If we do not allow ourselves to ‘feel’ we become robots, unfeeling, not responding to the beauty and love surrounding us, but instead armored against feeling hurt and then losing the joy of love, fellowship, of experience.

6. I make a commitment to Life. Life is the ability to energize, vitalize, animate and invigorate. It goes with what we discussed in the previous Commitment… to FEEL. Emotions are what makes living, living. We must LIVE our lives to grow, to appreciate what we have, to have no regrets at the end of this life. Dance! Don’t sit on the sidelines. Engage in life, in whatever way you have chosen as your point of interest. Family. Art. Sport. Crafts. Reading. Get to know your fellow travelers. Life offers so much… go out swinging!

7. I commit myself to Integrity. Do you know what makes up your integrity? If not, maybe it’s time to ask yourself that question. It is so easy to live one’s life if they have made peace with their integrity, choices are easily made. When a question is placed before you, and your integrity is well defined, an answer to the choice is easily seen and then made. Often times the choice never presents itself because it is not where you are at this time in your life.

One knows when one goes against their integrity… they know it very well.

8. I make a commitment to Consciousness. Consciousness… that’s what we are all working towards, right? The more conscious we are, the more in each moment we are, the better able to connect with our inner Christ. So, yes, we are committed to more consciousness, moment by moment. To awaken from the sleep that we entered when we started becoming DOMESTICATED.

9. I make a commitment to Honesty. This is part of one’s integrity. Honesty toward others may be easier that honesty toward one self. But that honesty is important for the inner growth and the transformation we all are looking toward. All these Commitments, if you have taken notice, are helping you toward knowing who you are, to transformation.

10. I make a commitment to Appreciation. Gratitude. Simple. The answer to many things. It starts with being grateful for all your gifts… even those that do not look like gifts at the moment. They will in the end. So, be grateful for what comes into your life, look at it from all perspectives. See the whole gift.

And speak, show that gratitude daily, in as many ways as you are able. A simple THANK YOU works wonders. Treat others as you would like to be treated. THINK of others as you would like to be thought of …thoughts are energy. Thoughts create. SO think good thoughts – always.

SO, how did you do? DO you have some things to work on? Some items to do, to make a part of who you wish to become?

Anyone wish to share a bit?