by Liz Jansen
To practice certainty is to have an unwavering commitment to the course you’ve chosen. Once you’re clear on your purpose and set out in a given direction, there’s no point worrying that you’ve made a mistake and start second-guessing yourself.
Motorcycles don’t like to change their path once you’ve decided on a course of action. In the lesson on Emergency Maneuvers, students must react appropriately to a signal from the instructor to either swerve or stop. It’s important to not anticipate the signal because the wrong response can cause them to crash.
That lesson, which is transferable to your life’s Road, diffuses fear, grows confidence and helps you grow.
- Choose wisely. Before embarking on a course of action, weigh the alternatives, prepare for your journey and stay alert for changes in your environment that could affect your travel. You don’t take your bike down any road without knowing what to expect and being confident you’ve got the skills to handle what’s ahead.
- Be courageous. Make your best, informed decision and then go with it. Courage means using your energy to push beyond your comfort zone, to face difficulty and take steps to move beyond it. The asphalt road you travel is not always easy, yet you keep going. The same applies to your life’s road.
- Remain committed. Knowing I was pushing the season, I made plans for an annual vacation with friends for US Thanksgiving. With short daylight and cold temperatures, there was no room to take my time. Once I was on the road I had to be prepared for inclement weather and make the most of every minute if I was going to arrive on time. If you begin to waver about a life decision, you’re wasting energy that could be put to good use moving forward.
- Close the back door. While it’s OK to have an exit plan if things don’t go as expected, avoid planning an escape route where you’ve got one foot on the road ahead and another ready to duck out. Not only are you not fully present, but it leaks energy. On that same trip, I had several options I could follow if the weather created conditions that were too risky to ride in, but I didn’t set out with the intention of opting out just because I was uncomfortable, or changed my mind.
- Deal with distractions. There is no shortage of demands for your attention. No matter how well intentioned, it’s difficult to say “no” to requests from friends, family, colleagues – and technology. The important thing is not to get caught up and drawn off your Road
- Remain in control. Many motorcycle riders love riding in groups. One challenge is that only the lead rider has a clear line of sight. Proficient ride leaders will signal potholes or road kill, but a moment’s inattention can cause followers to miss signs for hazards. Other people join you on your life’s Road as support, teachers and helpers. Be grateful but recognize that ultimately, you are in control and must watch where you’re going.
- Mind the Weather. Things happen beyond your control. Although windscreen, visor and goggles protect yout, the more of those layers that have raindrops on them, the harder it is to see. Especially in the dark. Weather, the economy and politics happen are beyond the realm of your direct control. Prepare and participate as best you can, but don’t get bogged down with it.
Choose to practice certainty and watch as you begin to experience positive outcomes. Following the courage of your convictions is not an easy road. Powered by certainty, your road is filled with adventure, discovery and joy, even when adversity crosses your path.
In The Four Insights, Dr. Alberto Villoldo draws from indigenous cultures to identify the practices that allow us to change our perception of the events that happen to us, remove the association with cause and effect and learn to live in harmony with our world. One of these is the practice of certainty.