Making Good on Promises


How many of us have made promises with every intention of fulfilling them only to realize we were unable to?  Or…how many times have promises been made to us and we discovered those promises have been broken?


 These two questions have exactly the same results whether we are on the giving or the receiving end.  What can we as individuals do to move beyond our own inability to keep the promises we make or the expectation to have the promises made to us released?  Often we discover much too late that our attachment to the fulfillment of a promise has us trapped…and that feeling can be one of disappointment or regret.  To move into a greater state of health (mentally and emotionally) and prosperity (remember “True Prosperity begins by feeling Good about ourselves“) we must be willing to surrender our attachment not only to promises being kept but also our attachment to many other things.  (A very Buddhist concept!) 


Essentially promises ask either us or someone else to be frozen in the past.  Promises are filled with accusation just upon making them, though we honestly don’t intend for accusation to be included. Either that or we might find ourselves arguing that accusation isn’t even an ingredient of a promise.  Essentially, to be frozen in the past is to ask something to stay the same…and in this life…nothing does that.  Change is inevitable and promises violate that Order of Life.


Many of us might argue that promises are necessary…but I beg to differ.  Contractually a “promise to pay” has built in measures for “default of the promise” whether through late payment penalties or interest.  Hence there is accusation.  In marriage…another form of contract though it be civil, also has built in accusation calling for terms of measurability, such as, “for richer or poorer,” “in sickness and in health,” or the great finality, “until death do us part.” Yet this too is accusation even though the intention is meant to be loving…but if we could be objective in our understanding, what we discover is it really is saying: “even under all these conditions you MUST love me!” 


Ultimately promises are built upon a false premise that things could stay the same.  In nature the only thing that stays the same is that everything is changing.  If we were to use nature as our guideline or our model to base our lives on, we wouldn’t make promises.  Nature doesn’t make promises but rather, embraces change.  It doesn’t ask winter to promise to never return or summer to promise gentler temperatures or for a season to be longer this year than last.  It just embraces whatever is and continues to be itself despite change. 


We might argue that nature promises that cows only produce cows or corn seeds will only produce cornstalks…but these are not promises…this is a demonstration of a principle that “ like begets like.”  Everything in nature produces according to its own kind.  Yet we think or believe that a promise is a viable option because we have conscious minds, yet I question the validity of a conscious mind thinking it can sidestep any of the principles of life. 


Our promises are simply statements of doubt and insecurities that build false hope.  We can never become more truthful nor can we require another human being to be truthful…for that individual must contain Truth within himself or herself for truth to be part of who he or she is.  When we operate from truth and leave doubt out of the picture there is no need for promise.  If and when we trust ourselves enough to know that nothing or no one can bring us harm we shall stop making promises or asking promises to be made to us.  When we let go of our own doubt and fear promises will return back to the nothingness from whence they appeared.  When we loose the fetters that bind us to the past we shall no longer require a promise for we shall realize that promises keep us in fetters. 


Let’s just look at something that many people would like: 


Think hard and long about whether you would like to see peace on this planet…if you would promises must be a thing that no longer exist.   If you would like to see love exist on this planet think long and hard on what love is…does it have conditions?  Does it see color or creed or origin, sex or gender?  If you would like to see a whole new world think about the hierarchy of needs (Abraham Maslow) and from what level you are in need today.  If you would like to be free…ask yourself if you can be free if you have made a promise or asked someone to promise you something. 


Promises are poison to the health and welfare of humanity.  Sometimes a slow poison but nonetheless a poison.  We cannot employ faith in promise…our faith is always in principle never in promise. 


Remember…when someone says I promise…they are accusing you of deception!  When you are asking someone to make a promise to you…you are asking them not to deceive you!  This is not the highest expression of Love…no matter how much you may be in love with that individual. 


Religions speak about the “Promises of God.”  But if God had to make a promise it must have humanistic characteristics like us and be bound to the same experiences that we are having.  I am offering that God makes no promises, therefore it would be an impossibility for God to ever mislead you or I, never to break any promise, never to need us to do or be anything, never to cease choosing what it is that is always available to us (not by promise but through principle).  Think of God as Power, Presence and Principle.  Always exact in an unchanging nature.  Neither for giving or receiving, or for justice or punishment.  Think of God as Love; unconditional Love that doesn’t need us to promise anything, to give it or offer it anything, to be any particular way or to speak any respectful way.   Think of God as the Good we all can agree upon.  A good that has no opposite.  A Good that has no mixture of evil in it.  A Good that is equally available to everyone because it is in and through everyone equally (no matter what our opinion of them is!). 


Love requires no promises…holds no opinion…embraces seeming opposites equally…knows no human need, favors nothing, and can be found anywhere we are willing to look. 


That is not a promise…it is The Principle called Life!


  1. Thank you Rev Les.

    I am dealing with many of the issues you discuss here. This essay gives me understanding and insight about how I, and I think many others, contaminate loving relationships with expectations, demands, needs, fears and insecurities by demanding and giving promises.

    But I wonder: is it possible to have a loving relationship without those negative feelings and thoughts? Maybe in theory, yes. But how about a real relationship between two imperfect (as we all are) people?

    I am sharing this on my facebook page

  2. marispirit says:

    Interesting…..this is a change of life long ideas and some of it I really like thank you!!

  3. says:

    Promise is merely a concept of illusion and doesn’t exist in the realms on earth. In the realms of spirituality context with much practice and only through ones own deep experience and understanding they will know the promise that does exist. For us to demand or expect someone other than GOD to keep a promise is believing in a power outside of can complete us. But this illusion of contrast pushes to seek the truth further within ourselves. For this this life, I know that word is not in my vocabulary there lies not honor or truth.

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