I’ve noticed that many people have come to me for help over the years but, if I look at who has been helped, it’s the people who commit to the process of either psychological healing or spiritual awakening. For some reason, commitment seems to be ‘out of fashion’ now.

I used to ask the people who wanted to work with me towards psychological healing to show up for at least four weeks in a row and then move to every other week. Rarely does anyone keep that commitment anymore. People working with me toward psychological healing, spiritual awakening and continuing transformation used to come to a weekly, biweekly, or monthly individual session or group, or at least come to one monthly spiritual mentoring session. That often doesn’t happen anymore either. I generally send out a packet of documents that new clients have to read, sign and return. About half never return the documents. Why not? It appears that everyone wants ease and convenience and to do things on a whim.

You could say, ‘why not follow up on these folks and tighten up the requirements?’ Partially I was trying to ‘read the tea leaves’ or ‘read the signs of the times’ to know whether to do that. On the one hand, if I tighten the requirements to work with me, I may scare people away. On the other hand, if I don’t tighten up the requirements, I’m allowing clients and students to maintain the illusion that commitment isn’t necessary for change to happen.

I see that I’m not serving anyone well if I don’t insist on commitment to the process. So, I’m going to tighten the requirements, because I know this for sure: without commitment to change, there is no change. Human beings become so ‘bound up’ in their habits of thought, feeling and behavior that breaking the chains requires steady effort. Whether the client’s or student’s goal is psychological healing or all the way to and through spiritual awakening, consistency is key.

New therapy clients will now have to come to 12 weekly sessions in a row to work with me Existing clients, unless by special verbal or written arrangement, will have to come every two weeks. Spiritual mentoring clients will have to come monthly. Without the commitment, the work goes nowhere.

When I first heard about teachers who were teaching about “living in the moment” in 1987 or 88, I lived in Philadelphia and worked in the suburbs (a reverse commute by train). The teachers taught in Manhattan, New York. Every Wednesday night for months, I left work, got on the suburban train to Philadelphia 30th Street Station, then got on the train from Philadelphia to New York, went to an evening sitting on how to spiritually awaken, and returned by train often arriving home after midnight. Of course, this was in the late 1980s when these Eastern enlightenment teachings were rare.  I built a living relationship with those teachers and worked with them for four years or so before moving on to new teachers. Part of the transformation within me was due to the relationship between me and those teachers. Part was due to my commitment and regularity.

When I did a stringent course of therapy in the 1990s, I paid the therapist out of my own pocket, and went weekly for 3.5 years. Then I took 6 months off and then went back for a final six months. The work bore fruit: a lot changed in my life.

Because so much is available on the Internet, I think people in the 2020s believe that they can pick and choose from the wealth of teaching and go and get healed and enlightened without either relationship or commitment. It’s as if people think they are ‘instant mashed potatoes’ and can just ‘add water’ to be ‘finished.’ People seem to crave ease and convenience now, even in transformational work. In my experience, however, transformation is never instant and isn’t convenient or easy BUT is worth the effort.

For psychological healing, no less than the international trauma treatment expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (whose The Body Keeps the Score was on the New York Times bestseller list for many months) taught a group of us that the therapeutic relationship would produce 50% of the healing for the traumatized client without any other technique at all! Yesterday, I listened to a January 2023 broadcast by the famous spiritual awakening teacher Adyashanti, and he clearly stated that commitment and regular practice is essential to the spiritual awakening and Enlightenment process. So, I can safely say that this is not a personal prejudice.

You can get ‘bits and pieces’ of wisdom and help from many sources. Who, however, works with you directly, looking at your blind spots and helping you through your darkest moments? Who holds you in Presence and therefore teaches you how to be Present? Can you get that from a podcast on the Internet? That is the kind of help you get from a dedicated therapist who you see regularly, or from a spiritual mentor you see regularly. This is the kind of work that I do with my clients and students and have done for 22 years.

If you want real and lasting change, it takes time, money, commitment and effort. After 52 years on the path, I still work with my own spiritual teachers and mentors. There is further to go. What about you? Have you been fooling yourself into thinking that psychological or spiritual growth is like ‘instant mashed potatoes’ and you can just ‘add water’ and be done? It’s much more like caring for a plant or your dog or cat: it takes consistent care over time to produce a healthy plant or pet, and even more to produce a healthy or awakened you.

Take the time and energy to commit to yourself and to invest in yourself with regular care, energy and effort. It’s time! You are already That which you seek, but you can’t uncover That without consistency and commitment.

Sending lovingkindness and a wish for you to know that you are That which you seek,