Part 1: Effortless Counseling
Living life requires effort.
Effort that is in alignment with the true nature of things feels good, right and even inspiring at times. There is an organic and seamless “flow” to life that we can ride and enjoy.
However, it seems to me that much, if not all of human suffering is the results of making unnecessary effort – effort perhaps innocently out of alignment with the fundamental and obvious flow-of-life – effort based on the innocent misuse of unenlightened personal thinking.
Resistance to this flow, whether conscious or not, produces suffering.
This 3-part article is designed to assist people who are suffering, or who help people who are suffering, to gain a more simple, integral and comprehensive perspective that, in turn, alleviates suffering in all forms. It will also be part of a chapter in my upcoming book.
Side note: When I refer to suffering I do not mean pain. Pain is necessary information for surviving and thriving in the physical, mental and emotional dimensions of life. Perhaps this will be the subject of a future article.
Historically, counseling (and psychotherapy and personal coaching, although less so) has been a difficult and even arduous process. Often clients would force themselves to go to their sessions, anticipating looking at their past tramas and failures, feeling the shame and powerlessness, and hoping to find some answers and relief.
Well-intentioned practitioners would encourage and support clients to “face the hard facts” about themselves, analyze their past failures, dig in and do the hard work of personal change.
- This most often involved an analytical process of self-evaluation, identifying what should be changed, and then designing action steps for making these changes.
- The practitioner offered support, feedback and guidance.
Clients would sometimes feel good about not being alone in the process and about the insights, guidance and hope a practitioner would offer. However, this only helped the process be less arduous.
Some insight, healing and change did occur. The fact that two people (the client and the counselor) get together with the intent of a positive outcomes and sincere efforts in that direction most likely would produce something positive – or at least something perceived as positive.
Example: “That session was really painful and draining, so it must have been good. I must have done the hard work well this time!”
When this is done from an outside-in perspective – meaning one must change their world to feel better – it inadvertently reinforced unnecessary effort and suffering.
When this is done from an inside-out perspective – meaning the realization that feels are thought-created in our mind and consciousness, not imposed on us from an outside reality – this process becomes more enjoyable and effective.
Can there be a more effortless way to healing, well being and optimizing life?
Effortless Counseling: A Painless Route to Mental Health
When we step back and look at the big picture, is it not obvious that life is expressing itself effortlessly through its evolutionary creation?
A tiny seed does not make an independent effort to germinate, sprout and grow. It patiently waits for the proper conditions and then spontaneously (effortlessly) responds!
Are we not another “seed”, albeit more sophisticated, full of potential waiting to burst forth?
Is it not our nature to seek more easy, effective and enjoyable ways to live?
Is this desire for a more “right” feeling inside not an expression of an intelligence planted in us and driving us to it’s evolutionary outcomes?
When we step back and look at the big picture, is it not obvious the life is expressing itself effortlessly through its evolutionary creation?
Therefore, should not the most effective counseling process reflect such life-knowledge? In doing so, should not such a counseling process be more in alignment with life and therefore be less arduous or even enjoyable?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, that which is more in alignment with the true nature of life is in “the Flow” and therefore not suffering.
I use a simple and profound understanding known internationally as “The Three Principles”. Because the Three Principles (of universal mind, consciousness and thought) in fact reflect the truth of existence, they therefore allow this “flow of understanding” into the counseling process I offer.
How is this experienced by clients?
Once through the initial effort of “showing up”, clients report immediately beginning to:
- feel safe
- become present
- become interested
- feel heard and understood
- feel comfortable to be themselves
- express what feels right
This interpersonal environment naturally creates the conditions for the “seeds” of insight, which begin to sprout and benefit the client. From my perspective, the interpersonal environment or “living context” of the session actually “does the work” – if I allow it.
The innate intelligence in both the client and me has a space to come forward and heal, inform, transform and bless.
Are we not another “seed” full of potential waiting to burst forth?
If there is anything clearly experienced as “effort”, what is it?
Oftentimes at first, showing up breaks old habits tied to mostly unconscious survival strategies of the brain that can’t see the bigger picture. These stress-based survival patterns think the only way to stay safe is to stay the same.
Our higher intelligence knows this is not true.
We are here for many things, and especially for awakening to our greatest potential. This by necessity means we must go beyond what we know, risk failure and learn, whether enjoyably or not.
From this higher understanding it is all worth it!
The more we understand this the easier (more flowing) the ability to get unstuck and move forward becomes.
In fact, we start to see that “we” don’t actually “move forward” of ourselves, but in fact, Life is moving forward with or without our awareness or consent. Therefore, moving forward is simply a process of becoming present again, relaxing and letting Life take us to where is has intended from the beginning.
I happen to call this destination “Heaven-on-Earth”.
When it comes to seeking help, we don’t have to suffer to such a degree that a critical threshold of suffering is reached — and then we finally realize it is more “easy” to try to change than to not take action.
Quite often in the first few sessions a client will remark that they woke up in a bad mood and felt like not coming to the session. However, once having come they were feeling better and glad they chose to come anyway.
The Three Principles understanding recognizes that every person has innate health – innate mental-emotional well being and wisdom for living. Like a seed, all it needs is the proper conditions to germinate and sprout.
From the counselor’s perspective, this is a wonderful and fulfilling experience. It is very likely the very reason the counselor chose to go into the field. It is not draining or arduous. Far from it! It is energizing, insight-producing and gratifying. I often leave my sessions feeling blessed.
Perhaps this short article has provided a glimpse into what Effortless Counseling can offer, and give hope to people and practitioners looking for a better way.
- If you are suffering there is real hope and a painless route to feeling and doing better.
- If you are in counseling and want a more enjoyable and insightful experience that actually takes you to feeling and doing better in a simple and enjoyable way, there is a new option.
- If you are a counselor or coach and want to learn an enjoyable stress-free way to help your clients, contact me to learn more.
- Part 2: Effortless Meditation
- Part 3: Effortless Living
Craig Polsfuss is a first generation student of the Three Principles, an integral psychologist and is published in peer-reviewed professional journals applying the Three Principles to leadership and high-performance. He is also a Mastery certified Higher Brain Living facilitator and trainer.