It has been amazing to me to have interviewed and talked with new age people for the past four years since the Harmonic Convergence in 1987. They are bright, they are beautiful. New agers are of two types, I find. Those that are disciplined and committed, and those that are undisciplined and uncommitted.

Experience tells me that commitment is strength. It holds societies together. It holds relationships together. It allows our greatest artists to reach creative heights, our finest scientists to improve human capacity. In spiritual life, nothing less will do. Spiritual life goes forward through the fulfillment of duty, through the fire of unceasing striving.

Unfortunately led astray by their leaders, who postulate that they should not be committed to any particular path, many of today's seekers are standing still. They are taught to borrow from any path what is applicable at the moment, be it Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Taoist, Shinto, Islamic, psychiatry, psychometry, crystalography or massage therapy. The new age movement, which is gaining momentum, relies most heavily on Hinduism and Buddhism as its basis of theology. Since Hinduism is indirectly affected, we feel it our duty to make these observations.

Leaders of people should be careful about preaching non-commitment, without saying what one should be committed to. This can be dangerous. Most people need and benefit from support and guidance. New agers are told to be non-joiners. Be free. Be happy. Don't look to any authority. They are thus deprived of any cohesive, progressive line of thought. They take it to mean, "If a marriage partner becomes dominant, inhibiting our freedom, we should leave her or him. If our career slows, we should find another. If our path gets steep, we should find an easier one."

My advice to new age people is this: you have been misled by your leaders, who preach that they are not leaders and charge exorbitant amounts for their seminars. They preach non-commitment, which they are committed to. I have no doubt that many of you reacting this newspaper are totally committed to being non-committed. Productive people are involved. A medical doctor is committed to his profession from the day he enters medical school to the day he retires. A lawyer is committed to his profession. A school teacher is committed to the passing on of knowledge.

Those who are totally committed to being uncommitted go from ashram to ashram, zendo to zendo, ecumenical conference to ecumenical conference. You know what I am talking about. Many have come to me after years of such experimenting, telling me they wonder what they have to pass on to their children.

What have I seen that makes me speak of the need for commitment? I have seen women become disenchanted with their husbands because they met their "soul-mate." Their newfound philosophy of non-commitment made it all right to get a divorce and remarry. I have seen children neglected and put into foster homes because their mother wanted to open a healing center at the expense of denying her motherhood, putting her own children in emotional jeopardy. I have seen seekers wandering without clear goals, falling away from their practice, which once meant so much to them. I have seen psychic-sensitive people, encouraged to explore, without proper guidance, experience walk-ins that never walked out. Sad, isn't it?

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.