Development can be a very gradual process, or sometimes it can blossom in rapid strides. There is no quick formula to speed up your level of development. It all takes time—and regular meditation and prayer work is a formula for progress on all fronts.

Sometimes psychic gifts open up unexpectedly. This may occur as a result of a near-death experience or a sudden opening after much disciplined work. Seemingly spontaneous experiences can transform people’s lives in an instant. Some people discover their psychic gifts when they retire from other employment—especially when they were accustomed to a high degree of mental concentration in their career—or following a period of trauma in their lives. There may be certain ages during life’s journey—such as after age 40, 50, or 60—wherein psychic abilities tend to open up; that possibility would make a good research study.

We have noticed that there seem to be two categories of students in spiritual development, those who leapfrog ahead and those who are slow and steady. In all the classes we have taught, we have found that people are rarely in between. Those who leap ahead like frogs, however, run the risk of becoming stalled and frustrated because their development is too fast, and lacking in control. As in most arenas, even those with natural talent must develop their gifts steadily over much time and many experiences, in order to bring wisdom in the use of those talents.

Psychic development also involves becoming accustomed gradually to being a conduit for energies of faster or heightened vibratory rates. The development of the character and an understanding of the high road or virtuous path is similar, and likewise takes time and many experiences. Years of steady dedicated practice will refine the nervous system for this work.

The “slow-and-steadies,” learning progressively in a disciplined way, reminds us of the fabled race between the hare and the tortoise. Do you remember who crossed the finish line first? The message for both types of student is to continue practicing, to work with an experienced teacher and group if possible, and to focus on becoming comfortable and confident, which will enable your development, through practice, to reach the level of second nature.

We always advocate to our students that we remember the three P’s when stepping onto the psychic highway—protection, patience, and practice. Take your time. Growth comes in spurts, and when you feel you are not progressing or feel blocked, we suggest you take these times as rest periods, and forge ahead when renewed energy carries you in that direction.

Where we have blockages to peace that we have hidden from ourselves, traveling the spiritual path tends to bring these hidden blocks up to the surface, and also to hasten the results of our karmas or actions. In this way, setting out on the spiritual path may even seem at first to bring forth upsets more rapidly. This sounds like “good news/bad news,” but if we can learn to view this speeding up of karmic events as opportunities to practice equanimity, to clear and cleanse away things that block our ability to perceive truth, and to prove our dedication to the spiritual journey, we will be that much closer to our goal.

Sometimes the road of development in the invisible realms leads us to taking better care of our physical body. The body is a temple with an inner altar of faith in God. It is a valuable instrument, our means of expressing divine mental and emotional gifts through physical service in the world. Resolve at the outset to maintain the physical body through a cleaned-up diet, regular exercise, adequate rest, and a simple lifestyle. Consider exercise disciplines such as yoga or tai chi, which not only provide good exercise but help harmonize on many levels—mind, emotions, physical systems, subtle energy fields, intuition, and heightened awareness.