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Blogs contained here emanate from questions or responses to themes that arose in psychological and spiritual settings – sessions, groups, training workshops, etc. Please note that blog entries 64-166 are drawn from Richard Harvey’s articles page. This retrospective series of blogs spanned over 25 years; please remember when reading them that some of Richard’s thought and practice have evolved since. We hope you enjoy this blog and that you will carry on submitting your psycho-spiritual questions for Richard’s response, either through the form on our Contact Us page or in the ongoing video blog series. Thank you.

Center for Human Awakening BLOG

Only God and “I”

by Richard Harvey on 10/16/19


There are only two things going on ever: the Truth and falsehood. The first is God, Consciousness, Reality itself, the Mystery. The second is the delusional ego-I. I am not. I am only ever God. God is all. There is none other than God. God is the ocean, I am the drop or I am the ocean and God is the drop; it doesn't matter which.

Knowing that there is only falsehood and Reality simplifies matters... and it allows you to be clear in regard to the complexities of both, as well as the longing, the impulses, and inner conflicts.

The Love of the Physical Mental and Emotional Form "I Am"

Love of god is mirrored in love of self ... Love of God, love of Love. Find where your love (or awareness or attention or desire) lies, then locate it as a feeling, as a felt experience... in your body. Somewhere there originating in your psycho-physical organism is an impulse, out, away, from you and toward... something. Now this may be money or a girlfriend, a husband, your child, toward food, drink, drugs, but whatever this is, it is a sublimated call to the Divine. Deep down you long for your own immortality, the life eternal, and the name for this traditionally is God.

But there is one love between you and God and you and the outward object of your longing. Between God and the material form there is one other... it is you, of course it is yourself.

Now this sense, the self-sense, your apprehension and felt sense of "I"—remember not your belief or intellectual appreciation or the thought "I"—no, your actual, experiential familiarity with yourself has provoked a great love... a great love. Deep down whether you express it overtly as self-appreciation or self-love or covertly as self-chastisement or self-destructiveness, since you appeared in form you experienced the love of the physical, mental, emotional form. It is called "I Am."

"I Am" arose out of the ground of being. This ground of being is the goal of meditation. It is the non-arising, non-exciting, non-creating level of contented being, space and tranquility in which nothing occurs to break the silence of eternity, of infinity, of the universal beingness.

You can notice, if you have meditated with discipline for some time, that you as a separate self do not participate in this tranquility. But on your return from its mighty thrum, you are filled with longing to return, to leave this mortal place, to be in eternity. Every moment proffers the opportunity to live in eternity, to touch the infinite. What prevents any of us, like the great adepts of the perennial philosophy, the sages, saints, and prophets, the avatars of the Great Tradition of humanity from living permanently in the eternal, in Wisdom and Love, in God, the knowledge of whom passeth all understanding?

The answer, as I have said, is the delusion of selfhood. One thin veil of self between you and the Truth... that's all it is and all it can be... is it any wonder the ego-processes are so filled with hatred, anxiety, and worry... phantasms of terror at the prospect of its own lies being found out, of its own pretense, of its own demise.

Have you noticed the difficulties we are having with relationships, love relationships, primary love relationships? Could it be because we are so filled with love of our personal sense of self, of I me mine, that when we project that love onto a special other, the one who completes me, my soul-mate, my life-partner, and he or she eventually does not conform to our wishes, does anything but complete us, that we are faced with opportunities of love, accepting and respecting another being in the world alongside us? Could it be that this misfiring of our dearly-held ideals reflects the misapplied love we experience for the form "I Am," when it is really meant for God, for pre-form, for eternity, reality itself, the endlessness, the infinite love of which every human being is capable?

Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [email protected].

Blog entry #179


Meetings with Gurus

by Richard Harvey on 09/17/19


Something of the timeless, transcendent, absolute quality of the guru is, in particular, presented in first meetings. Meeting the guru is like no other kind of meeting. The meeting beyond time exceeds the usual parameters of expectation.

Ramesh Balsekar's first meeting with his guru Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was like this. Climbing up to the loft of Nisargadatta's residence in the backstreets of Bombay, Balsekar found Nisargadatta seated in one corner of the room, lighting joss sticks. He bowed down and placed an offering of fruit before him. Balsekar reports, "... he looked at me with his piercing gaze, then smiled at me warmly and said, "Ah, you have come, have you? Do sit down." For a moment I could not help wondering if he had mistaken me for someone else, because his words seemed to imply that he was expecting me."

The guru virtually never reacts or responds in the way you anticipate. The merest glimpse or short exchange challenges your personality's assumptions. Here is the account of Papaji's first meeting with Ramana Maharshi:

When I contacted the Maharshi in the hall, I asked him a question: "Can you give me the experience of enlightenment?" He kept quiet.      Again I asked him, and again he kept quiet. So, I was not very much impressed with him not speaking to me.

It was a very direct teaching, not indirectly, through the senses or any sign. He didn't speak a word. So, by this I mean, a direct               teaching from Heart to Heart, without any word. This is the direct teaching... it worked very well, because I had never seen any teacher who could speak directly from Heart to Heart. Everybody speaks through words, or reads some scripture, but he didn't do either of these... I felt some vibration in my heart and then my doubts disappeared. So, this was the first time I met this kind of teacher.

Archetypal appearances, the effects of being somehow unprepared, the significance of patterns and numbers, extraordinary physical manifestations, and exceptional physical responses or kriyas—all of these are here in Irina Tweedie's meeting with her guru, Bhai Sahib:

... before I even had time to recollect my thoughts, three bearded Indians emerged from the door opposite the gate and were advancing towards me... All three were elderly; all three were dressed in white. I stood up, jumped down from the tonga and, joining my palms in the Indian way of greeting, looked at each of them in turn, not being sure which one was the Guru. The oldest and the tallest of the three, who looked exactly like a prophet in a nativity play—grey beard, blazing dark eyes—walked ahead of the other two, and, as if in answer to my thoughts, pointed to the one walking closely behind him. This was the Guru.

Next moment he stood in front of me, quietly looking at me with a smile. He was tall, had a kindly face and strange eyes—dark pools of stillness they were, with a sort of liquid light in them, like golden sparks.

I just had time to notice that he was the only one to wear wide trousers and a very long kurta... of immaculate whiteness; the other two were clad in rather worn kurtas and longhi... My mind had hardly time to register it—then it was as if it turned a somersault, my heart stood still for a split second. I caught my breath... wild cartwheels were turning inside my brain and then my mind went completely blank.

And then I was—it was as if something in me stood to attention and saluted... I was in the presence of a Great Man...

The spiritual master, the guru, always has an unusual, eccentric or in some way exceptional relation to the relative world, the world about him. It is as if the saying, Be in the world but not of it, is demonstrated by his mere presence. Recently returned from India, Ceylon, and Egypt, Ouspensky describes his initial meeting with Gurdjieff like this:

We arrived at a small cafe in a noisy though not central street. I saw a man of an oriental type, no longer young, with a black moustache and piercing eyes, who astonished me first of all because he seemed to be disguised and completely out of keeping with the place and its atmosphere. I was still full of impressions of the East. And this man with the face of an Indian raja or an Arab sheik whom I at once seemed to see in a white burnoose or a gilded turban, seated here in this little cafe... in a black overcoat with a velvet collar and a black bowler hat, produced the strange, unexpected, and almost alarming impression of a man poorly disguised, the sight of whom embarrasses you because you see he is not what he pretends to be           and yet you have to speak and behave as though you did not see it.

Or this somewhat reluctant meeting of JB with J Krishnamurti following a public lecture:

I was the last one in the queue and suddenly realized that I was the only one left... so, No way out! I walked towards him... shook his hand and said thank you for this time and goodbye. "Yeees sir!" he said. That's all, on the visually apparent level... in those few seconds also the following happened. He took my hand and with his other hand my elbow... it felt as if my whole being and its contents were being shaken "in place"... a current of quite a high speed passed on through the rest of my body from            hand, head, toes...it was like a good and instant shower... he looked into my eyes... I've never seen such large, deep, dark eyes!... as a space with no end (which brought a kind of shiver/fear in me, similar to that of heights) and this to-the- eye, invisible and yet perceivable floods of love pouring out of his eyes... a bit like fluid honey would be pouring out of a jar... I was standing there hardly prepared for all of that... and this little man (he did not reach higher than my chest area) as definitely felt by me that he was about four times taller than me.. Since it all happened so       quickly, only when I stepped out of the room, did I realize what had happened.

Rather like the realization that Carlos Castaneda had latterly that his teacher Don Juan was teaching him behind a veil of silence in a way he could not detect at the time, often what transpires between the guru and the would-be aspirant is only recognized after it has happened. Beguiled by our self-identity in the realms of space and time we are hypnotized in a delusion in which the guru does not participate.

And finally, in his second meeting with his master Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Naren or Narendra, later known as Swami Vivekananda, through a mere touch from the master encounters death and the void:

During his second visit to the Master, Narendra had an even stranger experience. After a minute or two Sri Ramakrishna drew near him in an ecstatic mood, muttered some words, fixed his eyes on him, and placed his right foot on Naren's body. At this touch Naren saw, with eyes open, the walls, the room, the temple garden—nay, the whole world—vanishing, and even himself disappearing into a void. He felt sure that he was facing death. He cried in consternation: "What are you     doing to me? I have my parents, brothers, and sisters at home."

The Master laughed and stroked Naren's chest, restoring him to his normal mood. He said, "All right, everything will happen in due time."

Narendra, completely puzzled, felt that Ramakrishna had cast a hypnotic spell upon him. But how could that have been? Did he not pride himself in the possession of an iron will? He felt disgusted that   he should have been unable to resist the influence of a madman. Nonetheless he felt a great inner attraction for Sri Ramakrishna.

Naren/Vivekananda was a highly rational young man. For some time he felt Ramakrishna was completely insane. But destiny ran its course and he became Ramakrishna's messenger to the world. Their very first meeting is reminiscent of Rameskh Balsekar's first visit to Nisargadatta's loft-room in Bombay. Following some devotional singing, Swami Nikhilananda writes, "Sri Ramakrishna suddenly grasped Narendra's hand and took him into the northern porch. To Narendra's utter amazement, the Master said with tears streaming down his cheeks: 'Ah! you have come so late. How unkind of you to keep me waiting so long!"

Wonderful, transcendent meetings, meetings with eternity itself, meetings with the Divine, meetings that seem predestined, meetings that carry the weight of the eternal but are filled with light and consciousness, meetings that defy normal logic and compel the disciple into human-divine transformation by altering the life course, by bringing with them a fresh quality of awareness and attention.

 

Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [email protected].

Blog entry #178


Setbacks as Blessings; Blessings as Setbacks

by Richard Harvey on 08/16/19


I remain in awe at the variety and diversity of human lives unfolding, the vicissitudes of individual nature and life narratives, the vagaries of fortune and the apparent arbitrary arising of blessings and setbacks—setbacks appearing as blessings, and blessings appearing as setbacks. Our lives are patchwork, chaotic, sometimes irregular and senseless, before they slip into a semblance of order and pattern, and then out again into a string of coincidences or a tapestry of challenges and comfort, contentment, and restless striving.

Given the turbulence of these changes, is it any wonder that we sometimes feel lost, confused, and disorientated? Why is it that we can be without a viable center, blowing in the wind, like a ship without a rudder? Let us transfer our focus to the microcosm to enlighten our view of the macrocosm:

I get up a little disorientated. It is one of those days when everything does not fall into place. I go to feed the animals and the tool I use to open the sack is missing. I can’t find my clothes. I leave a wood-burner tool on the floor and stumble over it three times, escalating in my self-criticism for not picking it up the first time. Somebody asks me a question, a quite innocent question, and I snap back, “I can’t talk just at the moment!” It is not so much what I say as how I say it and immediately I feel bad for having been so abrasive toward someone I care for. I have an appointment coming up, looming over me immediately after breakfast, and I see that the sense of foreboding that is attached to this meeting is hanging over me, perhaps causing the unrest in both my inner and outer worlds. I inwardly curse myself for letting it affect me so much. Now the day starts to close in on me. I need to go shopping and I do not feel like it. A long list of tasks awaits me when I return from the dreaded shopping trip and I am feeling guilty about an argument I has yesterday with my teenage son. Alongside the resentment about his unreasonableness is my culpability in not being able to stand apart from his unreasonableness and see that he has to go through a lot, to take in a lot of experience, and he is having a hard time. “But what about me!” whines the residue of a still quietly active Poor Me. It seems I am caught in the day and that there is no way out. I feel like withdrawing. Maybe I shouldn’t have got up and the merciful thing would have been to have feigned illness, like I did when I was twelve to manipulate my mother into giving me the day off of school.

And so it goes… on and on. The escalation of experience here is rather like a kite out of control or an electric cable thrashing on the tarmac in a snow storm. Because there is no center, the small events pile up incrementally and like an overburdened donkey the person and their spirit are crushed under the weight.

Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [email protected].

Blog entry #177

Feeling-Awareness

by Richard Harvey on 07/16/19


Compassion is the natural arising of that love. Around the time of my sixtieth birthday I had an uprush of the feeling to give back. What was it I could give back? I was not wealthy, so I couldn’t finance some charitable cause. I had no specialist organizational ability, so I couldn’t rally resources for a worthwhile project. My inner guidance moved me to offer a series of online lectures and through this endeavor I was severally blessed. As I sat to “compose” the talks one thing became apparent to me over all others. There would be no struggle, no resistance, no internal censorship or manipulation of thoughts… all I had to do was write! And as I wrote so I had the experience of the Divine speaking through me… What a gift! The initial lecture series led to another, and then another and another… Not counting the initial discourses, seven series in all comprising 42 lectures emerged. The basket of blessings didn’t stop there. I met some wonderful people who took part in the lectures and contributed to the seminar portion of the events with their presence, questions, and wisdom. I also met Robert Meagher who offered to serve my work and who subsequently became the co-founder of the Center for Human Awakening. One act of compassion, moved by love, without thought of what I might get from it and look at how much I received! And neither did it stop there. Robert and I began to “shadow” the 42 lectures with a series of 56 online video interviews in which we discussed the lectures in detail. Many people today have found their way to our work through these interviews alone.

In one of the original, and I think now lost, early lectures preceding the 42 lectures, I spoke on what I called feeling-awareness. Feeling-awareness is a response to both spiritual distancing and emotional “fluffiness.” Both have arisen out of the rise of psycho-spiritual practices and philosophy and each is a corruption of the true intention of such practices. Spiritual distancing is the attitude that favors spirituality over psychology and the human condition. A person who distances spiritually rejects the human circumstances of suffering and adopts a superior stance based on the “greater truths” of the spirit. Spiritual distancing is an emotional defense. Through detachment and aloofness the person avoids the present possibility of relationship. Emotional fluffiness does the same thing, but from the other direction. Holding authentic emotional response firmly at a distance the ebullient, fluffy emotions take up much energetic space and keep experience shallow and unreal.

The practice of feeling-awareness gives you the opportunity to balance clarity with emotional responsiveness. I ask you to bring feeling into the field of your awareness. When you notice awareness becoming cold, increase feeling; when you notice feeling becoming too warm increase awareness. Sit in the middle with the two balanced in you, so that you engage through feeling-awareness with what is presently arising.


Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [email protected].

Blog entry #176


Standing Alone Without Attachments

by Richard Harvey on 06/16/19


The transformation of your life is the end of the remedial existence, the end of the rule of your childhood ego. The infant gets out of the driving seat of your car; the demon child no longer rules the roost. The very platform on which your life rests changes for good.

Standing alone we need no other to describe or define who we are. The past is now the past with no attachments – merely the road that has brought us to here. All our curses have turned into blessings. We experience a single-minded sense of purpose and guidance is transparent to us in the very next step.

No longer running or trying to escape from ourselves in any of our facets, abhorrent behavior, faulted sub-personalities, or adverse traits, our journey to wholeness has allowed us to embrace everything we are attached to, either positively or negatively. In order to arrive at the Threshold we must re-own our projected parts, as in the following two examples.

Sheila: Repressing Vibrant Life

Sheila was a 36-year old woman, a mother of three young children. Her husband Ben had a small company and she worked in personnel and administration in a supportive capacity to him. Among the employees were at least two young women who attracted Sheila's censure. They were floosies, dressing and dying their hair, fawning and flirting around the men in the company and of course her husband who she felt fiercely protective of... and possessive and jealous. Sheila exhibited a repressed sexuality. In her conservative somewhat old-fashioned dress sense, her body language and posture, and her cultivated plainness. Sometimes, even often, I began to see a vibrant, alive, very attractive, sexual woman beneath the fusty facade. Slowly the history of her relationship and encounters with the male world emerged. The unwanted attention of several older men in puberty and adolescence, the awkwardness of her father in reaction to her budding pubescent body, a lascivious older man who was her boss, and in her early twenties a near rape which she just managed to talk her way out of. She had married Ben, a safe and mild hardworking man. He felt secure, unthreatening, and undemanding sexually, relationally and intimately. She had found certainty and protection in a compromise of sheltered repression. Her heavily concealed wildness and sensuality banished to the unconscious it could only emerge in the way it did in animosity and aversion toward women who were overtly sexy – the polar opposite of the image she had constructed for her personal protection. Her therapy work involved taking back her projections onto the young women at work and of course others too and living into and owning the sensual, sexually attractive, vibrant woman she really was.

Phillip: Unfulfilled Life

A 52-year old man called Phillip had worked in menial jobs all his life. In therapy session he brought an extraordinary dream. A golden winged man flew into his home and presented him with a silver ball. Phillip, feeling uncertain, dropped the ball and it smashed into pieces. The golden winged man simply smiled and presented Phillip with another identical ball. The smashed ball represented the shame and humiliation which had shattered his dreams of an academic life. In school years Phillip had a series of seminal damaging encounters with insensitive sadistic teachers who had severely criticized his work and poor academic performance. Shying away from such treatment and the hurt and pain it brought him, he had chosen the safer route of unskilled physical work which carried no high expectations or savage censure. Since he had reached his fifties however he had a nagging feeling, an insistent sense of the lack of fulfillment in his life, perhaps something could yet be accomplished, some inner thirst satiated.

Sheila had projected her innate sexuality; Phillip had disowned his intellectual side. Each had to re-own these parts of themselves in order to attain inner wholeness and integration. Clients will always have a disowned or projected aspect of themselves which they see in others and interact with in their relationships. Re-owning these parts over time results in inner integration, the condition of psychological wholeness.

Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [email protected].

Blog entry #175


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