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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

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


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

The Security of Resistance

by Richard Harvey on 05/16/19

There is a feeling of great security in resistance. Resistance gives us that solid sense of refusal, of the hard, reassuring solidity of a wall when our back is pressed up against it. Our backs against the wall feels good, it evokes the Americanism – the expression when a friend has “got our back,” meaning they are looking out for us. But whether we are looking back into the past, wanting to run backward, having someone watch our back, watching someone else’s back, or wanting back what we have given away or lost, any reference whatsoever to the past is dying – dying in order to be reborn as our new self, our true self, our natural identity before the conditioning, the indoctrination, and the struggle to survive in life came about and absorbed our spontaneity, our vibrancy, and our responsiveness to existence.

We are called upon to be self-referring, to be truly adult, to be not authoritarian but authoritative. To rely on our inner knowing as well as our inner unknowing is a demand now and it relies in turn on the bringing together of our unconscious and conscious worlds, our inner and outer worlds, past and future into the relative present, as our wholeness and our daring strives to overcome our resistance.

Dreams of Birth

People at this stage may have experience important dreams of giving birth. These dreams may help to describe and point out where they are still holding on. Here is one such dream:

I am in labor in a dark hospital room. My sister is assisting the female doctor who has performed some intervention in order to deliver the baby. But I don’t seem to see the baby, he is not really there. I am furious because I had devised a birth plan in which I stated I wanted a natural birth. The doctor is sewing me up because I have torn and I realize that the placenta in still inside. I begin to scream and tell my sister to stop it but she doesn’t seem to hear me and the sewing up carries on.

This dream expresses the fears the dreamer has about transformation. The new birth is the transformational process; the baby represents the transformed self. Transformation has not yet occurred hence the lack of attention to the baby or the unreality of it since he doesn’t appear in the dream. The dreamer fears that she may not be able to trust the birth process. She is worried that all her plans, predictions, and preferences for the birth or transforming will be ignored. Not only that she is anxious that the process will not be complete and that everything will be sewn up, or finished with the source of her baby’s nutrients, the placenta (which represents her therapy, her inner work which nourished her inner journey and brought her to this point) concealed and atrophying inside her, perhaps poisoning her… that her entire inner journey will have been for no purpose at all like a placenta discarded, no longer useful. The sister who appears in the dream represents poignamt betrayal, particularly because she was close to her in waking life.

Dreams of Making Love

Dreams of birth go hand in hand with dreams of love-making and intimacy as we approach the threshold. Here is an example; the dreamer is the same woman:

I am making love with my first boyfriend, Sean. We have had a lot of difficulty attempting to be alone together and now it is lovely, beautiful, and very sensual. The windows are wide open and I begin to feel a little uncertain about people looking in and seeing us. It is Sunday morning and I am due to be at church. I’m not sure who I want to please, but I feel a lot of pressure to attend the church service, when really I want to stay in bed with Sean.

The first boyfriend refers to first love – original primal love, which is psychologically the love of ourselves in our whole form or pure form, unsullied by life’s insinuations or insults. At the brink of transformation the dreamer refers back to the closest, nearest event of a primal nature in her life. Making love symbolizes union (remembering other kinds of sexual activity are likely to symbolize something else). The windows are open showing us that the dreamer is concerned or unconfident about others or perhaps about being seen, perhaps in her transformed state. She is concerned about what she will become when she has passed the Threshold.

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 #174

Statements of Presence

by Richard Harvey on 04/16/19

People carry some dominant theme through their statement of presence. This theme is the summation of their overall impression. It may be, I am not here: the face is vacant in expression; the physical body makes no impact and is energetically dull. It could be, I am excited, or overexcited, to be here: there is expectancy, anticipation, and you may feel drawn into the transaction. It may be, Look at this huge weight I am carrying, as the client slowly sits in the seat with apparently great effort and the very air has to move as the words release from their mouth. It can be the seductive and endearing, You will like me and it is imperative that you find me attractive: the client plays with facial expressions and physical poses and postures, expressing with the face, legs, hands, and feet, and the torso in an orchestrated attempt to incite positive feeling.

Other dominant presenting themes include: I am interesting because I am full of secrets, I am haunted, Don’t touch me or I will break, You’re not as good as (my dad, my previous therapist, my old boyfriend), or the disdainful You’re just not good enough.

Primary Modes of Access

Each of us favors one of the three centers – mental, emotional, and physical – as a way to encounter life. Some of us lead the encounter with our minds, some with our hearts, and others with our physical bodies. Those of us who favor the mind are systematic, organized, and analytical. We approach events conceptually and rationally. Emotionally-led people may strike us as irrational or unreasonable and physically-led people we may judge as inferior or at least more basic than us.

Those of us who favor the heart are emotional and often demonstratively spontaneous. We tend to find mentally-focused people over-complex, dry, and guarded. The physically-led person appears reckless and shallow, as they meet life events with mere intention and motivation, lacking in emotion, which appears colorless and futile to the emotionally-dominated person.

The physically-led person is tactile, strong, and will-centered. They may be involved with Tai Chi, martial arts, sports, marathon running, or yoga. If they are it will be a powerful pursuit for them, an intense and necessary part of their life in which they experience themselves in a connected and significant way. Mental people are too airy for the physically-centered person, although they may secretly admire them. People with mental access move and communicate in a world of mystery and obscurity to the person with primary physical access. To some degree similarly, the emotionally led person is a bewildering event, exhibiting overmuch feeling, passion, and sensitivity with no active justification.

Know yourself and know your clients, using your body awareness to understand more deeply how the world and others in it appear.

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 #173

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