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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

Shot Through With Transcendence

by Richard Harvey on 11/19/19


You cannot be in the valley and the on the mountaintop, you cannot study in the university and attend the kindergarten, you cannot participate in daytime and nighttime simultaneously. There is a period of preparation which follows the shedding of the defense and destruction of personality and that period of preparation is a kind of ordeal or testing for your ability to live in freedom. Until you have passed through these processes these stages of human growth, development, and multiple awakenings your spiritual practice may be pleasurable, relaxing, health-giving, and pleasant, but it is not the eternal sadhana, not the spiritual practice of true devotion to the sacred and the spiritual, to merging in oneness with the Divine Source.

My stages, as with my teachings as a whole, are not Truth. These teachings are a way, a method. If they work for you, then practice them. If they don't work for you, leave them. Today in particular you can always find another set of practices, philosophy and methodology. The one you follow will choose you and you will feel it's rightness for you. Your heart will engage, your soul will be stimulated. You will feel physically, mentally, and emotionally the great relief of being able to finally shed your anxieties and your worries about being saved, about becoming free through rising above fear. You will have an inner sense of knowing that it has already been done for you. Thus the true spiritual teaching is not one of search or seeking or striving or doing anything at all incrementally, progressively, or through levels of attainment. On the contrary, the true spiritual teaching is the wordless teaching of love and wisdom that is eternal, that doesn't merely speak of the eternal, but is at one with the eternal. You merge with the teacher, the teaching, and the arising of events in the material world and transcend them not physically, but spiritually, so that you become a living model of what it means for this world of duality to be shot through with transcendence. Those who choose the three-stage model of human awakening are tending toward this state, this condition-less state of perfect freedom, as a reflection of the Divine. Do not be interested in my model or anything else I have to say, if it doesn't invigorate you in soul and heart, if you don't sense Truth here. Try another way. Ultimately all ways lead to the Source, however they may go by very different terrain, very different routes.

If you look deeply, not merely in sound bites, short quotations, or accounts of what someone else has written about them, but if you look deeply into the methods and the teachings of spiritual teachers, there is a tremendous and rich diversity. Christ spoke and taught very differently to the Buddha. Ramakrishna was different in approach and advice to Sai Baba. Look at Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Vivekananda, or Krishnanmurti. Very often the ideas contained in their teachings are contradictory, so that you couldn't possibly merge them or set them alongside each other as confluent. Today we can discover the path that suits us since as specific examples of collective humanity we are remarkably diverse, are we not?

 

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 #180


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


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