The Center for Human Awakening BLOG



Center for Human Awakening BLOG
The Center for Human Awakening
The Center for Human Awakening
~ The Psycho-Spiritual Teachings of Richard Harvey ~
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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

When The Spiritual Teacher Appears

by Richard Harvey on 08/14/20

Photo Credit: Pexels.com - Thai Nhan

The seeker or wayfarer through life waits in despair, disillusionment, and emptiness, without expectation, without anything to hold onto, with nothing. He cries out in silence, into space, a non-receptive space… and the sound merely echoes back at him. Some of you have been here. You will recognize this place, this endlessness, this emptiness, this waste land at the end of hope.

It is here that the spiritual teacher appears. His label is unimportant. He is beyond labeling. He appears out of the ocean, out of the sky, out of the mist. He appears on the earth, strange and yet somehow familiar. He is distant and intimate at the same time. He is like music and he has a certain taste, a taste you have forgotten. He is alien to you, but close, angry, peaceful, serious, and funny. He is beautiful, whether he is lovely or ugly. He is both woman and man. He fascinates you in all ways and you would like to be like him, in defiance of all that you previously desired or aspired to. He is exotic and ordinary, plain and complicated, simple and elaborate. You cannot pin him down. He will not respond to your death-forces. He will not be annihilated by your definitions, but you need to define him, to nail him down in a coffin or up on a cross, to allot evil or virtues to him. He is somehow beyond both. He may bless you with his curses or curse you with his blessings. He is here and remote, nearby yet distant, pleasant and embarrassing at the same time. You cannot perceive him; you cannot conceive of him and yet he is before you, a reflection, perhaps a mirror, a mirage, a chimera, a monstrous apparition, or a vision of divinity.

The spiritual teacher, in reality, is a hole. This hole is an opening; the spiritual teacher is a hole into another world. He stands at the borderline of time and space with eternity. He beckons to you and, because you are ready, you can see him. The process of questioning and soul-searching has brought you to an empty receptivity. You are now available to hear the call. The Philozovo is the passionate response to the call of the divine, the abandonment of all you hold dear, even your very belief in yourself… and as you leave all this happily, unselfconsciously, you are not even thinking. You are already whole. The promise has been made flesh; the word has been made corporeal.

Traditionally and contemporarily there is no alternative to the spiritual teacher, the guide to shepherd you through the veils. Traditionally this has always been the case and it remains so. Difficult though this may be to the ego mind, it is a fact and one for which we should be grateful rather than resentful.

The complex, sophisticated, modern human relies on a little knowledge of profound topics, is absorbed in egoic processes, self-importance, and unsurpassed individuality. We are more complex and impenetrable than ever before. We are able to perform magic tricks and sleight of hand. We can think ourselves into situations, emotions, and reactions that would have astounded previous generations of humanity. Sexual, powerful, subliminal messages manipulate and dominate our consciousness, just as we in turn intimidate and manipulate through the appearance of power, strength, or vulnerability. We are truly victimized by our own deceit and delusion of control. The modern individual has fallen victim to his or her own manipulations and thought has subjugated us.

The Spiritual Teacher Is Yourself

The spiritual teacher is yourself or as it has traditionally been put he is the mirror in which you see yourself as you are, as you would like to be, human and divine, possibility and actuality, imperfections and perfections, relative and absolute, in all your great complexity. Nothing is spared you as you look into this mirror, particularly your ambivalence. Your self-importance reflexes with your lack of self-worth as your self-inflation reflects your self-perceived insignificance.

Inner work is the hope for humanity. If it becomes a universal pursuit, the value of self-knowledge will be understood to be without substitute. The work of inner ecology, balance, insight, and clarity will light the way to environmental, global, international, sociological, psychological and of course spiritual balance through tolerance, co-operation and peace.

Human beings are essentially spiritual in nature. Our mental, physical, emotional, energetic forms are given life by the spirit. We create, and inhabit our world through our consciousness. If our consciousness is based on survival and animalistic concerns, preservation of the species in its tribal appearances, on creature comforts and establishing family units, and finally in the satisfaction of our basic, unexamined, instinctual needs and desires, the world will persist in its present expression of base qualities, ignorance, and animalistic barbarism. War, perversions, violence, inhuman treatment of our fellow men, women and children, repression of natural base instincts, lack of insight and understanding, unconcern for the Earth, lack of skill in dealing with political issues, lack of tolerance, co-operation, and peaceful ways conducive to harmony, hate, anger and callousness prevail. Perhaps not in your neighborhood, but look around the world and you can see that for millions life is a pitiable ordeal without forgiveness, consideration, or love.

Sometimes it might seem as if we have been poured into a pit of hell or purgatory, just waiting in line for torture, suffering, and eventual slaughter. Why wait? The physical, mental, and biological suffering of millions in the Third World is reflected in the mental, psychological, and emotional suffering of millions in the First World. It is a comparable suffering of the inner person. Here is a posting recently placed on a chat room on the Internet entitled “Why does life suck, what to do, and does love even exist?”:

Why does life suck so bad? Every time I try something the world shits on me. I have friends but they’re in the same situation as me. We have conversations about how nothing good comes to us and how the world treats us like we’re garbage. Sometimes things seem to look up, but only for a moment, just enough to build up my hope and faith. Then the world shits on me again. I have a job but I hate even going to work. I get paid very little to get treated like crap all day. I have never had a girlfriend. When I meet someone I like, they like someone else. They don't want to be in a relationship with me or they just ignore and forget me. I don’t believe love exists. Is it real or is it just a bullshit charade that the world has invented to make people like me and my friends feel like rubbish? I have tried taking advice from people thousands of times, but it’s always the same advice and it never works. I am a Christian. I pray in both good times and bad. Things start to look up for a day or two, then it’s back down to the same bullshit. What the fuck do I do?

This man’s hell is surely partly of his own making, but arguably he is in tune with the present state of the world. His anger and resentment, frustration and derision come over loud and clear. In a hell of his and the world’s making he boils in the oil of hatred and probably daily he sinks lower into an abyss of despair.

We, who are moving closer to the light and who aspire to spiritual enlightenment, can marginalize this man and people like him, sidestep him for his ignorance and lack of understanding. But when we realize our oneness and our interconnectedness with all beings and with all of life, we see that healing—true healing—compels us to care, without prejudice. Jesus of Nazareth said. “Whatever you do unto the least of my brethren, you do unto me,” which is amplified in the common maxim: “The true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable members of their society.” 

Does it surprise you at all if I say categorically that the most beneficial act you can offer to the most vulnerable is the powerful act of entering the crucible of awakening and burning within it?

For there is another place of travail, another hot spot for submerging yourself in fiery emotions and confronting yourself. But it is a positive one: the crucible of awakening is where the journey of self-discovery happens, where you cross over the threshold with awareness and change. It is the sphere of your own life lived with awareness, deep acceptance, and the enthusiasm to grow into wonder and devotion.

 

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 #195

What Is The Essence Of A Human Being?

by Richard Harvey on 08/04/20

Photo Credit: pexels.com - Brett Sayles

Let us start by looking at life in a very basic way, by dismantling all that we have thought or believed, and by considering things as they are without adornment, without being partisan or prejudiced. To be clear and aware we must be non-judgmental. What is the human state and condition? What do we really know? How did we get here? Where are we going? Is there anything beyond what we think, hear, see, and feel and what, if anything, is ultimately real?

By the time we get to where we are at present, we have learned much. We have suffered. We have experienced elation and misery and many stations in between. We have been born and in time we will die. In between we live and chase happiness and feel miserable sometimes and fear and desire things. We experience changing conditions. We can be many different beings all within one day, one hour, even change extremely within one minute, seconds even. What is the essence of a human being? What, if anything, is real or unchanging? When you notice how varied and diverse you are and how changeable, it looks like you and I are merely conventions, just a convenience, a label for an amalgamation of characteristics, patterns, habits, and reactions.

Who am I?

Who am I? Who am I really? What is reality and if I have to ask that question does it mean that this—where I am now—is less than real or unreal? Should I even seek an answer to these questions? Maybe I should simply live with the questions or embrace the mystery.

Is there anything that I am absolutely certain of—I, you, they, love, the other, heart, beyond, the numinous? What is experience beyond words, beyond language and concepts, labels and knowledge, and prejudice and wisdom? What is wisdom? Un-knowing? What is anything? Does any of it matter?

I came into this world or did I? Could this have been the start of the fiction of my life, of my struggle and suffering, of my becoming? Maybe no one truly is here? Is this cause for despair or cause for joy? If there is no one here, no one can suffer and feel pain, and in time die. But if no death then no life and if none of these, what then? I cannot truly conceive of the Truth. The Truth is illusive. The Truth is another concept. The Truth is really not a label, or a convention—or rather if it is then I have returned, I am back again in a sort of nothingness, a place from which there may be no escape.

And I am so busy with life and its habits, responsibilities, and chores to keep the body alive—the body which I am so attached to and continuous with, my body, the body that is me, isn’t it? I have to indulge it and be responsible for its upkeep.

I am… I am not…

It seems the basics absorb me and account for my time. I have looked into a mirror and seen myself as a basic organism of fears, needs, and desires. Now, when will these needs be set aside, seen to, satisfied? That time has never come, may never come, will never come. I will probably spend my whole life in a basic concern with self, self, self, self. I will see self all around me. It appears as others, as events and circumstances, moods and hues, swells and troughs, inclement weather or pleasant surroundings. I am what this is all about; that much is clear. But what this I is, I have no idea.

A blind man searches in the dark, a deaf man searches in the silence, a mute man cries out to the void, a limbless man reaches out in delusion. I am a blind, deaf, mute, limbless man. I have no sense and no reference points, no ways out and no ways in, no means to go ahead and no ways to return or go back. I know not from where I came, nor to where I am going. I don’t know up from down, disaster from success, euphoria from ennui. I am… not I am… I am 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 #194

Who Weeps for God?

by Richard Harvey on 07/11/20

Photo Credit: pexels.com - Eckhard Pemsl

Let us borrow from other voices in other times as a way of seeing where we are going and what we are going toward.

Ramakrishna said, “Can you weep for Him with intense longing of heart? Men shed a jugful of tears for the sake of their children, for their wives, or for money. But who weeps for God?”

Malebranche said, “… men neglect [self-knowledge] completely. And even among those who busy themselves with this knowledge there are very few who dedicate themselves to it—and still fewer who successfully dedicate themselves to it.”

and…

Gandhi said, “God is absolute truth. I am a human; I only understand relative truth. So, my understanding of truth can change from day to day. And my commitment must be to truth rather than consistency.”

When I took delivery of my second computer (the first one was given me by a friend; it only did digits and letters) it was a major logistical event. Several sizeable cardboard boxes appeared out of the back of the delivery van. Luckily I had a medium-to-large room for my study and therapy space in those days. Just the same the boxes filled a large area. On inspection, each box was full of polystyrene moulds with light grey casings at the center. Once I had unpacked the boxes and arrayed the PC, keyboard, printer, scanner, and monitor over the desk and tables, and the cables, plugs, and paraphernalia all over the floor, there was the manuals, the guarantees and brochures, and finally the instructions booklets for connecting the hardware.

I had seen this written material before. Posing like books and looking as philosophically opaque as the texts on the shelves of a university professor, they were actually quite simple, even simplistic. Even so if you didn’t read this material fully you were in dire trouble. So with pictures, diagrams, and numbered and sub-numbered points you dredged through this highly tedious material. Sometimes after several pages you caught the drift and inserted a jack plug or a din plug into some opening in the back of something, which was a significant triumph.

Once you had got everything up and running you became an expert. You could have written the manual—probably better. These books, though I kept them for longer than I shall admit, were lined up beside my “real” books, partly so I could feel secure in case anything went wrong and partly to impress visitors with my computer literacy (rarer then than it is today). Thus these IT books became a fetish.

When I picked up my latest computer I slid it under my arm and walked out of the shop. No books, no manuals, no instructions. We know now that computers are a reflection, a continuation of our brains and senses. It’s best not to think when you use a computer and you certainly don’t need a manual anymore. Computers are technology, simply a ways and means to achieve a goal.

Meditation, spiritual method, practice, belief, cultism, religion, sangha, dharma, karma, bhakti, shakti, gnana, hatha yoga, non-dualism—like those old IT manuals, are all ways and means, maps of the roads—really just spiritual technology. If they don’t get you there, they’re not much use—in fact they’re useless. Like an old mechanical manual for a car that is no longer in production that nobody owns anymore. I have known people who fetishized their old sports cars, like others fetishize their TM, zazen, Dzogchen, Wicca, or barong dancing.

Your spiritual practice, your sacred life should not be a preference, a fetish, an anachronistic attachment to a romanticized cult figure or a fixation on some beliefs, merely a “spiritual” extension of your ego. Your spiritual-sacred practice should be teeming with life, vibrancy, health, energetic and enthusiastic, living and breathing. There are, like all things, ways to get there and ways to foul up, procrastinate, stall and backslide.

The computer manuals, fetishizing, and pic’n’mix spirituality [from last time?]—what do they show us tell us about humanity’s connection to the Divine? It tells us that not only is the connection missing but it’s misunderstood, that the spiritual has become material, that we have become indoctrinated by scientism, the cult of belief, our terror of our own fears and desires, our resistance to being who we are. Our own decrepit defenses against egocentricity have cast us out of heaven, out of authentic relationship, and finally out of ourselves. Human beings have become the hollow men with “Eyes [they] dare not meet in dreams…” as T S Eliot wrote:

The eyes are not here

There are no eyes here

In this valley of dying stars

In this hollow valley

This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places

We grope together

And avoid speech

Ironically your greatest spiritual asset is what appears to be your greatest obstacle: your obsession with yourself. Today we live in the age of individualism. But this age of the individual is far from straightforward. Obsessed as we are with ourselves, addicted as we are to our own self-importance, self-indulgence, and self-aggrandizement, we have the means, the power, and the strength in our possession. These are contained in our obsession and addiction to ourself. If we can only harness the power of obsession and addiction, and redirect it toward the Divine in no time at all we would be free!

But is this what we truly want? Do we—can we—truly weep for God, as Ramakrishna asks? Weeping for people and things, all of which will fade and pass, are we able to give heart-recognition to the deathless, to the eternal, to the Divine?

And do we give our attention appropriately and sufficiently to our spiritual awakening, arguably the only thing of ultimate value, the only thing that really matters? When and if we do, can we sustain our discipline and obedience to the higher calling, as Malebranche asks?

And finally, can we live the human life, the fully human life, the one in which we allow the divine to manifest through our humanness—not in spite of our humanness—and live within the contradictions and paradoxes that bring us to the very edge of experience, the precipice of the sensible world, the reality and expression of eternity in the field of space and time, as Gandhiji spoke for and taught and lived.

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 #193

The Flowering Of A Human Life

by Richard Harvey on 06/11/20


Let me refer again to the Three Stages of Awakening. These descriptions are my attempt to provide an accurate, clarifying response to questions and bewilderment about the mysteries that human beings, men and women, seem to have in these confusing times. My short response or answer is that in transcending the limitations of your personality you embrace open-heartedness and compassionate life and, transcending even that elevation of heart, mind, and action, enter a preparatory period of ordeal and testing in order to begin your spiritual discipline or sadhana. The first stage of awakening is thus the stage of the hero, the adventurer, the Parsifal or human being in the relative world who conforms to the present mythology of call, adventure, and return.

Almost all people are presently in this stage of their growth and development.

Those few who have developed past the stage of psychological wholeness and personal transformation into the second stage of awakening are the human beings who know what it is like to fulfill the potential and some of the capacity of a human being. They have developed into the present stage of psycho-biological life and are free to meet the challenges of their adult lives, without being hampered by anachronistic behavior and attachments, by unresolved baggage and conditioning from the past, in particular natal, childhood, and early life experience. They develop in heart-centeredness, awareness, and wisdom and achieve the flowering of a human life in all its clarity, brightness, loving kindness, and compassion.

The Fourth Stage Of Human Awakening: Mahanamen

For those who are presently inclined toward spiritual life, sacred existence, and timeless wisdom, the preparation for sacred-spiritual life is indicated and it involves the complete relinquishment of human heart-centered existence, very much in the same way as the transformation between the first and the second stages of awakening required the sacrifice of the childhood ego-self.

Through grace, the individual who completes the primary sadhana of spiritual preparation enters into the spiritual life of devotion and surrender, without any obstacles between him or herself and the Divine in the form of the teacher, the teachings, the ceremonies, or the formless aspects of the Divine Source, as it plays in the world of form. He or she is without identity, ambition, and beyond search or seeking.

The culmination or assembled endeavor of my three stages of awakening constitute the fourth level of the spiritual autobiography, but the blossoming into the life of devotion and surrender constitute a fourth stage of awakening and this I have called Mahanamen. In the fourth stage, Mahanamen, the Divine Presence resides in every heart and this again relates to the first three levels of spiritual autobiography, the three major teachings of the three great adepts, and the three stages of awakening.

In the life of perpetual sadhana in our present existence which surpasses even death itself, the foundational ground of the Divine Person resides in the psycho-physical organism in the will center or the pelvis, the feet of the Divine Person stand in the physical heart-center or chest, and the Divine Heart-Mind appears energetically and symbolically above the physical organism altogether, but perceived by those who are awakened.

The physical and energetic heart center itself consists of three "centers." At the left side is the individual heart, experienced in the usual waking state of separation. On the right side is the universally conscious, heart-sense of spiritual awakening. In the center is the heart of wholeness of the psycho-physical organism which is the heart we refer to when we talk about rising into the heart chakra.

Thus, the left-hand side of the heart corresponds to individual identity and appearance in space-time, the central heart to the dreaming state or meeting of conscious and unconscious, and the right-hand side heart to the universal or supra-personal heart or awakened Self.

Mahanamen may appear in the world as the enlightened individual who has transcended individuality, in which the heart is saturated with the divine nectar and whose brightness distinguishes her or him from the human being who is in the process of search, seeking, or individual awakening.


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 #192

The Impersonal Realization of the Divine

by Richard Harvey on 06/03/20


Each of the great teachings—the liberation of mind, from desire, and from self-delusion—constitute the principle themes of the teachings of the great avataric masters Krishna, Buddha and Jesus... or more correctly the Avatar, the Buddha and the Christ known as Krishna, Gautama, and Jesus. These teachings were sometimes often conveyed in esoteric inner circles while more general, exoteric or outward societal teachings were expressed freely. In addition each of these great presences attracted legends and mythological stories, optionally fact or fiction, which attached to them and embellished a life narrative or spiritual biography. These stories of events, interactions, tests, and ordeals are often interchangeable in regard to the teachings they convey and may or may not be related to the central esoteric teachings that distinguished them and formed the heart of their mission and communication to humanity.

Indeed the stories when taken at face value may even conflict with the teachings in a fundamental sense and in the sense of the effect they have had on humanity. These stories, generalized or possibly specific, tend to create a feeling, a sense of individual presence of the personality and character of the adepts. This personal sense of those great beings who were fundamentally distinguished by the impersonal realization of the Divine in their present lifetimes naturally becomes obsolete in the condition of realization. However, obsessed as we are with individuality, the personal self, the conflicts and estrangement between separate entities in the world, we project onto these "personalities" certain characteristics of attraction and repulsion, of agreement and wariness, of adulation and idolization, and these of course are all the prerequisite for the creation of a cult.

The Divine Person in Every Heart

A cult is not an authentic spiritual grouping or endeavor. A cult is a grouping based on the attraction to a central personality and to a specific teaching or dogma, a set of beliefs and behaviors which followers conform to. Over the last one hundred or so years cults have proliferated overwhelmingly in all areas of life. They do and always have served partisanship, prejudice, and intolerance and since they enliven the lower chakra centers of hostility and survival they have been and remain the basic reason for much, if not all, of humanity's mistreatment of humanity.

We do not need another cult. We should begin to wean ourselves off our attachment to cults, to cultish beliefs and dogma of all kinds, to cultish leaders, behaviors, rites and ceremonies. You have certainly got such attachments. In particular, if you find yourself listening to this and saying to yourself, he must be referring to the other people, then please look again!

We do not need another cult, but we do need to prepare individually, collectively and as a race for transformation. This transformation is our liberation, our saving, and our realization. Just so, it fulfills the teachings of the Perennial Tradition, the long-established convention of spiritual searching. It completes these teachings and the eclectic derivatives of choose-some-leave-some, "pop," spiritual perspective so predominant and favored in the last fifty years or more.

 

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 #191


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