Setbacks as Blessings; Blessings as Setbacks : Center for Human Awakening BLOG
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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.

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

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