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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

Fear and Desire

by Richard Harvey on 02/20/20


In spite of the indoctrination of thousands of years, in each wondrous, individual human being there still lies a spark. This spark is greater than the spark of decency to do the right thing, to behave in the right way, to be moral or religious or selfless or self-sacrificing and all the apparent virtues you and I were taught to aspire to. We were taught to aspire to being good, conformist, acceptable, handle-able, tame, domesticated, and to forsake our wildness, our impulses, our ability to feel powerfully and express creatively and be individualistic, even anarchic. The spark I am speaking about is the spark of self-referral, of natural and whole intelligence, heart intelligence, intuition, higher instinctual nature, inner wisdom, authenticity, compassion, and love. These are not merely beautiful descriptions and they are not qualities for society to commandeer, to kidnap on our behalf and then feed back to us in a processed, sanitized form whereby we cannot go too far, too distant from the proposed "norm" of the normalizing society that—and please open your eyes and ears to this—has no interest whatsoever in your essential well-being, in the health and manifestation of your essence, since your becoming self-referring through contact with your essence makes you ungovernable, unsafe, a liability. You become uncontrollable, volatile, while the society is based on power dynamics, on subjugation. Slavery is not abolished, violence and prostitution, unhappiness, conflict, despair, and unthinkable struggle and misery are not something our politicians and our governments are fighting against in our name, in the name of the common human being, in our interest. On the contrary, the powers that proclaim they are acting in our interest are causing the harmful present situations in the world, both directly and indirectly, because they are concerned about world economy, world power dynamics, superior power, acting out of fear, creating the very enemies that we are then indoctrinated to fear and, as anyone with an inkling of understanding of how to control the masses must know, fear is the most powerful weapon they have, so fear and desire are used to control and turn people into puppies.

Content With the Smallest Things

When you withdraw from the education, advertising, social norms and mores, ways of acceptable behavior that govern your ideas about relationship and survival, how to live, how to love, how to be, relate, and behave—all the indoctrination you were raised with and taught to believe—you enter an inner space of self-referral. Instead of looking outside to schooling, politics, socialization, conformist groupings, and societal organizations for your reference, you look inside. You become content with the smallest things. You learn to love, to become familiar with self-love, with your inner knowing sense, with wisdom, innate and unbounded. Simple acts and simple pleasures proliferate and blossom in your life: talking to a close friend over a cup of tea, walking or cycling in the forest, rambling in the countryside, watching the sky at night, sitting with closed eyes and taking in the universe, allowing love to flow in and out of you, delighting in your very breath coursing in and out of your wondrous physical form. The pleasures and acts of fulfillment are endless and not one of them has a single thing to do with the economy or the politics of power or anything that your parent politicians who act in your name, for your own good, in your interest, are concerned about. How do you legislate for contemplation? What are the politics of happiness? What sanctions can you put on personal insight? How much money can you make from people who are already happy and not discontent? How can you oppress and subjugate people who possess an inner sense of their own authority?

You cannot make money out of an individual who is self-referring. You cannot exert power over such a person. You cannot indoctrinate him. You cannot control her. You cannot turn them into slaves or into collective, working, functioning automatons becoming insane for society, mad in the name of self-sacrifice and duty and so-called responsibility. Today the statistics for mental disorder are extraordinarily high. Take a look at them. The world has gone mad. The society is infectious. People become mad in response to a mad world. My life, for example, by modern standards is relatively simple, because I have made it that way. I have chosen it. But tax returns, phone bills, mobile phone bills accompanied by money saving options every month to try and digest, ordering plane tickets, credit card statements, bank transfers, internet tasks, emailing, purchasing gifts for occasions proscribed by state and church at Christmas, Ramadan, birthdays, anniversaries, births and funerals, mortgage repayments, purchasing food, maintaining transport with road tax, motor insurance, state required testing, life insurance, house insurance, holiday insurance, paying rent for your house and office, maintaining your property, paying plumbers, builders, serviceman, being available for deliveries, inspections, meetings concerning payments, benefits, social security... when all these on top of your occupation, your career, your job are performed and carried out how much time have you left to eat, to wash, to see your family, the people you live with, dress yourself, organize yourself for the day ahead... how much time is left?

 

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 #182


The World of Three

by Richard Harvey on 12/23/19


We live in the World of Three. I call this obvious, simple, relative world the World of Three, because there's always one, another, and something in between. For example, I talking to you and so on. Because we live in this World of Three, responsibility, like awareness and love, seem to incline toward an object. Yet love, awareness, and responsibility are far more than players in a relational dynamic, a billiard ball hitting another billiard ball in a world of determinism along some continuum of purpose and futility.

Nothing Happens Without You

When we allow responsibility to touch us in our heart and our soul, something extraordinary takes place. Instead of being bewildered by the opportunities we might take and the opportunities we might miss to act responsibly, give responsibly, intervene or solve problems responsibly, we reside in the truth of our continuity with not only all that arises but the very Consciousness in which all arises. Rather than being identified with objects in a basket we are the basket and even more and, just a slight step further, we are the matrix in which the basket and its objects arise.

Responsibility is about spontaneity, being your natural self, and Consciousness, but ultimately responsibility is about Unity. You are responsible for everything, no exceptions. Now in this expansive significance of responsibility it means that nothing happens without your participation, your love, your creation, your need and desire, your compassion, your hate and violence, your tenderness and empathy. Nothing happens without you.

I as the other; the other as myself. Ultimately there is no other. Your awareness flies out of the realm of the personal and soars into higher realms, higher powers, a higher perspective.

You Don't Get Out Of Here That Easily!

Now in non-duality, the teachings of non-duality, this soaring, this disintegration of the illusion seems to be the goal. What could be higher than this annihilation of the world as illusion, as falsehood, for the reality of the ephemeral space, the teachings embodied in the formless person residing now in the post-temporal Absolute. Here is the realization of the non-dualists, the spiritual approach that seems to have become so prevalent today.

But you don't get out of here that easily! I urge you to love, live and be in this world. Even if your spiritual practice takes you to the highest climes of Conscious attainment, to the far reaches of space and eternity itself, forsake it all for this world, because you are only here for a short time... a very short time. It would be an act of perfect ingratitude not to enjoy the holiday... to not serve and explore Truth, Joy, and Satisfaction here in the realm of sadness, to not take responsibility for your enormous wisdom, the depths of the illumination you have brought with you here into this world that belongs here, that teaches and transforms and models the divine heart in the form of a human being.

In order to do this, take responsibility. Dispel the veils of thought and other and worldly delusion. Why? Because you are not separate from anything at all. Are you in the world or is the world in you?

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 #181


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


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