Richard Harvey—Psychotherapist, Author and Spiritual Teacher

Richard Harvey

connecting psychotherapy and spiritual growth for human awakening
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Choosing A Single Spiritual Discipline

At some point you commit yourself to a single spiritual discipline – and let it be the one that is directed by your heart, because the quality of your relationship to that path is the most important and crucial issue about it. Whether it is better than others is irrelevant; whether it is the path of your heart is the only consideration.

There are many ways, but only one must be chosen and that will get you there. Now you know that a modern malaise is that we are spoiled for choice. Only really during the last fifty years has this possibility arisen with the ready availability of sacred texts and our global knowledge of religious and spiritual cultures. Now we speak in a defensive, liberal, allowing way out of religious tolerance and political correctness, in case people should take offence, with God alternatively titled Source, Spirit, the Divine, and so on. But let me ask you this, as a test of what I am saying about having to choose – if you are in a relationship, a special love relationship with another person and you are sharing an intimate moment, what happens if you address her as Amelia, Sheila, or Mandy when her name is Sarah? What happens if you address him as Norman, Paul, Michael and his name were Rodrigo or James or Alan? Please think about this. Absurd as the scenario sounds, this is what we have grown used to. This is how we behave with not just a loved one, but with Love itself!

It will not do. It is not alright. It is rude, indecorous, bad manners. It is an expression of sacred practice to call God by Her/His real names. Now there are many. God’s name may in fact be all names, but this is the objective view. Your relationship with God is subjective; you draw God toward you in a passionate unity until you have surrendered everything. So what name will you call him? Rama, Mother, Yahweh, Elohim, Allah, Abba, Ishwar, Brahma, Bodhi, Hu, Adi Purush, Bhagavan, Nirankar, Oya, Ahura Mazda, Master?

It is a very widespread phenomenon that spiritual seekers and students hop from one discipline to the other, especially when the one they were practicing starts to bring real changes and provide real challenges. This hopping from one approach to the other or being involved in several approaches at the same time is good for only one thing: scattering your energy and effort and making sure you remain in superficial inner work. Exploring and trying out disciplines is perfectly fine when you are seeking the path of your heart, but once you have found it, you must commit yourself and open up to the whole process of unfoldment, which inevitable entails discipline.

This article is an excerpt from Richard Harvey’s book Your Divine Opportunity.


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This article was published on this site in March 2024.

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