connecting psychotherapy and spiritual growth for human awakening
How the Novena Teachings came into being
The Novena Teachings: Nine Jewels of Sacred Approach with Richard Harvey is a series of online lectures delivered between September 2013 and January 2014. The lecture titles are:
A novena is nine days of devotional prayer to invoke spiritual grace and sacred favor. The novena implies a sense of urgency and spiritual longing. The practice originated in the Greek and Roman custom in which families performed nine days of mourning after the death of a loved one. This was followed by a feast. In the Roman Catholic faith novenas are associated with the prayers of the apostles and Mother Mary in the upper room prior to the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of the Pentecost.
For this fourth series of online talks I have selected nine topics which came to me spontaneously. Partly I had on my mind some feedback from past lecture participants who, when I had asked what topics they were interested to hear about, had mentioned some of them. But most of all I did what I always do: I closed my eyes and allowed the words to come.
This is my method of composing the lectures too. In my first online talks I simply jotted down some loose themes on a piece of paper and for about an hour I would improvise around the subject and follow the course that revealed itself very much like wandering down some country track you had never walked before.
At the end of that original handful of online lectures, a new idea arose. I realized that if I wrote the lectures first I could assemble a body of written material that could be used in other ways, for example to create a book.
I was however reluctant to forfeit the spontaneity and immediacy. But I found as I wrote that, much the same as with my other writings, if I simply got out of the way the words would reveal themselves spontaneously. Furthermore, I found that when I read the words out during the lecture that, rather than appearing stilted, they were filled with life. This is at least partly because, as I listen to them while I speak them, I allow the words to become revelatory to me as well.
The Sashti Poorthi Lectures and the Panchavati Discourses have nearly been compiled now into an e-book called Dharma Sky for sale and download from this website (see Dharma Sky). The Silent Thunder Discourses which followed was an intense and wondrous experience for me and, I think, for all who were involved.
The Novena Teachings’ subtitle is “Nine Jewels of Sacred Approach.” This refers to the need for preparation in the psycho-spiritual endeavor. Spiritual treasures and rewards are most certainly freely given, but if we are not prepared for these sacred gifts we are unable to receive them. This is a concept which may be hard to grasp in the present era of cynicism, materialism, and superficiality.
Since we no longer appreciate the complex dynamics of reciprocity, of personal consequences, of subtle exchanges, and since many doubt the reality of invisible realms, etheric realms, and the astral domain, among many other worlds which have become discredited in the modern era, human beings have forfeited a wealth of irreplaceable treasures.
There is ritual. There is such a thing as inward preparation and there is such a thing as spiritual transmission. You cannot receive anything, for example, from these lectures without the appropriate preparation. These lectures alone necessitate your inward preparation. Ignore the directions for this at your own inner cost! But listen carefully, follow the encouragements and suggestions, and you will learn much here. If you learn a tenth of what I have learnt writing them, I think you will still benefit.
These nine themes have been a joy to contemplate and meditate on. These nine jewels are your offering to the Divine in exchange for All. The Divine gives never less than All, whereas we tend to be spared the absolute in our human lives and our inner preparation. There is no need of course! For we are both human and divine. The Divine will carry perfection for you until you are ready to embrace it and the same is true of Love and Compassion, Bliss and Stillness, Wisdom and Consciousness. You can intend the Divine, but you cannot plot your course and arrive there out of your own planning and volition. Actually preparation is everything. It is all you can do. Later, awareness will lead you into a deep acceptance and for the devotional among us into a great love. There are no compromises in the Divine. So make your spiritual preparation thorough and authentic. Don’t shy away from your resolve, the quality of your commitment, the intensity of your inner loyalty, and the tenderness of your application. Receive these nine jewels of sacred approach in this light.