Richard Harvey—Psychotherapist, Author and Spiritual Teacher

Richard Harvey

connecting psychotherapy and spiritual growth for human awakening
Follow my work on TwitterFollow my work on LinkedInFollow my work on Facebook

Follow me on:

The Call Of The Divine To Our Deepest Nature

From the most glorious day to the direst periods in your life, God, as Love, Bliss, Peace, and Consciousness is absolutely present. But because we are not absolutely present, and because we are distracted by other concerns, we feel bereft, alone, and abandoned. Suffering of one kind or another, being entangled in our patterns and ego-driven dramas, takes up all our time, to the degree that what is most precious to us is often most ignored. Life moves relentlessly ahead, seemingly taking with it our opportunities for courage, for change, for taking risks and for transformation.

However, these opportunities are of high importance and signify the call to be drawn into deepening, to go in search of your soul, to surrender to the numinous. These opportunities are our gates, which punctuate our life and emerge at significant points in our development. There is one gate that is commonly shared between all human beings, which is the natal gate, where we receive the gift of life. After, throughout our life, the gates appear as a kaleidoscope of opportunities. There are many, so many it may seem they could appear at any time in any situation. The gate can occur in a variety of ways, including times of grief or the death of a loved one, at the end of a relationship, in a descent into depression, anxiety, facing the unknown in the form of thresholds of life, assault, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, feeling profoundly alone in life, a crisis of authenticity and meaning, or not fitting in. But what distinguishes these life events from all others is that they offer us a glimpse of something more, something beyond. They promise some revelation, some insight into the mystery. These gates signify events, people, teachings, and opportunities that initiate a person into psychospiritual exploration. Once that process has started, other gates may appear that mark further openings, further opportunities and turns in the life-path, mostly in forms of psycho-spiritual opportunities, changes, and healing events that pepper the process of human unfolding.

There are many dramatic, spectacular ways to receive the call. It may happen regardless of age, in any condition of life. It may be through sickness or some setback in life, an overwhelming event or tragedy, an inner yearning, an ache in your heart. Or it may come in the form of a dream, a book, a special person, a teacher, a mentor, a philosophy, a teaching, or a method.

Once, a celebrated professor took the stage to give a talk to an international audience of acolytes and fellow professors at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. He opened his mouth to speak and found that he could not utter a word. He tried again – the same! Finally he left the stage and disappeared completely from public life. Amid scandal, shamed, he liquidated his affairs, abandoned his family, fled to the desert, and suffered a total mental and physical breakdown. Through his soul-searching and spiritual descent, this man became one of the most influential mystical philosophers and spiritual teachers of the last millennium. His name was Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali. He is not only known as the savior of Islam, he has also had a far-reaching influence on Sufism and Christian theology.

Nevertheless, the call is often un-dramatic, mundane, entirely ordinary, as it was with Brother Lawrence, a Christian Carmelite monk. When he experienced the Philozovo (I have created a new term, the Philozovo for the call of the Divine, the call to our deepest nature) on a quiet winter’s day, he simply observed a barren tree and realized that the leaves would return, followed by flowers and fruit. This straightforward observation resulted in an insight which loosened him from the world and kindled his love of the Divine. From that moment on, as he put it, “I let God have his own way with me.” What acceptance and surrender to grace!

The gate is your entrance into the inner world, the life of the soul and spirit. It is the life circumstances which lead you toward personal freedom, stimulate your true heart energies, and guide you ultimately to liberation, Self-realization, Truth, and Reality.

Those events that turn our life around are examples of the gate and when it comes, bidden or not, we must honor it. Like water in a desert, the longing for the Divine, in whatever form it comes, is satisfied through entering this gate. And not just in responding through the act of entering itself, but in how we enter. The conscious, aware way in which we go through the gate foretells how we fair in the self-revelation that awaits us.

Honoring your gate is a practice, an attitude, and the response that expresses gratitude for the precious blessing of opening to growth, reverence for the opportunity, for the life you have received. In this practice the following steps need to be considered:

First, honoring the gate. Honoring the gate depends on your being grateful for the gift of life, for having been born a human being. By presenting a gate, life itself has made you a gift. The gift begins with this attitude and willingness to receive. You have been given a gift and in our culture very often the gift is misunderstood. We think that a gift is given with some strings attached, that there may be a manipulation behind the giving. So we distrust the gift and the giver. We may be thinking: what can I give the giver to maintain the balance, so I do not have to feel obliged, somehow in the other’s debt? We have forgotten the grace of receiving. Learn to receive other’s gifts, be very present in your receiving. Don’t be quick to think how you should respond. Simply be in the moment, and receive the gift. Accept the gift and accept the other gracefully, respectfully, honorably, and with reverence. Feel the quality of the giver and the gift. Even if the giver has some hidden reason behind the giving, you may be able to entirely heal his power play, his manipulation, with your responsiveness, openness, and ability to receive. When you give you must give freely; when you receive you must receive freely! You must be generous enough to receive generously, because receiving, as well as giving, is a generous act.

Second, learning to receive the gift of life carries with it a profound responsibility: how will you receive the gift and the responsibility inherent in it? Your answer, your response to this question is crucial. This gift of life is freely given to you to do what you want to do with it. Now what will you do? You can moan and suffer and complain, you can enter into negative states, or you can read some New Age literature and appear happy and loving, while hiding your deep discontent, so that others believe you to be something you are not. You can chase partners or power, money or good times, possess a family or a big house. The life you have been given prescribes none of this. The way you have responded to the life you have been given prescribes all of this. All is in your attitude alone. Begin by appreciating the gate, the life you have been given, and the opportunity it presents you with, and ask profoundly: now what would I like to do with this?

Now, depending on the tendency of your character, you intuit the sacredness of life and seek spiritual fulfillment. Or, if you are materialistic, physical, and essentially earthbound, you may choose to honor this and pursue what is real for you, what fulfills your potential and capacity. But when the material world falls short of your expectations, you may find yourself wanting more and this can lead you to psycho-spiritual practices. Those of us with a true spiritual inclination tend to be disposed toward the sacred life, the awareness of soul forces, nature, poetry, real art. If you are sensitive, receptive, insightful, aware, and loving, you will tend to manifest the sacred in all you do. If you have somehow missed these qualities, because no one in your world has modeled them for you and given you an example so you know they exist, you must find such people for yourself and aspire to these higher human qualities. When we find such a person, and only one is needed, make everything else secondary. Let no excuse prevent you from taking in their teachings in whatever way they are available to you. The benefit to you and your loved ones will be enormous and you will have received and accepted the great gift of authentic spiritual connectedness.

Everything changes and everything will change when you take the gate seriously. What will your response be… to life, to mystery, to love? Or what is your response already, now in this moment? Whenever you are negative, depressed, angry, unloving, afraid, sad, distracted, feeling small-minded, you have missed the moment. You have missed the moment in which you may commune with life, take life in, and merge with it. You have missed the abundant opportunity for reality, gratitude, and joy, and hearing and responding to the call of the Divine, the Philozovo.

The gate that you honor is your glimpse of the infinite. You may receive this glimpse through a vision, a practice or a person – it is immaterial how it happens. It has presented itself to you and it is always the initiation into greater consciousness.

The whole of life is a gate… through which we open to the sacred, spiritual and transcendent in our lives. So we act as a conduit for divinity and the golden opportunity of life we were blessed to receive.

Live in honor of the gate of life and the life’s gates that have been given – the gifts are abundant. Live your life as a blessing, not just as a thought of a blessing, but feeling yourself to be blessed, fortunate, divinely lit, and rich with beauty and wisdom and peace. Honor the gate by living your life in a way that blesses you and everyone around you, lighting them with gratitude and love.

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


Share this article

This article was published on this site in January 2024.

Related information