Richard Harvey - Psychotherapist, Author and Spiritual Teacher

Richard Harvey

connecting psychotherapy and spiritual growth for human awakening
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The Enlightening Moment

Richard Harvey answers questions on this series of events in 2018

What is the Enlightening Moment?

The Enlightening Moment is a series of events we are in the process of scheduling for 2018 in various countries. The events comprise small of larger gatherings of people who are motivated to learn more or progress further in their psycho-spiritual journeys and understanding. These gatherings may take the form of group workshops, talks, or satsangs.

What is the difference between these events?

The group workshops take place over two or three days and offer the opportunity to develop trust, openness, and intimacy in a group. We will be using psycho-spiritual bodywork, working in pairs or small groups, group sharing and self-exploration within the group, as well as a satsang, and a little ceremony and ritual to deepen in sacred-spiritual practice. The aim of the group is to clear the way by purifying the mind and body of bindings to past memories that arise from chronic emotional attachments. Evoking the enlightening moment is a way of saying that when we are released of egocentric attachments we become the observers of truth quite naturally and so we can enter into sacredness and the Divine realms so that our spirituality interpenetrates with our worldly, human lives.

The talks will expound these ideas and practices and in satsang we will directly sit with the truth of spiritual reality through spontaneous questions and answers and sometimes in silent reflection.

Is the experience of the enlightening moment obtained through hard work through psychological or spiritual means? Does it come to us through striving and effort?

The enlightened moment is always available. It is here now and closer to us than our own breath. As your birthright it is divorced from our experience through our belief in fear and the sense of lack that characterizes human life. Humanity is at a stage of collective evolution in which its most precious treasures are denied in the activities of delusion. The Divine state has been projected outward onto beings who are merely a creation of mind. These beings have been perceived sometimes to be at the center of some spiritual illumination—a Buddha field or Christ light phenomenon, for example—and this perpetuates the spiritual error that we are ourselves mortal, striving, seeking, and perpetually frustrated while the charisma, character, and enlightenment of others maintains our inferiority and subordinated position. You are yourself the enlightenment you seek. This is fairly obvious: in any experience even in the worldly realms that experience which you project outside yourself is of course happening within yourself. It is but a small step to apprehend that humans project divinity outside themselves in order to disavow and abandon their spiritual self and engage in striving and effort to get it back. No amount of effort or striving will put you in touch with that which you have never lost and the very striving will take you further away from the object of your search.

If that is the case, why participate in a workshop, attend a talk or a satsang?

You might say there are three types of psycho-spiritual seekers or journeyers—the over-serious ones, the under-serious ones, and the ones who approach the whole endeavor with humor. They are not hard to spot in the face and perhaps the physical posture, the overall attitude. The over-serious seeker needs to shed some seriousness, the under-serious seeker needs to cultivate some seriousness, and the one who is aiming straight down the middle, the seeker who possesses true humor, has got it right. Why so? It is a bit like sailing or wind-surfing. You learn to lean with the waves and wind. Your posture is flexible and so you can meet the onrush of unfolding circumstances appropriately. This is the attitude that guarantees success in the psycho-spiritual endeavor, because your bias, inflexibility, and fixed certainties need to be relinquished. So this is what psycho-spiritual practices in groups and personal inner work amounts to and it may be a preparation for the truly spiritual life.

And is this how you reach the enlightened moment?

That’s right. In the Enlightening Moment events our aim is to discover the ways in which we hold ourselves away from relationship, from the experience of reality, and what we have come to call God or our enlightened self. Emotional states, rigid thought forms, conditioned strategies for living, assumptions and expectations, resistance and separation—all must be brought to light, processed and shed. Psycho-spiritual work on ourselves comprises a preparation, a necessary and a profound preparation for the life of the soul and spirit. So when you ask why we participate in a workshop or satsang, it is like saying why practice? There is every reason to practice and also none. The way through the middle is the same alignment or balanced point as the way between over-seriousness and under-seriousness. Life is presenting us with this display of opposing forces all the time. This is how forms arise out of the formless and this is why it is said that form and formlessness share the same source. In this way the relative world with its illusion of present time offers a doorway into eternity. You can’t make this happen, not from point of view of your individuality or your self-identification. But you can cultivate the circumstances in which it is likely to happen and these circumstances are inner quiet, stillness, receptivity, surrender, and trust. These conditions are beyond fear and deeper than desire. They are themselves potentially timeless and boundary-less. They hint at the eternal, at the state of enlightening being.

This relates perhaps to the three stages of awakening, the psychology and philosophy that underpin your work in Sacred Attention Therapy?

In order to reach the quiet state, the condition of responsiveness and openness in which an inner stillness and surrender can develop inside you, you have to shed the conditioned state. The conditioned state is a product of birth, early childhood, infant training, education, socialization, conformism, and in particular the organization of personal experience that gives rise to our individual survival strategies. In Sacred Attention Therapy these survival strategies are known as the seven core elements. The seventh or last of these elements is the Central Character Dynamic, or CCD, which is the epicenter of our personal defense system. By cultivating awareness of your CCD you come to witness very clearly how you have been programming yourself to live a life that conforms to the basic building blocks of your early life. You realize that the tail has been wagging the dog, that you have created and only seen the elements that justify your defensive strategies and kept you within the limitations of life as you know it. Release from psychological conditions happens when you embrace life, not as you know it, but life as the unknown. In time this liberates your vibrancy, spontaneity, and surrender when you enter into an existence that is heart-led and dedicated to the fulfillment of your potential, capacity, and destiny.

You have been working in the psycho-spiritual field for 40 years, you are a psychotherapist, a spiritual teacher and an author of 9 books and hundreds of articles, several lecture series, scores of blogs and vlogs. So my question is how is it possible to keep teaching, writing, and speaking about the psycho-spiritual so extensively? Don’t you sometimes feel you are drying up and you might not have anything to say anymore?

Five years ago, around my sixtieth birthday, I began an outpouring that I felt very strongly I was participating in and that hasn’t left me. There were publications, talks, seminars, and so on before, but that point in my life marked a threshold, a giving back, and a level of surrender to spiritual forces that hasn’t left me. I imagine that in time the impulse will dissipate and I will talk less and write less. But the outpouring that is still current has peaked currently with the publication of my latest book, Your Sacred Calling, and it is a call to spiritually aware people to preserve the sacred-spiritual ceremonies and teaching of Truth and Reality before they are occluded by ignorance and misrepresentation through dilution and shallow understanding. I have a mission to affect this in the relative world while my other mission, which is a strictly impersonal matter, is to keep one foot in eternity. My role in the psycho-spiritual field is now as it has always been, to be a gate-keeper. I’m the guy who maintains a vigil at the gate and confers with the travelers who arrive here. I can ponder with them on where they came from, what possibilities remain for them in the world of the past and the known, and I can ruminate with them on what might be ahead in the mists of the unknown. I sit there at the gate with a longing, but also a neutrality, and in the understanding and realization that this temporal moment is also eternal.

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This article was published on this site in June 2017.

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