The need for authentic spirituality 

The need for authentic spirituality Next to being bound to the physicality of the world, there is another binding and that binding is a welcome one. Spiritually we are obliged to embrace our potential fulfillment and destiny which constitutes a binding in Truth. It is the binding of the religio, or the yoke of yoga. Both terms, religion and yoga, speak of the way in which we are given life in order to transcend it through persistence and spiritual discipline. Both western and eastern terms hold the secret to our freedom and liberation and how to accomplish it. We are bound to life in order to make it sacred. We have an obligation to make life sacred, to accept the yoke, to go through it again and again, until we have achieved sacred union with the Divine. In other words we are bound to life in order to become enlightened and in that lies our authentic freedom, our liberation and Self-realization, and our union with Reality itself. Authentic spirituality has absolutely nothing to do with morality, society, and relationships as you may know them or happiness as you habitually think of it. Peace, fulfillment, satisfaction, or human experience in every way is dwarfed by the genuinely spiritual. This does not mean that attaining spiritual heights doesn’t make you a better person, a happier person, a person who is more moral and responsible in his or her relationships, capable, sensitive, and skillful with others and in the world. It may well do these things. But these things are not what spirituality is about. Spirituality is about eternity; it is about what is absolute. There are many people who are not necessarily interested in spiritual transformation or the deeper teaching of the spiritual way. Nonetheless, human beings are spiritual. It doesn’t matter if you know it or not. It does not matter if you believe it or not. We are human beings and human beings have a spiritual nature. When that nature is not recognized, understood, and honored then you are likely to suffer… unnecessarily. As nearly everyone has pointed out now, from Ram Dass to Oprah Winfrey to Nelson Mandela, the human being is magnificent, extraordinary, gifted beyond measure. This is true, for human beings are conduits of divine love, recipients and givers of grace and compassion, with interior worlds of unspeakable harmony, transcendent peace, and unending stillness and devotion. To reach these states is surely the goal of a purely intentioned, informed, and courageous human life. However in these dark times the way is unclear and many things are inhibiting it. Just how these processes take place in this present era and how they stand in relation to a broader sweep of successive ages, evolving humankind, and emerging collective spiritual existence has been my lifelong concern and study. My conclusions are formed from my personal witnessing and participation in the psychospiritual healing and growth of thousands of individuals, my acquaintanceship, friendship, mentoring, and teaching through scores of teachers, gurus, and guides and my personal tendency to experience all the methods and possibilities of development and growth, before theorizing or intellectualizing. I am under no illusions about my work; it does not offer shallow or necessarily easy or immediate rewards. With the right attitude much is possible. With the wrong attitude the veils are drawn even tighter over the truth, over what is real. What I offer is not for everyone. It is likely that within my lifetime it will remain the gift of the few, but I maintain that whether in my words or someone else’s, something of what we will discuss in this book will be the way in 13 | P a g e which humankind and the whole of existence over time emerges out of a natural cycle from the Kaliyuga, the present times of darkness, into another magnificent age of love and divine radiance. Only a human society rooted in real spiritual wisdom and insight can create a sacred culture where people behave with mutual respect, belonging, and compassion, a global society with love and devotion as a practical, viable basis for action, responsibility, and relationship. If we continue to act in ignorance, to not know ourselves, and particularly if we do not acknowledge and act on the crucial need to make real spirituality the basis of modern life, the hoped-for return of mutual respect, honor, and reverence for humanity and the natural world as reflections of divinity will be thwarted… and not merely delayed, but destroyed. If however through the collective soul evolving in love and consciousness the true heart of humanity manifests here in time and space, paradise will assume its rightful place: heaven will appear on earth. Potential of human beings The true nature of human beings—awareness and self-realization Human beings are raised to identify themselves in opposition to everything around them. Instead of seeing ourselves as confluent and continuous with life, we learn to pit ourselves, our strength, our energy, our emotionality against life. It is a battle that we are condemned to lose. How could we be against the very same forces that gave birth to us? The same principles of procreation that gave rise to us have created the manifold universe of a multitude of forms. We may like some of them more than others, but ultimately what is the difference? We human beings are the same composition, the same cake so to speak of material, physical, psychical, mental, intellectual, rational, emotional, energetic, spiritual, soulful transcendence, earth-bound and divine. Furthermore, we are the same as a tree, a mountain, a flower or an animal, and yet we are much more than that. As human beings, we are exceptional because we have the ability to self-reflect and therefore know ourselves. This distinguishing blessing should be taken seriously, and the history of humanity clearly shows that it has—hence the enormous richness of spiritual philosophies and methods: organized religion is 11,000 years old and recorded religion is as old as writing, about 5000 years old. So there is this one difference between you and a rock, you and a wave in the ocean, you and a tree. You are capable of self-reflection through the practice of awareness and by means of awareness you may realize the Self. This means that you may attain to the truth of your real self, your real nature. To understand what your real nature is you must penetrate inside yourself. It sounds like a male word, a male term: penetrate, but in fact it is more female because it implies surrender, yielding, letting go and entering into the mystery of the Self and through that into the mystery of life. Real nature, the essence, the soul or the heart of something, is what the Buddhists call thing-ness; what would be translated as Richard-ness in my case or George-ness or Isa-ness in yours. By penetrating to the very heart of your humanness, you understand the essence of what it means to be a human being. To be human is to be self-reflective, self-aware, and ultimately to realize the true heart, the essence that is pure and timeless being, boundless consciousness. There are no words to describe the true nature of a human 14 | P a g e being. Ultimately it is wordless. It is in the silence between the words, in the space between the breaths, in the mystery that pervades all things. It is the source of all arising forms, the play of consciousness. It is the inner emptiness, the matrix of creativity, restlessness and peace, which fills your core, which inhabits your soul, which waters your spirit, which gives rise to this miracle of life. Human beings are not all equal. Some have greater potentials, destinies, and functions than others. However, in one aspect they are the same. With rare exceptions, human beings lose their connection with their true nature while growing up, under the pressure of needing to become “someone” who is acceptable or even lovable. Reconnecting, finding the treasure, the true Self buried beneath behavior patterns, masks and defense systems becomes a major if not the sole life task of a human being. It is thus important that you take the potential of your humanness seriously, that you become the person you truly are and realize your true nature in the form that you have been given, as an act of divine grace. The true nature of human beings—human and divine We have reflected on the human abilities of self-reflection and awareness and the potential for self-realization as a distinguishing blessing of human beings. Another important aspect which requires our attention is the fact that human beings are both human and divine. You have a duty and a responsibility, even a loyalty, to honor both your humanity and your divinity. You cannot ignore either, because they are both you. It is like exercising and strengthening your right leg, but letting your left leg wither. It would be ridiculous and stupid. To become fully human is not to learn to cope, not to develop the ego qualities, the self-contraction. It’s ludicrous if you think about it. How can the goal of a human life be to develop the ego to cope with life? What an infinitesimal, insignificant aim! The human being flourishes in ecstasy, enthusiasm, passion, love, absorption, quiet devotion, celebrating, totally engaged in everything that life has to offer, all its gifts. To be human in the authentic sense is to be alive and vibrant and happy and content. Now in the world today you would think it is just the opposite. You would think that to be serious, miserable, concerned, and struggling is what life is all about! But it is merely what a paternal culture has made of it. Let’s lift the lid off this ridiculousness. The aim of life today is a patriarchal aim, the aim of self-importance, self-absorption, selfinterest, self-aggrandizement. These concerns are patriarchal, achievement-orientated, phallic, uninterested in beauty, emotions, energy, spirituality, sacredness, sacrificing everything that is holy and astonishing, full of wonder and reverence, for efficiency, even for production or destruction! Although, the balance is clearly shifted toward the materialistic and the ego-driven, this doesn’t mean that the “other leg,” the spiritual, can be ignored, or that we can pretend that living with one leg is all that life is about. As already mentioned earlier, human beings are spiritual whether we know it or not, or whether we believe it or not. We are human beings and human beings are both human and divine. (with thanks to Katalin Czöndör) ~ Richard Harvey, Founder of The Center for Human Awakening 

An excerpt from Richard Harvey’s forthcoming book Your Divine Opportunity 

(with thanks to Katalin Czöndör) ~

Richard Harvey, Founder of The Center for Human Awakening