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Excerpted from The Direct Path by Andrew Harvey. Copyright 2000 by Andrew Harvey. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"The great mystical traditions are astonishingly united in their answers to these questions."

Andrew Harvey
The Direct Path
, Part 1

The soul grows by its constant participation in that which transcends it. 
--Gregory of Nyassa

You have to climb the stairs and rest your feet firmly on each step in order to reach the summit. 
--Sri Aurobindo

Between me and You, there is only me. Take away the me, so only You remain. 
--Al-Hallaj


Why We Are Here

Take courage. The human race is divine. 
--Pythagoras

The first thing we must understand if we are to take the Direct Path in full awareness is why we are here in the first place and who and what we really are.

The great mystical traditions are astonishingly united in their answers to these questions; they each claim, in different ways, that we are essentially sparks of Divine Consciousness, emanated by the Divine out of itself, and placed here in this dimension to travel back to conscious union with the Godhead.

Thus, for the Buddhist mystics, the purpose of being incarnated here is to unfold our innate Buddha nature and enter into conscious possession of its timeless peace, bliss, power, and all-seeing knowledge. For the Hindu mystics of the Gita and the Upanishads, the whole meaning of human life lies in realizing the essential unity of our individual soul, the atman, with Brahman, the eternal reality, that timeless and spaceless and placeless bliss-truth-consciousness that is at once manifesting everything in all the worlds and beyond all manifestation. 

Sufi mystics claim that the human being has a unique relationship to God because God fashioned us with his own hands, while creating all other things by the Divine Word and its fiat; they believe that God, while making us, breathed into us his own being, sowed in our innermost core a memory of our origin in him, and ordained that the whole purpose of our lives on earth should be to return in full awareness to the Origin, whose children we are. 

For Christian mystics such as Meister Eckhart and Teresa of Avila, the soul is placed in a body and in matter to undertake the immense journey to a living aware "marriage" with the inner Christ and his divine love and knowledge. For Taoists like Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu, the whole of the universe is a manifestation of the mystery of the Unnamable--which for convenience's sake they name the Tao--and the one who realizes his or her own nature realizes his or her own essential unity on every level with this Tao in its original peace, harmony, and boundless fecundity.

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