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The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine Using the World's Mystical Traditions [Hardcover]

Andrew Harvey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Mar 2000
As the times becomes more and more difficult and challenging, and the bankruptcy of all the inherited religions and mystical transmission systems becomes more apparent, this book shows how to follow the direct path to the divine, without teachers or gurus.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rider & Co; First Edition edition (23 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712670955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712670951
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,434,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Andrew Harvey is a renowned spiritual scholar and a master of the world's mystical traditions. He's the author and editor of more than 30 books but The Direct Path can be viewed as the benchmark of his spiritual philosophy. "I feel I have been waiting all my life to write this book," he states, and at the core of The Direct Path are his clearly defined beliefs: organised religions and guru systems have largely failed to serve the spiritual needs of humanity. We are all children of God since we each contain a spark of God's divinity--ie, we each have a soul, and as such, we do not require middlemen to mediate our way to God. What is required is the Direct Path, sacred practices of mind, body and spirit through which we can each attain a personal union with the divine. The fruit of this union is the "birth" of energy which is transformative and boundless and which must be shared with our fellows through active humanitarian work so that we each become "servant-warriors for peace and justice". And on this birth depends the future of humanity.

"This is a radical vision, of course," Andrew Harvey explains, "but it is not a new one." The prophets across all native and religious traditions have espoused the same essential teachings, that the divine dwells within each of us and that by accessing our divinity we will attain union and so comprehend the true meaning of human fellowship. Judaeo-Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Islamic and native, Andrew Harvey, draws on mysticism rather than dogma from across the spiritual spectrum. He gives us an eloquent and wholehearted explanation of the Direct Path and its necessary practices, such as breathing, meditation and focused exercise, and he conveys a compelling vision of why the birth of transformative energy within each of us is so essential to the future of humankind. --Lucas LoBlack


"The Direct Path leads us directly to the heart of the matter, the source and spirit of all life...don't miss it" (Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within)

"A rich offering from Andrew Harvey's deep cup. A book to work and live with, a cornerstone for the direct transmission from the heart to the open mind" (Stephen Levine, author of Embracing the Beloved)

"Embraces the truth in the world's mystical tradition while offering a very intimate direction to those on a spiritual path" (Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Once again, Harvey educates, stimulates and entertains with his beautifully simple, yet profoundly insightful prose. "The Direct Path" is, in part, autobiographical as have been most of his previous books, and it shows how his own experiences are relevent to our own lives. Since his much-publicised split with Mother Meera, Harvey has been through many life-changing and, at times, life-threatening experiences. We are moved by his suffering and yet inspired by the way in which he has coped with his life challenges. The Direct Path offers us 18 spiritual exercises to enable us to handle our own life challenges. These exercises, which will be familiar to many of Andrew's readers, are presented in a lucid and inspiring way. You want to try them. Thank you, Andrew for your very special book. I, along with many others, shall read it again and benefit from its truth, beauty and insight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and inspiring 21 May 2013
By Leonida
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For those who are individual enough to want to create their own spiritual practice, this is a wonderful, thorough book. Andrew Harvey has done all the work for us lucky readers, gone to monasteries, studied with Buddhist masters, Christian monks, Sufi devotees and Hindu monks, and has assimilated numerous approaches into his own practice, with helpful suggestions and exercises for us to do adapt them to our own. I couldn't put it down, and found some of the practices he suggests, which have in turn been suggested by these masters in these religions, very powerful. In the end, I found myself wondering how to fit them all into the day (I am retired, but even so ...!), and came to the conclusion that you pick what inspires you, and occasionally dip into the book at other times when the right practice (or exercise) will reveal itself - or not, as appropriate. There are a plethora of wise anecdotes and parables, and also much background information that I personally didn't know, but assumed I did! I am very grateful to the Shift Network for introducing Andrew Harvey into my world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
71 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Direct Path to the Divine 29 Mar 2000
By Dorothy Walters - Published on
The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine Using the World's Mystical Traditions By Andrew Harvey (Broadway Books).
Andrew Harvey, one of the today's foremost mystics and spiritual teachers, brings forth in "The Direct Path" a volume destined to become a classic in our time. Drawing on both personal experience and information gleaned from a lifetime of exploration of the many spiritual realms, Harvey offers an invaluable map for the spiritual voyager. He reveals how the journey may be undertaken, the stages by which it may proceed, and describes both the pitfalls and rewards of the undertaking.
Harvey begins with a compact account of his own amazing spiritual adventure. Born in India, he experienced, even as a child, deep mystical encounters. Sent to England for schooling, he won a scholarship to Oxford, and seemed destined to achieve a brilliant career as a don (the youngest ever appointed at All Souls College.) Disillusioned by the prevalent cynicism and skepticism of the university scene, he simply walked out and returned to India to seek his spiritual roots. There, he encountered a charismatic young woman whom he accepted as his guru, venerating her as an avatar. Ultimately, he left her when he found her deeply flawed. His continuing explorations have led him to the discoveries presented in "The Direct Path."
Harvey has explored at length the many spiritual traditions of the world, including Buddhist, Tibetan, Sufi and Christian, and he has written eloquently about all. In particular, he is a recognized authority on the Sufi mystic/poet Rumi, and his translations and biographical/literary study ("The Way of Passion") rank among the finest in this blossoming field. Recently, he has focused primarily on Christian mysticism ( Son of Man, 1998). In this work, he emphasizes that personal piety is of little value unless it is yoked to active striving for societal change.
Throughout his writing, Harvey has consistently presented the feminine principle-the intuitive, receptive, creative factor-- as the key element of the sacred journey. In "The Direct Path" this emphasis emerges through a remarkable collection of meditations and practices which prepare the student to experience the divine presence "directly" (without intermediary such as guru or prescribed dogma.) These exercises are rich gems retrieved from a lifetime of profound spiritual study and exploration. In essence, they are techniques to "open the heart," so that the sacred reality may come in. Drawn from the major spiritual traditions of the world, many utilize breath, mantra, and chanting. Other approaches range from "practicing the presence of the beloved," to "Becoming Buddha or Christ" and "Birthing the Divine Child in the Mother." As with all mystical techniques, their value is to be known through the actual experience rather than verbal description. Their usefulness is not limited to the "independent seeker" nor to the advanced student: they can easily be incorporated into the practices of church or other spiritual groups, and they are readily accessible to beginner and adept alike. What they offer is a way to know the sacred essence immediately, rather than merely hearing about it. Their effect can be immediate and astonishing. In times past, such expert instruction would have been available only to a select few associated with esoteric groups or cult leaders. Now this invaluable information is available to all of us for the asking.
In addition, Harvey offers guidance in various other areas, including the uses and care of the body, sacred sexuality, and the experience of dying. He emphasizes, however, that the ultimate aim of the mystic path is not ecstasy nor the attainment of esoteric "powers," but to serve humankind in the humblest, most selfless way. Only through such dedication can we truly function as "tireless instruments of God." "When you discover for yourself how real the Direct Path is. . . your whole life will change and you will discover with wonder and delight why you are here and what you are here for. You will discover. . . the freedom that is yours by right of being a child of God, the freedom of your divine nature and your divine truth, and this freedom and this truth will make you increasingly an empowered agent of change in every arena in the world." Andrew Harvey's own selfless dedication, his willingness to surrender egoistic ambition for "worldly" success is evident in this and the many other volumes he has produced (over thirty in all). At the book's beginning, he quotes the Bodhisattva's vow: "However innumerable sentient beings are, I vow to save them." Like the Bodhisattva in action, he does not rest until the world begins its collective journey home.
"The Direct Path" is an indispensable guide to all who wish to join this crucial endeavor. It is a priceless gift to each one of us in this critical time.
Dorothy Walters
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit exhausting 26 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
This is the fourth book by Andrew Harvey that I have read. I don't think I have ever encountered anyone whose spiritual path has taken him in so many different directions. This broad background makes Harvey an excellent spokesperson for the "direct path"--a spiritual approach that bypasses the authority of institutions or teachers. The majority of the book is devoted to spiritual exercises derived from a wide variety of spiritual traditions. There are so many exercises to choose from that some readers may be left feeling a bit overwhelmed. Harvey is a master writer, and his luxuriant use of language can be very seductive. Emotionally he tends to lean toward the extreme. His description of his love for his pet cat as "deranging," for example, sort of put some of his other statements into perspective--at least for me! Although I think this is an excellent sourcebook for the spiritual seeker, I gave it only three stars mainly because of my own reaction to it. After reading the book, I was left with the same emotional reaction that I experienced after reading Harvey's "Son of Man" and after hearing Harvey speak on tape. Harvey's sense of urgency that informs nearly every sentence he writes leaves the impression that we all should have been transformed yesterday, and the world may already be doomed because of our failure to do so. While a sense of urgency is understandable in times such as these, Harvey's often borders on hysteria. I don't want to leave the wrong impression. This is an excellent book, and Andrew Harvey has the potential of being a great spiritual teacher. I just wish he would calm down a bit and consider the needs of those members of his reading audience (such as myself) who may be less spiritually advanced than he is.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Answer is Within 28 Mar 2000
By "grandmother" - Published on
I've been a searcher for several years now and went shopping, as the saying goes, for the answer. I took a journey of leaps and bounds, twists and turns but am delighted to end up with this book. If I could have written a book, this would be it. A compelling message of what must be discovered within to save the World Soul. Read it, ponder it and find it yourself...within.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey of ourselves 30 Mar 2012
By Maureen Doyle - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Harvey has both narrative and practical. His travels in search of his within stretch from his boyhood in a multifaith home in India, around much of the world, to Europe and America. . As Harvey shares experiences, he allows us to learn from his mistakes and sense of wonder. This book is good for a beginner as well as for any seekers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh how I love Andrew Harvey 17 Aug 2013
By Jaclyn - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have this book sitting in my little meditation area because it's a great 'go to' book for a prayer, moment of de-stressing, or uplifting meditation.
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