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A Force to Be Reckoned With (Quote of the Week)

There is more to enlightenment than the liberating discovery of the inherent perfection of the absolute, or nondual, nature of all things. And that more is the emergence of a powerful imperative to evolve. When something came from nothing, and the explosion in motion that is all of life came into being, a perpetual state of becoming was born. In the spiritual revelation, that movement is experienced as an impersonal command from the Self to transcend, to evolve, to utterly transform this world so that it can become a dynamic, living expression of the perfection that it already is. This spiritually inspired passion, which arises from the Self, unleashes the fire of absolute love and ego-defying compassion into this world. It is always a force to be reckoned with. Its unceasing demand is evolution and its tangible expression is to create order out of disorder. Indeed, the boundless creativity of this evolutionary impulse in action strives to manifest higher and higher expressions of miraculous wholeness and integration. This call for transcendence and evolution experienced in the spiritual revelation is the unrelenting scream of the Absolute beckoning all who have the ears to hear and the eyes to see to surrender wholeheartedly for the sake of that evolutionary imperative.

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Filed Under: ConsciousnessEnlightenNext Editors’ BlogEvolutionary EnlightenmentEvolutionary SpiritualityQuote of the WeekSpirituality

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About the Author

Andrew Cohen is the pioneering teacher of Evolutionary Enlightenment, the founder of international nonprofit organization EnlightenNext, and the Editor in Chief of EnlightenNext magazine. Learn more about his work at

Comments (38)

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  1. Aliya says:

    Enlightenment is not “the liberating discovery of the inherent perfection of the absolute”. Enlightenment is your disappearance, your dissolving as a small drop into the Ocean of the Infinite, into the Absolute. Then who will be the one to discover the discovery? Moreover, who will be the one to evaluate the Absolute as perfect or imperfect, because to think in terms of perfection is to be still in the mind, in its duality? Mind can only exist in duality, otherwise mind is confused, and mind has to stop.
    Enlightenment is neither “a powerful imperative to evolve”. If in the enlightenment the one who has awakened simply disappears, then who would impose imperatives and on whom? There is no one left, there is only the Absolute. As far as the Absolute is to be described, we can only say that the Absolute IS already, there is no need for the Absolute to become, to evolve by imposing evolutionary imperatives. The Absolute simply is “isness”. It strives not, desires not, and “screams” not. It is No-thing ness, Silence, Peace.

  2. ramesh s says:

    the Absolute is trying to express itself, apparently so, the journey starts from the smallest life form till it reaches the perfect man, then it is realized that it is impossible for the finite to express the infinite as it is beyond the mind, so the ego is dropped and the game is up

  3. Frank Luke says:

    Hello, re: “Indeed, the boundless creativity of this evolutionary impulse in action strives to manifest higher and higher expressions of miraculous wholeness and integration.”

    In other terms, if humanity does not evolve and attain higher conciousness to acknowlege and realize the failure of manifesting universal peaceableness and coexisting with fellow humans, the non-human sentient creatures, our planet’s entire environment and the cosmos’ health, we stand to threaten our very existence. Think weapons of mass destruction, the pollution of our water and air, etc, etc.

    Our attaining spiritual Awakening and eventual Enlightenment to realize our situation as responsible humans is to act in self-interested self-preservation.

    Aliya: It seems your comments are usually framed in contradictory terms, rather than honoring respect for others viewpoints and opinions. This is a discussion and I believe no one has a monopoly on truth, wouldn’t you agree? I would hope so.

  4. Elizabeth Teklinski says:

    “Enlightenment is your disappearance, your dissolving as a small drop into the Ocean of the Infinite, into the Absolute…there is no need for the Absolute to become, to evolve by imposing evolutionary imperatives. The Absolute simply is “isness”. It strives not, desires not, and “screams” not. It is No-thing ness, Silence, Peace.”

    These words you write are all very familiar in terms of describing the Void and the pathway of negation. Though poetic, such concepts do not lend greater insight into the manifestation of Divinity on this plane of existence expressing as the evolution of all creation. I think such concepts of enlightenment present the temptation for spiritual bypass. In the physical, temporal realm, there are different levels of consciousness, and they are evolving. More evolved levels of consciousness contribute to the alleviation of great suffering for sentient beings. Those of us who feel called toward this evolution experience experience this inclination as “inspired passion” that overcomes us precisely as Andrew speaks here. There is such a Divine calling and its powerful resonance radically changes one’s life’s trajectory forever. There is, I believe, a significant purpose for sentient creation. I think it is important to have this conversation about the nature of evolution as it radically most certainly will transform a person to the core. Without a reliable guide, the process can result in spiritual emergency, dark nights of the soul, and might erupt in confusion and suffering. As long as we do not confuse the map with the territory, the process of consciousness evolution holds great promise for the collective on Earth.

    • Aliya says:

      Yes, describing the Void, the No – Thing ness, the Path of negation is killing the Ego. Ego wants Existence to have purpose, great meaning, “a significant purpose for sentient creation”. Only with a great purpose can there a great ego exists.
      If life is purposeless, going nowhere purposely, but just a beauty, a mystery to be lived and savored, what will be the role of any ego in there? Then ego has to die out, to fade away.
      Human Ego needs purpose, needs to save and illuminate the others, need to evolve. Otherwise it will be soon revealed that ego is a fiction, is not. Only Life Is, not what we think Life should be.

      • Elizabeth M Teklinski says:

        Everyone, present company included, has an ego; and every one of us almost certainly secretly believes his or her worldview is the correct one. The spiritual ego seems more insidious than your run-of-the-mill capitalistic or religious ego. The spiritual ego and its positionalities utilize spiritual concepts to its own ends: pride, control, prestige, wealth, adoration, social image, and narcissistic gain. It’s the part of us that feels inflamed when another dares to post a comment on a website that is not in exact accordance with our own understanding of a spiritual model.

        It seems that certain mythologies pervade every religion infusing archetypal battles of good versus evil—concepts of say the serpent against humankind—and these archetypes appear to extend to the modern day perennial tradition too. Why do we need to slay, kill, or destroy the ego? Isn’t the ego an evolutionary leap of its time like gills, or feathers, or any other thing on earth that is designed to ensure survival of protoplasm? In the primordial soup, where there are finite resources of energy and the law of the land is ‘eat or be eaten,’ can’t you see the brilliance of such a construct that values its own life and aggressively competes for the survival of its own genes, offspring, ideas, and eventually even spiritual truth?

        Though eulogized by advanced spiritual adherents, the phenomenon of voidness or No-Thingness cannot be the ultimate reality. If nothingness were the ultimate state of enlightenment, there would be no one to report back to us spiritual egos for the observer would also be negated. It’s a paradox, as the concept of the void, which I was taught is a misunderstanding of the Buddha’s teachings, would mean that non-existence is a hypothetical possibility.

        • Frank Luke says:

          Hello Elizabeth, re: ” If nothingness were the ultimate state of enlightenment, there would be no one to report back to us spiritual egos for the observer would also be negated.”

          There may be a common tendency to not comprehend the Buddhist (Nothingness), where not only Westerners cannot conceive of a Void which is pregnant, full of potentiality. Could there be an analogy in the conditions inside a womb, ready to produce a baby? Something like that only that’s already too tangible where the Void is completely full of Nothing but from which all Creation is produced? Just discussing.

          I find you most courageous in standing up for your contradiction of Buddhist teaching. I appreciate your wondering but accept the Buddhist concept. I see that the Universe is a manifestation of that model where space is that “Nothingness,” full of all the potential cosmos babies coming into existence. Evolution is occurring in all the myriad manifestations and humans are possibly the top of a Chain of Being which is still evolving. Given the approriate conditions, all of existence continues to evolve to more complex, survivable entities.

          It’s all so wondrous we can understandably speculate on a Being responsible for this Grand Machine we call Existence, Being, The Universe. God? I contend that it’s all a matter of evolving when conditions become optimal for a further development in survival in a more developed way. I contend our physical outer evolutionary modifications are not so obvious as our inner psychic evolution is now taking place.

          I read and am going along with Ken Wilber’s contention in “Sex, Ecology and Spirituality ” that the omega point of human ecology is Enlightenment. How that will look like may be far from what we now appear like. Maybe by then we will have become points of light, returned to being stardust from whence we started. ??

          • Elizabeth M Teklinski says:

            Hi Frank,I don’t disagree with Buddhism; I feel “a powerful imperative” to integrate its truths with the mysticism of the Hindu, Sufi, and Christian paths. Particularly, I feel drawn to the emergence of an integral Catholicism. Your example of a womb is quite perfect and actually helps better contextualize Andrew’s statement here: “something [pregnancy] came from nothing,” and the “explosion in motion that is all of life came into being, a perpetual state of becoming [an evolving organism in both in consciousness and form complete with its physical brain and cells layering the consciousness of reptiles, mammals, and all that came before it] was born.” I envision the womb (both physical and spiritual) as such a “fire of absolute love and …compassion.” “It is always a force to be reckoned with. Its unceasing demand is evolution and its tangible expression is to create order out of disorder.”…sounds like the second chakra to me…

            • Frank Luke says:

              Hi Elizabeth, re: your mentioning the defending of our viewpoints and dtracting from those which contradict them:

              It seems even those highly developed spirituality can still harbor warrior feelings to pushback forcefully when opposed. If we can adopt a less egoistic attitude that respects others’ opinions, we would be well to adopt the position of entertaining all view points and contrast them with how they differ from our way of thinking. We should also be able to discriminate when choosing our battles and then pursuing them if that important, saving our energies for more important matters. Not to say we should be nebbishes and should speak up for our beliefs but be open to listening and sometimes agreeing to disagree.

              Best regards, I appreciate your thoughtful comments. TY for your responses!

              Aloha, namaste!

      • Elizabeth M Teklinski says:

        There must be purpose in nature. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense. Over two millennia ago, the Aristotle (350 B.C.E) is credited for conceiving of the philosophy of teleology. In his On the Parts of Animals, Aristotle proclaims, “Nature adapts the organ to the function, and not the function to the organ” (IV, xii, 694b; 13); and “Nature is among the causes which act for the sake of something…That for the sake of which is a thing’s purpose, its end, the goal at which it aims” (2.8.198b10). Aristotle is saying that man “sees because he has eyes and has eyes so that he can see.” Eyes exist because they have a purpose. I cannot imagine that the Universe wastes a single atom.

        I’m a mom of young children. I read a lot of Dr. Seuss (forgive me). Thus, I tell my kids that humankind and this Earth is like a speck on a lily pad, in a pond, in a rain forest, in South America say. All our scientists and scholars have thoroughly analyzed the cells, and photosynthesis, and the like that occurs on this lily pad and we think we are so enlightened. But can a speck on a lily pad in a pond in the rain forest even conceive of the Louvre in Paris or Michelangelo’s “David”?

        “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” -Socrates

        • Aliya says:

          Why should there be any purpose to life, any sense? To whom is life obliged to give explanations and to provide sense? Life is a purpose, a goal to itself or we may say it also in the other way round – life is purposeless still extremly beautiful a mystery to be lived, a beauty to be savored. Is not this enough, Elisabeth?
          Your children full of life are not they making sense enough? Will you ever say to God – please take them back, I first want them to make any sense to me, to have a purpose. I will accept them only if they have a purpose.

          • Elizabeth Teklinski says:

            “The spirit shall look out through Matter’s gaze. And matter shall reveal the spirit’s face.” Sri Aurobindo

            Aliya, I think you might be confusing purpose with meaning. For instance, teleology (purpose in nature and evolution) argues eyes evolved so that one can see. There was order and design involved. How do we make sense of that? I don’t know? Perhaps so that spirit could gaze out from matter.

            Being a mother and also working with Hospice, I’m fascinated by both edges of incarnation. I’ve witnessed some pretty incredible visions, awesome guidance, and non-local experiences in both contexts. I “met”/”saw” all my children before they were born and even had prior knowledge of my now 10 year old’s congenital blood disorder and limb difference. All my experiences were documented prior to their manifestation. I am now pretty much convinced that causality is not unilateral. Dean Radin has done some pretty interesting research into bi-causality and retrocausality. By purpose I mean that something is sacred and meant to be. There is order in apparent chaos. The blueprint for the mighty oak tree is already inherent in the acorn.

            • Aliya says:

              “I mean that something is sacred and meant to be.”
              And therefore, sacredness does not need any purpose, otherwise it would not have been sacredness!

        • Frank Luke says:

          Hi Elizabeth, re: “There must be purpose in nature.”

          I appreciate your insights and submit, re:

          purpose in evolution:If we see that evolution is the modification of species for more efficacious survival, I submit that the human evolution may not obviously be external currently as internally, in our psyches and minds. I contend that the development of higher consciousness to recognize we must become peaceable and eschew and forswear war and violence, turning to more conciliatory behaviors, is essential in our trajectory. To come to a tipping point where humanity will adopt this attitude and behavior I believe is crucial to our survival in view of the more competitive nature of capitalism and national interests. Looming over us is the Damocles sword of Mass Weapons of Destruction and nuclear weapons. This conciousness needs to be attained personally, in communities, as nations and in every human mind and heart. Starting with our Selves, teaching our children. Peace, not war and violence that breeds violence.

          Aloha, namaste!

      • Frank Luke says:

        Hi Aliya,

        Do you acknowledge the Awakening Event, also termed “Peak Ecxperience” or not? I believe as many here do that when this is experienced, ego (small e) will be morphed into Ego (big E), where it becomes as you describe, not so individualistic as becoming committed to Being at large and to all humanity and our entire planet.

        Is this something you can agree with or not??

        • Aliya says:

          I do acknowledge the Awakening, the Enlightenment, the Samadhi, the Satori or whatever you name this experience. However, be aware of it as an EXPERIENCE of Your Being, not as an event as “an object in time” or “something that happens in the mind, such as a thought”. In the experience of Awakening the old personality disappears and a new man is born, a being with no ego at all, neither “small e” nor “big E”. Ego simply disappears, dissolves as a mirage in the desert dissolves when you look at it directly. The Awakening is a total transformation, a metamorphosis of you the way you have been and the revelation of the authentic and true You, the eternal Being. This eternal being does not have an ego, because to have an ego is to THINK you are separate from Existence, from God. To say it in other words, when you awake, there is no more YOU left, but only Eternity, only Oneness, only God, in which no egos are possible.

  5. Colin D. says:

    In response to the above comment by Aliya, you are talking about only one of the 2 aspects of the Absolute, the Ground of Being. The other half is the active evolutionary impulse, the “Authentic Self”, “Divine Will”, “Shakti”, etc. Both are equally important and interdependent. To focus only on Being leads to a nihilistic apathy, where something crucial, like veganism, green anarchism, is mostly likely not even considered. Andrew explained this limited spiritual understanding well here:
    See also this page I made:


    • Aliya says:

      Absolute would not have been Absolute if It consisted of any halves or aspects. What has halves or two aspects is not The Absolute, be aware of this truth!
      The division between Ground of Being and Authentic Self (Divine Will, Bodhichitta) can only be a byproduct of the human mind, hence it is not existential, not the Divine Reality.
      Moreover, the interpretation here of the Divine Will, Bodhichitta is only from the narrow human mind point of view. The State of Bodhichitta or Authentic Self or Divine Will is when You as a separate entity are no more, you have disappeared, dissolved into the Whole and only the Divine Is. This is the state of no-mind. It can be translated as buddha-mind, buddha-consciousness, too. Or if you like you can call it christ-consciousness, krishna-consciousness. It doesn’t make any difference what name is used, but the basic quality of Bodhichitta is that it is NO-MIND. It looks paradoxical: the mind in the state of no-mind. But the meaning is very clear: mind without content, mind without thoughts, WITHOUT any striving for evolutionary enlightenment, WITHOUT any impulse to evolve.
      Human Creativity can be released only when one transcends all his/her ideas for struggling, striving, becoming and simply IS, relaxes in the ISNESS. This Relaxation in your Being, this Acceptance of the Divine will of the Divine Being within and without You is tremendous bliss and release of all your creative juices.

      • Frank Luke says:

        May I ask what you make of the Yin/Yang symbol of wholeness, where each half incorporates a speck of the other’s essence? Would Absoluteness acknowledge any presence of Other? Has your teaching discussed this?

        • Aliya says:

          Once again, Frank, especially for you – I do not have any teaching to impart!!!
          Absolute is absolute and no halves, no parts in it. Any halves or shadows or energies exist in the form, in the time and in the space, in the Creation the Absolute creates to play with, to enjoy it, to joke with:) Life, Universe is a big cosmic joke!

  6. Frank Luke says:

    Hey, Aliya,

    Here’s another comment starting off contradicting and that’s Andrew’s comnment himself. I admire your bravery but I submit it would be more in the spirit of discussing rather than dictating your points of view that you would add rather than contradict constantly.

    • Frank Luke says:

      Hello again Aliya,

      May I ask you how you acquired your beliefs that are posted here? Were they taught by teachers or not? Books?
      Transmitted to you, personally empiricaly or second-hand? Were those teachers taught or had first-hand revelations of truth?

      I’d appreciate your responses to these queries.

      • Aliya says:

        Re: “May I ask you how you acquired your beliefs that are posted here?”
        Dear Frank, I have never claimed any beliefs in here. To have beliefs means exactly what you say: “to have them taught by teachers, books”, but not to experience truth. To believe means that you do not know and that is why you have to believe, you need gurus, teachers, do-gooders to “guide” you.
        I do not need to believe, I simply know. Knowing is my being. And I share my being with you. Your Being knows also. You simply have to connect to it, to start the journey inwards, the journey called awareness, watchfulness, alertness or simply meditation.

  7. Helena Hartwood says:

    Perfection ~ Aliya,I really appreciate the example of the process you demonstrate so transparently. Your use of the word ‘if’ shows the place you are looking at everything from. Indeed we are approaching…peace. Otherwise we would be in one silent drop. There are enlightened teachers who guide the way. I trust their experience and perceptions.Your relentless questioning hold within them the answers.
    Well done.

    • Aliya says:

      A Conscious Being can never follow a planned process even less so for the purpose of demonstration. A Conscious Being can never be planned, predicted. You can never know how a Conscious Being would react. A Conscious Being does not react at all, but responds to the situations of life the way they come and how they come. Reaction is determined by the preliminary action, a response is according to your inner truth, your essence of being. A Conscious Being is impredictable, spontaneous, total, utterly him/herself. That is the reason for a Conscious Being to be difficult to absob and confine by any establishment, organization, structure, institution. Remember what happened to Jesus Christ, to Al Hallaj Mansoor and many others. Truth hurts and still Truth wants to be expressed. Who are we to oppose truth?

      • Frank Luke says:

        Your response seems like a smokescreen, disappointing in that it seems like a dodging a forthright presentation of whether your viewpoints have been acquired first or second hand? I tend to respect first hand info more because it seems it’s more authentic than any transmitted kind. Of course there are teachers and then there are other ones who I feel are more credible. I wonder from where your authority to comment as you do derives, wonder if you think your information is incontrovertible truth or a way of interpreting truth, in other words a point of view?

        • Aliya says:

          A person who came to know him/herself is bound to have authority, to speak with authority and that you seem to feel rightly. A person who knows himself is centered in the inner being, is whole and integrated. Whenever he/she speaks or acts, he/she does it out of the totality of the Being.

      • Frank Luke says:

        Hi Aliya, re: “A Conscious Being can never be planned, predicted.”

        Aside from your use of (never) in your statement, I would submit that a spiritually Awakened person would be committed to a path that would be rather strait, and would rarely be swerved from it. The options that kind of being would have may be determined and narrow, determined by the tenets of Perennial Wisdom, but also unlimited in the ways to manifest the choices made in life.

  8. Caroline Hitch says:

    Andrew seems to get it but his language can be really annoying. Evolution is like gravity–inherent in matter itself. One doesn’t have to evoke such overdrawn emotionalism in order to convey a taste of its sweep.

    On the other hand, Aliya doesn’t even recognize that her entire body is the product of billions of years in the making, having involved trillions of decisions along the way–the history of much of it recorded in her own DNA. In every moment in time, decisions are made and it is upon those decisions that the future is built.

    Life has built itself up from the single cell. It never could have thrived unless it took the responsibility to care for its needs. If you could peer into a living cell you’d see its workings as very similar to those of a city or a body–different in degree but not in kind. Life is this system of taking in energy for its growth, maintenance and repair in order to experience as much life as possible (however towards this end sometimes Life cheats.)

    What constitutes the field of Life’s welfare however is more than the narrow range of one’s individual disembodied, immediate awareness; rather it’s the health of the entire ecological system upon which our own health depends. No real boundary exists where we can say that we need not be mindful of something else in the procurement of our own welfare because the welfare of one part of this world effects the welfare of the other parts. Our previous ideas of isolation have turned out to be fictions.

    Energy needs to be expended to imagine and build safe spaces where people can live in thriving, nurturing and joyous communities throughout the world, integrated with nature. Let the will of each one of us be liberated to re-imagine and recreate the world in the image of our deepest desire.

    • Aliya says:

      Re: “Aliya doesn’t even recognize that her entire body is the product of billions of years in the making” – Please note that it is an incorrect statement and deviation of my words. Quoting others’words should be done correctly without allegedly distorting them.

      • Caroline Hitch says:

        Aliya, this wasn’t in reference to anything that you had said! Only in reference to all that you haven’t; i.e.; how you are a biological being…

  9. Caroline Hitch says:

    Upon further consideration, I find the wording of this week’s quote quite appropriate considering the enormity and magnificence of the Kosmic project. Wasn’t light “screaming” before biology developed sensitized cells to read it? So how about the mind and heart of God?

    What gets me the most is, how is it that the materials are there to make a patch of such cells? You not only have the Universe coming into awareness of itself, but this awareness is through its own body. It strikes me that the Kosmic body was completely rent asunder (in the big bang) and that it’s been in the process of putting Itself back together ever since then. That is, the parts have already formed the One with No Second in manifestation at least once in the past–otherwise, how come the perfect periodic chart of elements?

  10. Caroline Hitch says:


    You’re obviously a sincere, earnest guy. But not everyone is so dispositioned. Some have so much baggage that they’re only about smokescreens. You ain’t gonna win this one because you’re dealing with the biggest ego insecuri-tist of them all.

  11. rico says:

    Yes we all have an ego. Without getting into a long discussion about the definition of ego; we wouldn’t survive as individuals without one. The trouble comes when the mind and the ego hook up. One of the ego’s characteristics is to take ownership of everything. When the mind kicks in the misery begins.

    So all the Great Ones have said, in one way or another, that the way to peace and contentment is to prevent the mind from having free reign over our experience. So when the mind is quiet we become aware of “things” as they are not as we think they are.

    But gaining control over the non-stop mental chatter doesn’t mean we no longer have access to or a use for the thinking mind. Without it we couldn’t function in the world. Try finding your car keys without it.

    When the mind is quiet we can function optimally in the world. No-mind does not mean one lays down and spaces out all the time. We still need to carry water and chop wood!

    • Elizabeth Teklinski says:

      Hi Rico,

      I’ve heard consciousness described as a vast and endlessly deep ocean. The subjective is the ocean and it is said that it is already like 99.99 percent silent. The mind noises are the disturbances occurring at the surface and they are non-consequential. I personally am not sure if the mind kicking in is the root of all suffering. I have just started reading Ken Wilber and I really appreciate his description of the ego’s suffering being due to it’s identification with smallness. The trajectory of evolution involves the ego getting bigger and bigger and identifying itself with more than mere forms.

  12. Caroline Hitch says:


    I also believe that we are Light, that all matter devolved from Light. It’s all still the same Light but through the complexification brought about as process builds upon process, the Light becomes merely hidden. But Light it is and it is radiant! It is this Light that is the source, and this Light to which all returns. It is this Light that is creating right now as we speak…

  13. Eric says:

    Becoming a “Spiritual Evolutionary Warrior” requires not only a commitment, but also a surrender towards that which is good and progressing forward not only for ones own self, but for the Higher and Greater good the world and kosmos over.

    When I contemplate this there is a part of me in conflict or uncertainty of how far to go with this surrender. as young people naturally feel compelled, I take to travel and seeing the world, adventure and exploring-all in the intent to cultivate greater world/cultural awareness (in Spiral Dynamics terms, GREEN/YELLOW stages?), and to learn from the Great Traditions accessible in the cultures visited. But as the pace of time quickens and the world events intensify I can’t but help to reconsider my callings, dreams and visions in my journeying way of life (stimulating YELLOW?). At the root, does this only support self-centered living (RED/GREEN?)? Or perhaps too harsh is this perspective and in actual truth am embarking into the liberating new paradigm of the future…2nd Tier thinking, living and volitional decision making?

  14. Ruthie says:

    return to the space of quietness
    and there in the stillness of your mind i be,thinking of
    the greatness in thee