What was your relationship to thought before you were convinced that there was a problem?
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 www.andrewcohen.org.
In our most evolutionarily enlightened moments, we directly experience the truth of the fact that we are all truly on a cosmic journey. When we literally begin to feel the telos, or directionality, of the entire process moving in and through our own nervous system, this is when we directly experience that movement as a vertical impulse in our own consciousness, way beyond our egos. We see that where we are headed is never static or predetermined. In every moment, there is the possibility for something new. This is what I have recently been calling “radical indeterminacy”—when we glimpse for ourselves the limitless nature of our own potential to evolve, infinitely and forever.
From an evolutionary perspective or worldview, development—the emergence of that which is new—is seen as the greatest good. So during the limited time that each of us has here on Earth, we all have the opportunity to develop, to make a difference in this world through applying our God-given capacity for free agency, or freedom of choice, to our own conscious evolution. No matter who we are, we all have some measurable, not insignificant degree of free agency. And learning how to activate that gift, so that which is truly higher and new can emerge through us, is what makes all the difference.
In my recent teachings and retreats, I have been putting a lot of emphasis on the difference between what I call vertical and horizontal development. When I talk about verticality, it means that the whole self is going through a process that is going to result in the emergence of capacities and ways of thinking that are genuinely, authentically new and that weren’t there before. It’s not the same as a horizontal path of self-improvement where we are modifying, often in positive and important ways, the self that we already are. We’re not simply making the self, as it is, better. We are engaging with the spiritual process in such a way that the result is going to be the emergence of some quality, ability, and capacity that was not there before.
As awakening human beings at the leading edge of culture, we need to do a lot of thinking about what it means to live a purposeful and meaningful life, and what it would look like to deeply succeed in evolving, individually and together. There is not a shared agreement about these matters, even among those individuals who are committed to the evolution of consciousness and culture. So these questions are ones we need to contemplate and explore very carefully, very objectively, and with keen discernment, so that we can come to some agreements about what we are working toward. Continue reading…
I don’t believe we have to solve all of our psychological problems in order to become liberated human beings. In the way that I teach, the key to our liberation is simple and direct: it occurs when we discover and recognize something that is more important. When you awaken to something that has infinitely greater spiritual, moral, and philosophical value than your personal problems, when you discover a higher perspective that is inherently more meaningful than the woes of your wounded self, those problems and woes won’t necessarily disappear, but they suddenly appear to be dramatically less important. Continue reading…
The thing that I find so extraordinary about India is that for thousands of years there has been a culture that has recognized the significance of consciousness. The joy, for me, of being in India is that in spite of her current rapid transition into modernity, Spirit still abides as her foundation more palpably than in most other places on our small planet. And what I feel very passionate about is helping to create a cultural revolution in the West where the absolute significance of consciousness, and the evolution of consciousness, is put first and foremost.
Click here to watch a new 25-minute documentary film about my recent trip to India.
What I am interested in is not what has already happened, but what is possible. What is the next possibility? That’s what Evolutionary Enlightenment is all about. So your attention is not on what is but on what could be. You are not concerned with the present moment, with being in the Now; you are passionately concerned with the next moment, and the next, and the next. You are always reaching for something higher, and you become consumed with the expectation, the anticipation of something new and more meaningful. That’s what gives your life a purpose and a direction. If you are reaching for the future you create direction.
When two or more individuals who have awakened to what I call the Evolutionary Impulse, or Authentic Self, come together in deep dialogue and focused conversation, the experience is something akin to thinking aloud with yourself. Why? Because there is only one Authentic Self. The ego can only have a relationship with other separate individuals, but the Authentic Self can only have a relationship with itself. If you awaken to the Authentic Self and another also becomes illuminated by that same Self, you will find that you both experience a strong pull to be together, but what you are drawn to is not the other individual’s unique personality. The Authentic Self isn’t interested in other individuals. Continue reading…
People often ask me, What is the self? What is it that actually evolves? And I always answer, It’s you, whoever you are. I don’t just mean your ego or personality. But what I’m pointing to is the fact that beneath all of that there is some essential core of selfhood or agency that is making choices. If you want to become an evolutionarily enlightened human being, your ability to succeed depends upon accepting the simple fact that you are the one who is making the choices. You are the chooser. Continue reading…