Evolution is a new spiritual orientation. Most of us with a Western education are familiar with the idea of cosmic evolution—we’re aware that the cosmos is in a process of ever-greater complexification and that we are part of that evolving process. We’re aware of the Darwinian notion of biological evolution and accept the scientific evidence about how life has evolved. And some of us are even aware of the notion of cultural evolution, the recognition that culture has been developing over time through a series of stages. But very few of us are really awake to the notion of spiritual evolution. Seeing evolution as a spiritual unfolding that has an exterior and an interior, and understanding that our own experience of subjectivity is the leading edge of the interior of that creative process, is a very recently emerging idea. Traditionally, spiritual teachings pointed to a static attainment. The aspiration for enlightenment was the aspiration to come to rest in a steady state—in nirvana, in heaven. But when spirituality is reinterpreted from an evolutionary perspective, it is the aspiration for infinite becoming. The evolutionary impulse is an infinite reaching towards the future that affects the way we think about everything. Now we are no longer looking for spiritual liberation and release beyond the world, or after we die. We realize that the spiritual release is found in unconditionally, radically, and totally embracing the creative process of infinite becoming, as ourselves. It’s a very different orientation to spiritual liberation.
Tag: "Evolutionary Impulse"
What gives me the greatest spiritual confidence is the knowledge that I’m moving. I know that I’m continuing to develop. Philosophically, spiritually, personally, I am not in the same place I was a decade ago, a year ago, or even six months ago. And as long as that’s the case, I will have the confidence to stand up and talk about evolution.
The problem for most people, as I see it, is that they are not moving. They’re stuck at some place they reached decades ago. In an evolutionary worldview, the raison d’être is movement, change. The highest goodness is actual development. Are we evolving? Are we developing? If we’re stagnating, the universe cannot evolve through us. If we are not moving, the evolutionary process is stagnating. Of course, it’s not something we are deliberately or consciously doing, but because of our ignorance or unenlightenment, we are actually inhibiting the evolution of the interior of the cosmos.
If we have the courage to embrace this radical perspective on ourselves, we awaken to an enormous evolutionary imperative to get moving, so that the universe can get moving through us. From the perspective of a process that is trying to get somewhere, there is always a tremendous urgency—a creative urgency, an ecstatic urgency—for you to evolve. You and I are vehicles through which the process can develop. Is your self receptive? Is it open, transparent, surrendered, and committed enough to be a vessel for that creative urgency? When you get moving, your human body, personality, soul, and spirit becomes an expression and a manifestation of the evolutionary impulse—incarnate and always moving.
The notion of evolutionary becoming, or evolutionary emergence, is a very new and unique orientation for the self. It’s hard to even conceive of how different this orientation is from the ways we have traditionally and culturally been conditioned to relate to the human experience. With the exception of very rare individuals, throughout history our orientation has generally been toward creating security, towards carving out a safe place in which to experience comfort and pleasure. Even revolutionaries who challenge the status quo in order to gain more rights and freedoms usually do so only until those rights and freedoms are achieved, after which they tend to settle in to a new status quo. Of course, there have always been rare individuals and inspired geniuses who, animated by the pulsation of the evolutionary impulse, are ever-reaching for that which is new, who have felt compelled to make significant progress and create new pathways in their particular fields. But what I’m speaking about here is not a particular kind of genius or talent—it’s a certain attitude and aspiration in relationship to the whole process of being alive. This shift in values that creates the conditions for perpetual emergence is a fundamental shift in orientation that is just beginning to dawn on us as we awaken to the fact that we are part of a process that is going somewhere. And it’s not merely a personal shift; it is a very deep cultural change in the human psyche as a whole.
“I do think there is an awakening happening among women,” Marianne Schnall, founder of feminist.com, said to me, “and it needs help and we need to support each other. We have so many choices now but if we don’t know who we are then we won’t know how to make those choices count.” I agree with Marianne. In the last few weeks, I’ve been interviewing a lot of women in preparation for the two seminars for women that I’m leading on November 13 & 14. Some women, like Marianne, think deeply about what’s going on with women; others are your average great women negotiating the complexity of their lives. Every one of them spoke about this deep longing for more–and simultaneously, a struggle to figure out how to make choices that will enable them to release the greater potential that they sense. All of which happens to be what the “Women Forging the Future” seminars are about.
There’s abundant evidence that there is a new surge moving women. Women are clamoring to come together in ways that haven’t happened for decades. Off the top of my head, I can think of the following signs of this movement: Continue reading…
The foundation of spiritual life is clarity of intention. Do I want to become a liberated vessel for the evolutionary impulse in this world? We each have to decide: what is most important to me? Once the intention is clear, the mind becomes focused. When the mind is focused there is one-pointedness. When there is one-pointedness, the evolutionary impulse will guide us. Through remaining true to our own highest intention, again and again and again, we will discover soul strength, spiritual strength—the inspired courage to take responsibility for ourselves, for our culture, and, ultimately, for the destiny of the evolutionary process itself.
What is our very own personal experience of the evolutionary impulse? And what is its unique quality as it expresses itself in our physical bodies, in our urge to innovate, and in our spiritual aspirations? If we examine the movement of this impulse at different levels of our own being, what we become aware of is that its nature is overwhelmingly positive. If we look at the psychic and emotional quality of that impulse as it vibrates within us, in our biology and our consciousness, we can indentify that vibration as the manifestation of one big yes—the expression of the fact that life is good. Existence is good. Becoming is good. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything that happens within the evolutionary creative process is good. The process itself is quite messy and takes all kinds of wrong turns, in nature, in culture, and in consciousness. But the drive itself, the evolutionary impulse at the heart of the process, is overwhelmingly positive, and that overwhelming positivity is the very essence of what manifest Spirit is.
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. Continue reading…
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…
In an inspired spiritual context where the evolution of consciousness and culture is the goal, coming together with others is not just about sharing an experience of peace, bliss, and harmony. It is about what I call creative friction. In fact, to me, the presence of ongoing creative friction is what indicates deep spiritual, psychological, and emotional health and vibrancy in this type of collective or intersubjective context. Creative friction is the very spiritual lifeblood of the new culture that we need to create, through consciously engaging with each other and the life-process itself, as we strive to deconstruct and transcend old structures and creatively construct new ones. Continue reading…
When we awaken to the evolutionary impulse, we realize a completely new relationship to what it means to be alive and what it means to be ourselves here and now. Not only do we discover a freedom to be ourselves that we’ve never known before, but even more importantly, we find a reason for living with intense commitment and liberated passion that gives us an incomparable sense of personal, philosophical, and spiritual self-confidence. We suddenly begin to understand, in ways that both include and transcend our intellect, that the reason we are here on Earth (once all of our basic survival needs have been met) is not merely to experience security, comfort, pleasure, or even peace of mind but to develop. We realize that we are here to consciously evolve, to intentionally do anything and everything we can to unleash all of the extraordinary creative potential within, so that the human race’s next step can, in some small but not insignificant way, emerge through us.