Scientists tell us that when time began, fourteen billion years ago, something came from nothing. When you awaken to the ground of all Being, in a deep meditative state, you realize that when something came from nothing, the nothing didn’t disappear. That unmanifest, unborn dimension is the ever-present ground out of which everything is still arising in every moment. It is what the Buddha called “the deathless,” and what others call “eternity consciousness.” When you awaken to this dimension in your own awareness, you will find yourself always already resting in the eternal moment before time began. This is the recognition that liberates: Prior to everything, I already am. The experience of this recognition is not one of becoming liberated. It is of being already liberated. What you realize when you awaken to that ground is that there is a part of each and every one of us that is already free—from everything. That part of yourself, which is the ground of Being, has never been bound, trapped, or limited in any way. That’s the part of yourself that I want you to discover. It’s not the part of yourself that needs to become free. It is already free, right now.
Tag: "Quote of the Week"
Spiritual maturity is not a matter of how long you have lived or even how much life experience you have. The important question is: how much does any of us actually learn from our life experience? Those people who are more spiritually developed are people who have been deeply paying attention, who are sensitive and awake enough to truly learn, and grow, and significantly evolve as a result of the life experience that they have.
In the way that I use the term, God is the energy and intelligence that created the universe and is driving the process forward in every moment. And that energy and intelligence cares desperately about change and innovation and the release of potentials that have not existed before. So it is constantly looking for portals through which it can enter into the world and consciously engage with creating its next step. As conscious human beings who have been blessed with self-awareness and free agency, we are those portals. Each and every one of us is potentially a portal for the energy and intelligence that created the universe. You have a human body and a human personality, but from a certain perspective these are merely sheathes through which the cosmic creativity can shine. From the vantage point of the creative process, your human form, your personality, with all the particulars of your own history, your personal relationships, and your life circumstances, is a vessel for an infinite process that is trying to go somewhere. How conscious are you of this? How conscious is any one of us that in this very moment the cosmic process that produced us is now dependent on us to take its next step?
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.
A big part of my job is getting people interested in creating the future at the level of consciousness. In order to do that, we have to suspend our concerns about how we’re going to get over certain very real problems that exist in the present moment. For at least a moment, we have to put those aside, focus our attention on the future, and see what happens. We have to train ourselves to have a different orientation in which we are always looking beyond the present into the possible. Our attention is ever-focused on what hasn’t happened yet, and no matter what happens our attention will always keep moving forward beyond the present moment into what’s possible. And the most miraculous part of this is that if our focus and conviction is strong enough, we almost magnetically begin to compel that future possibility into the present moment.
If we are interested in the evolution of consciousness and culture, one habit that we need to break is the tendency to speak about the world as if it exists “out there.” From the perspective that I call evolutionary nonduality, we don’t want to separate our self from the world process because when we do we fall into a false or dualistic way of thinking. We are not separate from the world process. In our own small way, we’re all contributing to where we’re going. The choices we make, the actions we take, what we say, what we don’t say, are all adding to the momentum of the vast cosmic unfolding. When we really embrace the truth that we are not separate from the process that created us, then we need to become very clear about all the ways in which we are actually affecting the process, so that we can begin to more consciously impact its momentum in positive and evolutionary ways.
If you begin to evolve spiritually, at a certain point you awaken to a moral imperative. You discover an inner compulsion to live for a higher purpose and to actually to do it in public. This is quite a radical stance to take in the midst of postmodern culture. Much of postmodern popular spirituality is seen as a very personal, private matter. Rebelling against the outdated mores of traditional religion, many of us have declared we no longer want to be part of some organized, moral teaching from on high that tells us how to live. In the age of the individual, spirituality is a private, secret path and it’s not something we talk about in public because it’s not something that a culture that champions materialism and narcissism gives much validity to.
Evolutionary spirituality, however, is another step forward. In an evolutionary context we live our spiritual lives in public, because we have realized that our development is not a personal matter. If we are interested in the future, it’s not about me; it’s about we. Evolutionary spirituality is about where we are going. So now, instead of the personal, private, interior path of the lone individual, spiritual development becomes something we practice in public, because it’s about creating the future for all of us.
Whenever I explain what evolution is, I say simply this: Evolution is a cosmic process that is going somewhere in and through time. And we are all part of that process. This simple fact is potentially life-transforming, but it’s also hard to grasp at a deep level. The process that created us is moving. We tend to see the world around us as static. But it’s not. It’s going somewhere. We’re going somewhere. Awakening to this truth about all of manifestation changes the way we see the world around us and our place in it. The biggest and most important part of this awakening is that we discover our power to affect where the process that created us is going. We realize the ultimate reason for our own existence: to be a spiritual hero, to boldly take responsibility for the future of the process itself.
As I see it, the purpose of mystical experience is to convince us, at a soul level, that our true nature is Spirit—to convince us so deeply that we are liberated from existential doubt. Why? So we will finally be available to participate, consciously and wholeheartedly, in the greatest gift we’ve been given . . . which is the life we are already living right now.