“Evolutionary enlightenment is about the ecstasy that compels us to create the future. And it’s not a future that’s going to unfold by itself while we go back to sleep. It’s a future that we forge the hard way through direct, conscious, intentional engagement with the life-process itself.”


WHAT IS EVOLUTIONARY ENLIGHTENMENT?

My teachings are about spiritual enlightenment—both traditional enlightenment, and also what I call the new enlightenment, or Evolutionary Enlightenment.

Traditional enlightenment is what I learned from my teacher, but Evolutionary Enlightenment is what I have discovered in my own work over the last three decades. During this time, I have found a new source of emotional, psychological, and spiritual liberation that easily exists within anyone’s reach—anyone who has the eyes to recognize it and the heart to desire it.

To put it simply, enlightenment is evolving. It is no longer found only in the bliss of timeless Being; it is found also in the ecstatic urgency of evolutionary Becoming.

It’s important to remember that up until very recently, we didn’t know what we know today: that we are all part of a developmental process that had a beginning in time, and that is going somewhere.

Only in the last two hundred years did we discover evolution, and only in the twentieth century did we come upon what is known as “deep time”—the incomprehensible span of fourteen billion years since the universe burst into being.

When we apply the perspective of evolution to the nature of enlightenment, it changes everything. From the perspective of the eternal timeless ground, the traditional teachers are right. The highest spiritual truth is that nothing ever happened, you and I were never born, and the big bang never occurred. That’s enlightenment, that’s liberation, that’s samadhi, that’s satori.

But from the perspective of evolution, the entire picture changes.


Modern science and cosmology have revealed that time doesn’t move in predictable cycles, returning again and again to the same point. It is, in fact, a linear process. Fourteen billion years of development have produced all of manifestation—the entire known universe and everything that’s contained within it, including its greatest mystery: the capacity for consciousness itself.

The arrow of time is a creative process, and that capacity for creativity is the most extraordinary part of the whole dramatic unfolding—from the big bang to the present moment. This is not just another repetition of an endless cycle. This hasn’t all happened before. Where we are going is not predestined.

The most exciting part of this realization is that we discover, if we look deeply into our own experience, that our own emerging desire for spiritual freedom is not separate from the impulse that is driving the entire process.

I call this the Evolutionary Impulse. When we awaken to this impulse, we discover something miraculous: that that dynamic and ever-evolving creative principle is none other than our own Authentic Self.

This is the new source of spiritual liberation in the teaching I have come to call Evolutionary Enlightenment. It’s not just about awakening to timeless being—it’s about awakening to eternal, ecstatic Becoming.

Evolutionary Enlightenment calls on us to awaken to both the timeless peace of Being, and the relentless passion of the Evolutionary Impulse.

—Andrew Cohen