Continuity is Evolutionary Nirvana (Part 2)

Andrew Cohen Read

Once we have become firmly established in the awakening to an evolutionary worldview, which we can also call a process perspective, what exactly changes within us? How do we see the world around us differently? How does our relationship to our inner experience change as a result?

This kind of awakening goes far beyond a merely intellectual appreciation of evolution or developmental theory. The awakening to the reality of the process perspective is so deep that it becomes a direct and intuitive seeing. It is a felt experience of the inherent reality of process as the most fundamental dimension of all manifest reality.

From this perspective, there is no world that exists outside the reality of process and evolution. Nothing is static. Everything is moving, growing, becoming, birthing and dying; always and everywhere, at both the micro and macro levels.

As I said in part one, there are no endings, only new beginnings, again and again and again. These new beginnings are all part of a vast continuum that includes literally everything. When deeply realized, this profound truth dramatically alters the way we see our experience of the present moment and everything included within it.

Our bodies are temporary formations made up of atoms and molecules that emerged billions of years ago in the powerful explosions that gave rise to the material universe. At the level of biological life, the purely physical level, we have already been here for around 3.8 billion years.

We have been experiencing powerful biological drives like the desire for food, sex, sleep and companionship for vast spans of time. Indeed many of our base instincts and lower emotions we share with our animal brethren.

As an evolutionary process we have been here for a very long time, but at the cosmic scale it’s only very recently that we have acquired the capacity to consciously know this; and more importantly to be able to feel it as a truth, deep in our evolving souls.

The energy and intelligence that created the universe only developed the capacity for cognition and the beginnings of self-reflection about 50 thousand years ago with the birth of human culture. This was a truly monumental leap in the evolution of consciousness on planet earth, and potentially in the universe as a whole.

Our own seemingly private and personal thought stream is part of a vast impersonal developmental process; a continuum that has taken us all the way from matter and energy to life, and eventually to self-awareness, consciousness and complex cognition.

There is only one multidimensional interconnected and ever-growing process of becoming that we all always are. In evolutionary spirituality, “I am That” means I am the entire process recognizing itself in and through the form of this temporary body, mind and personality.

This is such a liberating truth, and it is so easy to forget. Liberating, because in the dramatic awakening to process we are able to see our entire personal predicament from the perspective of deep time. The inherent challenges and complexity of our current life circumstances are seen as part of a 14 billion year process of becoming.

This helps enormously to open our minds and hearts to a much bigger transpersonal perspective, not only on our personal situation, but that of our whole species. This truly universal vantage point can make it possible for us to at least temporarily see through the eyes of God, or the energy and intelligence that gave rise to the entire cosmic unfolding.

This directly reveals to us that we are on an inconceivably vast journey, that our life is just a fraction of a second in a show that lasts for all eternity. A God’s-eye view is one that is completely outside the personal sphere while simultaneously being the very deepest interior of the whole cosmos.

Such a perspective inspires us to care, to live a heroic life for the highest of reasons. As we evolve and grow, the energy and intelligence that gave rise to the whole show evolves through us, as us.

When we begin to live for evolution rather than for our small egoically driven culturally-conditioned selves, we leap beyond the limitations of small-mindedness and small-heartedness. Now God is all there is, and all we can do is make our best and most inspired effort to bring this process forward.

All struggles, successes, breakthroughs, failures, pain, suffering, and challenging transitions are seen as unavoidable stepping-stones to greater depth, clarity, heart and soul. We are the whole process, stumbling through greater and greater challenges so that God can evolve through us.

This is of course much easier said than done, but the ongoing and relentless agony and ecstasy of conscious existence is always worth it from the very biggest perspective. The unbearable pain and the overwhelming bliss in all this is never ours alone.

In truth we really are the whole process in every moment of lived experience, whether we are conscious of it or not. But being conscious of it makes all the difference in the world.

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