Nothing To Something

Evolutionary Enlightenment: Nothing to Something

Andrew Cohen Read

Evolutionary Enlightenment is focused on the manifest, active, creative expression of enlightenment…


The teaching of Evolutionary Enlightenment is about the profound awakening to evolutionarily enlightened consciousness and its manifestation and expression in the world. Enlightened consciousness by whatever name, is the movement of consciousness beyond the personal ego or narcissistic separate self-sense.

Traditionally, in most of humanity’s eastern mystical schools, the attainment of enlightened awareness did not include being awake to evolution. Indeed, traditionally eastern Enlightenment meant something very specific: that one had awakened to the timeless, formless Ground of all Being. Typically spiritual aspirants discovered this profound dimension of consciousness through the experience of deep meditation. That meant letting go of compulsive identification with, and attachment to, thoughts and emotions, and by sinking slowly but surely into absolute non-activity. This happens when we slow down and cease compulsive thinking. Through focussed concentration we become both intensely still and profoundly awake. When, in this way, our attention begins to release itself from the conditioned mind and thought-process, we fall ever more deeply into a deep meditative state.

This is when we discover the limitless interior dimension of our own Being, when consciousness begins to open to itself to an immeasurable degree and when we discover the unmanifest dimension of reality. In that mysterious domain, there is no time, no space, no world, and no mind. Nothing has happened yet. This absolute nothingness or voidness or emptiness is traditionally called the Ground of Being. When we discover the literally infinite, timeless, formless nature of this dimension, we recognize that “This is what it was like before the universe was created.”

To attain direct knowledge of what enlightenment is, it’s important to understand that everything that exists — the entire universe, time and space and all of life including each and every one of us – is a manifest or material expression of that which does not exist. From nothing came something. The unmanifest became the manifest. From the empty void, this whole material universe, which eventually gave rise to energy and matter, life and the capacity for self knowing awareness, dramatically emerged. Everything that exists came from this absolute nothingness. That means nothing is the source of everything that is. This fundamental mystical insight is basically this: that the ultimate essence of everything that exists is this no-thing-ness. Traditionally, this is the revelation that enlightens — that frees the self from attachment to the world, the process of creation, and everything in it.

Evolutionary Enlightenment however, is focused on the manifest, or active, or creative expression of enlightenment. lt is a different orientation for spiritual development and a completely new context in which to understand our human experience. lt is a radical embrace of manifestation in which you begin to see your own incarnation—whoever you think you are, including your human personality, your body, your mind,and your soul, all the way from the gross to the subtle, including your deepest spiritual revelations to your most mundane experiences and everything in between—within a truly cosmic‚ evolutionary context. You realize that who and what you are as a sentient being is a product of fourteen billion years of cosmic evolutionary development. Every dimension of who and what you are is intimately related to, connected with, and an expression of, the creative process as a whole, that began when something came from nothing fourteen billion years ago.

In this new understanding you know that every part of yourself is also not separate from that empty ground from which literally everything emerged when time began. That unmanifest dimension is always at the very core of ALL of your experience in every single moment, including this one, whether you are aware of it or not.

When seen from an evolutionary perspective, unmanifest nothingness is not nothing. There is nothing happening there, and yet, inherent in the nothingness is an ungraspable mystery that is deeply compelling. That is why when you enter into a very deep state of meditation, it is always so absolutely enthralling. Why? Because in that absolute nothingness there always exists the infinite creative potential for everything that burst forth as the entire universe. That unmanifest domain is the indestructible, transcendental realm of infinite potential that forever abides before anything has happened.

The unmanifest domain is a place where everything is possible, but where nothing has ever happened. In this absolute emptiness there is a positive creative tension, experienced as a profound and powerful state of suspended awakeness. This unbroken tension exists in the infinite depths of consciousness precisely because everything is possible, but has not yet occurred. This is the vibration of empty-fullness that is so completely enthralling.

When l speak about the manifest expression of enlightenment, I’m pointing very specifically to what happened at that precise moment when nothing took that unimaginable leap and became everything. What happens when nothingness, which is the essence of everything that exists, becomes manifest? It’s important to try and recognize that moment in your very own experience. What we’re interested in here, is locating that same vibration—that same energy, that same intelligence—that initiated the entire creative process at the very beginning of time and history, in your own experience.

That energy and intelligence is the creative impulse, the urge to become. Traditionally it is called Eros. The highest and most profound expression of that creative impulse is felt when a human being experiences the mysterious compulsion to become more conscious. One experiences the vibration of the evolutionary impulse when it becomes the spiritual impulse —and that impulse, which is not separate from the very same impulse that initiated the creative process and is driving it right now, doesn’t have a personal agenda. That’s why to truly realize it we have to be willing to let go of the ever obscuring narrative of our narrowly focussed narcissistic selves. Most people have no idea of the enormous spiritual potential that lies unrealized in this dimension of themselves. In Evolutionary Enlightenment we call this potential, when it becomes awakened, the Authentic Self.

The Authentic Self is that same vibration of infinite potential that exists eternally in the unmanifest. Just as unmanifest Being is vibrating with the infinite potential to become everything, so the Authentic Self within you is fueled by the same sense of infinite potential to effect change in the manifest world. This evolutionary drive has been active since the beginning of time, but now it is beginning to become aware of itself in individuals who have reached higher levels of consciousness. The dramatic journey from Nothing, to Energy and Matter, to Life, Consciousness and then Self Reflective Awareness, is the very same drive to become that has been the surging source of universal unfolding for fourteen billion years. This entire process is just now beginning to awaken to itself at the leading edge of evolving human consciousness.

In the highly developed uniquely human capacity for self reflective awareness, the process that originated with the big bang is not only awakening to itself but is beginning to take responsibility for itself at higher and higher levels of knowing and being. It is doing this through the sophisticated consciousness and complex cognition of the awakening human being at the leading edge. That’s why truly understanding this is of ultimate importance for all of us. When you really get the purpose of Evolutionary Enlightenment, you realize that the demanding process of spiritual awakening is not about you as an individual, it’s about the evolution of the process itself. It’s the humbling realization that the universe is utterly dependant upon your conscious participation in the evolutionary process in order for it to be able to move itself forward.

Knowing this, the depth of your engagement with life is determined by how profoundly you are able to take responsibility for this truth in the life you are living.

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