When we embark on the spiritual quest, most of us, understandably, are pursuing freedom or enlightenment for our own sake. This is why we begin by asking, What do I really want? What is more important to me than anything else? But once your intention has become clear, and you sincerely pursue that one-pointed aspiration, a profound shift occurs. Over time, as your soul develops and matures through the practice of the first three tenets, you will see the quality of that intention evolve. And as you embrace the fourth tenet, and learn to see yourself as a very small part of a very big process, your relationship to the spiritual path becomes dramatically recontextualized. You discover that it’s not about you. (p. 158, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening, ch. Cosmic Consciousce)
When you think objectively about how much work went into creating your own capacity to have the experience you are having in this very moment – fourteen billion years of hard work – then it might even begin to strike you as immoral to spend too much time sitting around and worrying about the fears and desires of your personal ego. Surely the purpose of all that cosmic effort and creativity and positivity – from nothing to energy to light to matter to life to consciousness to you – could not possibly have been just for that. When you awaken to the evolutionary process and its endless creativity, and you discover how profound and complex the structure of our universe is, you start to recognize and appreciate, at a soul level, what a precious gift it is to be here. (p. 37, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening,ch. A Big Yes)
Think about it for a moment: if you are reading a book like this, the likelihood is that you are among the luckiest people who have ever been born. To begin with, you are one of those privileged to have received a high degree of education. People like you and me have access to information that wasn’t available until very recently – about the life process, about our psychological development, the natural history of our planet, and the evolution of the expanding cosmos. Besides this wealth of knowledge, we also have a degree of material wealth, comfort, security, and leisure time that is historically unprecedented. The standard of living that we take for granted, kings and queens of old could not have imagined. And on top of all this, we enjoy a degree of freedom that is unparalleled – personal, political, religious, and philosophical. There have never been human beings who have had the extraordinary liberty we have to experiment with our own lives – to think in whatever way we want, to do almost anything we want, to say anything we want, to go anywhere we want, to be whatever we want. (p. 78, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening, Ch. The Postmodern Predicament)
This awakened passion for evolutionary transformation is not reasonable. It demands change, right now, and it will not wait, because God is always desperate to grow. God is infinite in the unmanifest realm. But in the manifest realm God is not infinite – God can only know him- or herself to the extent to which conscious beings are actually able to awaken to their own absolute nature. (p. 52, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening, Ch. The Universe Project)
There are layers of cultural conditioning, values and assumptions about how things should be that color our perspectives without us even knowing it. And many people believe that within our psyches we also carry the unresolved stories of previous lifetimes. All these factors play a part in the complex web of motives and impulses that makes up your sense of self. All this is you. And yet it is possible to take responsibility for all of these dimensions of who you are, through the transformative recognition that you are always the one who is choosing. (p. 71, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening, Ch. Enlightening the Choosing Faculty)When you awaken to the truth that your human experience of consciousness and cognition, your personal presence here on this small planet, is part of an infinitely bigger process than you had ever imagined, you may notice an uncomfortable and perhaps unfamiliar sensation stirring within you – a sense of obligation. (page 86, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening, Ch. A Moral Imperative)But if we choose – consciously or unconsciously – to live a life of mediocrity, then we are also making a statement. Because we are not flourishing, what we are saying, whether we intend it or not, is that the evolutionary process is not flourishing. (p. 89, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening, Ch. The Moral Imperative)
As long as we remain invested in the ego’s need to manipulate reality, we will find that we keep making the same mistakes, over and over and over again, because we are deliberately avoiding aspects of the way things are. It’s not a mystery: if we are trying to get somewhere, but we cover our eyes to avoid seeing the obstacles that lie in our path, it’s no wonder we keep tripping over them. (p. 138, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening, ch. Face Everything and Avoid Nothing)…(p. 139, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening,) But the point is that when you choose to avoid, you lose touch with your own soul. Emotionally, you become disconnected from your own deeper dimensions. It’s as if there is a wall, a barrier, between you and your own authenticity. And far too many of us get accustomed to living that way.…(p. 141, Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment: a new path to spiritual awakening,) When you remove the protective shield of avoidance and self-protection, there is an intensity and vulnerability to the human experience. And the complexity of life hits you more directly. … It demands that you be emotionally willing to bear a degree of reality – both in regard to yourself and to life itself – that you may have been unwilling to tolerate before.