Evolutionary Enlightenment: From Egocentric to Cosmocentric
A book review
Imagine a world with no greed, no political power struggles, no competition and no harm to others. This can be the world of the future if we embrace the new spiritual paradigm laid out by Andrew Cohen’s vision of evolutionary consciousness.
In his latest book, author, teacher and founder of EnlightenNext, Cohen, tackles the big questions that form the basis of all spiritual traditions: Who am I? Why am I here? And Is there a purpose to life? Many wisdom traditions have offered up the notion that we are here to achieve enlightenment and then we’re done. Anchored in the past, they tend to suggest that it’s okay to retreat from the world, do our inner work and then achieve Nirvana, go Home. But Cohen squarely lays responsibility in our laps and makes us responsible for not only our own evolution (to him this is a given work that we must do) but for the evolution of our culture and society.
I feel that Cohen is offering us an alternative to the solely inward focused approach to the spiritual journey. He encourages each and every one of us to be agents of change aligned with the higher good so that evolution may happen through us and with us as co-agents with God. Deepak Chopra’s foreword sums it up best. “Andrew Cohen has the pulse of modern life at his fingertips.” In response to the doomsday views that pervade our day, Cohen’s clarity and wisdom shine. He encourages us to do the necessary work to realize our Oneness with others, take responsibility and consciously create our own future. He urges us to understand that individual spiritual development is not personal. “It is the evolution of God through you,” he writes. “If you get ego out of the way, your hands become God’s hands.”
I love that he urges us to become one with the creative impulse and to internalize it, not as a temporary experience, but as our main sense of self. His work is not limited to theory and grand ideas. He gives practical steps to take to get there. Initially we’re given two ways to reach what he calls “the awakening of the Authentic Self”. We can achieve this spontaneously or through “nobel effort” to liberate ourselves from karma, desires and cultural confines. Meditation is one of the ways offered to find the inner stillness of the Absolute Truth and move into the edge of creative Becoming. Where in ancient traditions, seeking and holding the focus of the Absolute was the sole aim, Cohen adds Becoming as another facet of our essential being. Both of these impulses make up the movement towards evolutionary enlightenment. Paying attention to thoughts, words, actions and habits is also essential.