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Read an excerpt from Evolutionary Enlightenment

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.

In addition he offers up five precepts to guide the creative impulse that keeps us on the edge between the Absolute and our creative Becoming: Clarity of Intention; The Power of Volition; Face Everything and Avoid Nothing; The Process Perspective, and Cosmic Conscience. He asserts that we create with clarity of intention; that we have the power to choose; that we function optimally and with most clarity when we face things without attachment or aversion. He also takes us into a view of the process of creation where we become “cosmocentric” and realize that we are not the center; the cosmos is. And ultimately when one works with the principles she becomes more caring about the process and the whole and less ego-centered in fear and desire. Living these precepts brings us to shift from ego self to the Authentic Self, and from here, cultural emergence is possible. He puts this forth as a paradigm for a cultural Renaissance for an enlightened world that everyone can actively contribute to – when we create from that deep level of understanding and pay heed to our sense of obligation.

He gives us a sense of obligation for our own mutual individual, cultural and cosmic destinies where nothing is predetermined. Through our enlightened choices (as well as our unconscious and asleep ones), we are making the future right now, co-creating with Divine Energy. To me this is a refreshing and highly inspirational view of our future. Instead of falling prey to predictions of chaos and destruction and throwing our hands up and hoping that someone else will take of the situation, Cohen squarely lays responsibility and obligation for what will happen next in our own hands. This is hugely empowering for those who embrace it and yearn to awaken to a cultural and cosmic Golden Age.

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