I am pleased to introduce to you, Andrew Cohen, “a truly remarkable spiritual teacher on the cutting edge of evolutionary thinking and action. He is playing an invaluable leadership role in the emergence of evolutionary spirituality: an integrity-based, deeply meaningful approach to life grounded in our best scientific understanding of cosmic, earth, biological, and human history. Andrew’s writings and teachings are destined to make a real difference in the world.” - Michel Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution
Corina: What is Evolutionary Enlightenment?
Andrew: Evolutionary Enlightenment is a new spiritual path and practice that is culturally relevant for our time. It brings together the perennial mystical insight that the ultimate nature of reality is Oneness and the scientific discovery that we’re part of an evolutionary process that is going somewhere. In Evolutionary Enlightenment, we win our spiritual liberation through the experiential recognition that who we really are is not separate from the primordial energy and intelligence that created the universe. We experience that energy and intelligence as what I call the evolutionary impulse—the life-positive, perpetually creative inspiration that compels human beings to strive to give rise to new potentials. The realization that “I AM” the energy and intelligence that created the universe and not merely a psychological ego is the fundamental insight that liberates the self in the new evolutionary spirituality.
Corina: Why do you describe Evolutionary Enlightenment as being "culturally relevant?”
Andrew: The pervasiveness of mythical and magical thinking in the great religious traditions presents an enormous challenge for the highly educated person at the beginning of the 21st Century. Also most forms of mysticism, both East and West, throughout the ages have primarily been about transcending the world, about “being in the world but not of it.” The new Enlightenment that I speak about is based upon an evolutionary worldview. Science has taught us that the entire universe is one ongoing creative process that had a beginning in time almost 14 billion years ago. This new worldview reveals to us that our uniquely human, highly evolved capacity for consciousness and complex thinking is the very leading edge of that creative process. As Julian Huxley famously said "Man is nothing but evolution become conscious of itself." A new culturally relevant mysticism is being born based upon this profound revelation: that you and I really are the energy and intelligence that created the universe awakening to itself in human form. The moral, philosophical, and spiritual implications of that truth are deeply relevant for human beings searching for meaning and purpose in the twenty-first century.
Corina: How is it possible that our individual choices can affect evolution and what can one do to be an asset to the evolutionary process?
Andrew: To be an asset to the evolutionary process, we have to realize how important we really are. That means it must become apparent to us that if we want a better future for ourselves and the world around us, that future is dependent on the choices we make and the actions we take. Indeed, we have to ensure that the world is a better place because we've had the opportunity to participate in its ongoing development.
Corina: What do you mean by “spiritual self-confidence”? How is it different from normal self-confidence or self-esteem?
Andrew: Spiritual self-confidence comes from knowing who we really are and knowing why we are here. Normal self-confidence comes from having some special skill or being particularly intelligent or unusually attractive. Spiritual self-confidence comes from knowing who we really are beyond name and form.
Corina: Can Evolutionary Enlightenment help us address the overwhelming challenges we face on the planet today? Global warming, gap between rich and poor, greed, hunger for power, war, etc.
Andrew: Evolutionary Enlightenment as a spiritual path does not address these kinds of questions. It addresses the spiritual predicament of the highly educated self trapped in modern and post-modern values, which give us no deep and satisfying answers to the perennial questions of, “Who am I?” and, “Why am I here?”. But through embracing an evolutionary worldview upon which the teachings of Evolutionary Enlightenment are based, we can discover new ways of seeing the world around us. We can gain a capacity for greater objectivity as we learn to see the trials and challenges of human cultural development from the perspective of the larger creative process. This bird’s eye view so to speak can help us embrace the increasing complexity of our global process with a greater appreciation for how we got to where we are and with an awakened inspiration to face the enormous challenges in front of us.
Corina: What are you ultimately hoping to accomplish with your work?
Andrew: I am endeavoring to create the conditions that will help to catalyze cultural evolution. Together with others, I’m trying to accomplish nothing less than a cultural revolution, similar in size and scope and impact to the one that emerged in the 1960s. As my friend, the great American philosopher Ken Wilber always reminds me, the Renaissance was initially catalyzed by only 1000 people. I don’t know what that number would have to be today, but it may well be within our reach. That’s what I’m living for.
Corina: I want to thank Andrew for the opportunity to learn from his wisdom through his new spiritual teaching meant to create deep paradigm shifts in the way we view ourselves in relations to the world and the evolutionary process. I am honored, along with him and others, to be a voice of truth and progress in a world troubled with issues at all levels of experiencing life. May we learn and grow together in order to create a new reality and a new world where all have equal opportunity to knowledge and true teachings!
Below is the link to Andrew's upcoming event occurring in the Chicagoland area on November 12th, 2011.