Next Wednesday, September 29th will be the first conference call of the Evolutionary Enlightenment Essentials Course. In this monthly course I hope to engage you in a profound exploration of the ‘position of enlightenment.’ I will be using audio clips recorded during Andrew Cohen’s twenty-day “Being & Becoming” Retreat that was held last month in Boulder, Colorado. These audios are taken from the first ten-days of the ‘Being’ part of the retreat. In our first call we will explore the purpose of Evolutionary Enlightenment, and relate that purpose to the experience of enlightened awareness. This will set the context for the remainder of the course which will run for eleven months, leading up to the next Being and Becoming Retreat in Tuscany, Italy, in August 2011.
Evolutionary Enlightenment is ultimately about recognizing that we are not separate from the entire process of cosmic evolution. We tend to relate to the idea of evolution as if we are a thing – a separate object – that exists within an evolving process, something like a piece of wood floating down a running river. When we experience Evolutionary Enlightenment we recognize that what we experience as “being human” is not ultimately an experience that we are having only as a separate entity. It is an experience that the universe is having through us in the form of our “separate-entity-ness.” This awakening can be referred to as the experience of evolutionary non-duality, or the direct recognition that you do not exist within an evolutionary process—you are that process. Your experience of being “a person” who has a “name” and a “personal history” is not only the experience that “you” are having—it is the experience that the universe is having right now through you, as you.
This understanding, as you can see, is far from our normal conception of reality. We are habituated to seeing ourselves as separate entities that exist within a variety of background contexts—a culture, a world, a universe. By constantly personalizing our experience, which for now I will define as constantly defining ourselves as separate from some background, we develop a solid sense of being a “something” that exists over, against and separate from everything else. Traditionally, enlightenment has always involved the dissolution of the boundary between self and other, self and world, self and universe. When this habit of separation falls away, we see the truth of -non-duality, the truth that there is no boundary, that all is one and that we are that. This traditional awakening to oneness is the ground, the bedrock, upon which any evolutionary enlightenment must be built.
During this year’s retreat, Andrew Cohen described enlightenment as a position that we can take in relationship to all of our experience. That position is a position of assuming “no relationship” to anything that is occurring. Essentially, that means that you don’t draw any conclusions about what is real based on what appears to be happening in any given moment. This ability to suspend judgment is critical if we are to embark on an evolutionary journey of discovery. If we can’t suspend judgment, at least for a short time, we will find it impossible to ever see things differently or come to novel conclusions that take us further than we have come before.
Why is that? Because our perception of reality is all mixed up with our conception of reality. What we see as real is a combination of what we perceive—or see—and what we conceive–or think—about reality. Our conceptions about reality affect the way we see reality and so what we “see” is partly made up of ideas about what we see. And most of the time we don’t recognize the difference between reality and our ideas about reality—they are all mixed up in what we think is real. So at least for a time, we need to practice making no distinctions, drawing no conclusions, and taking no position in relationship to anything that appears to be real. This is one of the ways that Andrew Cohen talks about the practice of meditation, and it was the main way in which he talked about it during the “Being” retreat last month.
In the first conference call of the Evolutionary Enlightenment Essentials Course, we are going to explore the relationship between the realization of Evolutionary Enlightenment and the more traditional position of enlightenment. Below you will find two short audio clips from the Being retreat so that you can start thinking about the topic before we get together next week.
Listen below to preview of Andrew Cohen speaking about the significance of awakening to the Evolutionary Impulse:
Listen below to a preview of Andrew Cohen giving instructions on how to awaken to the Ground of Being by taking the “posture of enlightenment:”
To participate in this eleven part monthly Evolutionary Enlightenment Essentials Course you must be registered as a Practitioner of EnlightenNext. You can learn more and register as a practitioner here.
*Each course session will be held on a Wednesday each month until August 2011, and offered at both 3.00 pm & 9.00 pm Eastern Time US to help fit your schedule. If you can’t make either time an MP3 recording of the call will be provided to you.