Why do some of us seek for higher truths? Why is it that certain individuals are driven blindly, madly, and passionately to transcend their own limitations? Why do we, at times, feel compelled to improve ourselves, not only for our own sake but for the sake of a higher cause that we can sense yet barely see? Why is it that in those precious moments, when we are most conscious and most awake, we seem to intuit a deeper sense of purpose that is infinitely bigger than our personal worlds can contain? What is that soft vibration that tugs at our hearts and beckons us to courageously leap beyond the small confines of the separate self so that we can participate in the life-process in a much deeper and more authentic way?
That vibration is none other than the spiritual impulse, the impulse to evolve at the level of consciousness. It's not just a feeling that you or I might have. This impulse is something much bigger. In fact, I believe it is that very same impulse that caused something to come from nothing 14 billion years ago, that compelled an entire material universe to miraculously emerge from complete emptiness. To me, at least, there is no doubt that a great and mysterious energy and intelligence with enormous power is driving this entire evolutionary process forward in every moment. And our own direct personal experience of spiritual inspiration is the most tangible expression of that very same drive.
Since that inspiration first awoke in me, more than three decades ago, it has taken me on an extraordinary journey. And during this time, I have discovered something very important that few people seem to know: This spiritual impulse moves in two directions simultaneously. If we follow one direction, it will carry us far into the distant future, and if we follow the other, it will take us back to before the beginning of time. The path that most mystics in the enlightenment tradition have taken is not the future-oriented one; it is the perennial meditative path that countless seekers have followed for millennia in pursuit of spiritual illumination. And this traditional approach is not future-oriented -- it is not time-oriented at all. Traditional enlightenment points us beyond the world, beyond time and space, toward what has been the perennial source, at least until now, of spiritual freedom and mystical liberation: the Ground of Being. But I believe that those of us in the 21st century at the leading edge of consciousness and culture urgently need a mystical spirituality and a source of soul liberation that points us not beyond time but toward the future that we need to create. I believe the spiritual impulse today is calling us not away from the world but toward that big next step we need to take in our world. That next step will not emerge by itself -- it must be consciously created by human beings who have awakened to the same impulse that is driving the process. Awakening to that energy and intelligence is what this book is all about, because that is the source of the new enlightenment.
This blog is an excerpt from Andrew Cohen's new book, 'Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening.'