Awakening to Evolution
"I have no doubt that the evolutionary process—from the big bang to the present moment—is not merely a random, meaningless event. If one stands back and takes a good, hard look at the entire sweep of the process, all the way from its earliest beginnings, one can see undeniable direction and even, I dare say, purpose in its majestic unfolding. But who or what initiated that process? What energy or intelligence made the choice to take that first miraculous leap from formlessness to form, from nothing whatsoever to energy and light to matter to life to consciousness to self-reflective awareness? Such an audacious move, that instantaneous leap from nothing to the beginning of everything, could only have been made by a force that was nothing less than Godlike. That impulse, that evolutionary impulse, is what I call God. That same impulse is not separate from the most important part of each and every one of us, from our uniquely human drive to create and innovate and, most significantly, from our will to consciously evolve." - Andrew Cohen
Awakening to Evolution
by Andrew Cohen
EnlightenNext Issue 42/December 2008–February 2009
"For those of us looking toward the future who are spiritually inclined, it is often difficult to find a path or practice that makes deep sense. What I mean is, it's difficult to find a spiritual path that has a truly contemporary orientation—one that doesn't compel us to embrace ancient belief structures that may no longer be relevant to our time. That is why I believe we need to create a new context for our individual and collective spiritual development, one that is appropriate for our twenty-first-century circumstances. The new seeker, the postmodern seeker, is in a unique predicament. But it's a predicament that couldn't be more thrilling, because it is so pregnant with creative potential. By 'seeker' I mean the spiritually inspired individual who is awake to what I call the 'evolutionary impulse' but who has abandoned traditional approaches because they just don't seem able to meet our contemporary psychological, philosophical, and spiritual needs. I'm speaking about those individuals at the edge who want to catalyze a revolution in consciousness and culture, a revolution that will be able to create dynamic new structures that enable a new future to emerge. I believe such a revolution would have to be based upon the most important scientific, historical, cultural, and spiritual discovery of the last three hundred years: evolution.
Why is that? Because when considering what it would mean to create new structures for individual and collective spiritual development, it's necessary to keep an important fact in mind: Up until very recently in human history, we didn't know that we are all part of a developmental process that had a beginning in time and that is going somewhere. Many of us tend to forget that it was only in the twentieth century that we came upon what's called deep time—the incomprehensible span of fourteen billion years since the universe burst into being.
I have no doubt that the evolutionary process—from the big bang to the present moment—is not merely a random, meaningless event. If one stands back and takes a good, hard look at the entire sweep of the process, all the way from its earliest beginnings, one can see undeniable direction and even, I dare say, purpose in its majestic unfolding. But who or what initiated that process? What energy or intelligence made the choice to take that first miraculous leap from formlessness to form, from nothing whatsoever to energy and light to matter to life to consciousness to self-reflective awareness? Such an audacious move, that instantaneous leap from nothing to the beginning of everything, could only have been made by a force that was nothing less than Godlike. That impulse, that evolutionary impulse, is what I call God. That same impulse is not separate from the most important part of each and every one of us, from our uniquely human drive to create and innovate and, most significantly, from our will to consciously evolve.
As that impulse we have all been here, in some shape or form, throughout the mind-opening, awe-inspiring journey of Becoming that has been unfolding since the time process began. We've been together since infinite density emerged from absolute nothingness when the universe was created. We've been together since atoms, which make up the very foundation of all matter, were formed three hundred thousand years later. We were there when those atoms formed gas clouds, which turned into stars, which grouped together as galaxies, each of which eventually produced billions of solar systems filled with small rocky planets, such as our beautiful Earth, which was forged from the remains of generations of dead stars.
We have been here since the first single-celled microorganisms emerged from the primordial soup and throughout the slow flowering of life in all its diversity. We were here when the great dinosaurs ruled the food chain unchallenged, and through their demise. When the first hominids walked on the African savannah, this impulse, which is who we all are, guided each evolutionary step. And since our ancestors appeared on the stage of life just two hundred thousand years ago, that impulse has guided the vast unfolding tapestry of cultural development that brings us to this present moment.
Throughout this whole process, from the beginning of time to the very edge of the future, as the energy and intelligence that has been driving cosmic, planetary, biospheric, animal, human, and cultural evolution, we have been here at every step. What do I mean by that? I mean that as the evolutionary impulse, as the initiatory force that is driving the entire creative process, from the innermost dimensions of our human interiors all the way to the farthest reaches of our cosmos, we have always been here.
It was my own gradual discovery of and awakening to this picture of the developmental process as a whole that eventually compelled me to reinterpret and redefine the meaning and significance of spiritual awakening, of enlightenment, for our own time. And this awakening is not merely an ever-growing cognitive appreciation for the miraculous unfolding of the entire evolving cosmos that we are all part and parcel of. I'm speaking about an actual experience at the level of consciousness itself of the presence of that same telos or felt pull toward the future. I'm convinced that the momentous enlightening leap that needs to be taken by those of us at the leading edge is the delicate and all-important transition from the mere intellectual and philosophical recognition that our cosmos and culture are evolving to the direct, felt, living experience of the energy and intelligence that is driving the entire process, vibrating in one's very own heart and mind. It just makes sense that a spiritual path that would enable us to create the future in our own time would have to be based upon such a revelation.
It is indeed a perpetually enthralling insight that we are, at all levels of our being, products of time and the creative process. But it is literally enlightening when we begin to directly experience that we are truly one with the mind of God—one with the original evolutionary impulse that chose to take that eternal leap from Being to Becoming fourteen billion years ago."
Issue 42 / December 2008–February 2009
Pre-"Awakening To Evolution" (Andrew Cohen) quotes
February 15, 2009
"All have independently corroborated and identified Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi to be the incarnation of the Divine Feminine sent to deliver and explain in detail the Primordial Being's Divine Message of the promised General Resurrection and evolution into the eternal spirit."
"It is an eschatological message of divine intervention, renewal of faith and the promised and long-awaited Age of the Resurrection to evolve from the temporary physical body to the eternal, everlasting spirit."
"This unprecedented knowledge and remembrance of Jesus' mystical teachings, to be delivered by the Comforter, is the final breakthrough in human evolution."
"Muslims, Hindus, Christians and all have to evolve to a higher state"
"Today, Sahaja Yoga has reached the state of Mahayoga, which is en- masse evolution manifested through it."
"She organises everything, it is She who gets divided into three powers, it is She who creates the whole universe, it is She who gives us this evolution, it is She who makes us human beings and it is She who has to make us the higher human being."
"Cool Breeze (Ruach) is evidence of 'being born again', the promised evolution of humans into the eternal spirit"
"If it is an evolutionary process, if it is a living process it must have its background, its history, and it must culminate into something fruitful."
“The religions, if they were practiced from the understanding how important it was to make one wise, balanced and compassionate for the last breakthrough of our evolution by following spirit-oriented religions, even the wrong doers would have become good normal people and deep seekers of Absolute Truth."
"There is no hidden agenda and this site contains all the knowledge and evidence required to re-establish the faith, belief and conviction in the Divine and the promised Resurrection to evolve into the eternal spirit - 3000 pages and counting."
"Spiritual evolution promised and backed by the Holy Scriptures"
"We are evolving and the daily experience of Cool Breeze (Ruach, Prana, Nafas al Rachman, Spiritus, Chi) is evidence of the spiritual evolution i.e., the Resurrection promised and backed by the Holy Scriptures!"
Pre-"Awakening To Evolution" quotes
February 15, 2009
Co-founder, Hindu American Foundation
The presidential race of 2012, prematurely in full swing seems set to offer up a veritable cornucopia of "did he really say that?" quotes. Gov. Rick Perry, in just a week of campaigning offers up a Texas style metaphorical threat against Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, dismisses climate change and calls Social Security as nothing more than a "Ponzi scheme." But in his tête-à-tête with a boy in South Carolina on evolution being "just a theory" with "gaps," Perry is hardly guilty of a gaffe, and very much in consonance with core ideas of many in his political party and a broad swathe of American evangelicals who cannot reconcile their religious injunctions with Darwinian supposition.
It is the great burden of religious orthodoxy for those subscribing to the Abrahamic precept that God directly spoke to a single prophet and that message is unerringly transcribed in The Holy Book, to perpetually face the empirical advancements of science with distrust and fear. Entire schools of theology since the Enlightenment have been, and still are, it seems, occupied with confronting, disproving, or mitigating the fallout from the heretic contentions that the earth revolves around the sun, the Big Bang, and Darwin's theory of evolution. Once ancient books, transcribed as they are by mortals--albeit enlightened--are seen as literal words beyond interpretation to govern every mode of life, arguments ensue over what a "Judeo-Christian" society really is or what one governed by Sharia actually means.
So as the brilliant cover story in Christianity Today elucidates, theologians are working with three options towards reconciling science and Genesis: a) God created "mature, fully functioning creation in six literal days 6,000 years ago"; b) reject evolution but believe in the planet's ancient origins; or c) intelligent design theory that a supernatural force guides the vagaries of nature rather than "natural selection."
It is interesting that Hindu Americans largely recuse themselves from all of this angst over evolution. Indeed, cosmology, science, and the ancient Vedas--Hinduism's sacred scripture--are eerily complementary. Lord Brahma, the Lord of Creation, often depicted as one of the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, is described as creating the universe in an unending cycle over each of his days and nights. In his classic, Cosmos, Carl Sagan describes Hinduism's agreement with modern science best:
"The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long, longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang."
If the Big Bang theory is posited to have occurred 13 billion years ago, Hindus would have no trouble at all agreeing that an Intelligent Designer, Lord Brahma, indeed guides the creation of the universe. Even more, Swami Vivekananda, one of modern Hinduism's intellectual giants wrote in the early 20th century, whether an intelligence made the material world, or whether, as some scientists believe, the material world led to the creation of intelligence, does not much matter. For in his words, "Indian philosophy, however, goes beyond both intelligence and matter, and finds a Purusha, or Self, which is beyond intelligence, of which intelligence is but the borrowed light."
And as to evolution, more than 2,000 years before Darwin rocked Christendom with his heresy, the Hindu Puranas described the "Dasha Avataras"--the ten Avatars, or incarnations, of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is said to assume an avatar at various periods in history to guide creation and preserve its eternal dharma--meaning that which is necessary to sustain and uphold. And so God is described in the earliest of creation to have taken the avatar of a fish, followed by a tortoise (amphibian), boar, half man-half lion, short human (scientists only recently found that early humans were likely short-statured), and then a warrior with an axe. The latter incarnations are the well known avatars of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, and Lord Buddha as the most recent.
The Hindu and Abrahamic conception of time, human origins, and creation, then, are diametrically divergent. Hindus conceive of creation as part of an ongoing cycle of creation and destruction, with our current universe forming several billions of years ago, and God manifesting along the spectrum of evolutionary speciation when necessary.
An intelligent designer, of course, guides the mutations and selective adaptation that gives forth new species, but the designer is the creation itself and beyond it--hardly a supernatural being enthroned upon a cloud. Hindus and Perry agree then, on an intelligent force, but Perry and his fellow evangelicals, believe that Designer has only one messenger and one chosen people. And in their attempts to force the sermon from the pulpit to the lesson at the desk, they trample on Civics 101.
Perry's comment to the child in South Carolina that evolution is "just a theory" is scientifically false and intellectually incurious. Evolution is as much a theory as the Theory of Relativity or the existence of gravity. Perry has a problem with evolution because his understanding of his religion does not square with the advances of science. And his contention that in Texas they teach "both creationism and evolution" is false. In yet another classic example of ideological overreach, the previous head of the Texas School Board attempted to change the curriculum standards to include creationism but was promptly shown the door in the last elections. Just last month, science trumped again when the school board, despite its conservative majority, voted to keep evolution in the school curriculum, and creationism remains out.
ASEEM SHUKLA | AUG 24, 2011 4:57 PM
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