Tagged with: evolution

We human beings have regularly been faced with overwhelming crises ever since we first stood up on two legs. Survival-as an attitude, as an inner posture, as a natural reflex-is a highly developed capacity within our species. Why? Because we’ve been completely consumed by the necessity to survive for a very long time, since the first single-celled life form emerged around 3 billion years ago.

Slowly but surely, however, something new is beginning to emerge at the leading edge of the development of human consciousness-a new posture, a new attitude, a new reflex, and a new instinct. And that is the instinct to evolve, to consciously evolve. An entirely new perspective is emerging: a new orientation to life itself, based upon not merely the instinct to survive but an instinct that compels us toward higher, as yet unmanifest human potentials and possibilities. As we awaken to this evolutionary impulse, we begin to understand that Life is, in its essence, the will to exist, the urge to become, the creative spark behind the unfolding cosmos. We recognize that merely surviving is not what we are here for. Consciously and intentionally striving to evolve, individually and collectively, for the sake of the evolution of the entire creative process, is what imbues human life with a higher meaning and purpose. And what an extraordinary world we can create when we are in touch with this very best part of ourselves!

Needless to say, if we don’t find a way to overcome our collective crises and survive, then the evolution of consciousness will be a moot point. So we must survive-but not for the sake of survival alone. We must survive for the sake of our collective evolution, for the emergence of our as yet unmanifest higher potentials-those hidden treasures that we have yet to contribute to the larger life process in so many ways.

We human beings have regularly been faced with overwhelming crises ever since we first stood up on two legs. Survival-as an attitude, as an inner posture, as a natural reflex-is a highly developed capacity within our species. Why? Because we’ve been completely consumed by the necessity to survive for a very long time, since the first single-celled life form emerged around 3 billion years ago.

Slowly but surely, however, something new is beginning to emerge at the leading edge of the development of human consciousness-a new posture, a new attitude, a new reflex, and a new instinct. And that is the instinct to evolve, to consciously evolve. An entirely new perspective is emerging: a new orientation to life itself, based upon not merely the instinct to survive but an instinct that compels us toward higher, as yet unmanifest human potentials and possibilities. As we awaken to this evolutionary impulse, we begin to understand that Life is, in its essence, the will to exist, the urge to become, the creative spark behind the unfolding cosmos. We recognize that merely surviving is not what we are here for. Consciously and intentionally striving to evolve, individually and collectively, for the sake of the evolution of the entire creative process, is what imbues human life with a higher meaning and purpose. And what an extraordinary world we can create when we are in touch with this very best part of ourselves!

Needless to say, if we don’t find a way to overcome our collective crises and survive, then the evolution of consciousness will be a moot point. So we must survive-but not for the sake of survival alone. We must survive for the sake of our collective evolution, for the emergence of our as yet unmanifest higher potentials-those hidden treasures that we have yet to contribute to the larger life process in so many ways.

There is therefore no reason to put a limit to evolutionary possibility by taking our present organization or status of existence as final. The animal is a laboratory in which Nature has worked out man; man may very well be a laboratory in which she wills to work out superman, to disclose the soul as a divine being, to evolve a divine nature.

There is therefore no reason to put a limit to evolutionary possibility by taking our present organization or status of existence as final. The animal is a laboratory in which Nature has worked out man; man may very well be a laboratory in which she wills to work out superman, to disclose the soul as a divine being, to evolve a divine nature.

As the powerful energy and intelligence that initiated the creative process gradually awakens to itself in the light of humanity’s highly evolved, self-reflective awareness—especially in those who are at the most advanced stage of our own culture’s development—something very important begins to happen. As the self becomes more highly individuated, simultaneously its powers of autonomy, volition, free agency, consciousness, and cognition increase exponentially. And the growing complexity of the self-structure is the prism through which the light of that evolutionary impulse shines into this world. This prism is alive and conscious, and it possesses the powers of both self-reflectivity and choice. That is why, when the evolutionary impulse awakens and surges through a highly evolved vehicle, it is the development of that individual that enables the very essence of the evolutionary impulse itself to actually evolve and to refine itself as it moves through them. It is none other than our uniquely human capacities for autonomy, volition, free agency, consciousness, and cognition that enable this impulse—which is the manifest God—to effect change in the world and in the universe.

As the powerful energy and intelligence that initiated the creative process gradually awakens to itself in the light of humanity’s highly evolved, self-reflective awareness—especially in those who are at the most advanced stage of our own culture’s development—something very important begins to happen. As the self becomes more highly individuated, simultaneously its powers of autonomy, volition, free agency, consciousness, and cognition increase exponentially. And the growing complexity of the self-structure is the prism through which the light of that evolutionary impulse shines into this world. This prism is alive and conscious, and it possesses the powers of both self-reflectivity and choice. That is why, when the evolutionary impulse awakens and surges through a highly evolved vehicle, it is the development of that individual that enables the very essence of the evolutionary impulse itself to actually evolve and to refine itself as it moves through them. It is none other than our uniquely human capacities for autonomy, volition, free agency, consciousness, and cognition that enable this impulse—which is the manifest God—to effect change in the world and in the universe.

Those of us who have transcended mythical belief systems know without any doubt that there is no God up in the sky. But when we awaken to what I call the evolutionary impulse—the mysterious passion to evolve, to become, to develop on every level—we rediscover who God is. When we begin to experience the aspiration to evolve as that unique ecstatic compulsion in our own heart and mind, that’s when the God who fell out of the sky is awakening within ourselves, as the urge to take the next step.

Fourteen billion years ago, there was nothing. Then, suddenly, there was an enormous explosion—an explosion that never stopped and is still reverberating here and now. So what I’m describing is a perspective and a state of consciousness in which the very first cause is waking up to itself as we wake up to our own impulse to evolve. That’s Evolutionary Enlightenment: when the spark that initiated fourteen billion years of development becomes conscious of itself. When you realize this and recognize this at the deepest level of your being, and then choose to take responsibility for it, it is then that you know without any doubt that it’s up to you to make this world a better place. It’s up to you. In that realization, you discover a reason for living, which is spiritually empowering. It is where you will find dignity, self-respect, ultimate meaning, and purposefulness.

Those of us who have transcended mythical belief systems know without any doubt that there is no God up in the sky. But when we awaken to what I call the evolutionary impulse—the mysterious passion to evolve, to become, to develop on every level—we rediscover who God is. When we begin to experience the aspiration to evolve as that unique ecstatic compulsion in our own heart and mind, that’s when the God who fell out of the sky is awakening within ourselves, as the urge to take the next step.

Fourteen billion years ago, there was nothing. Then, suddenly, there was an enormous explosion—an explosion that never stopped and is still reverberating here and now. So what I’m describing is a perspective and a state of consciousness in which the very first cause is waking up to itself as we wake up to our own impulse to evolve. That’s Evolutionary Enlightenment: when the spark that initiated fourteen billion years of development becomes conscious of itself. When you realize this and recognize this at the deepest level of your being, and then choose to take responsibility for it, it is then that you know without any doubt that it’s up to you to make this world a better place. It’s up to you. In that realization, you discover a reason for living, which is spiritually empowering. It is where you will find dignity, self-respect, ultimate meaning, and purposefulness.

When we start to make something explicit and bring it to consciousness, we’re doing what the universe itself does, and something in us thrills to this and is reinforced by it… You and I know more than we can tell. Life is lived out of this tacit knowing. But what helps, and is often crucial, is to make what is tacit, explicit. To make the implicit, explicit. And in doing that, we enact what the universe itself is doing, and everybody can do that. The divinity which is implicit was implicit at the big bang, is made explicit in the course of time. The picture gets richer and richer and richer about what is blossoming in us. Again, making explicit what’s implicit.

When we start to make something explicit and bring it to consciousness, we’re doing what the universe itself does, and something in us thrills to this and is reinforced by it… You and I know more than we can tell. Life is lived out of this tacit knowing. But what helps, and is often crucial, is to make what is tacit, explicit. To make the implicit, explicit. And in doing that, we enact what the universe itself is doing, and everybody can do that. The divinity which is implicit was implicit at the big bang, is made explicit in the course of time. The picture gets richer and richer and richer about what is blossoming in us. Again, making explicit what’s implicit.

A very big part of individual and collective evolution and development has to do with the way we understand our experience and the way we interpret our experience. There’s a very big difference between the experience of intensity, no matter what kind of intensity it is, and actually understanding what it is that’s happening to us. As our own interest in the human experience deepens, and we become interested in the philosophical and spiritual context of our own experience and of the human experience, that interest will have a dramatic effect on the way we interpret the experience that we’re actually having. The bigger the philosophical and spiritual context, the bigger the context we have on our experience. That means the way we interpret it is going to change. It’s going to deepen, it’s going to become more profound.

A very big part of individual and collective evolution and development has to do with the way we understand our experience and the way we interpret our experience. There’s a very big difference between the experience of intensity, no matter what kind of intensity it is, and actually understanding what it is that’s happening to us. As our own interest in the human experience deepens, and we become interested in the philosophical and spiritual context of our own experience and of the human experience, that interest will have a dramatic effect on the way we interpret the experience that we’re actually having. The bigger the philosophical and spiritual context, the bigger the context we have on our experience. That means the way we interpret it is going to change. It’s going to deepen, it’s going to become more profound.

The foundation of any authentic path to higher development must, in the end, be based upon a deep conviction in one’s own capacity to consciously evolve and a commitment to ensuring that it will occur. Penetrating into the deeper and higher dimensions of our own being is not an impossible feat that only spiritually gifted people can accomplish. It just requires an authentic personally felt compulsion to find something bigger, deeper, higher, and infinitely more real than anything one has ever known. And above all, it requires that one make room for the possibility that one can actually succeed, at the deepest level of one’s being, in becoming that something which one cannot yet grasp but feels choicelessly compelled to reach for.

The foundation of any authentic path to higher development must, in the end, be based upon a deep conviction in one’s own capacity to consciously evolve and a commitment to ensuring that it will occur. Penetrating into the deeper and higher dimensions of our own being is not an impossible feat that only spiritually gifted people can accomplish. It just requires an authentic personally felt compulsion to find something bigger, deeper, higher, and infinitely more real than anything one has ever known. And above all, it requires that one make room for the possibility that one can actually succeed, at the deepest level of one’s being, in becoming that something which one cannot yet grasp but feels choicelessly compelled to reach for.

Individuals at the leading edge who change in a dramatic way and who are consistently able to manifest what evolutionary development and spiritual enlightenment look like will inevitably affect, in a powerful way, the world they come into contact with. Humbly aspiring to be a good person just won’t be enough to make any real difference. Boldly aspiring to be a great person, as much as we may fall short of that goal, makes room for the evolutionary impulse, which is our own Authentic Self, to surge through the very core of our being. And that is what has the power to change the world.

Individuals at the leading edge who change in a dramatic way and who are consistently able to manifest what evolutionary development and spiritual enlightenment look like will inevitably affect, in a powerful way, the world they come into contact with. Humbly aspiring to be a good person just won’t be enough to make any real difference. Boldly aspiring to be a great person, as much as we may fall short of that goal, makes room for the evolutionary impulse, which is our own Authentic Self, to surge through the very core of our being. And that is what has the power to change the world.

In Evolutionary Enlightenment, the perennial revelation that there is only One is interpreted as the recognition that we are all part of One Process—a singular cosmic unfolding that began fourteen billion years ago and is still evolving, in this very moment, as you and as me. Every aspect of your experience in every moment, from the gross to the subtle, has been produced and is being produced by a cosmic process. Your physical form has been produced by a process that is the evolution of the exterior of the cosmos. Your psychological and emotional experience has been produced by a process that is the evolution of the interior of the cosmos. When you awaken to this perspective, you literally can no longer see yourself as separate. You can’t see your experience, at any level, as occurring in isolation from everything else that exists. The separate world of “me” that the ego creates is seen for what it is: an illusion. And you realize that even your capacity to experience that illusory world of “me” has been produced by this vast process. You cannot stand outside of it. You are the process.

In Evolutionary Enlightenment, the perennial revelation that there is only One is interpreted as the recognition that we are all part of One Process—a singular cosmic unfolding that began fourteen billion years ago and is still evolving, in this very moment, as you and as me. Every aspect of your experience in every moment, from the gross to the subtle, has been produced and is being produced by a cosmic process. Your physical form has been produced by a process that is the evolution of the exterior of the cosmos. Your psychological and emotional experience has been produced by a process that is the evolution of the interior of the cosmos. When you awaken to this perspective, you literally can no longer see yourself as separate. You can’t see your experience, at any level, as occurring in isolation from everything else that exists. The separate world of “me” that the ego creates is seen for what it is: an illusion. And you realize that even your capacity to experience that illusory world of “me” has been produced by this vast process. You cannot stand outside of it. You are the process.

The universe is more interested in you than you are in it. Why? Because the universe is trying to evolve, at the level of consciousness, and consciousness can only develop through you. Human beings are the vehicles through which consciousness can take the next step. From this perspective, we are merely pawns in a much larger process. Spiritual awakening is not about you or me—it’s about the evolution of the process itself. Individuals who have been culturally conditioned to see the world through a very small and personal lens find that very hard to appreciate. But as you begin to awaken, you will start to see your own experience from the perspective of evolution itself. And you will begin to understand that when you become deeply interested in the evolution of consciousness and culture, the universe becomes interested in you! A potential partner in the evolutionary process appears, in the form of you.

The universe is more interested in you than you are in it. Why? Because the universe is trying to evolve, at the level of consciousness, and consciousness can only develop through you. Human beings are the vehicles through which consciousness can take the next step. From this perspective, we are merely pawns in a much larger process. Spiritual awakening is not about you or me—it’s about the evolution of the process itself. Individuals who have been culturally conditioned to see the world through a very small and personal lens find that very hard to appreciate. But as you begin to awaken, you will start to see your own experience from the perspective of evolution itself. And you will begin to understand that when you become deeply interested in the evolution of consciousness and culture, the universe becomes interested in you! A potential partner in the evolutionary process appears, in the form of you.

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earthdrop
Nothing is Everything

The great Indian teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj once said, “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.” “I am nothing” does not mean that there is a bleak wasteland within. It does mean that with awareness we open to a clear, unimpeded space, without center or periphery—nothing separate. If we are nothing, there is nothing at all to serve as a barrier to our boundless expression of love. Being nothing in this way, we are also, inevitably, everything. “Everything” does not mean self-aggrandizement, but a decisive recognition of interconnection; we are…

- Sharon Salzberg

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