Sunday, May 8, 2011

Andrew Cohen: "Enlightenment Is a Secret"

Andrew Cohen, Editor-in-chief, magazine.
Perhaps the first post-modern spiritual teacher, leading-edge "guru," Andrew Cohen, teaches a brand of radical non-duality he calls "Evolutionary Enlightenment." In doing so, he transcends his roots in the Advaita Vedanta lineage of Ramana Maharshi, and charts a path for our active participation in humanity's evolution and the evolution of the 'kosmos.'

Cohen's vision includes the following five "top-down" tenets for living an awakened life, here and now:

  • Clarity of Intention: One must be 100% committed to the one intention of waking up to the spiritual reality of what and who we are.
  •  The Truth of Impersonality: In a cosmos of 100 billion galaxies and 100s of billions of stars in such galaxies, it is sheer narcissism to focus our consciousness on what we are feeling and thinking from moment to moment; yet that is what the vast majority of us unwittingly do.
  •  Face Everything and Avoid Nothing: To attain enlightenment it is necessary to face, and face down, the fears and desires of the Ego and attain to one's Authentic Self.
  • The Law of Volitionality: We do not do or say anything (or omit doing or saying anything) without a voluntarily intention to do so. All of our actions are of our own volition and, thus, we can no longer foster a 'victim mentality.'
  • For the Sake of the Whole: In a post-modern world, enlightenment for one's own sake is irrelevant; it is only when we attain "autonomy in communion" with others that enlightenment is an effective and true evolutionary tool.

"Realization of the Absolute," writes Cohen, "is the most demanding and all consuming form of meditation that a human being can pursue. . . . Any trace of self-interest of any kind in any form instantly corrupts (the) most perfect purity and automatically, although usually imperceptibility, taints its reflection." ("Enlightenment Is a Secret," p. ix.) Thus, he stresses, one has to get out of the way to let the Absolute manifest:
"There is a secret that is infinitely greater than anything you have ever known. It is real and it exists and if you make room for it - it will overwhelm you.

You have got to get out of the way. You have to abandon everything you've been taught and everything you've been led to believe - all those limiting, confining, imprisoning, denying ideas and concepts that you have picked up along your way. You have to make room for that which is unbelievable. You have to get out of the way. "Oh my God!" you'll say, "I didn't know it could be like this."

If you want to be Free you have to open yourself to the unthinkable possibility. You have to allow yourself to consider that which is immeasurable. You have to rise up. You have to open your mind, open your heart, and renounce the past completely."

[Cohen, "Enlightenment Is a Secret," pp. 12-13.]
In the following video, Cohen describes "Evolutionary Enlightenment" and how it builds upon and surpasses traditional Eastern teachings of personal liberation. In some sense, his teachings of radical transpersonal enlightenment make him, perhaps, the first post-modern Bhoddisatva.

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