When spirit took the leap from formlessness to form, from nothing to something, from being to becoming, it emerged from emptiness as the creative impulse—the urge to become, the desire to exist. This creative impulse expresses itself at all levels of the human experience. Any human being can locate it at the lowest level of their being—at the gross physical level—as the sexual impulse, which is really the presence or movement of the big bang as a biological imperative. But at higher levels of being, humans are the only life forms we know of that are compelled to innovate and to create. We can see this especially in individuals who are pioneers in their fields, whether they are great philosophers, musicians, artists, politicians, or poets. Most individuals who are deeply talented are driven by a sense of urgency, an ecstatically urgent sense that “I must bring into life this potential that I see and experience in the depths of my own being. This must come through me.” If we get to know them, we will usually find that truly great human beings are driven by a passion that transcends their separate self-sense. And in the way I understand it, the highest expression of this creative impulse is the urge to evolve at the level of consciousness itself.
Under the right circumstances, it is not difficult to have a powerful experience of meditation, to taste the indescribable peace, bliss, rapture, and stillness of the Ground of Being-like a still forest pool, in which you sink ever more deeply, where your mind is not moving at all. It is very important to taste the inherent liberation of your own infinite depth, but that kind of experience in and of itself will not necessarily teach you how to have a liberated relationship to the chaos of your own mind and emotions. Sinking to the depths of your own self is always profoundly inspiring, but it's not enough. It is equally important to know how to stay on the surface when a storm is raging and have no relationship to the chaos. And that is what the deliberate practice of meditation is all about. For most of us, learning to do that is ultimately a source of greater confidence and soul strength than the spontaneous experience of infinite depth. And in fact, from an absolute or nondual perspective, being at the surface is no different from being at the very bottom of the pool. Even if it doesn't necessarily feel that way, in time you will come to understand that it is the same. That is the secret of freedom.
Evolutionary philosophy and evolutionary spirituality are based upon the recognition that we are part of a miraculous process that has existed and been developing for billions of years. It reveals to us that our own personal experience of that process in all its many dimensions—inner and outer, gross and subtle—is only a very small part of an infinite unfolding. Thoughts and feelings that arise in individual consciousness reflect emotional and psychological structures, or habits, that have slowly developed over tens of thousands of years.
Some people, when they hear the word process, interpret it as meaning something inhuman. But it's actually quite the opposite. I'm not referring to a process in a flat, mechanical, materialistic sense. This process is alive. And it's you. The process is you. Indeed, what is so important about this shift of perspective is that you begin to see your own sense of self as part of a vast unfolding stream of development. Your understanding of what it means to be human expands almost infinitely, because you start to see your own humanity and your own potential for greater humanity as a result of this process, and an inherent part of this process—and as far as we know, the highest expression of this process. In this way, evolutionary spirituality enhances and enlarges to almost infinite proportions your sense of the significance of what it means to be human.
"The soul-which I'm defining as our capacity for these deeply positive human qualities-is something that, in most of us, desperately needs to be developed. Too many of us live in a fractured state, deeply divided against ourselves-often far more so than we are aware of or able to feel. We exist in a self-generated vacuum of moral ambiguity, where everything is relative and our attention is focused mainly on our emotional state. Most of us know a lot more about what really matters than we are willing to live up to. Indeed, we are attracted to that which is beautiful, profound, and meaningful but find ourselves lacking the soul strength to really struggle, to engage in a life-and-death wrestling match with our own division, cynicism, and inertia. The awful truth is that it is just easier for us not to care that much. In order to care that much, we have to be willing to feel a connection with life that is so deep that it hurts. We have to be ready to step onto the field of our own experience in a way that is authentic, unconditional, and deeply committed-to embrace a kind of fearless vulnerability where our transparency is our strength and the living experience of connection is permanent, unbroken, and inescapable."
Its taken 14 billion years for matter to gain the capacity to become conscious of itself. If this is true, it wouldn't make any sense that the whole point of enlightenment would be to escape from the whole process at the very instant that the universe is beginning to awaken to itself.
In an evolutionary context, the goal of the spiritual life is not peace; it's perpetual development. Evolutionary enlightenment is about the ecstasy that compels us to create the future. And it's not a future that's going to unfold by itself while we go back to sleep. It's a future that we forge the hard way through direct, conscious, intentional engagement with the life-process itself.
La conscience elle-même n'a pas besoin d'affirmation externe; elle est toujours déjà parfaitement accomplie et complète. Mais elle veut se connaître. Elle est perpétuellement à la recherche d'elle-même, et quand elle se trouve, elle est toujours affirmée dans la découverte d'elle-même. Tout ce que la conscience veut faire, c'est se ravir d'elle-même, pour toujours, absorbée sans fin par elle-même. Il semble que la vraie nature du soi, au niveau le plus profond, soit l'auto-ravissement.
Si vous portez votre attention sur le fond vide de votre expérience de la conscience, vous verrez par vous-même que l'auto-ravissement est sa nature. La conscience n'est pas un objet ; la conscience est le sujet et le sujet médite en permanence sur lui-même. Quand vous avez localisé cette pure subjectivité et cultivé assez de concentration pour être éveillé à ses qualités, vous découvrirez, en fait, qu'il y a quelque chose de mystérieux et d'infiniment attractif au plus profond de la conscience elle-même. Chaque fois que vous redécouvrirez ce fond sans fond, que ce soit après cinq minutes ou cinq ans, vous trouverez que, miraculeusement, c'est toujours nouveau.
The intersubjective structures that will hold our future potential don't preexist out there in the ether; they are created by real people. And I feel like a big part of my work has to do with finding out what it actually means to create those structures, consciously, together. I don't know where this is all ultimately leading, but I do know for sure that the stability of the new structures is completely dependent upon the actual level of integrity and authenticity of the individuals who are creating them.