Evolutionary non-duality –
By Andrew Cohen
Teachings of non-duality state that the ultimate nature of all things—seen and unseen, known and unknown—is one and not two. The word non-dual means ‘not two’. If we meditate deeply, we can awaken to this non-dual depth dimension. Our awareness of passing thoughts starts to fade, and eventually, cognition disappears altogether. As we keep sinking into meditative depth, our awareness of the world and even our own biological form falls away.
In this domain, there is no time, no history, and no karma. The universe is yet to be created. You have not been born. No one has been born and no one has suffered, and so there is a sense of extraordinary, limitless freedom. When the Buddha sat in meditation under the Bodhi tree 2500 years ago, what he realised was this primordial awareness.
Since the time of the Buddha’s enlightenment, our understanding of the cosmos has been through a revolution. Around 200 years ago, we finally understood that the world of biological forms is evolving—in a state of endless becoming and reaching for ever greater complexity. Given vast aeons of time, energy and matter can organise itself into patterns of such unimaginable complexity that eventually, life, mind, consciousness, and the human capacity for self-reflective awareness can emerge.
Evolutionary Enlightenment, or evolutionary non-duality, recognises this new cosmology. It embraces the truth that the ground of being—the timeless, limitless void that abides prior to time and space in every single moment—is not separate from the creative driver of the evolutionary process itself. The forms that cosmic and biological evolution give rise to—galaxies, planets, bodies, and minds—are finite and mortal. They arise, they enter into the stream of time, and eventually fall away. But the impulse that gives rise to them, the evolutionary impulse, is not separate from the primordial ground of everything. It is immortal and indestructible.
In traditional teachings of non-duality, the absolute principle, the deepest dimension of reality, is experienced at the level of the self as infinite peace. When there is no time, no history, and no karma, there is only peace. But evolutionary non-duality recognises that the absolute principle has taken an enormous leap. When this principle takes the leap from nothing to something, from being to becoming, peace becomes utterly transformed. It enters into the realm of space-time and becomes the consciously felt experience of overwhelming, intoxicating, and exhilarating ecstasy and urgency.
Ecstatic urgency is the felt pulsation and vibration of the non-dual, of evolution itself. It is the experience of the evolutionary impulse at the level of the self. It is the urge towards emergence, creativity, life, and consciousness. It’s the profound glory of existence. When we embrace the truth of non-duality within an evolutionary context, it becomes a source of infinite spiritual renewal. The non-dual is experienced in two dimensions—as both being and becoming.
It is felt as both infinite peace and as an ecstatic urgency driving us towards ever higher levels of awakened consciousness, depth, and creativity.
From Positive Focus, December 2018
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