The Authentic Self naturally and inherently has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the dramas of the personal. From the perspective of the Authentic Self, this dimension of experience is simply not real. It calls us to drop everything now so that we may realise that unenlightenment is an illusion – merely a thought of separation from absolute reality.
At this moment in time, particularly in spiritual circles, we seem endlessly encouraged to honour and reflect on the truth of our suffering, our emotional life, and our personal and collective trauma. From a certain perspective that’s all good – we all must face our shadows, and keep ourselves emotionally and psychologically healthy.
But if we’re really interested in being free, we have to begin making clear distinctions. The worldspace of the healthy or unhealthy ego and the worldspace of the Authentic Self have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. These two perspectives exist in different dimensions that can never intersect or interact.
Hard as this might be to accept, our readiness or worthiness for enlightenment is not defined or touched in any way by the complexity or depth of our personal story. Whether we have dealt with this or that emotional issue or trauma is of absolutely no consequence. In the context of radical awakening or enlightenment, if we truly want to be free, we must be prepared to let it all go, whether we feel ready or not.
This does not mean that we have to abandon any quest we may have for emotional wholeness or psychological health at the level of the personality. It’s not an either/or choice. It’s just that within the context of enlightenment, we have to be ready and willing to relinquish anything and everything – we have to be ready to die to all of that.
If we want to be free, we must learn to honour, and align ourselves with, the truth of what freedom asks of us. We must give up our insistence that anything could possibly be in the way, because we are always already free. In this rarefied and sacred setting, there is no problem, and nothing could ever be wrong.
The Buddha himself taught that “...as Nirvana has no beginning and no end, so Samsara has no beginning and no end.” So from the biggest possible perspective, what’s the right, or most appropriate, relationship to the personal dimension of who or what we are?
In this teaching, Andrew Cohen looks at what it means to deeply honour the truth of enlightenment by moving beyond personal trauma, while still embracing the painful truth of our fractured and imperfect human body-mind. Can we untie the knots and heal the wounds of being an incarnate soul from a place of inherent freedom? Can these two apparently different selves ever peacefully co-exist?
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Andrew CohenResident Teacher
Andrew Cohen is a spiritual teacher, author, cultural visionary and inspirational speaker. His work has been acclaimed by luminaries from all walks of life, from academics to philosophers to spiritual pundits.
Andrew has become known for his willingness to boldly cast aside the sacred cows of the spiritual world. His work grapples with demystifying the wealth of knowledge found in the great wisdom traditions, and with making enlightenment deeply relevant to a post-modern audience.