Arguably our most significant interpretive framework for the nature of reality is the modern scientific discovery that the world and the universe are not, as the ancients believed, static or cyclical. The universe, and everything in it, is evolving.
Cosmic and biological evolution are foundational truths of existence, and the implications are profound and multi-dimensional, extending outwards in every direction. In the 21st century, the context for any path or practice of enlightenment must surely embrace this knowledge and perspective. It is perhaps the most important shift in our understanding of enlightenment in the 2500 years since the Buddha first attained it.
Andrew Cohen and Dr. Marc Gafni are pioneers in the field of evolutionary spirituality, each with their own unique perspective on this newly emergent tradition. They share a strong foundation in an evolutionary approach to spiritual awakening, while emphasising distinctly different but intersecting dimensions of the path and practice.
Both Marc and Andrew have produced pioneering bodies of work in this field, and formulated many of its core tenets. Their teachings uphold and demystify the foundational principles of traditional, modern and postmodern wisdom streams, weaving them together into an integral whole, and ultimately pointing toward a new evolutionary mysticism – what might even be considered a “religion of tomorrow”.
The aim of these dialogues is to celebrate the creative and dynamic evolutionary tension between these two perspectives – to catalyse awakening to higher states and stages of consciousness, giving rise to liberating insights and life-affirming perspectives in a unique tapestry of coherence and meaning, and an inspiring example of emergent spirituality in action.
Andrew Cohen: Evolutionary Enlightenment
Andrew Cohen has been working with an evolutionary principle and framework for spiritual enlightenment for most of his 36-year teaching career. In that time, he has forged an entirely new path and practice of awakening that he calls Evolutionary Enlightenment – a path which unfolds uniquely within a developmental context.
Traditional millennia-old Buddhist and Vedanta teachings tell us that the fundamental nature of reality is that there is only one, and that one is found in the bliss of timeless Being – the realisation of non-duality as pure Being is enlightenment. But the ancients didn’t know what we know today: that we are all participating in a developmental process that had a beginning in time and is going somewhere new.
Like the cosmos and the biological world, our own consciousness is evolving – and the extraordinary truth that we discover when we begin to look deeply enough is that enlightenment is evolving too. It is no longer found only in the bliss of timeless Being; it is found also in the ecstatic urgency of evolutionary Becoming.
From the perspective of the eternal and timeless ground, the highest truth is that nothing ever happened; we were never born, and the universe was never created – that’s liberation, samadhi, enlightenment. But from the perspective of evolution, the entire picture changes. We are participating in a dynamic forward-moving process, and 14 billion years of development have produced all of manifestation – the entirety of the known universe, including one of its greatest mysteries: the uniquely human capacity for self-reflective awareness.
Looking at the vast creative arc of evolution as a whole, we realise that it is one process. The forms that evolution gives rise to come into being and eventually pass away, but the impulse itself is singular, immortal and infinite – and if we look deeply into our own experience, we discover that our own desire for spiritual freedom is not separate from this very same primordial impulse that is driving the entire process.
So it is not merely you, or any one of us individually, that is personally struggling to come to terms with ultimate meaning. Rather, the impersonal energy and intelligence that created the universe is striving to awaken to itself – to become more conscious through you.
Andrew calls this the Evolutionary Impulse, and when we awaken to it, we discover something miraculous: this dynamic and ever-evolving creative principle is none other than our own Authentic Self. Discovering this Self is the portal to the new source of spiritual liberation that Andrew calls Evolutionary Enlightenment.
In their first dialogue, Marc Gafni and Andrew Cohen will share and explore their deepest insights into the ultimate mystery that lies beyond life and death.
- From the deepest metaphysical perspective, what is the distinction between life and death?
- Is life the manifestation of an eternal metaphysical source, or is it merely the extraordinary emergence of a fundamentally material process?
- How do our conscious and unconscious convictions about the ultimate source of the evolving universe affect our moral and philosophical relationship to living and dying?
- Is consciousness part of an unbroken developmental continuity in the cosmos, or merely an emergent epiphenomena of matter?
- Is death the absolute end of what was, or a transition that is part of an infinite unfolding?
- Is the nature of death a question of belief, or do we have real data to support our understanding of it? If there is data, then what is it and where do we find it?
- Do we have a more enlightened relationship to death in the 21st century, or can the great wisdom traditions still illuminate our understanding?
- Is the fear of death an experience to be transcended, embraced or both? Is living forever a wish that we would want fulfilled?
- What are the political, social and economic implications of our relationship to death?
Dr. Marc Gafni: Evolutionary Spirituality – The New Conscious Evolution is CosmoErotic Humanism
The new physical sciences, together with the shared truths of the interior sciences, tell us that natural selection is, as the eminent biologist Lynn Margulis has put it, but a sorting mechanism for what we call the deeper and wider Eros of evolution. Evolutionary Love, or Eros, is both the ground and the goal—the method and the destination—of this process.
At this moment in history, we have reached a new stage of Conscious Evolution. With that, we do not mean that evolution until now has been unconscious.
Evolution was always conscious. It is we who are becoming conscious of our identity as the leading edge of evolution itself.
We awaken as Conscious Evolution.
We become aware of the entire evolutionary process that came before us—of which we are an expression—that is taking place in us, as us, and through us. We understand, not intellectually but as our core identity, that we are a unique expression of the Evolutionary Eros that allures and animates the evolutionary spiral of unfolding—from no-thing to matter to life to the depths of the self-reflective human mind.
The core insight of the interior and exterior sciences, expressed as Conscious Evolution, is the realization that evolution is love in action. The New Human and the New Humanity become aware of this truth and its implications—personally and collectively. To awaken to Conscious Evolution is to realize that you are not merely Homo sapiens. You are Homo amor—the LoveIntelligence of Reality disclosed personally as you.
The emergence of Conscious Evolution is itself an expression of the Evolution of Love. For it is Love, or Eros, which drives the whole process. The Evolution of Love is the direction of Kosmos, the hidden impulse of the Evolutionary Eros moving toward ever-more good, true, and beautiful expressions of its own nature. It is the impulse of our very own lives.
From quarks to culture, there is a narrative arc to Kosmos. There is a pattern etched on the walls of spacetime—and each of us is a unique expression of that pattern.
All of Reality is personal. We are personally intended, recognized, chosen, love-adored, desired, and needed by the entire process of evolution itself. Each of us is a personal face of the evolutionary impulse—the CosmoErotic Universe in person. That is the truth of what we might call the great New Story of CosmoErotic Humanism.
Series of FREE dialogues
Marc Gafni & Andrew Cohen in an inspiring demonstration of emergent spirituality in action
Live interactive Zoom video call
Including 90 minutes of dialogue and 30 minutes of Q&A
Video recordings available after each event
Lifetime access to all dialogues in the Manifest Nirvana library
Date and Time
Manifest Nirvana and One Mountain, Many Paths Present
Evolutionary Spirituality: Towards an Engaged Evolutionary Mysticism
Dr. Marc Gafni & Andrew Cohen in Dialogue
Thursday 7th April 2022
Video recording will be made available after the event
USA: 8am PDT • 9am MDT • 11am EDT
EUROPE: 5pm CEST
INDIA: 8.30pm IST
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.
Dr. Marc GafniCo-founder of The Center for Integral Wisdom
A visionary thinker, social activist, passionate philosopher, and author of ten books, Dr. Marc Gafni earned his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University. Gafni is considered by many to be a kind of Einstein of Philosophy who is leading a team of thinkers articulating a new vision of meaning for the world.
He teaches on the cutting edge of philosophy in the West, helping to evolve a new ‘dharma’ or meta-theory of Integral meaning that is helping to re-shape key pivoting points in global consciousness and culture.