Please also note the time changes due to the US entering Daylight Saving. Local times are now as follows:
8am PDT • 9am MDT • 11am EDT • 3pm UK • 4pm CET
Towards an Engaged Evolutionary Myticism
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.
Episode V: Destiny, Karma and Free Will
Do we exert a fundamental influence over our destiny through the mechanism of free will? Are we free agents, or does our karma and deep conditioning ultimately mean that we are following an inevitable course, and our destination cannot be changed?
For those of us that are following a spiritual path and practice, and encountering higher states of consciousness, there can often be a sense that our life is unfolding in a deeply mysterious and predestined way. In these transrational states, our experience seems to confirm that free will may not be the whole story.
In moments of apparent synchronicity, we have an intuited sense of a deeper reality being revealed to us, when we have the felt recognition that something was ‘meant to happen’. During near-death experiences, people frequently report that they encounter a voice or a presence from another realm telling them that it is not their time – that they have to go back to complete unfinished and preordained work on the earthly plane. These experiences seem to offer us a glimpse of a hidden truth about our future or destiny, and suggest that somehow our path is metaphysically predetermined.
This belief in predestination is paradoxically echoed within some sections of the scientific community, where the theory of determinism says that all events in the universe, including human decisions and actions, are causally inevitable. In a scientific parallel to the ancient idea of karma, your genetics, childhood and environment – all of this long chain of cause and effect – have conditioned you such that you could not be anywhere other than where you are precisely now.
So is free will just a compelling cognitive illusion? Are we merely the conscious witnesses of decisions that have already been made deep in our brains? Is the universe so deterministic that we are metaphorically on rails, hurtling inexorably towards an outcome over which we have no control? Or is our path determined by the higher metaphysical forces that we seem to encounter in transrational states of consciousness?
Andrew and Marc explore the intersection of free will, destiny and awakened consciousness through the lens of evolutionary spirituality. While much of our experience is indeed governed by deep forces of conditioning, or driven by karmic momentum, do we have a small but all-important measure of free will? And is it possible that this could be enhanced by spiritual awakening?
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?
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 16th March 2023
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.