The radical and wholehearted embrace of the spiritual life has always been about searching for, reaching toward, envisioning and co-creating paradise.
In all the great wisdom traditions, the ultimate goal of enlightenment is the discovery and realisation of paradise – a place where all questions are answered, where suffering has ended, where the light of awakening reaches into every quarter of existence.
In a spiritual and metaphysical sense, paradise is not a place – it is a state of consciousness, a perspective. In this context, when we begin to reimagine paradise and explore the depth of its implications, it is not a means of escape. It is a salve and a refuge from the storm – a source of renewal and inspiration.
This sense of “reaching toward” paradise finds expression not only through our own interior connection to the highest possibility, but also through our collective cultural imagination. In the fantastic, mythic stories we tell each other; in the greatest works of art; through music, books and the moving image, we strive to express the inexpressible – and bring to life, through imagination, our very highest ideals and aspirations.
Reimagining paradise, in the deepest metaphysical sense, can help us to renew and reconnect with our faith in humanity, creation, and the universe itself. Especially now, when there is so much despair, cynicism and nihilism, the possibility of paradise is a beacon in the darkness.
At a time when so many of us are losing faith, to rediscover this undying source of renewal within ourselves and each other gives us the strength to confront, and find meaning in, the extraordinary challenges we’re all facing.
In this talk, Andrew Cohen will look deeply into the significance of imagining paradise – not as an earthly realm, but as a state of awakened consciousness; a condition of being in which the dramas and neuroses of the ego are left far behind, replaced by a transcendent joy in existence itself that reaches forward into the future and transforms it from within.
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.