The Unreasonable Nature of Spirit
When embarking on a path of spiritual awakening, many of us – even the most serious and earnest seekers – assume that enlightenment will bring a kind of final resolution to our troubled lives; a reasonable peace, tranquillity or rest to our agitated minds and souls.
We invariably believe that awakening will provide an ultimate answer to all of our unresolved hurt and unhappiness – and we imagine that the Master, in the archetype of kind and saintly sage, will heal long-held wounds and soothe our deepest emotional or psychological trauma.
It’s true that the realisation of enlightenment as pure non-dual Being bestows upon the realiser a deep and fathomless peace, an infinite stillness. In this beginningless and endless realm that exists prior to time, space and mind, there is no suffering. There is only limitless peace, silence and rest – because in this domain nothing has happened!
But when pure, untamed Spirit enters the world of time and space through the body-mind of an authentically awakened Master, it is not necessarily attended by peace in its wake. On the contrary, when the raging fire of Spirit meets the wounded ego, the sensitive self, all hell breaks loose.
From the perspective of our conventional shared agreements, the unconfined nature of Spirit when set free in the world can seem completely unreasonable. It often doesn’t conform to our accepted ideas of moral decorum, politeness or even good behaviour – and this is where the whole matter becomes very delicate.
In the context of enlightenment, the wounds and dramas of the ego are completely unreal; the figments of a disordered imagination, hiding the sublime truth of our authentic identity and nature. But in a conventional context, of course these wounds are all too real, having sometimes devastating consequences.
When spiritual Master and ego meet in earnest, the conflict between these two formidable forces can be fierce and bloody. But it is the function of the Master, as a vehicle for Spirit, to confront and unmask the ego’s delusional belief system, and in the process reorient the entire self-sense of the awakening individual.
As true partners on the path, how are we to understand this complex problem? This unique enlightenment context literally shatters convention and orthodoxy, so it is often seen as profoundly dangerous – and from a certain point of view, it is. But how much is too much, and how do we tell the difference?
In this deeply provocative talk, Andrew Cohen draws on more than three decades of experience as a teacher to contemplate the unreasonable nature of spirit. In a cultural context which seems less ready than ever to embrace authentic spirituality, how can we create the appropriate “set and setting” for such an uncompromising and radical journey to self-transcendence?
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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.