Unless we restore our bond with spirit at a cultural level, how can we find new vehicles for the devotional, the sacred and the mystical?
In the early 21st century, there is one spiritual question that is perhaps the most urgent and important of all – a question to which, arguably more than any other, we need to find a radical and enlightened answer.
We live in a highly sophisticated but largely secular culture that doesn’t recognise the primacy of spirit, and regards any kind of religious expression with deep suspicion. When spirit does show up, it is usually in its archaic, mythic or fundamentalist forms – or in the endless marketplace of the New Age, where spirituality is merely commodified.
How does one live an authentic spiritual or devotional life in such a setting? What would it, or could it, even look like in this heavily secular post-postmodern context? In Western culture, we have as yet tragically failed to answer this question.
Yet simultaneously, so many sensitive and intelligent people intuit the need for an urgent and fundamental shift of values towards a higher, more awakened engagement with life. For those who feel this deep longing, it can often seem that there is nowhere to turn.
It really does seem that there are no longer any vessels that can hold this essential human yearning – no scripture, teaching or process of initiation that can uphold the deep mystery of spiritual awakening, while simultaneously embracing the very real advances of science, and the gifts of postmodernism.
In the deepest sense, the primal spark of the divine still illuminates and animates the human heart. But unless we restore our bond with spirit at a cultural level, how can we take the necessary steps that would lead to the emergence of new and more appropriate vehicles for the devotional, the sacred and the mystical?
But what would a life of deep and authentic spiritual aspiration or intention look like in a hypothetical future – a post-secular culture? What kind of society would be evolved enough to support and uphold interiority as a foundational principle?
Would there still be a need for monastic traditions, dedicated theological learning, and other religious structures? Or would our values have evolved so far that the spiritual life would be fundamentally embedded in culture, so that we would be living one life, not two?
In this two-part talk, Andrew Cohen addresses the modern spiritual predicament head on, arguing that the fundamental values of culture itself must undergo a vertical shift towards a renewed relationship with spirit. Can we invoke the metaphysical depth and awakened clarity that is needed to enact such a shift? What will it take for us to stand once again in awe and reverence before the magnificence and power that animates all of manifestation?