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What is Conscious Evolution? The Big Bang & You!

A few people have asked me this question lately because this is one way in which we describe what the Awakened Life Project is dedicated to. So I thought to write a series of short articles describing what we actually mean by conscious evolution or evolutionary spirituality from a few different angles…

There are two parts to the living recognition and embodiment of what conscious evolution means.

Firstly it means that somehow, through some experience, intuition, path or practice we have arrived at the conviction that, at the deepest, most fundamental level of who we are, we human beings are all ONE. Indeed the entire explosion of Life is ONE miraculous and mysterious and interconnected Whole, regardless of how fragmented and chaotic it (and we!) may seem.

This realization, to whatever degree we have experienced or intuited it, fills us with profound peace and the joyous release of existential tension. Something changes forever at the core of our being. Even if we fall away from it, somewhere we will never forget it. We recognize that our individual self-sense is synonymous with something unthinkably vast and immeasurably GOOD (or if you like GOD!) just as the wave is one with the ocean. We could call this the realization of Being—the knowing of being at One with the eternal transcendent mystery behind it all. The Buddha called it the “Unborn” and the popular contemporary sage Eckhart Tolle calls it the “Power of Now”.

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So another way of wording this is that we become aware that who we ultimately are is not a separate individual with a distinct personal history and cultural background, but Consciousness itself…

In the realm of the purely transcendent, Consciousness is utterly full and complete and never changes. It is the realization of this truth that has been traditionally called Enlightenment. It is the end of Becoming and freedom from the world. From this dimension the manifestation of life, and the whole Universe, is simply some relative affair, a divine play without any inherent purpose. Some great sages have even gone as far as to say that it is all illusion. Nowhere to go and nothing to do (a dangerous realization if one is not a sage but still has a big ego!).  Hence the sages, and the monks, nuns, sadhus and sannasyins after them, headed to the mountains, forests, the desert or the monastery or ashram to seek union in the great Beyond…an afterworldly Heaven or a transcendent Nirvana! And there are plenty of spiritual seekers still seeking with that orientation in the world today…

But there is another face to Consciousness or Enlightenment (although I don’t like to use that overused term), which brings me to the second aspect of what “conscious evolution” means. It  has to do with the world of form, of creation, of you and I as walking, talking, individuated embodied human beings. Because in the world of form, time and becoming, Consciousness evolves. And hence the meaning and expression of realization or enlightenment evolves as we evolve.

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Some will say that’s heresy or ridiculous…How can Enlightenment or Consciousness evolve? How can a no-thing that is timeless and transcendent develop? You are just lost in your mind and all the relative, and ultimately unreal, productions of time…

Well it can and does evolve because the Source of who we all are is not only the perfect peace of unmanifest Consciousness, it is also the creative fire of manifest Consciousness in all its glorious and chaotic polarity and multiplicity, which, as we now know, has taken quantum leaps from the Big Bang of pure Energy to Matter to Life to Mind in a stupendous process of cosmic evolution that appears to be, well, going somewhere

So did transcendent Consciousness, or the “Mind of God”, decide to create an evolving Universe just so that we could grind our way, over 14 billion years of groping trial and error from amoeba, to dinosaur to chimpanzee, towards the eventual realization in human form that the whole process that produced us is one big illusion with no purpose whatsoever and the only way to find spiritual freedom is to get out of here???

I don’t think so.

In the time of Buddha and the ancient sages, when the nature of life was thought to be a cyclical process that was going nowhere and hence was fundamentally “suffering”, that may have been the highest, and therefore most liberating, truth. But in the 21st century, with all we now know about the intelligence and directionality that is driving the whole process of creation, that posture ultimately amounts to a form of  nihilism. Why? Because it values transcendence over immanence, Being over Becoming. Because it is the abandonment of the very creative force that moulded us, through aeons of very arduous work, to the point where we can now, finally, take responsibility for the continuation of the Process, because we ARE the Process…

What Process? The Process of Divine Evolution

What does this mean? It means that maybe Homo sapiens is not the “endpoint” but that maybe we are just getting started! Perhaps we are in fact a “transitional species”? Maybe some of us are finally waking up to who we really are as we rise from the slumber and mistaken identity of ego consciousness, not only into the Great Beyond, but right here and now into our birthright as individuated flesh and blood infused with the aspiring urge of Spirit-in-Action!

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So “conscious evolution” means that we have become conscious, to whatever degree, that we are ONE and not the separate ego. But we have chosen not to rest in our spirituality or “transcendence of the world”. Why? Because we have become conscious that our individuated self, when fundamentally freed from the grip of ego, is here as an agent of a vast, creative process of Divine Evolution that cares deeply about actualizing our as-yet-unmanifest potential right here on planet Earth. Because the fact is we do care really, don´t we? We know it just does not make sense to only transcend the world anymore. The world is calling for our engagement, our commitment, our Love, as we face the chaotic and challenging rite of passage into a higher stage of our unfolding. We are being called to a spiritual activism in which the totally of who we all are in the 21st century is embraced and integrated.

Another very direct way to arrive at the same place is to simply let in the fact that we are living in a time of unprecedented evolutionary crisis. And if we look deep enough we will see that the crisis is one of consciousness. Why? Because it is an undeniable fact that the vast majority of human beings are embedded in ego consciousness and primarily motivated by self-interest and it is this that is the cause of all our “problems”, from the personal to the global.

Once we let this in we start to get a signal: Evolve or Die! Conscious evolution simply means that one is an open receiver for that signal (i.e. not in avoidance of the truth) and one is committed to change. What change? A change of consciousness. Which means seeing and experiencing oneself, not as a merely a separate personality living out “my” small life, but as a Universal citizen or expression of the ONE Life that wants to evolve so that ONE Life will AWAKEN and become manifest on Earth.  And that in turn will automatically radiate outward in positive change in one actions, ones relationships and hence the world. What more can any of us do than that? What greater purpose could there be for human life?

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So conscious evolution is the discovery that spiritual freedom is no longer found only in the bliss of timeless Being; it is found also in the ecstatic urgency of evolutionary Becoming. And it is the wholehearted embrace of the latter dimension especially that is so essential if anything (including us!) is going to truly change for the better.

Second Article: Come Together

2 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    WOW, Pete, loved it!!! Really enjoy your manner of expression. Keep it coming!

  2. Antonio Oliver says:

    Hi I’m Toni, a friend of Angie: I understand if you consider that there is no essence but existence , that we are being in time and because it is not determined, it would let room for the more radical free will.

    I know little about Buddhism but I suppose he considers giving up access to a higher plane of being to enlighten your fellow man such an an act of supreme detachment.

    If you can give out of compassion for the greatest happiness, it is possible to understand the self as pure consciousness absolutely indeterminate, due that we can to detach ourselves to enlightenment, we can say not yet.

    It is pure consciousness that recognizes that there is no teleology at all: thus we as beings may decide not to merge into the ocean and take all the suffering for eons of existence.

    It is a philosophy of radical freedom that echoes the best Heidegger. Ride on the edge of the cliffs that loom over nothing armed only with an awareness of our radical freedom is sometimes exhilarating and always tragic.

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