From drumming in a jazz band to the existence of evil, Andrew Cohen talks shop with Tam Hunt in “Evolutionary Spirituality,” appearing in today’s Santa Barbara Independent.
Tam Hunt asks:
You gently criticize the notion of “be here now,” advocated by a great many spiritual teachers, in favor of a future-oriented spirituality. But isn’t it true that we only ever exist in the now and if we don’t embrace this truth we can never be happy now? The process philosophy view of the world holds that we do impact the present through our choices in every moment, as well as the future.
Andrew Cohen replies:
Yes, I agree that if we don’t embrace the present moment we won’t be able to be happy. That being said, “Be Here Now” and the “Power of Now” mysticism point us towards the mystery of the eternal present, the timeless, infinite ground of all Being as the source of spiritual freedom. But in the new Evolutionary Enlightenment that I teach, I point towards a different source of spiritual emancipation, which is what I call the Evolutionary Impulse, that miraculous energy and intelligence that took that leap from nothing to something and created and is still creating the entire universe. The evolutionary impulse within each and every one of us is always reaching toward the future. So for one who has awakened to that impulse, embracing the present moment means that the future is existing as an ever-present living potential, right now. With this awareness of the future, your consciousness expands and there’s a sense of being intensely awake. Why? Because your conscious, living relationship with the future begins to enlighten your relationship to the present moment—enlighten it with conscience and purpose. So yes, there is a tremendous care about now, about this moment, because of your awareness of the future. So that means that your active, participatory relationship with the present moment becomes an expression of your care for the future. It’s my conviction that this kind of evolutionary orientation to mysticism is much more culturally relevant to the time and the world we are living in.