Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Andrew Cohen: "The Rude Boy of Enlightenment"

Beliefnet has posted an interview with controversial "enlightenment guru" Andrew Cohen. Cohen is the founder of What Is Enlightenment? a magazine dedicated to covering the cutting edge of enlightenment practice, research, and theory. In recent years, Cohen has aligned himself and his magazine with Ken Wilber (founder of Integral Institute) and Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics creator). He now espouses an approach he calls Evolutionary Enlightenment. But just how enlightened is Andrew Cohen? He often comes across in his magazine as a pompous, ego-ridden power seeker. Even his mother has problems with her son and former guru.

Q: For those who aren't familiar with your work, how would you describe yourself?

A: I'm a spiritual teacher, first and foremost. I teach what I call "evolutionary enlightenment." Traditionally, in the pre-modern or ancient notion of enlightenment, the spiritual experience or revelation called enlightenment was considered to be the end of the path. Someone who was supposedly an enlightened human being was no longer developing. They had reached some kind of final end point.

I'm saying that kind of awakening really is the beginning of awakening to the fact that we're part of a developmental process. We're part of the evolutionary process where human beings, I believe, ultimately, will function at the level of consciousness and recognize that we are that very process that started 14 billion years ago with the Big Bang. That we are that very evolutionary process that has the capacity to become conscious of itself.

The traditional notion of enlightenment was the attainment of a state of consciousness that freed us from the world, it freed us from the time process. In the traditional notion of enlightenment one was trying to experience nirvana or achieve a nirvanic state or enter into a nirvanic realm which would free one from the experience of embodiment. It would free from one from being embedded in the world process.

Read the rest of the interview for yourself here.
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