Changing the World from the Inside Out:
A Revolution in Consciousness and Culture
A letter from Andrew Cohen
Spiritual Visionary and Founder of EnlightenNext
EnlightenNext was born twenty years ago out of my recognition that spiritual awakening is not just a personal matter but reveals an evolutionary potential that can become the new foundation for a collective future.
I believe that if we want to change the world in a significant way, and if we’re serious about creating a better future for us all, then the only way it’s going to happen is the only way it’s ever happened: through the evolution of consciousness and culture. And for the universe to evolve at this level, those of us at the leading edge—that fortunate minority of us who have been blessed with wealth, education, and the time to consider these higher matters—have to be the ones to make sure it happens. We have to be the ones to create the future.
Nowadays, with the looming reality of global warming and the palpable fear of political and social upheaval, many of us have understandably become focused on the question of survival. But there is an enormous difference between being concerned with how we are going to survive and thinking seriously about how we are going to evolve at the deepest level. Survival and evolution are not necessarily the same thing. It’s easy to experience concern about our survival, but to experience the urgency about the necessity for higher development that is felt in the deepest part of ourselves, in the soul, is another matter altogether. Wanting to evolve at the level of consciousness is not merely wanting to survive—it is experiencing a spiritually motivated need for vertical development to occur on an individual and collective level in such a way that the world as we know it changes dramatically from the inside out.
My teaching of Evolutionary Enlightenment is based upon the recognition that those of us at the leading edge urgently need to evolve—individually, at the level of consciousness, and collectively, in the matrix of relatedness that makes up human culture. In order to do this, I believe we need to formulate an entirely new context for our individual and collective spiritual development that is appropriate for our own time, for our twenty-first-century circumstances.
At this time in history, the context for the spiritual path is more challenging than it has ever been, because it is almost impossible for anyone with an awakening heart and mind to avoid the simultaneously thrilling and terrifying reality of our agitated world.
Those of us who actually care about what is happening but just don’t know what to do about it need a new ethical, philosophical, and spiritual vision that is big enough to embrace this reality and help us begin to come to terms with the ever-greater complexity that we are living in. If we are in love with life, if we are in love with the world and the entire evolving cosmos, then now, more than ever, we need a spiritual philosophy, path, and practice in which the inner and the outer unified, in which our own development is seen as integral to the evolving matrix of human culture. It is only this nonseparation between self and world, between consciousness and culture, that can deeply satisfy the human soul’s yearning to evolve and, most importantly, fulfill the universe’s urgent need to reach for ever-higher levels of development.
This is what my life and work have been dedicated to for the past twenty years. Through EnlightenNext’s initiatives and activities, we are working to create an annual cycle of spiritual practice, dialogue, and engagement that will make it possible for individuals to directly experience for themselves the nondifference between inner and outer, between consciousness and culture.
In the spirit,