Andrew Cohen delivered his eagerly awaited talk Monday night on Spiritual Self Confidence. He commenced the evening by unexpectedly announcing that, instead of spending the necessary two hours explaining the broad principles of his teachings, he had decided to limit himself to an hour so he could take questions and answers. Cohen explained he was going to ‘discipline’ himself to achieve this.
The result is that his familiar quick-fire delivery went up a notch as he transported the audience into the deepest and most authentic sources of spiritual self-confidence. He noted that he first used the term in a dialogue with Deepak Chopra in New York earlier this year in response to the notion that peace should be the ultimate end-point of human spiritual aspiration. Whilst not downplaying the importance of peace, Cohen went on to vividly portray the perennial characteristics of enlightenment and it’s qualities of no time, no mind as well as the infinite dimensions of consciousness. However he perfectly illustrated his point, about the goal of peace by leading the audience through what he termed an anthropomorphic theological fantasy.
Counter-intuitively stating that we were all there before the Big bang because nothing had come into existence; therefore, we must have all been there. He asked the audience to imagine what it would be like to dwell in infinite peace and nothingness for billions of years of no time? Would not it seem that something needed to happen? Cohen proceeded to describe the stupendous eruption that flared forth from that nothingness, creating an explosion in motion that over 13.5 billion years led to matter, life and consciousness.
As consciousness became more complex and humanity emerged, grew and developed, life conditions improved immeasurably for many as technology and civilization advanced. Cohen suggested that everybody present in the audience were amongst the luckiest people, with the highest levels of education, personal liberty, political freedom and relative wealth ever incarnated in the history of the planet. So given that it took an eternity for the Big Bang to occur and 13.5 billions years for the miracle of human consciousness and communication to emerge, did it make sense that the ultimate and only goal of the spiritual quest was to disappear back to that place of infinite nothingness?
Instead Cohen exhorted his audience to wake up to how privileged their existence is and the sheer miraculous immeasurable time and energy and that had gone into producing their individual experience of self, consciousness and culture. Contrasting this immense perspective with the suffocating personal preoccupations of today’s contemporary self, Cohen brilliantly cast the audiences eyes forward to the momentous goal and obligation to participate in the conscious evolution of the universe. The sheer positivity and ecstatic urgency to bring this new order into being is the ultimate goal of spiritual longing. This undimmed wellspring of indomitable spiritual confidence, is in turn is non-separate from the monumental propulsion that set the whole process in motion at the beginning of time!
Andrew Cohen was true to his promise, having condensed his introductory talk into a high-octane compression of ecstatic evolutionary idealism; he finished the evening by responding to a number of excellent questions from the audience with similarly compelling sentiments.