Andrew Cohen is an American spiritual teacher, bestselling author, and founder of the global nonprofit EnlightenNext and its award-winning publication, EnlightenNext magazine. His original teaching of Evolutionary Enlightenment redefines spiritual awakening within the context of cosmic evolution and highlights a new understanding of God or Spirit as the creative impulse toward change in both self and culture.
His bestselling book, Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening is the product of his 26 years of work and has garnered praise from some of today’s leading spiritual and cultural figures as one of the most important spiritual works of our time. Andrew lives and works at the EnlightenNext headquarters in Western Massachusetts and spends much of his time travelling around the world giving retreats, seminars, and public talks about Evolutionary Enlightenment.
Question: Why is society bereft of philosophical insight?
Andrew Cohen: Society is a big term but I would say generally speaking we’re not in the habit of thinking about life including our own personal experience in a philosophical context. And one of the things that I really put a lot of emphasis on when I teach is I try to help people to learn how to think about their own experience and about what it means to be alive, not so much in a personal context because we’re all very used to doing that, but we want to begin to look at every aspect of the human experience and every aspect of our own personal experience from the perspective of very deep, big and important philosophical ideas. And that’s one very big step towards liberating us and freeing our self from the prison of the personal ego, the fears and desires of the personal ego, which create such a narrow, small, little world. And some of these very big philosophical concepts, some of them- some of which we’ve been speaking about today, compel us to step back and get not only just a bird’s eye view but a cosmos eye view upon the experience that we’re having. And it-- What it does is it enables us to discover and rediscover context, bigger- ‘cause- because the bigger the context the bigger our perspective is going to be and the more enlightened we’re going to be so learning how to think philosophically forces us to stop thinking so personally and identifying so absolutely with our emotional and psychological experience and even beginning to see that in a much bigger context. So I think it’s a very important habit to learn and one that most of us are not in the habit of doing and also I feel that we don’t want our interest in philosophical thinking to remain purely abstract because I know some of us have a habit of being able to entertain philosophical ideas, but when we entertain the philosophical ideas they are conceptual abstractions that have nothing to do with the reality of the lives that we’re living because I think that philosophy’s power to transform is entirely dependent upon how seriously we’re taking the ideas that we’re actually working with.
Recorded on: 04/28/2008
I recently teamed up with a Canadian filmmaker named Ian MacKenzie to create a new video explaining some of the key points of my work. Specifically, Ian's piece beautifully expresses a spiritual principle called...