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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[…]

God is not other than self.

Question: How does one engage in collective consciousness?

Andrew Cohen: Well, the- I think initially one has to really begin by beginning to think about the nature of the self as it relates to the whole concept of deep time. Generally speaking, when the postmodern self thinks about his or her own identity we tend to think of our own experience in terms that are incredibly personal, incredibly small. We relate to the whole notion of history usually in relationship to our own personal life experience and we tend to over-exaggerate the significance of our own personality shall I say. I don’t want it to sound the wrong way but there is a- at this particular time it seems that most of the luckiest people in the world are suffering from a cultural epidemic which is called extreme narcissism, which is an exaggerated self-importance which is really a cultural problem more than it is a personal problem. And the extreme narcissism, the exaggerated sense of self-concern, makes it very difficult for us to really begin to see and feel beyond the boundaries of our own personal sense of self, personal ideas of self, to being able to see ourselves as very much related to the first cause or the original energy and intention that initiated the creative process. Because when we begin to relate our own- as I was saying earlier our own capacity for consciousness and cognition to the original- that original leap from nothing to something the- this sense of what it means to be ourselves and a sense of nothing less than cosmic importance begins to dawn on us and not in a way that is artificial or manufactured, but we really begin to intuit and feel that we are really the leading edge of the interior of the big bang. And what that means is that the universe has an exterior and has an interior so the exterior of the cosmos is matter and the interior of the cosmos is interiority or our capacity for interiority or subjectivity. So the human capacity for interiority and subjectivity, very specifically the uniquely human capacity for self-reflective awareness and self-reflective awareness means I have- that as a human being I have the capacity to beware of awareness, through self-reflective awareness consciousness can become aware of itself. So in a highly evolved, sentient life form who has evolved to the degree that he or she has the capacity for self-reflective awareness, the universe can begin to behold itself, regard itself, realize itself and recognize itself and ultimately begin to consciously take responsibility for its own future. And when we begin to see that- how marvelous, how extraordinary, how precious is this very sophisticated mechanism and capacity of self-reflective awareness we begin to appreciate that the reasons why we are so important is not because of our exaggerated sense of self-importance or our narcissism but because through us, through this capacity for self-reflective awareness, the energy and intelligence that initiated the creative process can begin to behold itself and begin to consciously take responsibility for itself because, as I was saying before, God fell out of the sky, what--it’s 400 years ago--and is now beginning to reemerge in- within the self-reflective awareness of individuals at the leading edge who are beginning to realize these things. In other words, God is not other- ultimately God is not other than self.

Recorded on: 04/28/2008