THE EVOLUTIONARY ROAD
This month we have been looking at ideas that bring new meaning to living from a place of True Power by taking the word P.O.W.E.R. and making it into an acronym to look at the qualities that, when combined, support us in living from that place.
So far, we've looked at:
P for expressing our Passion and Purpose and
O for coming from a place of Oneness
W for our Wholly, Holy Worthiness
Today, we are going to explore the E for Evolution and walk the Evolutionary Road hand in hand, side by side.
Has anyone ever gotten on a big roller coaster and been really scared, so you've taken the hand of the person next to you and held on tight. Or grabbed the hand of a perfect stranger sitting next to you in a scary movie. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
Sometimes we need to do the same thing when a leap in evolution is about to take place. We need to grab onto someone else for a bit of support. So, do that for just a moment right now. Take the hand of the person next to you, hold on tight, look at them and say, "I got you!"
Good, because the change that evolution brings can be scary!
Oh, you can let go now, unless you want to hold hands, and then that's fine!
I want to set the tone for our morning with this quote from Andrew Cohen in his great book Evolutionary Enlightenment. He wrote: "When we are talking about pushing out our edge [And isn't that what we've really been exploring last month and this!? Let me start again.] When we are talking about pushing out our edge, there's always going to be an element of enormous risk. Evolution is a messy process. There are no guarantees. . . . If you want to [evolve], you must have the spiritual self-confidence, heroic will, tenacity, courage and commitment to fearlessly engage with the evolutionary process until something profound, mysterious and extraordinary happens that cannot be undone. When you are living this fully and fearlessly in the evolutionary passion and perspective of the Authentic Self, then something extraordinary does begin to happen. The unmanifest potential of the near future flickers into awareness and even in brief moments seems to actually become manifest in the present moment. And when we meet others in this same heightened state of consciousness [look around, there they are; you just held the hand of one], together we can see and feel, directly cognize, and intuit a compelling future that is possible to create here and now, in the present moment - not as a remote ideal but as the most screamingly imminent potential imaginable. Finding each other - finding those other individuals who feel as passionately as we do about the evolution of consciousness and culture -- liberates and uplifts our spirits and gives us the inspiration to take bold steps we otherwise might not have the courage to take."a
EMBRACE THE PROCESS
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: "There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe."b
We are all in an evolutionary growth cycle, which means that no matter how great your life has become --No matter how available you are to the great Law of Life, we're still evolving.
And this has been the consistent message:
Change is coming.
Do not be afraid of it.
It will lead you to something wonderful.
Allow Spirit to surprise.
Live in the unknown.
Change is good, healthy and will make ourselves and our church stronger.
Personally, I have had the same vision for myself as well as for this community.
Charles Fillmore writes in Keep A True Lent: "Evolution is the result of the development of ideas in mind. What we are is the result of the evolution of our consciousness, and our consciousness is the result of the seed ideas sown in our mind. Therefore spiritual evolution is the unfolding of the spirit of God into expression. It is the development achieved by man working under spiritual law."c
What most of us are unaware of is that every time we choose to avoid this movement forward, we are holding back the current of the evolutionary impulse. We are stopping that surge of enlightened energy and intelligence from working through us.
So, when we begin to awaken and see or intuit that the very purpose of this human incarnation is to cooperate with that impulse, to become its partner in the creative process. Our spiritual obligation is to remove all the barriers to our own potential for higher development by facing everything and avoiding nothing at all times in all places under all circumstances.
Envision a new world. not some ideal 1,000 years away but a new structure in consciousness that emerges between you and me in the most interior dimensions of the cosmos in real time, right now, right here.
Cohen writes, "The degree to which we avoid and deny is the degree to which the inner wall that is ego will continue to strengthen. If we are in the habit of constant avoidance, ego becomes hard and impermeable, and every time we choose to avoid something, that wall gets reinforced. Avoidance literally creates ego, and the ego's ability to reinforce its own walls is quite extraordinary. It's not a game - some human beings will go so far as to damage their own souls because they don't want to face themselves. But the moment we stop avoiding, those walls begin to crumble."d
We have self-images that we are pretty deeply attached to, don't we? It might be a very positive picture, or it might be quite a negative one. If we look honestly at our own experience, we will see that it is an image that we work very hard to maintain. How do we maintain it? By filtering out information that conflicts with that picture in any way. What happens when we see something about ourselves that doesn't fit neatly with our self-image? We want to push it away, we make it wrong and, if we are successful, we banish it altogether.
As long as we are primarily identified with the narrow world of the personal self, the lens of our perception will be singularly, personally focused. Our capacity to see the bigger picture will be completely obstructed; our capacity to experience liberated awareness and fearless transparency will be thwarted.
Our motivation will be to preserve the image, but as Cohen wrote: ". . . the last thing we want to do is to act out of some unconscious motive in such a way that would obstruct our own higher development."e
"What most of us are unaware of is that every time we choose to avoid, we are holding back the current of the evolutionary impulse, that surge of enlightened energy and intelligence, from working through us. So when we begin to awaken and to intuit that the very purpose of this human incarnation is to cooperate with that impulse, to become nothing less than its partner in the creative process, our spiritual obligation is to remove all the barriers to our own potential for higher development by facing everything and avoiding nothing at all times, in all places under all circumstances."f
We can say we want success, but any time we are agreeing with conditions that are difficult, any time we talk about how life is unfair, or give any type of energy that is of a lower nature or out of harmony with the thing we say we want, we actually are creating resistance with the very thing we want.
How do we open up? By being in agreement with all that is prosperous and using every means at our command to make it easy for prosperity, abundance, and the free flow of life to be in our experience.
Cohen suggests that this tenet signifies a tipping point in the path and practice of Evolutionary Enlightenment - an inner threshold that, once crossed, changes everything. It points to that moment in our own evolution when we begin to care more about the process as a whole than we care about our own ego's fears, desires and concerns.
Fourteen billion years ago something burst out of nothing and the leading edge of that miraculous surge of Becoming is found in your own interior, experienced as the emerging capacity for higher consciousness. That's the purpose of enlightenment: to liberate that glorious as-yet-unmanifest evolutionary potential.
Cohen says, "Consistent, meaningful and demonstrable transformation only occurs when the individual's awakening to the Authentic Self crosses the threshold from 50 to 51%. Otherwise you can experience an awakening to higher potentials, and taste the thrill of the evolutionary impulse stirring within, but as long as the motives of the individual ego remain stronger within you sooner or later the clarity and conviction and inspiration you find will be highjacked by your ego if that is where your identity is still rooted."g
"Crossing the 51% threshold is not the end of the path - it is just the beginning. As you take that step, the ego doesn't just disappear, or even lie down quietly. If it continues to represent as much as 49% of your self-sense, then you still have a long way to go. But because the balance of power within yourself has tipped from the ego to the Authentic Self, you begin to experience a tremendous sense of obligation (holy obligation) and what we might call "evolutionary tension". You realize that you simply cannot continue to live for your own sake alone; indeed, you awaken to the moral imperative to ensure that the process evolves through you."h
"In this new enlightenment, ego is transcended not through the traditional way of awakening, in mystical revelation, to the fact of your personal insignificance, but rather through a realization of your cosmic significance! The solution to exaggerated self-importance is not to feel less important but to discover and take responsibility for just how important you really are! There is no greater challenge to narcissism than awakening to Cosmic Consciousness: To the fact that the evolution of the interior of the cosmos is depending on you."i
We all have a divinity to step into. The question is, "Are you ready to take that journey?"
There is a quote from the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" that seems very appropriate for us today. It was: "It's only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. This is our moment. Don't take it from us, we are close to an answer."j
This is our moment. Unity of Castro Valley's as a community as well as yours and mine individually.
As Andrew Cohen said: "If we want to evolve, we must have the spiritual self-confidence, heroic will, tenacity, courage and commitment to fearlessly engage with the evolutionary process until something profound, mysterious and extraordinary happens that cannot be undone."k
And that will happen in your lives, in my life and in the life of Unity of Castro Valley if we let it! It is with deepest love that I pray we let it happen.
aAndrew Cohen Evolutionary Enlightenment, pp. 204-205
bPierre Teilhard de Chardin
cCharles Fillmore Keep A True Lent pg 165
dAndrew Cohen Evolutionary Enlightenment pg 139
fAndrew Cohen Evolutionary Enlightenment p 140
gAndrew Cohen Evolutionary Enlightenment pp 162-163
hAndrew Cohen Evolutionary Enlightenment p 164
iAndrew Cohen Evolutionary Enlightenment p 167
jMovie The Day the Earth Stood Still
kAndrew Cohen Evolutionary Enlightenment