What is the Evolution of Consciousness?

"God wants, Man dreams, the Work is born"
Fernando Pessoa

 

Why are we compelled us to seek, to meditate, to inquire and to reach for that which is higher and deeper? What is it in us that longs and aches to bring ever more Truth, Love and Beauty into our tormented world? This is an endlessly fascinating and ever ungraspable question!

While I am quite sure that I can never really know the answer, or fully express my deepest intuitions about this mystery in words, I will nonetheless attempt to convey the nature of this inexhaustible flame that lights up my life every single day…

Simply put, the Evolution of Consciousness is all about the sacred passion to bring Heaven to Earth, to realize and then manifest the Divine through, and as, our Awakened Humanity. In my experience and understanding this journey has two distinct phases that we can liken to the journey up, and then down, a high mountain. While we can experience and practice both of these phases simultaneously on our journey of Awakening, the first phase—the journey up the mountain—is the prime mover of the ascent motivated primarily by seeking, and the second phase—the journey down the mountain—is the prime mover of the descent motivated primarily by giving.


 

The journey up the mountain begins when, for some inexplicable reason, we find ourselves deeply captivated by the magnetic pull of a Mystery that lies beyond the skin-encapsulated confines of our historical personality and psychological self. That pull is the Call of Consciousness—our own True Self—that calls us to transcend our embedded attachment to the very convincing illusion of separate independent self-existence.

On hearing this Call we begin to turn away from seeking satisfaction and fulfillment in objects, people and experiences outside ourselves. As our previously outward turned and scattered energies coalesce in a quiet constant inner flame of aspiration, we experience the dawning of a delicate radiant intelligence awakening at the core of our Being.

This intuitive intelligence propels us in directions that crack and melt the limiting beliefs and assumptions that issue from the self-contraction of ego consciousness. Guiding us in the direction of new experience that suddenly or gradually erodes and divests us of our illusions and attachments, our surrendering to this Call can be both a very thrilling and a very painful and arduous process.

We might find ourselves compelled to devour spiritual books, to drop all known routines and hit the open road to nowhere, to spend time in monasteries and ashrams or simply to fall into spontaneous meditation for hours on a park bench. We might also, as we awaken from the dream of separate existence, find that our relationships are breaking apart and we are confronted with the consequences of our unconsciousness, both our self-created psychological suffering and the suffering we have needlessly caused to others.

If we allow this Call to have its way with us we may find ourselves so overwhelmed by the inner mounting flame of Freedom that we feel we are literally being lifted out of, what previously appeared to be, “my” life. It might gradually dawn on us that our existence on this planet has never really been about “my” life, but that Life itself is what I AM and what I always have been.

The more we surrender ourselves to this Call, the simpler our essential experience of Life becomes. The outer circumstances of our life may be complex and chaotic, but inwardly we find ourselves inhabiting an enveloping sense of deepening peace and equanimity. We may become so simple that many of our friends and family may consider us as somewhat crazy and dangerously obsessed with our spirituality. Why? Because our values are undergoing a radical shift. We are helplessly attracted to the sweetness of simplicity and we are losing interest in the endless complexity and flickering allure of the world. Unfulfilled desires, anxiety about the future, ambition, the need for love and affirmation from those outside us, all these things and more begin to fall away organically like leaves falling from a tree.



If we have been bitten by the Awakening bug this hard then it is only a matter of time until somehow, in some way, we stumble upon the summit of the sunlit mountain and, as the mist clears, we are plunged into a radical yet extra-ordinary dis-covery of Who We Really Are—Pure Bright Ever-Present All-Encompassing Consciousness itself in which the entire display of manifestation miraculously appears.

Awakening to our True Self as Consciousness itself can be likened to reaching the top of the high mountain because in our transcendent all-one aloneness we see and feel the ultimate truth of existence in all directions simultaneously. The revelation of our fundamental unity with all manifestation, and our radical freedom from the painful contracted illusion of the separate ego, has the power, if it is deep enough, to crack a fault line through our character that forever alters our perception of who we are and what life is all about.

If we are sincere in our longing to be a living expression of this liberating simplicity, clarity and joy, then its irrepressible sense of awe, wonder and open possibility will eventually become our constant companion. We will find that, as one great Indian mystic said, we have a Friend that is ever-present but that we can never see. And we will rejoice in the subtle shine of this ever-new Mystery every single day.



Awakening to our true nature as Consciousness or Spirit is always ever new for it blesses us with the constant re-cognition that we already ARE that which we were seeking. The existential knot of the suffering, separate, psychological ego dissolves in the benediction of ineffable peace, basic goodness, limitless freedom and, oftentimes, much laughter. We awaken to a world of translucent unity in which everything simply IS radiantly AS IT IS. Despite heart-breaking pain, cruelty and injustice, in some unfathomable way the shimmering non-conceptual lucid perfection of Life shines through undimmed and forever announces the Glory of God.

When authentic Awakening dawns, however and whenever it happens, there is a profound release of accumulated existential tension as we fall into the blessed heart of Life, a thrilling and penetrating clarity as we shed our protective skins of separation and limitation, and a miraculous Love that envelops our individuated self and all manifestation in its cosmic embrace. Awakening marks an ecstatic tipping point in our evolution. After that discovery and revelation, whatever fading there may be of the light, whatever periods of darkness may ensue, we can never irretrievably lose what was once known, our Awakening will inevitably be renewed and must eventually become constant, if not in this life, then in the next.

In so many ways Awakening is the ultimate “coming home” and, if we are ready to die to the dream of a separate independent self-existence, it is indeed the end of seeking. Just stay rooted in that knowing that I AM Consciousness transcending body, mind and world, nothing more to do, and nowhere to go. Remain aloof and free from entanglement with the illusory allure of the things of this world. Just BE! This is the essential message of so many mystics both ancient and modern.

But there is more… Awakening to one’s primary identity as Always Already Free Consciousness is the end of seeking, but it is definitely not the end of the adventure of an Awakened Incarnation. The desire for personal liberation, however high its form, is still a subtle outcome of ego in the sense that it rests on the idea of our own individuality and its spiritual desire for its own personal well-being. As long as our primary motive for seeking spiritual freedom is a longing for release from suffering, or to attain a liberated transcendent “final” state for ourselves, then we will not be in a radically open-hearted and receptive posture to truly fulfill our divine destiny. But if we are pure of heart, and seek to become one with the Divine for the sake of the Divine itself, then we open ourselves to the supreme Call of Consciousness.

The ascending Call of Consciousness draws us on the journey up the mountain to discover our fundamental Identity as Consciousness/Spirit/God itself. Then, if our cup is not only full but overflowing, if our primary motive for seeking liberation is not to “get” but to "give”, we will begin to hear the descending Call of Consciousness. That Call is none other than that overflowing cup drawing us beyond any vestige of self-satisfaction with the existential release of our own “personal liberation”. The overflowing, that presses forward, in and through us, carries us choicelessly toward a life of selfless service to the Divine Will.

This overflowing signifies the beginning of the second phase of the Great Journey. How so? Because Consciousness is not only Transcendent Eternity, symbolized by the boundless vista from the mountain peak, but it also longs to enlighten and infuse the manifest productions of time that appear within its open embrace. This Divine Will is not a function of our idealistic desire to do "good works", rather it springs spontaneously from a ground of deep peace, from a Knowledge that shines out from the transcendent Light and from a Love that aches with the agony and ecstasy of existence.

Consciousness IS, and yet, if we offer up our entire finite individuality in as full and as complete a self-giving as is possible, we will discover that Consciousness also WANTS. What does it want? It wants to flare forth through, and as, its manifestation, meaning your individual incarnated body-mind. It wants to Evolve in and as YOU and I! Or, to put it another way, Being wants to Become! Or yet another way, Heaven wants to come to Earth. How? Through the illuminated mind, heart and hands of you and I! For God has two interpenetrating faces: the Transcendent Peace of Pure Being and the Transformative Passion to Become, to Create higher and deeper and more integrated expressions of Itself in form, and we are both simultaneously.

When we embrace that paradox then the most subtle and deepest essence of who we are as individuals —the Soul—is fully activated. Out of a ground of liberated trust, which we could define as a non-verbal, non-conceptual knowing that All is One and Life is Good, we begin to perceive and experience a dynamic creative flow arising from Transcendent Being.

Being is Pure Presence, the Eternal NOW. That’s why some mystics say that when you realize that depth the Absolute Truth is that “Nothing Ever Happened”. But when we abide in, and as, that Pure Presence while “interfacing” with the appearance of manifestation, the more we experience a subtle flow of newness, an ever-cresting wave of freshness, a consistent spark of wonder that arises from the ever-present NOW moment. 

This flow, this wonder, constantly moves in the direction of, what philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called, the Creative Advance into Novelty. As I understand it, the Soul—the deepest essence of who we are as an individual—awakens and unfolds when it is in contact, in alignment, with Being, and it contains, in seed form, the blueprint for what we are meant to become as individuated human beings. 

When the Soul is activated the deepest essence of our individuality aligns with the evolutionary grain of the Cosmos. Like a seed that is blessed with fertile soil, water and sunshine our Soul begins to unfurl its unique blueprint. Unhindered by the self-contraction of the separate ego, our Soul now becomes the principal driver of the individual body/mind vehicle.

When our Soul becomes the primary driver of our human incarnation we gradually discover an unwavering current of strength and directionality infusing our being. We are no longer governed by the judgments of others or by laws laid down by the ignorant. We obey an inner voice and we are moved by an unseen Power. Our action is that of a liberated Doer. It is an outflowing from the Soul that comes out of us as a natural result of our spiritual union with the Divine. The constructions of mental thought, practical reason and social expectation, while utilized when necessary, are superseded by a freedom from all outward standards. They are laid aside and there is left only a spontaneous and integral obedience to the unfoldment of the Soul-Becoming.

What springs forth from the Soul is always profound, authentic and pure. We find ourselves more and more consistently doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. We still have shifting opinions, desires, impulses and habits, but these are experienced more and more as surface formations or changing insubstantial states. They shift and change but the enduring strength and swift directionality of our Soul remains constant. It is not the forms of our expression that are constant, but rather it is the essential “shape” of ourselves as an Awakened Individual that becomes progressively more unwavering. That “shape” is the Transcendent Spirit or Consciousness manifesting through our body, mind and personality as our unique Soul-Becoming through time.

We cannot distinguish this true inner Law of our Being until we are sufficiently purified from egoism, from the superficial, insubstantial ideas, impulses, desires, fears, suggestions and impositions that we have absorbed as a mental, emotional and physical personality throughout our formation and from our environment.

Our Soul declares itself ever more clearly in direct conjunction with the degree to which we consistently give ourselves to the purification and consecration of our Individuality to the Divine. This process of purification and unfoldment of the Soul is Evolution itself. Evolution is the unfoldment of the Soul into the perception of the whole Universe.



This unfoldment it is like a clean, bracing, ever-new wind filling our sails, a wind that issues from an inexhaustible source of love and care for the manifestation of truth and unity in this world.

There is an inherent intelligence in this unfoldment that awakens enlightened intuition or the “inner tutor”. If we have surrendered all our personal agendas as to how our lives will unfold, then this gentle updraft of intuitive guidance will make itself felt. Like a bubbling well of clean, clear, irrepressible inspiration, the “in-tutor” arises in a whole spectrum of ways. Whether it is felt as a delicate subtle prompting on one hand or a viscerally overwhelming command on the other, we perceive this creative guidance constantly emerging, outflowing, from nothing to something, non-existence to existence. It is a flow that is being continuously renewed. We find that despite the experience of painful and challenging struggles and setbacks, that will surely confront us as we surrender to the Divine Will, this irrepressible flow eventually reasserts itself like a buoy that always finds its way back to the surface of the ocean after a storm.

This flow is what I understand as the Evolution of Consciousness. It is the creative aspect of Consciousness that is always moving in the direction of revelation of new truth, new experience, new manifestation of the Divine.

We could call this active creative aspect of Consciousness the pulsation of Becoming. But it is important to understand that the continual creation of Becoming is not separate from Being. It is Being manifesting through countless varied forms. Becoming is the outflowing of Being. Becoming is the spontaneous miraculous unfolding and flowering and self-revealing creativity of Being.

In this radically inclusive revelation of non-dual understanding, the truest reason why we must seek liberation is not to be delivered individually from psychological suffering and the sorrow of the world, though that deliverance will also be given to us, but that we may Be and Become ONE with the Divine Purpose. That Purpose is the evolutionary imperative that the Truth of Unity must be manifested in the Individual, and then in the Collective, in order that it may become manifest in the World.

Then, fundamentally liberated from habitual identification with the self-contraction of ego, we live in, and as, the Great Paradox of Transcendence and Immanence, of Being and Becoming, in which potentially all the psychophysical modes of our humanity are uplifted and transfigured by the One Consciousness-Force, One Purpose and One Awakened Life.



Information about the Evolution of Consciousness Course with Peter in Lisbon

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