Evolutionary Enlightenment

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Evolutionary Enlightenment is a spiritual term used to marry mystical teachings about Enlightenment from the Eastern wisdom traditions with a Western scientific understanding of cosmic and cultural evolution. It offers a new answer to the perennial paradox of how to translate the mystical experience of Oneness or Nonduality into the world of multiplicity. In recognizing that the world of evolving form is the manifest expression of that mystical Oneness, it enables individuals to participate in the process of conscious evolution as a spiritual practice.

Evolutionary Enlightenment is inspired, on one hand, by the teachings of Eastern masters such as Ramana Maharshi and the Buddhist tradition. On the other hand, it also follows in the tradition of Evolutionary Spirituality pioneered by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Aurobindo, Henri Bergson, Alfred North Whitehead, and the German Idealist philosophers. In contemporary culture, it is associated with the work of Andrew Cohen, founder of EnlightenNext, and Ken Wilber, the leading figure in the Integral movement.

The ideas of Evolutionary Enlightenment have been discussed and elucidated over the past five years by Cohen and Wilber in the pages of EnlightenNext magazine [1], as well as in Wilber’s recent book Integral Spirituality [2]. An evolutionary approach to Enlightenment or self-realization is also outlined in the work of Dr. Beatrice Bruteau, [3] a Teilhardian scholar and theologian, and mentioned in the recent bestseller A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle [4].

The cultural relevance of this approach to spirituality has been recognized by those studying broader cultural change, such as Spiral Dynamics author Dr. Don Beck [5], who has called it “a map or model for personal emergence, showing the qualities that individuals must embody to become the leaders we now need.”
– Source: Wikipedia. Last Accessed Sunday, March 21, 2010 – 3:48 PM CET

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This post was last updated: Mar. 21, 2010