Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Evolution of Consciousness: A Global Imperative

"Responding to a radical crisis that threatens our very survival - this is humanity's challenge now. The dysfunction of the egoic human mind, recognized already more than 2,500 years ago by the ancient wisdom teachers and now magnified through science and technology, is for the first time threatening the survival of the planet. Until very recently, the transformation of human consciousness - also pointed to by the ancient teachers - was no more than a possibility, realized by a few rare individuals here and there, irrespective of cultural or religious background. A widespread flowering of human consciousness did not happen because it was not imperative."

"A significant portion of the world's population will soon recognize, if they haven't already done so, that humanity is faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die. A still relatively small but rapidly growing percentage of humanity is already experiencing within themselves the breakup of the old egoic mind patterns and the emergence of a new dimension of consciousness."

"Evolve or die." These are strong words, but they capture the essence of the stark choice that we have confronted ourselves with as the result of an ever burgeoning scientific technology unchecked by effective religious, spiritual or moral insight and actions. While virtually all of our ways of life have been fundamentally altered by our embrace of the last several centuries of technological change, it appears to be only now that the need for a wholesale change in the very nature of our consciousness is becoming readily apparent - or an evolutionary imperative, as Tolle notes.

While there is a plethora of material out there (including Tolle's powerful first book "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment") describing what needs to be done to change one's level of consciousness, and how that might be achieved, it is by no means an easy challenge. Few truly evolutionary challenges are.

"If," writes philosopher Gerald Heard, "we are to advance through the evolution of consciousness beyond self-consciousness, to reunite consciousness now divided into the self-conscious and subconscious, and bring about a new and single quality of awareness and being, there is required of us a peculiar and rare quality of attention. It must be intense but without effort and strain. It must be that over-plus of evolutionary energy, which we call curiosity, and the German tongue calls Neuiger, the new appetite, raised to what Plato called illuminating wonder."

"Indeed," Heard observes, "because we are now so deeply prejudiced in favour of the assumption that it is only possible for one real experience to be presented to us, and that can only be the world of common sense, the necessary state of mind required for enlargement of consciousness must be one which is even without expectation."

"We are waiting for an experience of which we have no conception from the past," he points out, "and that being so, any clear expectation must distort or even completely inhibit a radically new awareness."
[Gerald Heard, "Pain, Sex and Time," pp. 164-165.]
Fortunately, since Heard's time (he wrote those words in the dark days just before the onset of the Second World War), we have had breakthroughs in technology which have allowed those who have experienced equal breakthroughs in consciousness itself to intimately share their experiences (and methodologies) with us.

Below, are two teachers, the "neo-Buddhist" teacher Adyashanti and Tolle himself, sharing their integral teachings with us. Each shares the fundamental insight that there is an untapped, inherent state of higher consciousness within each of us.

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