The central question at the heart of a universal spirituality is: what does it look like for humanity to stand awake, integrated, and cosmically participating on Earth today? Powerful and extraordinary contributions to answering this question are in abundance on Earth, coming from the mystical core of the spiritual traditions, from the fields of psychology and psychotherapy, from the sciences, cosmogony, evolutionary studies, and multiple other domains. In order to be able to understand how they all fit together, we need to take an integral approach, and when we do so, one of the first things we can see is that human growth unfolds along two primary lines.
The Two Rivers of our Potential
The One Reality has both passive and active aspects. The passive aspect is the unchangeable Reality of Infinite Conscious Light. Like a mirror reflecting an infinite number of things whilst remaining unchanged, this radiant Presence is arising in unconditional perfection as the entire cosmos, as every nebula and star formation, ever supernova and galaxy, every expression of joy and pain, laughter and heartbreak, whilst remaining totally unchanged.
The active aspect is the life-force of this unchanging Reality. It is the dynamic evolutionary pulse that first broke forth from a mysterious singularity 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang. With incredible speed, through the cooling of the rapidly expanding universal space, this life-force emerged as the first subatomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons. Then, the former of these combined quickly to form the first atomic nuclei. With the dynamic drive of the evolutionary life-force forward, the combination of electrons with them allowed the consequent production of the first elements – hydrogen and helium– which allowed the arising and formation of the first structures of the universe: black holes and the dark halos of early galaxies. Within these there were then major bursts of star formation. And from the cycles of star birth and death, over billions of years there came the sufficient diversification of elements for the formation of planets, such as Earth, where the suitable conditions for the emergence and evolution of biological life, exist. Today, every human being now stands as the conscious face of this evolutionary pulse.
These passive and active aspects of the One Reality relate to two fundamental rivers of growth: what we call radical awakening and evolutionary awakening.
Radical awakening is awakening to Source – the Infinite Awake Presence of Reality – the passive aspect. This Infinite Awake Presence is our True Self, and as the mystics of all time have attested, is always already the Source-Matrix of Reality. It is pure, pristine, Total Presence, all penetrating, all enfolding, and all creative. It is a radiant, indivisible Awareness that is characterised by undivided freedom, love and pure tenderness. Within the New Earth Nation, we recognise this as the basis of every being’s true nature, of what it means to awaken to true sovereignty, and as every human being’s birth right.
Evolutionary awakening is awakening to and as the evolutionary Life-force of the cosmos on deeper and deeper levels. This relates to the active aspect. In this connection, the Life expresses as the evolutionary pulse that comes to know itself through our relative, multidimensional selves, from physical body to emotions, to mind to soul, to indestructible essence. In evolutionary awakening, these different levels of our being are brought into deeper and fuller integration as conscious expressions of Reality’s cosmic evolutionary Life-force and its dynamic expression of pure creative purpose.
The importance of radical awakening is the recognition of the ultimate nature of our being and to know Reality as it truly is. Traditionally, those who have awakened to Reality have recognised the infinite freedom and unconditional perfection that is always already the case. Then, from the love that naturally arises from this realisation, have then looked to share it with others.
The importance of evolutionary awakening is to awaken as the vibrant, living, creative Life-force of the cosmos, and for us to co-create the new expressions of culture and civilisation from there. An example of this is the New Earth Nation.
Bringing the Pieces of the Puzzle Together
A look at the evidence gathered from research on human growth globally shows us that these two rivers of growth unfold relatively independently (i.e. radical awakening as one with all Reality does not necessarily mean evolutionary awakening will suddenly unfold with great speed, and vice versa). Also, the evidence shows that radical and evolutionary awakening can both potentially unfold along three perspectives, and according to different developmental stages.
Taking this into consideration is important when we come to try to understand how the findings of all of the domains of human wisdom (the spiritual traditions, western psychology, science, etc.) can be integrated so that each of their findings are included in their right place. This is because normally, the different domains of human knowledge have been exploring reality along just one of these two rivers of growth (radical or evolutionary), or through just one of the three perspectives (self, relationships, world), or in terms of just one or two levels of development through each.
When we recognise this, we can see that each has been looking at just one piece of the puzzle of what awakened, mature, loving, and authentic human functioning means. We can then see that rather than being oppositional to each other, their findings are actually complementary. Indeed, those findings not only illuminate a vision of human destiny and fullness that not only none of them could see on their own, but that actually has never been seen before.
Different Eyes see Different Ways: The Role of Perspective
For each of us, the whole of life is situated either in self, relationship, or world. So fundamental are these three perspectives to our experience that they are actually captured in the structure of language. Linguistically, we have 1st person (self/I), 2nd person (you/we), and 3rd person (he/she/it/nature/world) built into the way we think and speak with each other. These are the art, morals and science of a healthy society, or the beautiful, good and the true spoken of by Plato. Additionally, once we recognise that Reality is not and never has been some objective ‘thing’ existing ‘out there’, but is rather enacted by each of us according to our subjective (1stperson), cultural (2nd person), or social-historical perspectives (3rd person), the importance of perspective becomes even clearer. Indeed, owing to how these perspectives show up in all human experience, it makes a lot of sense that they are threaded into the way human beings have related to spiritual awakening and psychological health.
The Steps of the Way: The Role of Developmental Stages
In terms of the developmental stages through which both vectors of awakening and growth unfold through, radical awakening often opens up via shifts from what some have named the gross state to the subtle state to causal state, and then into nondual realisation. According to the reports gathered from saints, sages, and siddhas across the spiritual traditions, these gross, subtle and causal states are the phases of creation through which Reality manifests as the cosmos. According to the radical awakening lineages, first Absolute Reality emanates as the causal state, which is the unmanifest void or emptiness that is the womb of creation. From here, it emanates the subtle state, which is the vast spectrum of subtle energies that extent through the cosmos and provide the energy-matrix of all manifestation. And from here, it then emanates as the entire gross material cosmos.
When first becoming familiar with the phases of creation, it can be helpful to liken the process to the movement of water (H20) through state-phase shifts from gas, to liquid, to solid. In this sense, nondual Absolute Reality (H20) can be seen as manifesting from causal (gas), to subtle (liquid), to gross states (solid). This process can be seen as sequential or all at once. All phases of relative creation, whether gas, liquid or solid, are equally water. In a similar way, all phases of creation (causal, subtle, and gross) are equally Ultimate Reality. Though radical awakening does not have to unfold in a stage-like manner, often the path of realization progresses back along this line of Reality’s emanation, from gross to subtle to causal to ultimate nondual.
Along the evolutionary awakening line, development unfolds as we recognise as the dynamic evolutionary life-force through the different levels and layers of our being, from the physical to the emotional to the mental to the soul to indestructible essence.
The Communion of all Voices at the Universal Table
From the above we can see that we are using a model comprised of these two fundamental rivers of growth – radical and evolutionary, perspectives, and developmental levels to begin to understand the profound question at the heart of a universal spirituality: what it means for individuals and communities of human beings to be awake, integrated and cosmically participating. And working in this integrative way helps us to be able to draw upon the findings of all global traditions and domains of knowledge to support humanity to express this.
When we bring it all together we can see that there are radical awakening pathways and evolutionary awakening pathways. We can see that both can be taken according to 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person perspectives. And we can see that each unfolds through stages with some going further than others.
Breaking this down into the detail can allow us to now begin to envision how a universal spirituality could be able to include the voices of all the spiritual traditions, those of no tradition, and secular voices too, each according to the particular piece of the puzzle they are bringing.
In the river of radical awakening we have 1st, 2nd and 3rd person realisations. Those pathways that enact awakening to and as Source according to a 1st person perspective guide beings into awakening to and as Infinite Consciousness. Examples of such paths among the traditions are Vajrayana and Zen Buddhism, Vedanta, and Kashmir Shavism, for instance. Those that enact awakening through a 2nd person perspective guide beings into union with the Supreme Being of God or Goddess. Examples here could be Sufism or Mystical Christianity. And those that enact a 3rd person perspective guide beings into recognition of the Ultimate Dimension of Reality in and from which the entire cosmos is arising, moment-to-moment. Taoism or certain Shamanic lineages serve as examples here.
In the stream of evolutionary awakening we have fields such as Western Psychology and Psychotherapy, as well as Eastern, Western and indigenous forms of soul work and practices to open to our indestructible essence, which focus on the 1st person self. We also have paths and practices that focus on the development of authentic relationship and community (2nd person, e.g. community development, relational spiritual practice, collective spiritual practice, tantra, and sacred sexuality), and others the development of harmonious and powerfully engaged relationship with nature and the world (3rd person, e.g. ecology, and right service to the world).
And lastly, as we consider that each unfolds through stages, with some pathways going further than others, we can see that in the radical awakening river, many pathways only go as far as opening to the radiant light and energy of the subtle state of Reality. And some only as far as opening to the unmanifest emptiness of the causal state, without penetrating fully into recognition of the nondual True Self, that is Ultimate Reality itself.
And with evolutionary awakening, we can see the same. In terms of a 1st person orientation, Western Psychotherapy has a lot to offer on developing an emotionally and mentally healthy world centric embodied personality, but it often doesn’t recognise the transpersonal layers of our multidimensional self – the soul or indestructible essence. That is something explored much more in the spiritual communities and pathways.
The Call for Integral Awakening and Evolution
Crucial to recognise here is that each of these different lineages, traditions or disciplines has something deeply important to offer to what it means to be an awake, integrated, and cosmically participating human being. But normally, each will only focus on either radical awakening or evolutionary awakening, will have a particular preference for one of the three perspectives, and as far as the stages of development are concerned, some paths go further than others.
In the New Earth Nation we recognise that it is crucial for human beings to engage the most holistic approach to their awakening and growth as possible, and so we encourage each pathway to provide the most holistic vehicle as possible.
Traditionally, those who have radically awakened to Source have recognised the infinite freedom that is always already their true nature. And those who have evolutionarily awakened, from body to emotion to mind to soul to indestructible essence as they express through self, relationship, and nature, have come to know themselves as the conscious face of the cosmic evolutionary life-force, energised and active in the world, sincere, courageous and empowered by the righteousness of a noble heart.
Now, at this crucial point in history, what is needed is the holistic synthesis of these expressions of Freedom, and deep evolutionary engagement, in the growing community of awakening humanity, to support the emergence of the New Earth. Only then can we begin to stabilise those new stages of growth that can bring the necessary degrees of care, love, and compassionate transformation into the world that are required.
To support this unfolding of what it means for human beings to increasingly stand awake, integrated, and as participants in cosmic evolution, the Consciousness and Spirituality Faculty of the New Earth Nation shares its vision of a universal spirituality. We hope that in this ever-present field of natural freedom and empowered fullness, you will find your place, and stand with us as we watch the twilight of a passing night turn into a new planetary dawn.