Heaven on Earth
“What I’m trying to do is to create Heaven on Earth;
and show people the way to actually do that.” – Andrew Cohen
Creating Heaven on Earth: Increased Consciousness is Decreased Suffering
So Interior Depth, the very thing that yields the individual’s Self Mastery and inner peace, is also, then, the very same thing that, in collective terms, moves humanity forwards, and which can create the cultural and social platforms and systems necessary to bring greater prosperity, harmony and integration.
Both within the individual and the collective, this becomes the backbone or foundation of any endeavour towards maximising whatever it is that humanity has, the highest (and therefore most ‘integral’) potential of which can be thought of as ‘creating Heaven on Earth’. The extent to which we are progressed along that path at any given point in time and history plays a critical, defining role in the quality of the lives of everyone on the planet, aleviating suffering and improving conditions as depth increases.
If the word ‘Heaven’ holds a sensitive or different meaning for you, then you are welcome to swap it for ‘Harmony’ on Earth, or ‘Peace’ on Earth, or Paradise, or Utopia, Prosperity, or any similar notion that means something positively harmonious to you in a personal and global context.
Heaven as Authentic Self; Hell as Ego
It is possible to think of Heaven and Hell not as places, but as qualities of consciousness. Indeed, Cohen relates Heaven to the Authentic Self and Hell as identification with the Ego – in the spiritual sense, that is, which is the compulsion to see oneself as identified with finite things and separate to the source of life.
The page on Self Mastery briefly introduced the notion of The Witness, and it is simply the position of identification with the Witness that is the Authentic Self.
When we have individuals living as their Authentic Self, human interaction becomes what could be termed a natural expression of divine (or simply authentic) interaction.
As Chopra puts it; “I honour in you the divine that I honour within myself and I know we are one.” This is a world of contrast away from the alternative of “two (or more) Egos bashing into one another”. The Ego is never happy because it can never be content, and you can never live in the moment when you are identified with the Ego because the Ego is always seeking that which it is not.
Father Thomas Keating perfectly summarises the impact of this upon ourselves and upon the world;
“This is the basic source of every human problem. It’s the source of certainly every sin, in the sense of missing the mark, because it’s the separate self-sense that opposes reality and The Truth, and which creates our own Truth, and ultimately our own Hell if the Self we’re developing goes to the extremes of selfishness.
“So at one hand you have the basic oneness of everything, that is in its source, and the basic issue of separating ourselves from that oneness, which then means we’re separating ourselves from our True Self, and from everybody else, and from the Kosmos…
“We are designed for happiness so you can’t choose anything else. Even to choose evil is in the hope of finding happiness somehow. Or even to kill yourself is the hope of getting away from pain that’s intolerable. So happiness is confused with the gratification of the instinctual instincts of the child; security, power, control, affection, esteem and approval. And these grow into The False Self, and into The Ego. And so you come to adulthood with this baggage of possessive attitudes towards yourself and The World and other people, that can’t possibly work in an adult life, but unfortunately you have to live with six billion other people who have the same problem. So it’s no wonder there’s social problems, because unless this radical problem is addressed, societies which are made up of a bunch of False Selves are not going to do too well. And that’s why to take a determination not to contribute to to the messiness of the World by adding our own False Self projects to it is one of the greatest gifts you could give to humanity.”
The Evolution of Consciousness and The Integral Age
This individual and collective increasing of self-awareness to such things as Ego and Authentic Self, and to deeper orientations of care, is known as The Evolution of Consciousness, and naturally those who become aware of themselves and of the importance of the process itself begin to care more and more to actively encourage this evolutionary process, wherever and however they can. There is a rather bizarre sounding piece of wisdom, rooted in an understanding of the oneness of Absolute Truth, that states that; “there are no ‘others’ out there, and so you vow to do everything you can to save them”.
As consciousness increases, suffering decreases, both because people suffer less and less from the Hellish drama of identifying with finite things, but also because, as we have seen with our explanation of Interior Depth, collective interior depth is a determining factor in people’s quality of life the World over. Currently two-thirds of the World’s population are on the survival line, and such people as Bill Clinton are being quoted as saying that the problem with the Middle East, for example, is that less than two percent of the World’s population is integral (at an integral stage of interior development). Couple this with the fact that it is only when we can experience the mind as an experience that we can fully integrate mind and body (for the reasons of any health benefits that may bring, say), and the relevance of interior depth and increased consciousness becomes obvious.
So, provided it is not forced, anyone who is sufficiently aware cares to support this growth of consciousness.
The rule of thumb for quantifying any improvement in consciousness is thought of as ‘the most depth by the most span’; the more individuals who can evolve their own awareness, and the deeper they can do that, the better.
The basic benefit of increased consciousness is the ability to take more persepctives; to take greater and deeper perspectives on self and life, and these new stages are considered to be more ‘integral’, (also known as ‘Second Tier’), or even ’super integral’, specifically because they are able to take in more perspectives. They are said to be ushering in an Integral Age of human consciousness, as individuals and cultures alike search for greater meaning and unity. Consciousness evolves away from egocentrism and towards unity.
“The developmental leap from first tier to second tier is a leap from fragmentation and alienation to wholeness and integration, from nihilism and irony to deep meaning and value.” – Ken Wilber
Getting Our Own House in Order
The traditional and absolutely fundamental principle of influence, impact or point of power in this process of evolution of consciousness is that we must each ‘get our own house in order’, so to speak. This is the fundamental foundation of spiritual teaching;
Peter Ragnar talks of being “one improved human unit”, and that “If I leave this earth as one improved human unit, i’ve improved the whole!”.
Wilber speaks of being “vehicles for Spirit to express itself through us” and to “make sure that the next act that you do comes from your highest self.
And as my friend and colleague, John Christian, observes; “we must each take responsibility for what we think, feel and do”.
These are the tools and structures that promote the evolution of consciousness.
Coupled with the importance of removing any and all negative shadow elements, which is also crucially important, both in individuals, and for healing society as a whole (as is explained more fully in The Model of Personal Development and Global Change), the evolution of consiousness of the individual is central indeed.
“Nothing is more important than the evolution of the individual, as, with the evolution of the individual, consciousness itself evolves.” – Andrew Cohen
An Intersubjective Context
This growth of the individual isn’t quite the only and final field of influence, however. Growth particularly begins to spark and ignite when individuals come together in an intersubjective context, simply meaning between subjects, or between people.
This is an area which is beginning to be developed more and more as individuals with similar, awakening awarenesses make contact with each other to form groups, teams, forums and campaigns the world over. Indeed, Whole Life Whole World itself is almost certainly also a product of this evolutionary impulse to unite.
“My own experience has convinced me that the enlightenment of the future is not going to be an individual event, as it has been in the past, but rather will be a collective or what could be called intersubjective emergence.” – Andrew Cohen
The All-important Caveats
Of course, there are any number of things that can be done in the exterior or outside world to improve things.
We are looking at the interior here, specifically for its defining relevance.
Again, though, we must remember the most important caveat that; people have the right to stop at whatever level of development they want to.
And we must also be aware that any endeavour we do is done from a position of inner peace, rather than turbulence.
A good test is that if you do anything either for your own growth and life, or to contribute to the common good, does it make you feel free and liberated and in alignment with yourself and the Universe? Or does it make you feel strained, forced, judged, guilty and imprisoned? Is it a flow of the ‘divine’ live force through you, or does it feel like a disjointed, confused, fearful Egoic grasping for a finite (and what will therefore be a very temporary) sense of completion. It is the foundation of inner peace that creates the required basis for effective, dynamic action to flow, and this is again the result of taking the position of the Witness and the Authentic Self, as opposed to that of the grasping, fearful Ego.
Putting It All Together
To find out more about the overall picture of humanity, the evolution of consciousness and the Integral Age, or even simply to get a handle on your own life’s energy, wellbeing and consciousness, you are invited to engage with The Model of Personal Development and Global Change…
This model details the aspects of depth and development of the individual, from body to mind to spirit to shadow, and including both life skills and work skills, and how that also plays out in it’s effect upon the whole. It’s a great way to get a feel for the points of power in one’s life and in one’s world.
Related sites also writing on the subject of consciousness and Heaven on Earth.