A Ferocious Yes!


I got a speeding ticket on my way to a spiritual retreat. Now, if this was a buddhist retreat I was heading to, the fact that I was going 80 miles an hour in a 55 mile per hour zone would seem very unpeaceful – counter buddhistic you might say. But since I was heading to a retreat with evolutionary spirituality guru Andrew Cohen, it was somehow fitting. Peace? Forget peace! Cohen teaches that the evolutionary impulse wants creative friction, it wants to burn. Be a human bonfire, make trouble, get out and change the world. So the fact that I had a sense of urgency, that I was in a big hurry to get to the retreat, is very appropriate. Even if I have to pay a price…

I’ve read Cohen’s magazine, What is Enlightenment? (now EnlightenNEXT), listened to audio recordings of his teachings, and befriended some of his students, teachers in their own right like Carter Phipps, and I’ve always been inspired. I feel a natural and deep resonance with these teachings. They are contemporary, fiery and liberating in a way that few other teachings are. But coming here to Foxhollow in Massachusetts and listening to Andrew in person took it to a whole new level. It was a direct transmission.

By the end of the weekend retreat, called “Changing the World from the Inside Out”, I had the sense that my spiritual bonfire had a barrel of jet fuel poured onto it. Andrew teaches that all of us have, at the deepest level, an Authentic Self. This is our original face, and it is the evolutionary impulse which began some 14 billion years ago with the Big Bang, and continues to unfold to this day, in each and every one of us. We just need to wake up to this fact, and own it, and the tremendous responsibility it leaves us with – the responsibility to transcend the confines of our limiting ego, that seperate self sense, and step into the drivers seat, and start consciously evolving, co-creating the universe. When you really get this, that you are one of the many faces of God – yes You – at a deep, deep level, it is nothing less than awe inspiring. Inside you is a fiery force, a creative force, an emerging urgency to unfold, to blossom, to move through this world with uncompromising authenticity. Everything changes from this perspective. You have a limited amount of time here in the manifest realm, and there is no more time for procrastination, no more time for playing the victim, for licking your ego wounds, for whining your life away- your extraordinary life begins today.

Andrew doesn’t coddle his students, he urges us to step on the gas and go for it. One of the excercises he asked us to do was to imagine the ego from the perspective of the authentic self. What does it look like, what does it feel like? This simple exercise is quite profound when you really give it a go. First of all, it requires that you take the perspective of the authentic self. Far too often (for many of us, all of the time), we identify our “I” as the ego. Flip this around, and realize that your true “I” is your authentic self, your God self. Your original face. Then, from this perspective, have a look at your ego. What do you see?

I saw my ego as a huge, over inflated hot air balloon. Distended, taut and puffed up. And then it just popped – kaboom! – shrivelled up to it’s true size, a wrinkled little piece of rubber. A bit like a used condom. Not that it was gone – it’s still there, and most likely it will always still be there. The ego has a purpose, it emerged for a reason- that sense of seperation from the One, allows Us to step back, and see Ourselves, to celebrate creation, and to engage in a way that singularity can’t. One of the unique gifts of human consciousness, is that we “know that we know.” We are G-d seeing Herself. The ego helps to make this possible. But it isn’t the be all and end all – it’s just a small slice of who We are, a tool, and we’ve over inflated it, made it into our everything. Instead of allowing it to drive, what if you were to (as spiritual cowgirl Sera Beak suggests) give it one of those little toy steering wheels and a baby rattle, and put it in the back seat, where it belongs. Don’t let it drive!

Tommorrow producer Cher Hawrysh and I are going to interview Andrew for Fierce Light Films new feature documentary project, in the early stages of development, called “Evolve Dissolve: Another World is Here.” This is the very first shoot of the film, and a fitting launching pad as we set off on a new journey.

“Evolutionary enlightenment calls for egoless participation in the life-process for the sake of the evolution of consciousness itself. We are all desperately needed right now. For what? To truly awaken, to become enlightened, so that we can consciously participate, as liberated souls, in the life-process. What is the point of the experience of incarnation? To finally be able to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the life-process—to EVOLUTION—to conscious evolution, so that we can make a real difference in this crazy, divided, suffering world. Yes, enlightenment for the twenty-first century calls us all to participate wholeheartedly—that means with everything we’ve got—for everyone else’s sake, for the upliftment of all of life, RIGHT NOW, as liberated beings. Yes, we are all needed, by our very own Self. Desperately.” –Andrew Cohen

It’s an incredibly positive vision, in which the Big Bang, and everything that’s come since, including human consciousness, is seen a great big Yes!

So what about you? Are you ready to start living an extraordinary life? What does your authentic self look like, taste like, feel like? How about your ego? Who would you rather have in the drivers seat?



  1. Sounds like a fun experience.
    Wonder how it might be rephrased with the G_d removed – simply as patterns evolving at multiple levels with recursion both within and between levels – utterly unpredictable (at least in theory).

  2. If you really want to find out how “enlightened” Andrew Cohen is, read one of several books written by former students, including his own mother. He is a clearly deluded, narcisistic psychopath who is anything but enlightened, in fact, quite mentally ill.

  3. Thank you for your enthusiasm!! Thanks for another chance to hear Andrew Cohen. I have just found his web-site and get his email quotes. I find him and you inspiring. It makes so much sense to me. Keep up the good work. Your Bonfire is spreading the Light!

  4. Wow!
    that is a wonderful way you are expressing your encounter and experience with Andrew. Whenever I read, speak or hear about the evolutionairy impulse, the gods impuls or in Andrews Terms the authentic self, it is like I immedeately wake up to the passion of becoming, the impulse to become more, to create a culture in which the authentic self or spirit is always the highest and that we start surrendering to just that. The exiting part is that we have now come to a spiritual developmental level where we can start to recognise this as ourSelves and start owning that discovery. What does culture express when we live according to this insight? When we no longer follow robotically our impulses to live for our own personal pleasures and pains and get a bigger context for ourselves and embody a true spiritual depth that also fits with our postmodern 21 st century worldviews!

    I also finally understand why I have collected so many speeding tickets over the last year! haha. thanx for making it clear…..

    Good luck with your beautiful work, it is an inspiration for all of us.
    Hans van Dalsum
    Student of Andrew Cohen

  5. ABSOLUTE TRUTH!!!!! With an absolute big fiery YES to life , thanks for sharing this fire of authentic self . Andrew is a revolutionary teacher , one needs to attend his retreat to experience the Authentic self !

  6. I am a evolutionary adventurist interested in your transformative “retreats”, however, I’m
    ‘living on a shoe string’. Is there any way I could work with Enlightenment Next to pay for one or more of your ‘trips’? – HD

  7. Hi H.D. I just attended one of Andrew’s retreats, and am not affiliated with Andrew’s teachings, but you can check them out at http://www.enlightennext.org/

    Glad so many of you liked the piece! Keep an eye on my new film, Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action, which I think is reviewed in the current issue of Enlightenext magazine, as well as my previous film Scared Sacred, which was reviewed a few years back by the magazine. I love the multi-faceted spiritual focus of Enlightenext magazine, btw – one of the main spiritually oriented magazine I read, and incredibly diverse in the places it goes for wisdom.

  8. i loved your fiery way you addressed the fire of Andrew Cohen’s teacings. I have just heard Andrew speak again, after many years, and am reading 11 days on the Edge…a brilliant read and record of what evolves and how in us.. As a multi-disciplinary artist i happen draw with fire…i believe now after reading about your experience and traffic speedings this is my metaphor to help let it rip
    Fierce Light indeed; i look forward to viewing your film. it’d be fun probably to help out on it. i’m in nyc… ÜLA hoping to sell a painting enabling me to go to On Becoming retreat in Tuscany in August.

  9. Maybe we should heal our ego before we put it in the back seat? As you say, we can’t get rid of it, it will always be there, but if we just relegate it to an inferior position, it will seethe with rage and resentment, like a hurt, abused child and do its best to trip us up. I’m not an expert but my instinct tells me that a gentler approach might work better.

  10. When you put the authentic self in the driver seat, it’s always ” go baby go”.
    So let’s do it.

  11. Maybe, just maybe, those of us at the leading edge can leave our egos alone to express life as they are designed to instead of all this following other’s ideas.

    WE are the ones with power here and it is time to realize that ego itself is not the problem her, but repression of it in order to do some kind of work for the good of all of us is stopping us realizing this.

    Find a path, any path and follow it dilligently … then GET OFF !!!

    That includes you ‘Integral’ people !!!

  12. Niice to see that Velcrow is excited and fiery and furious and passionate about his higher self participating in the evolution of the species…but who is it who’s so excited? This is just more desire…is it not? Nothing wrong with desire, nothing wrong with any of Velcrow’s passion…but where is the insight that all this ‘evolution’ is unfolding according to the current state of (conscious) affairs? Yes, it is exciting,and in many circles it would appear as if awakening is happening. But isn’t it a mistake to credit ones own efforts (eg0) for this wonderful state of being. It’s all one unfolding. Isn’t it?

  13. Loneshewolf makes a powerful point. Some Jungians talk rather, of ‘relativizing’ the ego and not simply disregarding it!
    Ego, limited as it is, delusional as it may be about power and control and separateness – is however a part of us, part of the created whole that we are. It requires our respect and love – so that it can find it’s ‘relative’ place in the constelation of our interior life!
    Finding itself cared for and understood, our ego too can face its own surrender and allow the True-self to emerge.

  14. Stumbled on this, looks like a year after the comments, but will give this a quick comment or so. (1) Good to see people moving beyond the sheer materialism that tugs so strongly in western culture and to see people at least pondering what an “authentic” self might mean; but (2) as some one who sees a world still wracked by terrible pain, an international order that is so primitive, etc., does anyone have a list of those from such retreats that actually go out and help to remedy things big scale? For sure there is value in being nicer to people you meet (I’m not being facetious – Means and Ends must try as much as possible to stay in sync in all aspects of life); it’s more that I am less sure a “follow your true bliss” approach on its own – and the process involved in these retreats may go much deeper – gets beyond self-centerdness easily.

    Finally, RE: speeding ticket – while I live in an area where some zones are marked low and everyone goes beyond it, and there are also times you can safely exceed the speed, it seems wrong-headed to make speeding tickets a badge of honour or virtuous – it seems more likely that self-importance has slipped into the equation, and dangerously so if habitual, because it is being affirmed at the expense of the probability of seriously injuring someone – by definition an accident is something you didn’t expect to happen.

  15. I feel the fire being transferred into my whole being. What do you make of the new scientific breakthrough of the Institute of Craig Vetter,making and giving life into cells in a laboratory?

  16. @ Christophe ~ sounds a little too much like drill baby drill. Pushing that metaphor a bit: the first gush can be exhilarating – but sooner a later somebody is going to have to clean up the mess. Thinking that “we need to save the world” is the most egotistic thought we can have. Then superimposing the “authentic” self upon it only deepens the conviction that “now I know” what is right.

    Perhaps the world can get along just fine without “us” ?

  17. BB Ghali has made a timely tap on the brakes. The world will indeed get by without any particular group that claims (once again) to have found Absolute Truth. If that is what Ghali meant by ‘us’ then I agree. A new generation of fiery-eyed Evangelists or a new horde of disciples of yet another religion will simply lead to a repetition of past history, complete with crusades, persecution of believers, persecution of non believers and so around again.

    The ‘us’ that the ‘world’ cannot get by without is the ‘us’ of the whole of human intelligence. The actions of this ‘us’ creates the reality of our present and shapes the possibilities of our future.

    Every individual contributes to this reality. This contribution may be deliberatley and consciously made or one that is determined by passive adherence to the culture in which one lives.

    The recognition that the individual’s sense of self and self interest is an overlay on a universal identity, which all have in common, may shape some of the decisions that are made. I believe that the more people who come to recognise this the more consideration will be given to the direct and indirect consequences of our actions.

    People who have recognised this may see themselves as having an affinity with others who have similarly recognised it and may refer to this group as ‘us’ . To make a cult, movement or religion out of this meaning of ‘us’ is to admit that we do not really have the insight we claim to have.

    Or so I think anyway!

  18. I’m not a student of Andrew’s but I used to be and I feel compelled to reply to some of the pretty massive misunderstandings in these comments.

    @Ted Howard: I don’t think replacing God with “patterns evolving at multiple levels with recursion both within and between levels – utterly unpredictable” would work in this case since it sounds like an external event that “you” witness. When you awaken to the evolutionary impulse you realize that you are the one who has been choosing your psychological state and it’s a subjective realization as well as objective. You realize who “you” really are and that Life is not just an unpredictable, unfolding pattern. It brings you to the center of it all but not in an egoic way. It’s incredibly empowering whereas your definition sounds disempowering to me.

    @Joseph Thorpe: You obviously don’t know Andrew or you don’t know what the definition of a psychopath is. I’m not saying he hasn’t made mistakes in the past but calling him a psychopath really makes you seem like the deluded one here. Don’t believe everything you read. His mother couldn’t let go of her role as mother and couldn’t see Andrew as anything other than her son which, of course, created conflict since he had radically changed and wasn’t relating to his mom from his old role as ‘son.’

    This discovery of the authentic self is really something relatively new (Aurobindo, De Chardin, Cohen); therefore, you need to try on a NEW pair of glasses to see it. If you look at it from the traditional spiritual perspective of enlightenment as merely transcending the world, or from a chaos theory of external “its” excluding any interior subjective reality or from the ego’s perspective these teachings will be confused with being egoic, aggressive and arrogant or somehow part of an old pattern which is negative. This seems to happen over and over again. People always seem to miss that this is something new and project humanity’s old patterns onto it and label it as something old that the evolutionary spirituality movement has somehow forgotten about. If you listen closely, you’ll hear that Spirit is calling us to transform ourselves and the “world” at this point in evolution when it is urgently needed.

  19. […] A Ferocious Yes!, is a blog post at Fierce Love exploring this edge of the awakening consciousness. […]

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