Andrew Cohen’s 2nd Annual Being & Becoming Retreat August 1 – 23, 2010 Shambhala Mountain Center, Colorado
Andrew Cohen’s second annual—and enormously successful—Being & Becoming Retreat took place this August at the Shambhala Mountain Retreat Center, nestled in the Rocky Mountains outside Denver, Colorado.
The retreat center was established in 1971 and is known for housing the largest Tibetan Buddhist stupa in the Western world.
Participants from all over the world converged at the Denver airport, ready to spend 21 days on the evolutionary edge.
Many had been engaging with Andrew’s teachings of Evolutionary Enlightenment since last year’s retreat in focused monthly workshops, an integral part of the perpetually developmental EnlightenNext Discovery Cycle.
The anticipation was palpable as everyone arrived at the Shambhala center, preparing to embark on a three-week spiritual adventure.
Each year, the 21-day Being & Becoming Retreat is divided into two parts, reflecting the two fundamental faces of Spirit and the two dimensions of Evolutionary Enlightenment. Evolutionary Enlightenment: The Nonduality of Being and Becoming
During the first 10 days of the retreat, Andrew led everyone into the depths of traditional Eastern enlightenment — symbolized by the lone, peaceful figure of the seated Buddha — through the focused practice of meditation and immersion in Emptiness, the unmanifest ground of Being.
Following a one-day intersession, and the arrival of another 100 participants, the second 10 days were devoted to exploring the new enlightenment — symbolized by the primordial, creative force of Eros. Andrew led everyone into a highly structured, collective exploration of how enlightenment expresses itself in the manifest world of human relationship and evolutionary Becoming.
The New Posture of Enlightenment “What is the difference between the old enlightenment and the new enlightenment, between traditional enlightenment and Evolutionary Enlightenment? In the old enlightenment, there is a final end point. In the new enlightenment, there is not. Traditional enlightenment is about the end of becoming, whereas Evolutionary Enlightenment is about endless becoming. Just as the Buddha seated firmly and serenely in full lotus posture is the metaphor for traditional enlightenment, for abiding on the yonder shore, the metaphor for the new Evolutionary Enlightenment is the posture of Eros, standing tall, archer’s bow stretched to its maximum tension, ever-ready for vertical liftoff.” — Andrew Cohen
As Andrew pointed out, this Buddhist retreat center was the perfect place to explore the radical freedom and stillness of traditional enlightenment.
He emphasized two fundamental points throughout the Being retreat: letting go of everything and the contemplation of zero.
As he explained, the profound spiritual art and science of letting go of everything — the heart of traditional enlightenment — is what creates the space inside us for the evolutionary impulse to emerge and express itself through our awakened humanity.
Throughout the Being retreat, people spent the majority of their time in the large tent where meditation and teaching sessions with Andrew were held.
Each day, Andrew would answer people’s questions for a few hours in the morning and meditate with everyone after dinner, with the rest of the day devoted to collective spiritual practice.
Andrew encouraged people to “go all the way,” and many responded by staying up to meditate through the night, while others woke up well before dawn to begin their spiritual practice in earnest.
The entire 10 days of the Being retreat were spent in complete silence, apart from people engaging with Andrew during the morning teaching sessions.
The second 10 days, the Becoming retreat, were very different from the first, shifting everyone into high gear to explore the dynamic, creative, evolutionary side of enlightenment in the world of time, form, and relationship.
Everyone responded wholeheartedly to Andrew’s inspiring mandate, in which he dared all 300 participants of the Becoming retreat to be true to their highest spiritual aspirations and to focus all of their energy and intention towards creating, for at least 10 days, a truly enlightened culture, or “heaven on earth.”
Andrew defined “heaven” as a condition in which everyone is sane, happy, rational, extremely inspired and has, to a great degree, transcended the narcissistic impulses of their individual and cultural ego.
The Becoming retreat also included periods of silence and meditation, but was centered around the practice of engaging beyond ego in daily discussion groups, guided by senior students of Evolutionary Enlightenment. These groups enabled everyone to deepen their understanding of Evolutionary Enlightenment while striving to put the teachings into practice in real time. By meeting together beyond ego, participants began to see for themselves how consciousness actually evolves between people and creates new shared cultural values.
The result was a complete success. By the end of the retreat, everyone was sharing in a powerful current of ecstatic liberation and evolutionary inspiration . . .
As this powerful immersion into the theory and practice of Evolutionary Enlightenment came to aclose, the only thing on everyone’s mind was how to take their experience further, higher, and deeper in the weeks and months to come.
For more information about retreats with Andrew Cohen visit www.andrewcohen.org/retreats