"The Teacher and Liberation should be one and the same thing. The relationship to the Teacher should be such that that relationship could only liberate you, and could not do anything else. If this is not the case it means that something is very wrong."
from Enlightenment Is a Secret,
by Andrew Cohen
The role of spiritual authority is among the most controversial and misunderstood issues in spiritual life today. Yet it is one of the most vitally important, because understanding spiritual authority is inseparable from understanding the very nature and significance of enlightenment itself. Since the issue of spiritual authority is so challenging, and evokes such strong emotions, many people fail to go beyond their reflexive responses of "pro" or "con," hope or fear, cynicism or superstition when considering it. But the real meaning and implications of spiritual authority are much too subtle, significant and far-reaching to be understood in a superficial way.
In the following three articles Andrew Cohen places the issue of spiritual authority in its most revealing and challenging context: the evolutionary call to attain a fully human condition. His investigation clarifies the signficance of spiritual authority and discipleship in a way that absolutely implicates both the seeker and the teacher.
In "A Crisis of Trust
," excerpted from his book An Unconditional Relationship to Life
, Andrew Cohen examines the roots of the prevailing cynicism about spiritual authority and even enlightenment itself. Cutting through common superstitious beliefs, he reveals the meaning of enlightenment in a way that is inspiring yet uncompromising, calling for clear examples who can show that the achievement of an undivided condition is indeed possible.
"Spiritual Slavery and Prostitution of the Soul
" is a dialogue in which Andrew Cohen explores the disturbing enigma, so apparent in our time, of the coupling of great realization with a lack of ethical integrity, and the potentially devastating effect this can have upon the seeker.
Finally, "The Science of the Student/Teacher Relationship
" investigates the significance of discipleship in a way that holds both the teacher and the student completely accountable for its results. Andrew Cohen explains what to look for in a potential teacher, and vividly describes the student/teacher relationship as a dynamic partnership based on rare independence and mutual interest in the truth for its own sake.