What are Being and Becoming?

For a long time I resisted writing this text because I had an unresolved conflict between what Osho was teaching and what Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber were advocating.  But then I realized I had to address this because it was the very last piece of my puzzle. So maybe one way to resolve that ~ because the contexts in which each was speaking could be different ~ is to just present the different points of view and allow them to speak for themselves. However,  in so doing, and as I shall explain at the end, I finally resolved the situation to my satisfaction.

So, here, first, is Osho from long ago:

Your individuality, which is one single unit, can for the purpose of understanding it, be divided into four parts: the head, the body, the heart and being. Intellect is the functioning of your head, instinct of your body, and intuition of your heart. And behind these three is your being, whose only quality is witnessing. So the first and very fundamental thing: becoming is not the issue. You already are. So becoming is nothing more than moving toward the being who is already there…. It is a discovery, not an achievement…. Integration is already there at the deepest core of your being.

And when you choose your own being, you have chosen the being of the whole universe because your being and the universal being are not two things. When you choose yourself you have chosen God, and when you choose God, God has chosen you …. This beingness, this wholeness, makes you a circle. And the beginning and the end meet, the alpha and the omega meet … [represented by] … the Egyptian seal of a snake eating its own tail.

And here are Cohen and Wilber from Dialogue XXV in their The Guru & The Pandit series of conversations on the subject of what the former calls “higher human evolution, as it relates to enlightenment and the experience of higher states of consciousness.” And memory says that Wilber envisages ten such levels of consciousness to which he has assigned colours.

So their conversation starts around the differences between what Cohen calls Horizontal and Vertical development, or the old and the new ways of enlightenment, as represented in the concepts of Being and Becoming.

So, simply said, from Cohen’s point of view, horizontal development means returning to zero, to emptiness, to the old enlightened state of pure Being. But for both of them, vertical development is represented by the obvious fact that humans have gone through many stages of development since the beginning of our history. Wilber calls the early stages, the archaic, the magical, the mythic, the rational, moving, in the sixties, to the pluralistic. And they both believe we are now on the edge of moving to a higher level. As Cohen said, “We have to move, we have to go, and we have to get somewhere new.” (His emphasis).

To which Wilber responds, “It’s Spirit-in Action” … when you move from the merely static self of being into the Authentic Self of becoming, and see and feel yourself not just as having that sense of pure being, which you’re still fully aware of, but also as that being in action … Spirit unfolding, Spirit transformed through its own evolutionary drive” (His emphasis) …. into a new state of enlightenment governed by “deeper morals, more profound morals, and a fundamentally moral approach to the universe.

And there, it seems, is the difference: Osho says that the sole purpose of Being is witnessing ~ simply being present to “what is” ~ while Cohen and Wilber believe it is in Doing as well.

My preference is to let the universe do its own thing ~ while I try to sort my little self out ~recognizing that many spiritual leaders, looking at the state of the world  today, are, for very valid reasons, also advocating activism.