What is cosmic consciousness?

What is cosmic consciousness?

If it’s “just” a direct experience of all of cosmos being one and consciousness, then that’s inevitable when we notice our nature.

To ourselves, we are consciousness. And to us, all of existence happens within and as the consciousenss we are.

That’s how it always and already is. And when we notice, then it may appear to us as all of cosmos is the consciousness we are. It’s all one and consciousness. And we may call that Spirit, the divine, God, Brahman, Big Mind, and so on.

Does it mean that all of existence IS consciousness? That it has the same nature as me? Maybe, but if I am honest with myself, I know I cannot know for certain.

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Cosmic consciousness!

Richard Maurice Bucke

A while back, I read Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness and recognized a lot from my own process there.


In my case, the initial awakening shift happened “out of the blue” when I was sixteen. I walked down a gravel road, the sky was lit up by innumerable stars, and a big wind went through the landscape. Suddenly, all – the whole cosmos – was revealed as consciousness or God. The whole cosmos was conscious of itself. And any sense of being a separate self was revealed the divine locally and temporarily creating that experience for itself.


After a while, we sober up from these shifts and can see it in a more nuanced way.

To me, all my experiences – the whole world – happen within and as what I am. It happens within and as what a thought may label consciousness. So it will inevitably appear as if the cosmos and everything IS consciousness, and even is conscious of itself.

That’s the more sober interpretation of awakening.

I can take this a step further and say that my nature is also the nature of all of existence. The cosmos and all of existence IS consciousness. There are many hints suggesting just that, but it is a leap, and it’s good to be honest about just that.


As usual, there is a lot more to say about this.

Does cosmic consciousness give any particular powers or insights?

Not necessarily. It’s more a recognition that to us, all is and appears as consciousness. And when we take a more nuanced look at it, we see that it has to be that way. To ourselves, we are consciousness and all our experiences – of the whole cosmos – happen within and as consciousness. So it will inevitably appear as if everything is consciousness.

And yet, some apparently mysterious things can happen. In my case, I did start seeing auras and discovered I could do (often quite effective) distance healing. I experienced an intense “download” of insights for several years, most of which is reflected in everything I write here. (This happened when I was in my mid-teens and before I had read anything about spirituality or awakening, so it came more from noticing and “out of the blue” just like the awakening shift itself.) And for several years, I experienced intense energies running through my system, as if high-voltage was sent through regular housing wires.


I don’t typically use the term cosmic consciousness, unless I use it as I do here, to describe the EXPERIENCE of cosmos as consciousness and awake to itself.

To describe awakening generally, other words seem more accurate and sober.


I assume that it’s some forms of sudden and dramatic awakening shifts that typically get the label cosmic consciousness. That’s when we are more likely to experience it as cosmic consciousness and use that term.

If the shift is more gradual and gentle, the term may not fit so well. We may just call it a gradual awakening shift. And sometimes, we may not even notice the shift so much. It just becomes the new normal.

The upside of the more dramatic shifts is that we cannot so easily dismiss them. They grab our attention whether we want to or not. And the downside is that we can more easily get distracted by the drama and the side-effects of the awakening.

There are many benefits to the more gradual shifts.


I should add that there is a more fundamental way to understand cosmic consciousness.

Any consciousness is cosmic. It’s the cosmos bringing itself into consciousness.

Even the consciousness of an ant is cosmic consciousness in that it’s the local cosmos bringing itself into consciousness through and as the ant.

As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the universe bringing itself into consciousness.

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What is cosmic consciousness?

What does cosmic consciousness refer to?

I don’t really know. I assume people use it to mean slightly different things, and perhaps some use it without having a good sense of what it refers to.

When I was sixteen, what I am (and what everyone and everything is) woke up to itself locally and through this human being. It wasn’t as thorough as it can be, and certainly not as embodied as it can be. But it was a start, or at least a kind of milestone in the process.

The way it happened could be called cosmic consciousness. There was a very clear and strong sense – or realization – of the whole universe being one. It was the one waking up to itself as all of it. There was a very strong cosmic sense or flavor to it.

There was no omni-anything. No omniscience. No omnipresence. Just the one waking up to itself as it all, locally, through and as this human self, with the same sensory input and the same thoughts and conventional information as before.

Later, and after several more shifts and movements, this oneness became much more simple, quiet, and ordinary. There is still oneness but without the fireworks and the bells and whistles.

I am wondering if what we sometimes call cosmic consciousness refers to this early form of awakening, the one with fireworks and bells and whistles. The one that hasn’t yet settled and become more ordinary and unremarkable. (Although it is also completely remarkable.)

What were some of the bells and whistles in my case? Mainly, the intensity of it. It was very intense, and the cosmic feeling was very strong and in the forefront. There was also an experience of very strong energies going through my body. (I remember describing it as high voltage going through regular housing wires.) I could see energies around people, animals, plants, and inanimate objects. (The “inanimate” objects were also revealed as the divine or consciousness so not really inanimate.) And I also discovered I could do (sometimes surprisingly effective) distance or energy healing.

There was also an experience of a constant “download” of insights and information, mostly of the perennial philosophy and psychology variety, but also art. I had little to no exposure to spirituality or what I later understood was called the perennial philosophy back then. And I was passionate about drawing and painting at the time.

These are what Adyashanti calls side-effects of awakening. They vary a bit from person to person, and some experience them more than others. They are not really important in themselves.

It’s natural for the mind to be fascinated by them, but that eventually — and sometimes with a bit of struggle – wears out.