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.

Read More

Currently Reading

Cosmic Consciousness. RM Bucke.
A more than a hundred-year-old classic written by a person with personal experiences with the topic. It is still interesting reading and has some still relevant points: (1) Cosmic consciousness happens, either as glimpses or as lasting experiences. (2) There seems to be an evolutionary unfolding that could make cosmic consciousness ordinary among humans in the future.

Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teachings of Shunryu Suzuki. David Chadwick.

Translucent Revolution. Arjuna Ardagh.

Sufism. James Fadiman.

The Way of the Pilgrim. Unknown author.
Beautifully describes the heart prayer.

I Need Your Love – Is That True? Byron Katie. (a couple of weeks ago)

Integral Spirituality. Ken Wilber. (public draft – read a couple of weeks ago)

As It Is. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. (some weeks ago)