In the end, the attainment of cosmic consciousness is the realization that the consciousness you have right now, the one reading these words, looking out the window, or walking into the next room, is cosmic consciousness. Consciousness is cosmic. We live in a living, conscious universe. Our human form is an organ of perception for the universe. Our consciousness is universal.
It is not enough to believe this. It is not even enough to know it. The path to cosmic consciousness leads us to feel the universal origin of our consciousness in every cell of our body. The feeling must be utterly authentic. You must find a way to shift your experience of reality. This is not easy because your current experience of reality is a very strong perceptual habit, but that habit can be broken, and your experience of reality can be shifted.
We have been trained to experience ourselves as an individual with our own unique consciousness. We have been conditioned to feel ourselves this way. We train every baby that is born to experience themselves as an individual with a consciousness that was born with them and will die with them. In short, we are taught to experience ourselves as separate.
The experience of individuation is not negative, and is not untrue. It is true, but is not the whole truth. We are both an individual person, and at the same time a vehicle for universal awareness. The path to cosmic consciousness allows us to retrain our perception so that we experience ourselves as a cosmic being.
As I go through the rest of this instruction, please forgive me for having to use words. I will try to use words as carefully as possible, but they are not perfect. I may be using different words than you might, but I hope you will look beneath the words to see the reality they are pointing to.
Our retraining begins by learning to distinguish between experience and awareness. Ordinarily, experience and awareness are not distinguished, and so we come to perceive them to be one and the same, but they are not.
Experience is a function of the human body and mind. A pin pricks your finger and impulses are sent through your nervous system to your brain. This is a purely automatic function of the mind, body, and nervous system. It can happen without us being aware of it. Have you ever found a bruise somewhere on your body and not remembered knocking yourself? You think about the day, but you can’t remember a time when you might have done it. Undoubtedly there was some experience of bumping into something, even if you didn’t notice it.
There is experience, and there is awareness of the experience. Experience happens in the mind, body, and nervous system. Awareness happens in the cosmos.
Sit and look at the experience you happen to be having. You are seeing things in front of your eyes, feeling things both inside and on the surface of your body, and knowing things in your mind. Those experiences are localized. You are seeing from your unique perspective, feeling your own body, and knowing the content of your own mind. Experience belongs to the individual self.
But now look at the part of you that is aware of the experience that you are having. Not the experience itself, – the part that sees it, feels it, and knows it. Can you perceive the difference between the two? This perception is a crucial first step in shifting into cosmic consciousness because experience is human, and awareness is cosmic.
In meditation I teach people to be aware of the awareness that is aware. This means turning your attention in on itself. Initially it is maddening, but if you stick with it, you will see the impossible. You will become aware of awareness. It is often a shocking discovery. Awareness is not embedded in our experience; awareness is everywhere. All experience arises in a field of awareness. Once you become aware of the awareness that is aware, you will be well on your way to cosmic consciousness.