When Cosmic Consciousness is reached, the individual moves from believing in the oneness of the universe to having a direct knowledge of that fact. This level of consciousness requires letting go of the superficial ego.
Some claim that reaching this awareness may cause a person to retreat from the noise of the outside world and seek solitude. They will develop a heightened awareness of their own mental state and that of those around them.
In 1901, Richard Maurice Bucke -- a Canadian psychiatrist -- wrote a book about Cosmic Consciousness, in which he defined it as the highest of three levels of consciousness found in living beings:
- Simple consciousness, which both mankind and animals possess;
- Self-consciousness, which includes thought, reason, and imagination and that mankind possesses; and
- Cosmic Consciousness, which is a higher and more spiritual consciousness than most ordinary people possess.
For Bucke, Cosmic Consciousness included a spiritual understanding that there is eternal life and that God is the whole universe. He saw all things as being interconnected -- a part of the cosmic consciousness. A popular meditation and spirituality figure in the West, Deepak Chopra has postulated that the concept of Cosmic Consciousness may be related to the hidden dimensions of quantum mechanics.
A spiritual yoga practice can help an individual move closer to attaining Cosmic Consciousness. Poses that open the third eye and crown chakras are particularly helpful in reaching this goal.