Cosmic Consciousness

Definition - What does Cosmic Consciousness mean?

Cosmic Consciousness is a term often used to denote a higher or particularly spiritual level of awareness and consciousness.

This type of awareness may be associated with an experience of “knowing God," or of transcending the five senses and finding a hidden consciousness or reality which is beyond the perceivable world. For many, the journey to experiencing cosmic consciousness involves practices such as yoga, meditation, prayer and acts of faith.

It is said that in a state of Cosmic Consciousness, the human mind is elevated beyond the awareness of the self and the ego, and enters a place of oneness and unity with the universe. Finding this unity is one goal of yoga practice.

Yogapedia explains Cosmic Consciousness

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.

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