The first time Cosmic Consciousness descended - while in the normal waking state - occurred in October of 1976; two years after Self-Realization. During those past two years, I had experienced frequent episodes of euphoric moods of elation and joyousness. I had never thought that there could or would occur any other type of altered state of awareness. Therefore, I was totally taken by surprise when this state presented itself. It was the experience of Self-Realization, of going into THE LIGHT, which I had been avidly and intensely seeking to understand and re-experience.
At the time it occurred, I did not know that this state was Cosmic Consciousness. It was only about a year later, when with great excitement, I discovered and read “Cosmic Consciousness” by Richard M. Bucke, M.D. that I began to gain some insight into what I was experiencing.
This new consciousness first occurred while I was driving on the freeway. I was on my way to a shopping center to buy a blouse. My mind was very much occupied with the details of finding just the right blouse and I was looking forward to the search. After shopping I had to go and attend a meeting at an Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center where the Army had assigned me to work as a community volunteer. The thought of this new job and its various responsibilities had also been occupying my mind for the past few days, leaving me in a state of anxious excitement. At the same time, I was as usual very relaxed while driving, to the extent that I had lost conscious awareness of driving.
All thoughts had been focused on the blouse or the upcoming meeting. Suddenly, I was abruptly brought out of my thoughts by a very distinct popping “click” inside my head. It was a loud but muted, silent “click,” as if a switch had been turned on or off. At that same time my awareness was reconnected to my physical surroundings and to driving the car. Immediately following that awareness, I became aware that I was in an altered state of consciousness. I immediately realized that the car’s speed had been reduced to a crawl and that traffic was whizzing perilously all around me.
All these descriptions of “immediately” sound redundant; but how else to put into words that all these realizations seemed to occur simultaneously in a nano second. I, the lower self, knew that I was in a dangerous situation and proceeded to work the car through the traffic and on to the shoulder of the freeway, where I came to a stop. I noticed that my motor functions were impaired. My reflexes responded in slow-motion. My thinking mind was disconnected from my physical movements which continued to drive the car without directions from me. I wondered who was driving!
The Higher Consciousness continued to deepen but not to the point of losing touch with my physical surroundings. The lower self’s awareness continued to function in tandem with the Higher Consciousness. It seems that the two consciousnesses had merged into a state of equilibrium. From the onset of Cosmic Consciousness, the lower self had been watching and marveling at the ongoing experience. Now the thinking watcher faded away, leaving only the experiencer and the experience - still anchored and aware of worldly existence.
When in this state of equilibrium there exists a “barrier” as if a sheet of transparency lay between you and the world of matter. One does not “see” the “barrier,” one senses it. It “feels” impenetrable – yet, it is not rigidly solid as we understand solid. Perhaps this “shield” is the crossing point between the vibrations of the realm of matter and the higher vibrations of the realm of Cosmic Consciousness. It could also be the physical body “seeing” into the New World, through the eyes of its cellular membrane.
I remained stationary at the side of the road until I knew myself to be centered and secure within the New Consciousness. Then I continued to drive on to the Shopping Mall. Slowly and carefully, and with an acute effort of concentration, I drove on. I soon realized that I was still disconnected. The thinking process had stopped and the body, as earlier on, was still automatically in charge of driving. However, now part of my awareness was monitoring the driving process. Whether I could have actually intervened to prevent an accident I do not know. My reflexes were very slow.
At the Mall, I proceeded into the store feeling as if I was being walked rather than walking under my own volition. Time seemed to have stopped and I felt cushioned from external noise and other people’s movements. I walked through the aisles looking at blouses on various clothes racks. Suddenly, I came to an abrupt realization - looking for a blouse had become a meaningless and absurd endeavor - I no longer had any desire for it! In fact, I found that I was completely desireless! I found myself wandering like a specter through the store, having lost all motivation or idea of purpose for my being there.
I became aware that my consciousness seemed to be shifting into a different focus, or that some other element was entering in. I seemed to be “breathed” with joy and well-being rather than breathing oxygen. A dim thought in the background of consciousness wondered, if my behavior, my movements appeared crazed or somnambulistic to the other people around me. Was my outer appearance still looking “normal?” It appeared that it was as no one seemed to be staring at me. At this point, I also became aware that my earlier feeling of invisibility had gone. I now found that I had wandered into a coffee shop and my attention was drawn to the people who were sitting on the counter stools.
At that instant, I was caught up in an overwhelming flood of Love and Compassion for those people. I wanted to reach out to them, enfold them within this Living Flame of Truth, embrace them, have them also partake and share this Love and Comfort; tell them that everything is alright. I wanted to say: You are safe, you are Loved unconditionally, your sufferings are benign and for a purpose - fear not - despair not - someday, you, too, will understand!
I now became frightened, thinking that I would not be able to stop myself but would succumb to this All Encompassing Force; knowing if I did, I would surely be carted off by the “men in white coats.” Condensing my inner self together, I focused my will power to lead me out of the store.
By now, thirty or forty minutes must have passed since the onset of Cosmic Consciousness. This state seemed now to be receding with the consciousness of the lower self coming back into the forefront. I returned to the car and proceeded to the meeting. Motor functions were still slightly impaired. I was still not completely in focus with normal reality. The invisible wall had faded away and I had become aware of the weight of the body, but the “roof brain” chatter was still absent. It was all a gradual return to the lower self consciousness. I sat through the meeting in gentle blissfulness - surrounded by the “buzzing-of-bees humming sound” - which often accompanied that state of being when one was on the periphery of the Cosmic realm. All together, this state lasted about two hours. For the rest of the day, I felt a slight tiredness and lethargy.
Another episode occurred in January of 1981 while flying from California on my first trip to India. I was a few hours into the flight, feeling relaxed and mildly euphoric. All the tensions, which had built up over the past few months planning and anticipating this trip, had vanished after lift-off. I was finally on my way to “Rishikesh.” I had been studying the works of Dr. Paul Brunton and it was in one of his books: “A Search in Secret India” that I first came across the name of Rishikesh. It is a small village in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in Northern India.
This “City of Saints” is situated within the foothills of the Himalayas and alongside the river Ganges, with many ashrams and retreat centers, lining its shores. I had no logical reason for leaving my job and heading for this unknown destination; except each time I had read the name Rishikesh, it had resonated deep with my Being and beckoned to me like a beacon in the night - I knew without a doubt that Rishikesh was the destination of my heart!
I had been reading a book by Joel Goldsmith. His words had made a profound impact which caused me to enter into a state of deep contemplation. I suddenly woke from this reverie to find myself vibrating in a gentle Bliss Of Satisfaction. I felt bathed in Bliss; a Bliss that was breathing me! Again, there was that invisible shield between myself and the outer reality. I remember thinking, how perfectly complete and wonderful everything was - a Fullness Of Total Satisfaction. There was an objective, total acceptance of the moment, regardless of what might happen. I knew if the plane were to crash, I would remain in a state of Total Indifference. Not the indifference of not caring, but an indifference in the sense of a deep celled, joyous acceptance of What Was.
All was Perfect - an existence without imperfections. All events were perfections in the Totality Of Life: be it wars, famine, natural calamities, the beauty of a flower, a new-born life, illness or health, riches or poverty - all was utter Perfection. Nothing could be added or subtracted - utter SATISFACTION in the totality of BEINGNESS. Even if one realized that one’s death was at hand – that, too, was all right. It, too, was a part of THAT TOTALITY. There was no feeling of the need to hold on to any attachments or to do or change anything. There was no attachment - not even to one’s self! The rest of the flight was made in calm Blissfulness.
Another episode of Cosmic Consciousness occurred in April of 1987. I had driven from California to Santa Fe, New Mexico, towing a small U-Haul with my meager possessions. Inside the car with me were my dearest companions - two Siamese cats, Sara and Uma; both wide-eyed and very restless. After encountering unexpected car repairs, snowstorms and icy mountainous roads, I arrived in Santa Fe bedraggled, homeless, jobless and low on funds. I had recently separated from my husband. All plans for the future were wiped out. I found myself mentally and emotionally empty. I was directionless and without any plans except for my immediate survival needs.
I had finally reached rock bottom, given up. Years of struggling, expectations, always planning ahead - it had all come to nothing. I had been “doing,” pushing and forcing - trying to make things happen and they had. Without being aware of it, I had become reattached and immersed in the material world. I had gone back to sleep, had neglected my covenant with the Higher Self. I re-awoke to the realization that there is no Life outside of communion with THE BELOVED. Without THAT, there is only a soulless wasteland of strife, desires and despair. In humility of my failure to keep my Beingness in TRUTH, I finally surrendered my will to HIS.
Since coming to Santa Fe, I was for the first time in my life, existing only in each day. It was one-day-at-a-time in the flow of existence; a very liberating experience. I gave no thought to yesterday or for tomorrow. The need to write resurfaced and without any effort on my part, inspiration burst forth and suddenly life attained a renewed purpose. Between the flow of writing and going out to search for work, I was living in a state of relaxed-tension.
My rented house was located in a somewhat remote area, on the outskirts of town, with a river running directly behind it. With Sara and Uma I walked there daily along its banks, dotted with trees and overgrown bushes. It was a haven of peace and solitude and there among nature’s bounty Cosmic Consciousness descended again. For almost three weeks, I went in and out of varying degrees of Cosmic Consciousness. This time I had no anxiety about losing control. I felt safe in my surroundings. I was free of responsibilities and did not have to mix with people.
This time Cosmic Consciousness was of a less overwhelming intensity; yet, not any less Joyous or Satisfying. It was more balanced and gentle. Earlier sojourns had been more of a “forced entry.” This time the Higher Consciousness came as a LOVER - in a caressing flow, spreading gradually throughout my Being. WE became a tender Ecstasy Of Consciousness - feeling free from the discovery of detection and interruption. I allowed myself to be “taken” without any resistance. At times when walking, I did not feel the ground beneath my feet. I felt elongated as if I were nine feet tall and seemed to float just above the ground.
During those times, the world around - trees, rocks, sky, even the ugly eroded patches of ground and hillsides - appeared beautiful in their perfection. All of existence was a softly muted, potent vibrancy of Harmonic Perfection of an Oceanic Oneness. All was bathed in the Softness Of Tranquility and I was an integral part of it all. Time was altered. It was not “felt”; rather, it was an Endless Freeflowing.
It was within this Freeflowingness that one’s physical movements glided in a regal, fluidic rhythm. In this gentle embrace, I discovered that I was able to go into town and move among people for short periods and still remain anchored within the Higher Consciousness. But it took a “soft” alertness of concentration not to allow one’s subjectivity to “kick in” and begin to identify with surrounding activities. Once one began to identify, the Higher Consciousness would start to recede.
During this three week period, I was filled with a tremendous feeling of power. Not, however, in the sense which we normally understand the word power. This sense of power was the Knowing of Invincibility and that one had Eternal Life. I continued to write and felt on fire with Inspiration and a boundless energy which was fueled by this sense of Invincibility. Intellectually, I knew I had gained entry into Higher Mind. I made notes which flowed without a pause as ideas and concepts streamed readily through my mind. The only effort came in trying to find the right words for the expression of these concepts.
There occurred further altered states. But, these were of less intensity and of shorter duration. Most often, these states occurred while driving the car or when I was in the solitude of the outdoors. Curiously, now they always occurred when I was alone. These states lasted anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
After the first episode of Cosmic Consciousness, I had fears for Cosmic Consciousness to descend while in the midst of people. I had fears that I would be swept up, overwhelmed and unable to keep control over my “normal” outer appearance and actions. This would be a dangerous situation to find oneself in, especially if one is living in a “developed” country.
This fear was overcome as I learned through experience that one could exit at will. The quickest way to do this was to increase the speed of one’s body movements or to allow one’s awareness to be drawn back out into worldly activities. Identification with sounds and movements will hurl you back into the subjectivity of the lower self. Identification breaks that “finely” balanced tension which keeps the two consciousnesses fused and anchored.
One can feel when Cosmic Consciousness begins to lessen. But as soon as one refocuses on the tension, one can get realigned unless one has already crossed too far beyond the Higher Border. There are also side effects from artificial breaks with the Higher Power. Artificial breaks have a jarring effect on the nervous system. There will be a period of disorientation, a physical and mental blurring, and an off-centeredness. One will feel slightly out of focus - neither quite there nor here. This will be accompanied by a slight fatigue. Other side effects can be irritability and depression which can last up to a few hours.
Another fear was the fear of losing control or contact with “normal” reality; that one might permanently lose the ability to fully return and cope with the functions and necessities of daily living. I came to realize later, that this was indeed a very real problem. One can lose their mental balance and remain, if not permanently but for various lengths of time, in a twilight state of hypnotic dreaminess. It will then take a shock of some type to bring that person back “down” and get physically and mentally re-anchored.
Another potential problem is this: When one is in the “depth” of Cosmic Consciousness, one does not have any desires - one will not even “think” to want to exit. When one is in PERFECTION - when one is THAT - there is no one left to think or to want! So, what would happen, if Cosmic Consciousness would not “throw one out”? Is this what happens when one is finally ready to permanently “cross over”?
Once I had learned the mechanics in the shifts of consciousness - the onset and the dwelling within and the mode of exiting - I gained confidence of being able to remain balanced and in control of myself and not lose my groundedness within everyday life. One must learn how to keep a firm foothold within the soil of Mother Earth. For it is here, upon this soil, that the “Kingdom Of Heaven” is found and to be Lived. One must become a Normal Man. It is only the balanced man who can make Cosmic Consciousness his permanent abode.
Within a month I had obtained a job, and with my awareness now having to focus on external pursuits and having daily communications with people, the Higher Consciousness receded.