The years passed-by at Claremont, what with my really being busy
writing more books. There was lots and lots of material that I had to
glean, especially as I tapped into ever new perspectives about the
peak experience--or as it sometimes came to be called: Cosmic
Consciousness! Towards the end of my studying these new
publications devoted to the Transpersonal, I had occasion to
give a small speech that (I think) nicely presented some detail
to this special transpersonal experience. So, I'll include parts of
this descriptive speech so as perhaps to make more clear this
fascinating phenomenon. As follows:
R.M. Bucke wrote a treatise in 1901 entitled COSMIC
CONSCIOUSNESS. His premise is that during the course
of humanity's evolutionary development there are three
forms of consciousness:
1.) Simple Consciousness, our instinctual consciousness.
2.) Self Consciousness, that self-awareness that allows a
human to realize hirself as a distinct entity. 3.) Cosmic
Consciousness, a new developing faculty at the pinnacle
of our evolution.
Dr. Bucke catalogued this newest form of consciousness
in his book. But what about the experience itself? From his
catalogue of those he believed to have had this experience,
he presented an outline:
"Like a flash there is presented to his consciousness a clear
conception (a vision) in outline of the meaning and drift of the
universe...He sees and knows that the cosmos...is in fact...in
very truth a living presence. He sees that instead of men being,
as it were, patches of life scattered through an infinite sea of
non-living substance, they are in reality specks of relative death
in an infinite ocean of life. He sees that the life which is in man
is as immortal as God is; that the universe is so built and ordered
that without any peradventure all things work together for the good
of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world is what
we call love, and that the happiness of every individual is in the
long run absolutely certain."
"The person who passes through this experience will learn in the
few minutes, or even moments, of its continuance more than in
months or years of study, and he will learn much that no study ever
taught or can teach. Especially does he obtain such a conception
of *the whole.*...Along with moral elevation and intellectual
illumination comes what must be called, for want of a better term,
a sense of immortality."
Evelyn Underhill takes up the banner in her MYSTICISM! Talking
of the mystical side of ecstasy, she stresses that it "represents the
greatest possible extension of the spiritual consciousness in the
direction of Pure Being: the blind intent stretching here receives
its reward in a profound experience of Eternal Life. In this
experience the departmental activities of thought and feeling, the
consciousness of I-hood, of space and time...all that belongs to the
World of Becoming and our own place therein...are suspended.
The vitality which we are accustomed to split amongst these various
things, is gathered up to form a state of pure apprehension...a vivid
intuition of the Transcendent."
Underhill proceeds: "This is that perfect unity of consciousness, that
utter concentration on an experience of love, which excludes all
conceptual and analytic acts. Hence, when the mystic says that his
faculties were suspended, that he *knew all and knew nought,* he
really means that he was so concentrated on the Absolute that he
ceased to consider his separate existence...so merged in it that he
could not perceive it as an object of thought, as the bird cannot see
the air which supports it, nor the fish the ocean in which it swims. He
really *knows all but thinks nought, perceives all, but conceives nought.*"
Alan Watts, in his last treatise THE BOOK, noted: "Thus when the
line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there
is no stronghold for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself
not *in* a world but *as* a world which is neither compulsive or
capricious. What happens is neither automatic nor arbitrary...it just
happens, and all happenings are mutually interdependent in a way
that seems unbelievably harmonious."
Watts carries forth that in "immediate contrast to the old feeling, there
is indeed a certain passivity to the sensation, as if you were a leaf
blown along by the wind, until you realize that you are both the leaf
and the wind. The world outside your skin is just as much you as the
world inside...they move together inseperably. Your body is no longer
a corpse which the ego has to animate and lug around. There is a
feeling of the ground holding you up, and of hills lifting you when
you climb them. Air breathes itself in and out of your lungs, and
instead of looking and listening, light and sound comes to you on
their own. Eyes see and ears hear as wind blows and water flows.
Time carries you along like a river, but never flows out of the present;
the more it goes, the more it stays...[and] all space becomes your mind."
With this description, I decided that my next step was to move
into a relatively new field, "Psi," which is the scientific study of the
Transpersonal phenomenon (or paranormal phenomena). I was fast
approaching my last sabbatical, so I started looking around
where I might be able to spend a year working into Psi.