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Lon Milo DuQuette

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It is the profoundest of cosmic ironies. The divine power, our true spiritual essence, does not achieve perfection until it hits the ‘rock’ bottom of the cosmos – the dense and crude earth. It remains imperfect until the moment of entombment for the simple reason that until that dark nadir is reached the experiential adventure of existence remains incomplete, and Self is not yet endowed with the entire spectrum of the light of consciousness – from spirit to matter – from the highest high to the lowest low.
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Chapter 3

 
Lon Milo DuQuette

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Cosmic Consciousness ... is a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man. This last is called Self Consciousness and is that faculty upon which rests all of our life (both subjective and objective) which is not common to us and the higher animals, except that small part of it which is derived from the few individuals who have had the higher consciousness above named. To make the matter clear it must be understood that there are three forms or grades of consciousness. (1) Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by say the upper half of the animal kingdom. By means of this faculty a dog or a horse is just as conscious of the things about him as a man is; he is also conscious of his own limbs and body and he knows that these are a part of himself. (2) Over and above this Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by man as by animals, man has another which is called Self Consciousness. By virtue of this faculty man is not only conscious of trees, rocks, waters, his own limbs and body, but he becomes conscious of himself as a distinct entity apart from all the rest of the universe. It is as good as certain that no animal can realize himself in that way. ... The animal is, as it were, immersed in his consciousness as a fish in the sea, he cannot, even in imagination, get outside of it for one moment so as to realize it. ... Cosmic Consciousness is a third form which is as far above Self Consciousness as is that above Simple Consciousness. With this form, of course, both simple and self consciousness persist (as simple consciousness persists when self consciousness is acquired), but added to them is the new faculty ... The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is, as its name implies, a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe ... Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence — would make him almost a member of a new species. To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation and joyousness, and a quickening of the moral sense, which is fully as striking and more important both to the individual and to the race than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come, what may be called, a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it already.

 
Richard Maurice Bucke
 

We must needs believe with faith, whatever counsels reason may give us, that in the depths of our own bodies, in animals, in plants, in rocks, in everything that lives, in all the Universe, there is a spirit that strives to know itself, to acquire consciousness of itself, to be itself — for to be oneself is to know oneself — to be pure spirit; and since it can only achieve this by means of the body, by means of matter, it creates and makes use of matter at the same time that it remains a prisoner of it.

 
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The perfection of any matter, the highest or the lowest, touches on the divine.

 
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An acknowledgment of the full spectrum of consciousness would profoundly alter the course of every one of the modern disciplines it touches — and that, of course, is an essential aspect of integral studies... A full-spectrum approach to human consciousness and behavior means that men and women have available to them a spectrum of knowing — a spectrum that includes, at the very least, the eye of flesh, the eye of mind, and the eye of spirit.

 
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Are the mystics and sages insane? Because they all tell variations on the same story, don't they? The story of awakening one morning and discovering you are one with the All, in a timeless and eternal and infinite fashion. Yes, maybe they are crazy, these divine fools. Maybe they are mumbling idiots in the face of the Abyss. Maybe they need a nice, understanding therapist. Yes, I'm sure that would help. But then, I wonder. Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity — a total embrace of the entire Kosmos — a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It's at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?

 
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