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No Cosmic Consciousness
Jane: Dear James, hello from Nova Scotia, Canada. I hope this note finds you happy and healthy.
I am reading your book How to Attain Enlightenment and I have a question concerning cosmic consciousness. I came from a Tibetan Buddhist background but left after being assaulted by a teacher. From my training in Buddhism I don’t recall anything about cosmic consciousness. I know Trungpa Rinpoche talked about the cosmic mirror, but that is not the same as what you mean by cosmic consciousness.
I understand when you say there is no inside and no outside, just cosmic consciousness. This makes sense to me. Where things get a bit fuzzy for me is when you speak about an existing Creator, or God. I believe in evolution and not in some God that created everything. There is too much proof of evolution to dismiss it. The whale’s tail isn’t a tail – it’s a foot/hand that morphed into something for swimming. Why do we need our pinky toe? It doesn’t do anything. Why do we have toenails? We have them because our apelike ancestors used feet for climbing and fighting – something our toenails don’t do at all. Look at the bones of ancestors and dinosaurs, etc.
I am wondering if the cosmic consciousness is what you also refer to as an existing Creator or are the two different things? I understand cosmic consciousness, but I don’t believe in an existing God or Creator.
I am hoping you can make this a little clearer for me.
I am enjoying your book very much, so much to take in, so I am going slow. Definitely a dharma book you can read and reread and each time learn something new. I have found it has helped me so much with realizing my true self. I just need to do it again and again and again. As you say, become enlightened 500 times… LOL. I love that line. I have more confidence in what I truly am since reading your book and I can’t thank you enough. I have been on my own after leaving the Tibetan path and it is hard to do this on your own. One really needs a guide. Your book has been my guide, so thank you so much!
~ Warmest best wishes, Jane
James: Hi, Jane. Nice to hear from you. I am glad you are enjoying my book. I think I can make it clear.
I did not use the words “cosmic consciousness.” To say cosmic consciousness implies that there is some other kind of consciousness, such as personal consciousness. Everything is consciousness. The cosmos – which appears in consciousness – is made out of consciousness. Although consciousness is free of the cosmos and everything in it, the cosmos is not free of consciousness. The cosmos is like an effect of which consciousness is the cause. An effect is just the cause in a different form, not that consciousness has a form. The word “God” is a bad word because of the idea that it is a kind of being beyond the world. But the cosmos is just consciousness appearing to stand apart from its source. So “God,” or consciousness, is everything that is. It is your body and mind and the material world around you. The “Creator,” or God, is just Ignorance. It is what makes non-dual consciousness seem to be different from the cosmos. When you investigate anything in the cosmos you find that it is essentially only a name and a form. It is like the relationship of the wave to the ocean. At no time is the wave anything other than water. It is just the ocean with a special name. At no time is anything in the cosmos anything but consciousness. Everything is just a name and a form of consciousness. And consciousness is you.
Jane: Yes this is much clearer to me now. This is what I thought, but I was not sure if this was what you were saying; but it is perfectly clear now. I like the word “consciousness” much better then the term “God.” I don’t know much about Vedanta or any Hindu path, but it seems many seem to put human characteristics on things, such as Shiva, Brahma, God, etc. I find it more confusing when this is done. It makes me think they are praying to some God or person, which makes me hightail it out of there… LOL. I do understand that some people find that helpful though. There is a YouTube video of an interview of you where you do say “God willing” which threw me off a bit… LOL. So that is one of the reasons I wanted to ask this question, there is only consciousness… no God.
Thank you for clearing this up for me. Onward with reading the book.
~ Warmest best wishes, Jane