This is a very beautiful and rewarding phase of growth, in which the richness and splendor of the subtler realms of nature and creation begin to be perceived and enjoyed, and a sixth state of Consciousness unfolds.
Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.R.R., global leader of the teaching of Transcendental Meditation and related programs by 120 nonprofit organizations around the world, and author of the newly released book, One Unbounded Ocean of Consciousness: Simple Answers to the Big Questions in Life (Random House, April 2021), is a medical doctor trained at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D. in neuroscience) and Harvard University. He granted permission to reprint excerpts from Chapter 12. Download the e-book at DrTonyNader.com ►
Enlightenment, Cosmic Consciousness, and God Consciousness
(Excerpts from Chapter 12)
Transcendental Consciousness [which the mind experiences during TM practice] is referred to in the Vedic literature as “the Fourth,” a rich addition that provides a stable yet dynamic basis to the daily cycle of wakefulness, sleep, and dreaming. The next higher step in the growth of Consciousness, called Cosmic Consciousness, occurs when, over time and through the repeated experience of transcending and coming back to ordinary activity, time and again, a person finds that awareness of the Self is not ever lost, not only during waking but also in deep sleep and dreaming. . . .
Alongside [these three states], or underlying them, is the ever-present awareness of the Self. Thus, all three common states of consciousness no longer have the same quality but are supported and enhanced by the expansive silence of Pure Consciousness. This state, in which inner silence co-exists with outward activity, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called Cosmic Consciousness, a fifth state of Consciousness. . . .
For Dr. Nader’s introduction to Cosmic Consciousness see “Cosmic Consciousness—Living the Fullness of Inner Silence and Bliss 24 Hours a Day” ►
Over time and through the repeated experience of transcending and coming back to ordinary activity, time and again, a person finds that awareness of the Self is not ever lost, not only during waking but also in deep sleep and dreaming.
God Consciousness, Glorified Cosmic Consciousness
What more do you think there could be than being always awake to your true Self, and knowing it (i.e., yourself) to be infinite and blissful? Here is a clue: In Cosmic Consciousness, individuals have stabilized Transcendental Consciousness and always experience their true identity as Pure Consciousness. This remains essentially unchanged. “I” have changed (or rather, I have learned my true identity), but the world around, the relative sphere of people, trees, cars, clouds, birds, and everything else, remains the familiar world I’ve always known. In other words, one has gained the ability to perceive and experience the ultimate, Pure Consciousness, in oneself but not anywhere else.
An individual’s evolution from this stage onward involves increasing refinement of perception toward the ability to perceive Singularity or wholeness in the objects of perception as well as in oneself, to raise the objects of perception to the same infinite value as the subject. This is accomplished by elevating what we might call the “perceiving ability” of the Observer, through refining the process of observation. This is a very beautiful and rewarding phase of growth, in which the richness and splendor of the subtler realms of nature and creation begin to be perceived and enjoyed, and a sixth state of Consciousness unfolds.
Studies have shown that very many people, at some time in their lives, have enjoyed wondrous moments like this description by the nineteenth-century English poet William Wordsworth, when “meadow, grove, and stream, / The earth, and every common sight, / To me did seem/ Apparelled in celestial light.” The most recent findings available from Pew Research Center show 49 percent of Americans say they have had such experiences.1
These few lines of Wordsworth reveal much of the essence of what TM Founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called Glorified Cosmic Consciousness or God Consciousness, in which perception of the subtle levels of nature becomes increasingly possible and real. If and when these glimpses give way to a lasting mode of being—perception of the deep beauty of creation along with inner awareness of Self at all times—this new and further elevated state of Consciousness is born.
An individual’s evolution from this stage onward involves increasing refinement of perception… to raise the objects of perception to the same infinite value as the subject.
It is a state in which the steady persistence of the Pure Consciousness characteristic of Cosmic Consciousness continues as one’s inmost, subjective reality, and alongside it, perception of all of objective reality begins to be transformed into something glorious. Again, the reality of what is there does not change; one’s perception changes to incorporate more of the truth. To an ever-increasing degree, the individual sees the perfect orderliness of the whole range of life and living, and the perfection of what is felt to be the Divine nature, in all the objects that appear to be “not-Self”—in other words, the whole field of relative creation
The refinement of perception catalyzes the growth of love. When we see something or someone who is beautiful—a glorious sunset, a shimmering jewel, or a drop of water catching the light in myriad colors; or when we hear beautiful music, understand an equation in an “aha” moment, or grasp a fact about nature that reveals the astounding orderliness underlying all things—our hearts just naturally swell with appreciative love. It’s a normal, wonderful human experience.
Love is a force that links, binds, and puts together similar as well as dissimilar and even potentially contradictory things—values, ideas, and people. In our model of Observer, Observing, and Observed (Subject, Process, and Object; Knower, Knowing, and Known; or Subject, Verb, and Object), love in its broadest meaning is the verb. It is the process. It is the link that puts together the subject with the object. There are innumerable ways two entities can be connected, bound, or linked to each other. . . .
The refinement of perception catalyzes the growth of love. When we see something or someone who is beautiful… our hearts just naturally swell with appreciative love.
In Jane, sees, the flower, seeing is the link, the verb. Seeing can be considered an act of love. It brings the flower and Jane together. There are innumerable situations, however, where the link does not seem to be positive. In John, feels, pain, we cannot say that John is connected to pain and therefore he somehow loves pain.
Not liking, hating, being afraid of, and other similar phrases are negative feelings. They can be seen as the negative or lower level in the spectrum of connectedness. Nonetheless, they are ways to connect and be connected. It is indifference and ignorance that isolate and separate, leading to entropy and dissolution. Creation is a process of coming together. The supreme value of coming together, upholding and supporting each other, is true love. In infinite love there is unbounded appreciation.
When all of Creation, everything we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste, glows with beauty, our thoughts and our feelings turn toward the source of all that intelligence and beauty, which people in all cultures have equated with God—again, in whatever way one may conceive of Him (Almighty Father) or Her (Divine Mother). Those who do not personalize “The Source of All,” who are agnostic or atheist, could also find in the paradigm presented in this book an elucidation of the awe of recognizing that, somehow, order and beauty exist and can be experienced. It is the ultimate verb, the supreme link, the unbounded process.
Einstein was one such person. In a 1929 cable written in German to Rabbi Goldstein, Einstein said, “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists.”
Much later, in a 1954 reply to Joseph Dispentiere, an Italian immigrant who had worked for Einstein as an experimental machinist in New Jersey, Einstein wrote, “I do not believe in a personal God… If something is in me which can be called religious, then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world.”2
When all of Creation, everything we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste, glows with beauty, our thoughts and our feelings turn toward the source of all that intelligence and beauty, which people in all cultures have equated with God—again, in whatever way one may conceive of Him (Almighty Father) or Her (Divine Mother).
Another such person is Jane Goodall, the pioneering primatologist, anthropologist, and advocate for peace and the environment. She said, “I don’t have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I feel it particularly when I’m out in nature. It’s just something that’s bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it’s enough for me.”3
It is natural to feel love for what one appreciates and admires, and this flow of love grows as Consciousness evolves, perception becomes more refined, and a person’s ability to appreciate deepens. “God Consciousness is enjoyed in the ability to overflow in love for the supreme relative reality of everything,” Maharishi said.4 And, pointing out that attaining God Consciousness does not mean that a person acquires “God’s” consciousness, he states:
“It’s the appreciation of the finest creation, that from where creation began, and that attunement is on the level of one’s own Self… God Consciousness is one’s own; it is on the level of one’s own experience. The one who is in God Consciousness—he is like that, not because of the status of God or creation, but because of his own status.”
To emphasize this principle, Maharishi said, “[It] is the appreciation of that value of creation from where creation begins—the source of relative creation. That is why it gets a name: God Consciousness. Otherwise, it is his own Consciousness.”
“God Consciousness is enjoyed in the ability to overflow in love for the supreme relative reality of everything.” —Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Memoirs and autobiographies are an abundant resource for accurate self-reports from people who found, often suddenly and without warning, that a veil lifted from their eyes, revealing the world as they had never seen it before, “inexpressibly rare and delightful and beautiful,” “spotless and pure and glorious,” “glittering and sparkling,” as many practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation technique have expressed it.5
“The appearance of everything was altered,” wrote the early-American theologian Jonathan Edwards. “There seemed to be… a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of divine glory, in almost everything. God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity, and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water and all nature.”6
“Everything around, above, below me was shimmering and vibrating,” wrote the English novelist and playwright Rosamond Lehmann.7 “The tree foliage, the strip of lawn, the flower-beds—all had become incandescent. I seemed to be looking through the surfaces of all things into the manifold iridescent rays which, I could now see, composed the substances of all things…. The beauty of each of them was fathomless—a world of love.”
In a later passage, she reflects on her experience, saying what many others have said, that such moments are ineffable—impossible to adequately describe: “Awestruck, astounded. What words are possible? And yet, the sense of recognition, recollection, was predominant. Again and again I told myself, ‘Yes. Yes. This is reality. I had forgotten.’”
“All had become incandescent. I seemed to be looking through the surfaces of all things into the manifold iridescent rays which, I could now see, composed the substances of all things…. The beauty of each of them was fathomless—a world of love.” —Rosamond Lehmann
Jane Goodall, in her memoir Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey, describes a brief awakening to a higher order of reality, “breathtaking in its beauty,” that generated “a state of heightened awareness.”8 Looking back on what happened, she tells us: “That afternoon, it had been as though an unseen hand had drawn back a curtain and, for the briefest moment… I had known timelessness and quiet ecstasy, sensed a truth of which mainstream science is merely a small fraction. And I knew that the revelation would be with me for the rest of my life, imperfectly remembered yet always within. A source of strength on which I could draw when life seemed harsh or cruel or desperate.”
Goodall’s inspiring remarks bring up several important points. First, such experiences, beautiful and profound as they are, are almost invariably temporary, and often leave a person longing to repeat the experience or for it to become permanent. They are “just experiences,” not a lasting state of being. All experiences, even the most beautiful, come and go.
Second, and most important, as “celestial” as these experiences are, and indicative of the kinds of perceptions that do characterize God Consciousness, they are not yet that state—God Consciousness is defined not just by the quality of perception, but rather, by the co-existence of inner wholeness of Pure Consciousness along with perception of relative creation in its most refined, rarefied value. It is built upon the foundation of Cosmic Consciousness: Unboundedness within, glorified boundaries without. Silent infinity within is supporting the most subtle, tender impulses of creation in the field of perception.
God Consciousness… is built upon the foundation of Cosmic Consciousness: Unboundedness within, glorified boundaries without. Silent infinity within is supporting the most subtle, tender impulses of creation in the field of perception.
Below are experiences of that state by TM practitioners:9
“I could really feel an absolute divine reality, where everything is seen in terms of bliss and unity. When I took a walk, I could really feel wholeness in everything, I would step on the ground and feel like the world had a heart which was pumping at the same time as mine, giving me an amazing feeling of unity.” —N.G., TM practitioner
“During the practice, my physiology seems to be transformed into some kind of transmuting device that takes bliss out of the Absolute, brings it slightly into the Relative, then broadcasts it all around, like a fountain that brings water up a central channel and then sends it in all directions.” —J.C., TM practitioner
“Some of the deepest bliss I have ever experienced during and after [TM] program: Outside my [TM] practice, boundaries start to dissolve, and the outside is starting to feel part of me. The trees reflect my bliss and seem part of me. Colors are deep and bright. Details are clear. Spontaneous knowledge comes into my mind. I feel attuned with God.” —M.H., TM practitioner
“The trees reflect my bliss and seem part of me. Colors are deep and bright. Details are clear. Spontaneous knowledge comes into my mind. I feel attuned with God.” —M.H., TM practitioner
You can easily see why Maharishi called this state “Glorified Cosmic Consciousness.” But why “God Consciousness?” It’s because whether you conceive of God as impersonal lively intelligence, pure Being, or as a “He” or “She” creator deity producing and maintaining the universe, either way it seems the realm of the Divine must be at the subtlest level, which we know from science is the most powerful. As the impersonal, formless Divine reality, God is the intelligent (conscious) source of all, underlying all, giving birth to all.
On the other hand, the personal aspect of God, if there is such, must be able to function at the junction between the uncreated Absolute and the creation that He or She brings forth. To actually have the ability to understand, know, experience, or perceive such a great Being requires the fullest refinement of our sensory apparatus—which is precisely what characterizes Glorified Cosmic Consciousness.
“At this level, wakefulness of all knowledge is lively as organizing power—the infinite organizing power of Natural Law—which means that functioning from this level, the individual has the spontaneous ability to know anything, do anything, or accomplish anything. On this level of wakefulness, the total Constitution of the Universe is lively and vibrant within the awareness of the individual. This results in the spontaneous utilization of the total potential of Natural Law.” —Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
In the next chapter, we proceed to a discussion of Unity Consciousness, which is the highest level of human development. It is also the seventh and last, or highest achievable state of Consciousness.
Editor’s note: Learn about the next stage of enlightenment, Unity Consciousness, in the September excerpt from Dr. Nader’s book, One Unbounded Ocean of Consciousness: Simple Answers to the Big Questions in Life.
To actually have the ability to understand, know, experience, or perceive such a great Being requires the fullest refinement of our sensory apparatus—which is precisely what characterizes Glorified Cosmic Consciousness.
© Copyright 2021, Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission of the author.