Our normal human consciousness revolves around the standpoint and awareness of our ego-personality. We look at things from our own viewpoint, and determine our relation to everything that takes place based on how we perceive these things to impact the ego. We tend to treat the universal creation in reference to ourselves, such as believing and acting on the belief that the sun revolves around the earth. This earth-centric viewpoint is an extension of our individual ego-centric viewpoint.

In actual fact, we now understand, at least intellectually, that the earth revolves around the sun. We have not yet fully shifted our standpoint to the helio-centric view that this implies, nor have we expanded outwards to recognise that our sun and solar system are a small element of the Milky Way galaxy, which itself is a small part of the universe within which it moves, nor that even our universe is one of multiple universes within the larger created manifestation.

The concept of cosmic consciousness implies that we have moved away from this limited egoistic viewpoint that we normally hold and identify with and relate to the creation from a standpoint that is not dependent upon nor limited by the ego-awareness. This is not an intellectual exercise or idea, but a real and palpable experience in the way one sees, hears, feels, relates and thinks as one moves through the life. One may recognise the ego-personality as a very tiny, interconnected and interrelated part of the creation and identify with the intentions, motives and directions of that larger awareness. The ego becomes a nexus of local action, but not the source, center or intended beneficiary of the action of the world.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “Man is shut up at present in his surface individual consciousness and knows the world (or rather the surface of it) only through his outward mind and senses and by interpreting their contacts with the world. By yoga there can open in him a consciousness which becomes one with that of the world; he becomes directly aware of a universal Being, universal states, universal Force and Power, universal Mind, Life, Matter and lives in conscious relations with these things. He is then said to have cosmic consciousness.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 7, Experiences and Realisations, The Cosmic Consciousness, pp. 184-187

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 16 books and editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.