Mental development becomes the supreme end of his being, and everything is made subordinate to it. But this state of consciousness, no matter how great it may be made, is only one of the milestones on the way of life. Thoroughly good in so far as it goes, it still is only the blossom, not the fruit. And there is that within which, all unconsciously, is making for a new and a larger life.
Into human life there is written the ideal or the plan that sooner or later must become fully expressed, two conditions, however, are necessary to the working out of this plan: the pressure of the ideal from inner to outer and the pressure of environment from outer to inner. Between these two, all growth takes place. Man is constantly having to meet and battle with, not only the obstacles in his external world, but the fears and anxieties of his own mind as well as the pressure brought to bear upon him from the minds of others. At one stage in his life, he is very much like the seed in the earth, that has begun to expand and is sending its little blade upward. It has to push on up through the earth, forcing its way, as it were, toward the warmth and the light and the glow of life. The pressure of earth and wind and the other elements are all necessary factors in the growth of the plant or the tree. So all pressure of environment and all the mental disturbances exist in order to be met by man and to be overcome by him, and it is through this meeting and overcoming that he grows into the larger and stronger life. It is all a preparation making for a new consciousness of life. So the warfare goes on between the mental and the physical. With it, there enters a state of unrest, of dissatisfaction, an indefinable longing for something man can feel but can scarcely put into words. There is a new day dawning, and with its coming there is developed that new feeling for which we use different words to express different degrees: love, faith, hope, joy, and the numerous kindred feelings that come with these. With their coming there has entered into the life a sense of the permanent, something that has never been realised in the consciousness of the past. In this new development man is leaving the old and incomplete consciousness behind. His world, which was at first only an outer one composed of a multiplicity of forms, and which later became a world of thought and ideas, has become enlarged to a world of feeling which seems to be without beginning or ending. In this new life, love and wisdom become united, and it is only when man uses love and wisdom in all that he does that he really enters into the life that was designed for him from the beginning. It is only as man uses love and wisdom that his own body and all the outer forms that he brings into existence will become as perfect as his soul and mind. For love and wisdom are the first-fruits of the tree of life.
Man only enters into the strait and narrow way when love and wisdom have become at-one in his life. With the development of love, he comes into closer relationship with his fellow-man than he ever could have done through the use of sense and mind alone. He understands and is understood in a way that he has never known before. The new consciousness of life becomes an ever-expanding one; by it man comes at last into conscious relation with that Universal Consciousness of which, heretofore, he has had no conception. In the past, his knowledge, his health, his happiness were all dependent on the things seen; but in his new state there comes the reliance, the dependence, and the trust in that which is unseen. He begins to live, as it were, a new life; he is no longer dominated in any way by the world or the things of the world. The old things have passed away and all things have become new. He is looking out upon the world and the things of the world with a knowledge that they are all subject to him, that all things are his to use. Living life in this way, his inner feelings give colour and tone to mind and thought, and mind and thought act directly upon his body to renew and to strengthen it. He realises, as it were, a conscious centre of being from which he works outward to the very circumference of life. The Universal Spirit lives within him, enlightening his soul, and the soul, in turn, enlightens the mind and perfects the body. Thus the whole life has been quickened and renewed. He has entered a consciousness that is no longer individual but one that has become universal. A poet has said that "God lives from whole to part, but human soul must rise from individual to the whole." Everything begins within the little self, the personal I, and reaches out to the Universal Self, the I Am. From first to last it is a state of consciousness, but it is an ever-expanding consciousness; it is the awakening of the part to its true relationship to the whole. It is a difficult matter to make this so clear that one is able to appreciate it in all its fulness through or by his mentality, because it has to do with the things of the Spirit, the unseen causes of life, and the things of the Spirit can only be understood by the Spirit. The highly spiritually developed of all ages and all climes have, at one time or another in life, through the spoken or written word, tried to make plain to the world that there is an all-pervading Life - a Life that, while immanent is also transcendent, a Life and a Mind that is both within and without all things, and from which all things proceed. We are, therefore, not dependent for existence, or consciousness on ourselves, but on the One who is in all, and through all, and above all. There is one Consciousness and only one. Whether we choose to name it Cosmic or Universal is of little moment.
Let me define in a more complete way what is meant by Cosmic Consciousness. We speak of the individual as having soul, mind and body, and it is all three which constitute the one individual. All over the world we find millions of people with souls, minds and bodies, none of them differing in kind, but different nations and individuals differing in degree. All of these units possess life and intelligence, but this life and intelligence differs in degree, never in kind. Some people possess greater life and greater intelligence than do others. No matter how low down in the scale of human life we may go, and no matter how high, we find that in humanity, from the highest to the lowest, all are manifesting life, feeling, and intelligence in differing degrees according to the stage of their development. Our Scriptures declare that: "He hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." The esoteric meaning of the word blood is life. "He hath made of one life all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth." Paul has represented humanity as one great body of which each person forms a part, he states that we are members one of another. The wise men of many ages have believed in humanity, as a whole, forming the grand man of the heavens; and this grand man constitutes the sun or the universal Christ. So that it is one Life, one Mind, that lives in all. In view of this we can better understand what Paul meant when he said: "Let the same mind be in you that dwelt in Christ," or when he referred to Jesus as being our elder brother, or, again, when he referred to Him as being the "first-fruits" of the tree of life. In the gospel according to St. John, Jesus says: "The son can do nothing of Himself save what He seeth the Father do." Again, in His statement to Nicodemus He said: "Ye must be born again," and in the first chapter of St. John we find that "new birth" designated in this way as being "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." In view of this we can better understand the statement that God, "who is in all, and through all, and above all, worketh within you to will and to do." Cosmic Consciousness is therefore the one supreme Consciousness, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, in which all life is one, all power is one, all consciousness is one. In this consciousness man is a child of God; God lives in him and he lives in God. It is such conscious knowledge on the part of the individual that brings the conscious at-one-ment between God and man, between the Whole and the part. In this state a man has no will of his own, but has become one with Universal Will; has no life or intelligence of his own, but has become one with Universal Life and Universal Intelligence. Cosmic Consciousness, then, is that state of development in which Son-ship is realised. "I in thee and Thou in me, that we may be made perfect in One." It is also that state wherein the individual realises that every good and every perfect gift is from God, that there is only one Giver and that He giveth to all bountifully. Man therefore draws from the Universal not only his vital energy, but his living ideals, and everything that is necessary to perfect his life. God works through man to this end, that His inner kingdom may be established on earth, that all His children may seek after Him and find Him, may come to Him and draw from Him whatever heart and mind may desire. He is the eternal Fount which supplies our every need. All that is great, all that is beautiful in life has, at one time, by some man or men, been drawn first into this life as feeling and ideal, and later takes form in the world as expression. Some men who have entered deeper into the Cosmic Consciousness than others, were able to draw from it, in a larger way, and were consequently better able to give to the world of their heavenly possessions. The greatest composers, poets, sculptors, painters, architects, and, in fact, the greatest men in every department of life have either received in a small or a large degree according to their capacity to receive, and then have enriched the world because of such receiving. In other words, they have simply been the instruments through which the riches of the Spirit have been poured, and the measure of their giving out of their fulness to the world was the measure of their continued receptivity. Reciprocity of giving and receiving is one of life's greatest laws. "Freely thou hast received, freely give."