Dr. R.M. Buckle, 1901:
''I had spent the evening in a great city, with two friends, reading and discussing poetry and philosophy. We parted at midnight, I had a long drive in a hansom to my lodging. My mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images, and emotions called up by the reading and talk, was calm and peaceful. I was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment, not actually thinking, but letting ideas, images, and emotions flow of themselves, as it were, through my mind. All at once, without warning of any kind, I found myself wrapped in a flame-colored cloud. For an instant I thought of fire, an immense conflagration somewhere close by in that great city; the next, I knew that the fire was within myself. Directly afterward there came upon me a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe. Among other things, I did not merely come to believe, but I saw that the universe is not composed of dead matter, but is, on the contrary, a living Presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life. It was not a conviction that I would have eternal life, but a consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all men are immortal; that the cosmic order is such that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the work, of all the worlds, is what we call love, and that the happiness of each and all is in the long run absolutely certain. The vision lasted a few seconds and was gone; but the memory of it and the sense of the reality of what it taught has remained during the quarter of a century which has since elapsed. I knew that what the vision showed was true. I had attained a point of view from which I saw that it must be true. That view, that conviction, I may say that consciousness, has never, even during periods of deepest depression, been lost.''
Dr. Buckle was the Canadian psychiatrist who first described a state that he called ''cosmic consciousness'', coining the phrase. Needless to say, I've never achieved cosmic consciousness and have had no experiences like the one Buckle describes here. Sometimes I get the feeling that we're supposed to be dismissive of such experiences after we've gone to college. You expect me to buy this stuff? I've read Nietzsche!
Instead, I often think that I've missed out on a whole realm of human experience. Call it mysticism, gnosticism Sufism, cosmic consciousness, or whatever you want, it's been a locked door for me. I often think that there is a whole other sort of wisdom from the sort I'm supposed to be cultivating in academia. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing, or interest in it?