Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, , at sacred-texts.com
The Case of M. C. L. in His Own Words.
Born about January, 1853.
Early in my career a reputation as a popular preacher was won, and the power to interest and hold an audience achieved. As a minister I wrestled with the intellectual problems of the age, not only in the theological but in the physical, sociological and psychical realms. My desire for information was eager, and the search for truth honest and persistent.
In the month of February, 1890, just following my thirty-seventh birthday, Rev. J. E. L., of Canada, came to assist me in a series of special meetings in my church. My affection for him gained during his stay. He had been gone three days when, thinking of him far through the night—the gray of the morning was already in the heavens—the conviction came to me that in him I had met an incarnation of Christ. I stood a moment transfixed with the thought. Was that which I had held as a theory to be realized as a fact? My friend was forgotten in the vision of Christ, who had come to me, not from without, but through the gates which open inwardly. I knew him, was conscious of him in my own spirit, soul and body. Then with that unfolding consciousness there came a suffusion, as of a delicate cloud or haze, which searched the entire body, was more invasive than light, more penetrating than heat, more inreaching than electricity. It was as if I had been plunged into a bath of fluid more subtle and permeating than ether. Against the inflow and outflow of that enswathing essence the body was not as resistant as the air to a bird's wing or a morning mist to the sunbeam. The rapture, the exaltation, the divinity of that moment passes knowledge. Then swiftly came the awe of the mysterious
My family were alarmed and a physician was called. He pronounced that I was suffering from nervous prostration, but found no symptoms of insanity, the horror of which had oppressed me. The exhaustion was such that I felt the need of rest and went to my mother, in the old homestead among the hills of Connecticut. To her I told the story. She said: "My boy, I have been expecting this. Now you know the truth of a Living Christ."
The character of my preaching completely changed.* The old popularity has waned, but larger powers of mind have come and the perception of truth is clearer. The holy breath kills lust, passion, hate; fills the heart with laughter and the soul with peace.
I know the eternal Christ of Paul and John, the Christ manifested in the Nazarene, and who in the manifestation was the interpretation of the Cosmic Consciousness of the past and the typal form of the new race in whom that consciousness is evolved. It is the race of the Sons of God, who, like Moses, have stood in the presence and been bathed in the glory of His beauty and the blessedness of His joy. Cosmic Consciousness is the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
In answer to a request for further particulars M. C. L. adds:
The mind slowly passed from fear into a distinct consciousness of some seemingly extra-natural event. At first my thought was, "This is a stroke of paralysis," and I tested every function of body and mind; then the mind opened
I am inclined to locate the point of contact in the mind. I use the word mind as synonymous with the psyche, which of course involves the personality. I always have believed that the event primarily was subjective, but a subjective experience which was in perfect accord with the entire objective universe. It was the exaltation of the subjective in me to a new relation with the objective in earth and heaven.
This is the first attempt I have ever made to give a verbal history of that holy hour, and it has been with something of a feeling of hesitancy that I have written; but what is written is written.