Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, , at sacred-texts.com
This poet (for though not absolutely entitled to rank in the divine order, yet he has worthily served for and must be allowed that name) passed the greater part of a long life in that region of self consciousness which lies close upon the lower side of the Cosmic Sense. His "weird seizures" mentioned in "The Princess," in which he seemed to "move among a world of ghosts, and feel (himself) the shadow of a dream" [185: 11], belong to that spiritual realm; but far more certainly a condition well described in the following lines of the "Ancient Sage":
More than once when I
And again in the "Holy Grail":
And yet once more in plain prose:
"Religion was no nebulous abstraction for him. He consistently emphasized his own belief in what he called the eternal truths, in an omnipotent, omnipresent and all-loving God, who has revealed himself through the human attribute of the highest self-sacrificing love, and in the immortality of the soul" [182: 311].
"He invariably believed that humility is the only true attitude of the human soul, and therefore spoke with the greatest reserve of what he called 'these unfathomable mysteries,' as befitting one who did not dogmatize but who knew that the finite can by no means grasp the infinite, and yet he had a profound trust that when all is seen face to face all will be seen as the best" [182: 316].
"He said again, with deep feeling, in January, 1869: 'Yes, it is true there are moments when the flesh is nothing to me, when I feel and know the flesh to be the vision, God and the spiritual—the only real and true. Depend upon it, the spiritual is the real; it belongs to one more than the hand and the foot. You may tell me that my hand and my foot are only imaginary symbols of my existence. I could believe you, but you never, never can convince me that the I is not an eternal reality, and that the spiritual is not the true and real part of me.' These words he spoke with such passionate earnestness that a solemn silence fell on us as he left the room" [182a: 90].
It was written of Tennyson just after his death: "It is understood
that he believed that he wrote many of the best and truest things he ever published under the direct influence of higher intelligences, of whose presence he was distinctly conscious. He felt them near him, and his mind was impressed by their ideas" , the meaning of which, if the report, as it probably is, is true, is that the veil between him and the Cosmic Sense was so thin that he felt the teachings of the latter through it, but there is no evidence known to the present writer that it was ever torn away so that he saw the other world. In other words, there is no evidence that he ever actually entered into Cosmic Consciousness.