learning to be present


The Cosmic Person intentionally explores the capacities of the human species for self-reflection and awareness of a sense of place in the universe. 

In reading and thinking about these capacities, Community of the Cosmic Person Convener Jana Norman identifies three components of conscious self-awareness. 

Components of conscious self-awareness include experiences of transcendence, when we feel blown away by the beauty and terror of the universe; self-awareness, when we look inward to find the Self, the point of unity between the individual and the universe; and sensitivity, drawing to consciousness the "tension of existence in time within the phenomenal world," that is - to be able to sit with the reality of suffering as a "central dimension of existence and to enter this reality in a creative rather than an unconscious and destructive manner."
(Brian Swimme, The Universe Story)

There is a consciousness to all life in the way that life responds to its environment. Darwin observed that "the conscious choice of a species to invade a new niche is the primary step toward subsequent changes in genetic material." (Brian Swimme, The Universe Story)

In the human being, this consciousness includes conscious self-awareness: the "human faculty of understanding characterised by its sense of wonder and celebration as well as by its ability to refashion and use its exterior environment as instruments to achieving its own ends" (Brian Swimme, The Universe Story)

“By definition we (human beings) are that reality in whom the entire Earth comes to a special mode of reflexive consciousness.
We are ourselves a mystical quality of the Earth...”
— Thomas Berry

New Cosmic Commitment Card

A new Cosmic Commitment Card is available featuring Transcendence
cultivating awe & wonder as a guide to the Ecozoic Era.

Feedback about the tool and stories about using it are most welcome. Please use the Connect page. 

Cosmic Commitment Cards highlight a single tool for reflection and practice in one of the Cosmic Commitments.

"And every time we are drawn to look up in the night sky and reflect on the awesome beauty of the universe, we are actually the universe reflecting on itself." 
(Brian Swimme & Mary Evelyn Tucker, Journey of the Universe)



A spiritual discipline of awe and wonder. 




A spiritual discipline of active self-reflection. 

Practice Self-Awareness

"...when the dawn appears through the morning mist...we are most aware at such moments of transition that the world around us is beyond human control." (Thomas Berry, The Great Work)


A spiritual discipline of other-awareness. 

practice sensitivity

We are not here to control. We are here to become integral with the larger Earth community.
— Thomas Berry

practices of the cosmic person

practice transcendence

Awe is that feeling you get when you look up at the beauty of the night sky or look out over the incomprensible vastness of an ocean. It's something that most humans have felt at some point in their lives. But it's only within the past few decades that scientists have tried their hand at studying this all-encompassing and often elusive emotion.

Read more about experiencing awe and wonder - transcendence - in this Huffington Post article.

We will recover our sense of wonder and our sense of the sacred only if we appreciate the universe beyond ourselves as a revelatory experience of that numinous presence whence all things came into being.”
— Thomas Berry

practice self-awareness

So who are we? We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here, right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid. Separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the "we" inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be. And I thought that was an idea worth spreading.

Watch brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor's TED Talk about her own experience of stroke and consider: "Which would you choose? Which do you choose?"

practice sensitivity

The primary meaning of omoiyari is “an individual’s sensitivity to imagine another’s feelings and personal affairs, including his or her circumstances” (Shinmura, 1991, p. 387, translated by Hara).

Learn more about this Japanese concept in this journal article.