I have heard a lot of remarks claiming that the "I" is the universe. I understand that we are all part of the universe. But how AM I the universe?

Some take it even further and claim that the "I" is what creates stars and it is the driving force in the universe.

How do people come to that conclusion? How is the "I" the universe and not just a part of it?

  • I made some edits hopefully to clarify the question. You may roll these back or continue editing. You can see the versions by clicking on the "edited" link above. One thing you might add is reference to people who have said that the "I" is the universe. If would provide context for someone to give an answer. Welcome! Sep 4 '18 at 13:38
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    See Solipsism : only my mind exists and he world and other minds do not exist. Sep 4 '18 at 13:56
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA's is closest to my own overly simple answer: everything you know about the universe exists in your mind (by definition of "your mind"). Therefore, there is a universe in your mind. The question: how do you know that the universe in your mind exists outside your mind? It might not. Your eyes, ears, etc, ultimately report to your mind, and it's possible they don't even exist (your mind just has the illusion of sight, sound, etc). You may be the entire universe.
    – user935
    Sep 4 '18 at 20:27

This is the general position of Indian metaphysics where they posit a relationship of atman (personal consciousness) and Brahman (cosmos consciousness). I don't know a great deal about it but it's unlikely to an exact equivalence between personal consciousness and cosmic consciousness.

It has been reported that some psychedelic drugs can give an immediate experience of such. So you could try this, or better have a look at the reports and testimony of people who have.


The premise you describe relies on the notion that any idea of separation between the “I” and the rest of the world is an illusion.

It’s a hard notion to grasp. We separate and categorize things by nature, but nature itself is holistic and inseparable.

Imagine folding a piece of paper in half and giving consciousness to each side. Say one side is you and the other is me, and we both consider ourselves separate.

While that may be true on a personal level, the fact remains we are still one inseparable piece of paper, and we would both be right by claiming we are the paper.

This is the idea behind saying “I” is the universe - we are all expressions, sides or facets of universe, but never separate from universe. The separation is in your mind and it is just an illusion, like the two halves of the paper above.


Zen Master Seung Sahn used his own idiosyncratic language that relates to this:

"Why do we bow? We are not bowing to Buddha, we are bowing to ourselves. Small I is bowing to Big I. Then Small I disappears and becomes Big I This is true bowing."

God can be described as the transcendental subjective, which is importantly different from imagining a purely objective world. In Eastern thought generally this is a natural framing, as mind is accepted as having primacy, all knowledge of the physical world beginning in subjective experiences/consciousnesses.


When a person realizes that (his) personal consciousness and the cosmic consciousness are the same, he realizes that "I am the Infinite Reality" or "I am the Ultimate". He can't see anything other than he himself. It is 'something' without any parts. It is eternal, unchanging, present at all times, immutable, undivided and infinite. By that statement if you mean the changing universe as you see now, you can't say that ultimately...for it is unchanging.


Since this is the truth, when you realize the truth you realize that this was true even before you realize it. So, before you realize the truth you can say "I am the ultimate". And it must be so. But since you are unaware of "I", even you know that that statement is only a sheer folly. Then what about others?

I believe, that statement is not to be shouted out for gaining something. It is to be experienced/realized it as your SELF.

When you experience this, you realize who others and other things are. And it will be a knew knowledge to you.

I understand that we are all part of the universe. But how AM I the universe?

Since the person 'sees' the same soul everywhere, he sees nothing to use a plural form.

How do people come to that conclusion?

All people can't come to that conclusion in their present life.

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