I think the universe is conscious, because we are part of the cosmos, and we are conscious.
Consciousness – to my mind – is part of the natural universe. Like gravity or the way light works. There isn’t a bazillion different gravities. Just one.
I don’t know how it works – but neither does any scientist, yet – but I’m quite sure that my sense of awareness isn’t anything I’m somehow generating out of neurons and chemistry. My body is merely supplying the inputs.