• April 11, 2018

    You have recently talked about pondering as a three-centered activity requiring conscious energy. What do you mean by this?

    Ordinarily, we are not able to engage in three-centered activity. The body is automatically moving and adopting gestures and postures while the mind is home to a chattering thinker whose content is habitual and associative. These two tracks are only related to the extent that the activity on one can cause reverberations in the other. I have a passing thought of something unpleasant and my body contracts in a predictable way. I sense being cold or tired and my thinking adopts a loop of negative self-talk. Otherwise, I am a house divided against itself, thinking one thing while doing another.

    In my ordinary state, I am not aware of the content of my experience except in the most general way, and intermittently at that. This is evidence of a low energy state. In fact, both centers…thinking and sensing…are operating on what we can call automatic energy which is sufficient only to power habitual actions. Most of the time, I am not even aware that I am immersed in trivial, useless thinking. I can walk home form the supermarket without knowing it and suddenly ‘come to my senses’ when I mysteriously find myself at home. Of the feeling center, which we call the heart, there is not a trace.

    Obviously, pondering is not possible in this state. Even sustained thinking along the same line is not possible without frequently forgetting and losing the track, mostly arising from the interruptions of thought associations or random sensations.

    There is a second, higher level of energy which is possible for the thinking and sensing centers which we can call sensitive energy. This is what we mean when we say that we have ‘come to our senses’. This energy enables me to be aware of my sensations and thoughts on a more or less continuous basis, while the energy lasts. I am sensitive to my environment. I am aware of my reactions and those of others. I am able to order my thoughts based on my wish to communicate. However, I’m not able to be aware of sensations and thoughts simultaneously. I still do not have access to feelings but I notice my emotional likes and dislikes as they occur…a kind of similitude of feeling.

    There is a third level of energy, called conscious energy, which opens up another realm of experience. When conscious energy is present, the heart can operate. Feelings can be accessed. Also, this is the energy of multi-tasking. Now I can think and sense and feel simultaneously and these three functions can be co-ordinated. When they co-operate, they re-enforce each other. The natural result is a state of ecstatic pleasure.

    Three-centered being is living in an Imaginarium. Thoughts, sensations and feelings are real experiences…more real than ordinary physical reality. Contemplate a whale and you are a whale, a bird and you experience flight.

    I am not telling you all this to fill your heads with more theory. These three energies are directly observable as they operate in you. Knowing this makes it more possible to shift your state.

    Is it possible to access conscious energy intentionally?

    Yes, but intention is not the only way. The universe may present you with shocks to waken you…shocks of distress as well as shocks of beauty and grace that trigger being-attention and offer you higher energies. Accept them. Use them.

    One of the great laws of alchemy says that the higher interacts with the lower to create the middle. The higher is being-attention. The lower is sensitive energy. Attention is the catalyst which digests the sensitive, transforming it to create the conscious.

    Invoke attention. Allow it to take hold of whole body sensation as a kind of food offering. As conscious energy arises, the process gains momentum and effortlessly continues itself without the intervention of a thinker. This is an example of the second wind of attention. In this way, become more conscious.

    Then what? Then you may see what is possible for a human being.

    What is being-attention?

    Attention that is not funnelled through the head brain, not intermediated by the thinker…attention by which the universe beholds you. Find out. Inquire into the nature of attention. You may find that you are not the source of attention, not its center, but the object of a greater attention that calls you to be.

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  • May 23, 2017

    For the purposes of this conversation I am going to use the term ‘negative thoughts’. I define these as thoughts that cause a flutter in the solar plexus and a sensation of weakness or vulnerability. Typically, these are thoughts that are critical of self or others, thoughts that reflect anxiety about situations or requirements that you think you or others are facing. The fluttering sensation expresses your instability. You do not sense stability of self. Your energy fluctuates and flickers.

    Can I shift this state? I find that I can. I voluntarily sense the immediate sensations of my body. This lasts for only a moment. I do it again. Another moment. And again. If I continue to do this, I reach a point of sustainable attention requiring less effort. We could call this the ‘second wind’ of attention. I now sense myself as a continuity. The flutter is gone.

    Let’s be clear. Sensing the sensations of my body is not the same as thinking about sensing my body.

    The energetic effects of attention accumulate. In work terms, my ‘I’ has moved from the status of an identity based on sensitive and automatic energy—which are inherently unstable–to a sense of existing as a conscious being. I remember myself as the voyager separate from my fears and insufficiencies.

    Voluntary attention on sensation is the key. But so is blind perseverance. It is not enough to try something once and declare it does not work. Can you make a simple effort without immediately evaluating the hell out of it?

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  • October 10, 2016

    I still do not understand what you mean about neither expressing nor suppressing. What’s the alternative?

    This seems to be the single most difficult part of work on self to understand and the problem probably started with G’s famous dictum about not expressing what he called negative emotions.

    Let’s go step by step. You observe in real time that anger is arising in you. The observation begins with noting the sensations of anger and then perhaps moves on to labeling it, or perhaps not. It doesn’t matter at this point. The observing remains objective…that is, you do not judge/criticize yourself for the anger nor do you justify it by blaming circumstances or other people. It is simply an experience of anger. You decide not to express it. There is no psychological dimension, no identification, no body-based habitual compulsion to express. The anger is energy, that’s all. Unlike in suppressing, this energy does not need to go anywhere else; it does not drive other unconscious reactions and thought loops such as self-pity, self-loathing, hatred or the desire for violence.

    This is a very elegant maneuver, in my opinion requiring years of observing self to accomplish. And even then, do not assume it is always within your capacity to accomplish it.

    Do you undertake this maneuver for the sake of the work?

    This is an interesting question. Do you need a reason? It is possible for any reason to become a subtle form of suppression. If you want to restrain expression in order to excel at the work, you may be adopting a standard of performance that requires you to suppress. The same could be said for withholding expression for the benefit of other people.

    Then why aim for non-expression?

    Observation of self takes you there, intending it or not. Expression of so-called negative emotion is objectively a waste of energy which is observably injurious to the machine and an insult to your being. After much objective observing, it becomes an unnecessary extravagance.

    What happens to the energy of the negative emotion?

    Remember that the term negative emotion is not a judgment about tone or content but simply a reference to the fact that it results in an energetic discharge. That’s what emotions do. By not discharging, the energy becomes available for use.  It may help you to wake up. It may attract your presence which easily becomes absent when negative emotions are active along with their identifications.

    The question that arises is this: can you take everything as data?

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  • October 23, 2015

    But what are the practical requirements for awakening?

    The first requirement is need. Perhaps that should be Need. Curiosity may work once or twice. Self enhancement or other ambitions are not likely to work at all. For whom do you wish to be present? Who needs you to awaken and why?

    The process begins with voluntary attention followed by impartial attention. Observe self objectively. Know that you are asleep and see the patterns of your sleep, in real time. Then you are ready to take the next step.

    You need a great deal of energy to awaken the machine. In this moment, can you stop wasting energy? Can you reverse the flow of energy from down and out of the body to up and in? Your sleeping machine is probably reacting to something and harbors ordinary emotions. Knowing the exact formulation of your reaction in physical terms, can you withhold the expression of it? No judgement. Please understand this is not a general condemnation of expression. This is about gathering the energy to awaken at this time.

    Now, what will you do with this emotional energy? Can you invoke impartial attention or presence to digest and transform it? Can you at the same time release the associated tensions and sensations so that you are not dragged into identification? Attention and presence are energies of a higher order; invoking them initiates energy generation, upgrading sensation into conscious energy. Can this process continue?  Can presence see and counter the tendency to fall into identification?

    Does your heart now awaken? Conscious energy makes this possible. Perhaps you can voluntarize a feeling that is essentially part of you…reverence, objective sorrow, glorification…whatever is natural to your being. Perhaps you can invoke the feeling that is most accessible in the space where you are. Some spaces are aligned with specific feelings, making them ‘sacred’. Perhaps you have discovered that all the requirements of awakening are contained in genuine prayer. Feeling brings more energy of a higher kind. Body, mind and heart working together intensify the energy. Perhaps your machine now awakens.

    To remember (re-member) is first to bring together all the disparate parts of your being into being. For whom do you do make this effort? For whom do you wish to awaken? Then, in turn, you may be remembered as one of the Work community.

    Related Posts:

    Awake (3) – Oct 16, 2015

    Awake (2) – Oct 10, 2015

    Awake – Oct 7, 2015

    Mastery (2) – June 3, 2015

    Observe What Exactly? – Mar 12, 2015

    Observing self/self-observation – Mar 10, 2015

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  • August 28, 2015

    Last night, immediately, there was a sensation of immense energy from a high source, a kind of radiation that sought to enter. I agreed. I found the name of it and participated in it, breathing it in as fikr and emptying myself on the out breath. The heart awakened. The out breath became a return gift of the heart to the source of the energy. The actions of receiving and giving merged into a simultaneous, highly charged reciprocal maintenance.

    Many fourth way schools try to make use of the ‘food diagrams’ taken by Ouspensky from early talks by Gurdjieff. They describe three forms of food which can, under certain circumstances, be assimilated by human beings in order to produce higher substances for our possible evolution. These diagrams are complex, incomplete and internally inconsistent. The actual transformative processes can be known directly, sensed and felt. But there is more.

    Human beings can access energies beyond those they can make. And the energies we can access, the foods we can assimilate, are only part of a larger picture. Our greatest value to the Work is the food we produce for higher beings. We are indispensable links in a process of receiving, transforming and giving. When we are able and willing to serve our purpose, much is given to us at that time, enabling us to succeed in our task.

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  • June 3, 2015

    When we looked into mastery earlier, you talked about checking or withholding the mechanical impulses of the sleeping machine. What is the purpose of making such efforts?

    Humans are biological energy transformers. The one who pursues mastery must limit energy expenditures and transform energy of a lower quality into higher forms which are able to fund real work.

    The automatic functioning of body and mind uses automatic energy, an energy that can easily perform repetitive tasks by rote but does not notice or comprehend. You drive home and barely remember anything. Your foot automatically brakes based on your speed and the approaching intersection. Rudimentary passive awareness is all that’s required. Working with the same energy, your thinking consists of daydreams which roll over and over and have nothing to do with what’s actually happening around you.

    Withholding the impulse to eat or sit down or look at a moving object interrupts the automatic functioning of the body/mind. This begins by noticing the automatic impulse to do these things. At any given time, you are likely to have enough sensitive energy to notice that the machine is on automatic. Sensitive energy is able to notice, which can act as a reminder to summon voluntary attention. Attention separates from automaticity and introduces the possibility of choice.

    Now, let us suppose you choose to withhold an impulse of the machine. The impulse is energy. Withholding its expression saves that energy. Attention on that energy transforms some of it. Attention on mechanical movements increases sensitivity and noticing self and environment; sensitive energy in the presence of voluntary attention becomes conscious energy which has the property of enabling thinking, sensing and feeling to proceed together, harmoniously … the energy of multi-tasking. In fact, the heart does not operate as the organ of feeling unless it has access to conscious energy.

    How can I do all this if I am asleep?

    The only trick is to notice your machine is asleep in the present moment. Ordinary life gives us this opportunity very frequently, especially as we engage with other people. Noticing sleep behavior is a reminder to summon attention. You may find that engagement summons attention directly, triggering the energy exchanges that bring you into the present. That is the point. Mastery means being able to be present in the present. This in turn means seeing and responding to what is actually happening rather than reacting to subjective and false interpretations based on past experience. And having access to the energies required for all-centers functioning enables one to act according to the needs of the situation and in accordance with work aims.

    Ironically, sleep is the key to waking up. When you have observed your sleep and learned its tell-tale signs, sleep itself will wake you. This is not the only stratagem but it is a good one. Some of you may be easily shocked by the rough edges of life in the world or you may be unusually susceptible to beauty and order. The sudden impact of experiencing these factors can engage attention but you need to take care that the energy is not co-opted by clinging and averting or lost down the rabbit hole of self-indulgent emotions such as self-pity or sentimentality.

    Can we say therefore that we experience presence many times a day?

    Yes, but these moments are quickly overcome by the momentum of sleep in the machine. Can you learn to observe the exact process of falling asleep? If so, could presence then be able to remain present? Hahnemann called being present in the present our ‘natural state’. Our body/mind adopts an effective response to a challenge. The response is learned and it continues after the circumstances have changed. What was effective is now a block. Hahnemann considered this the root of illness. We call it sleep.

    Related Post:

    Mastery (1) – May 15, 2015

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