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.