There's a heap of questions I'm wishing to ask, about sensing and learning to control the function of one's physical, emotional, and mental centers (as well as their higher corresponding complements: the sex center, the higher emotional center, and the higher intellectual center.)
I've been studying myself independently for about four years relating to these questions, and I want to ask others who are doing/studying similar activities in themselves for feedback and maybe some assistance with some things I'm beginning to encounter. The goal of this is to bring these observations of mine into the context of the work so that I may more fully understand my experiences with your assistance. There’s a lot here, because I’ve been carrying on these observations of my centers for a few years. I wanted to get this all out here because I recognize how critical it is to get feedback from the network/school on my development and such, and I think I’m a bit backlogged as far as that goes, hehe. So I want to see if I’m on the right track or if there are either things I am missing, or things that I am going about incorrectly.
I first started observing how my mind/body works as manifested through certain centers about four summers ago. I was just out of school, and my mind had essentially imploded from all the intensive studying I was doing. I had frequent headaches and stomach aches, for example. These didn't go away immediately after school was out either. It wasn't until I started doing qi gong, and some “grounding” exercises by some people I met that my stomach aches subsided, and I actually felt like I was in my body again! Being a primarily cerebral person, my curiosity about how this all worked was piqued.
I tried focusing on certain feelings or sensations in my body, as Mouravieff advised when he taught the Sage's Pose in Gnosis I: Exoterica (I didn't begin to study Mouravieff until this summer, but I found the connection/corroboration interesting). Eventually I learned to direct awareness and sort of up-regulate the functioning of certain centers and such. This was the first inroad I made to learning how to directly control the functioning of centers, instead of commonly used methods of indirect control (such as, say, doing yoga to try and direct more awareness to your physical center, or doing calculus to direct more awareness to your mental center). My first real empirical test for this was jumping into a freezing cold shower while raising the activity of my physical center. The result was that I actually felt more capable and able to endure the sensory shock of having cold water pouring all over me. There was much less internal resistance to it... like I was more able to embrace the new experience and assimilate it.
I should add I didn't learn how to down-regulate or slow down the functioning of centers until I started reading more into the fourth way path. I think this had to do with my eventual waking up to the fact that the wasting of energy through the misuse of centers is a serious obstacle in the way.
Another thing I noticed in my self-study is that each centers have certain breadths as well... as in, a capacity that I feel must expand with practice and such. My factory setting according to Gurdjieff's classification of people into 7 levels is level 3, meaning I spend most of my time and energy in my mental center and primarily identify with my mental functions and habits. I noticed that directing a certain amount of energy/focus/awareness into my mental center sort of “filled out” much quicker than when I directed energies into either my emotional or physical center. My physical center least of all, because I only really run for exercise (spontaneously, non-scheduled), and I don't partake in physical activities that require remarkable dexterity (like playing an instrument, gymnastics, sports, et cetera). I have a hypothesis that the breadths or capacities of certain centers are expanded through practice, much like how exercising certain parts of your brain encourages the formation of more neural connections and pathways.
Examining further, sometimes I can see the mental or emotional landscape of my mental or emotional center, not just how energized or quickly it is operating. In Barbara Anne Brennan's Hands of Light, she talks about how higher bodies of ourselves, such as the mental, have a distinct clouds and networks of thoughts and such, which seems to correspond to the types of inner “geography” I (and hopefully others of you on the forum?) have been able to see.
Relating to the functioning of higher centers. It is my current objective to successfully fuse my lower and higher emotional center, which according to Mouravieff is one of the steps taken toward becoming “permanently awake”. There are certain moments and occasions, when after mustering enough energy, will, et cetera, I can catch awareness of a higher emotional center. It is quite inconsistent, but it feels much emotionally lighter and subtle than my lower emotional center, and seems to be much... purer in texture (compare a newborn's skin to that of a ninety-year old's... there's much less craggy “geography”
) When I thought about how to go about performing such a fusion, and remembering how our minds and emotions form a sort of interconnected network of thoughts and feelings we keep passing through and running around in a more or less mechanical manner, it occurred to me that one strategy could be to try and manipulate my emotional space to try and forge connections between my lower and higher emotional center. Since I was performing work on my emotional center, I examined myself through the mental and physical center (mental mainly) and kind of attained an image of a type of network, with nodes which would summon a particular sentiment or feeling upon contact. I would then adjust the activity of both centers so they had the same energy levels, and attempted to fuse them (I am at a loss for words how to describe it... “focus-efforting” is the nearest I can do).
What I've described has been an ongoing process, and is emotionally exhausting. Last night I even started to feel some faint heartache... but the meditative sit was an hour long so that's probably to be expected. I have been noticing immediate positive effects though. The high road to any emotional interpretation of an event is automatically taken. Or at least, it is taken for those thought/feeling areas which I have done my best to connect to the higher emotional center. There is an increased inner gentleness to things I turn my emotional centers to as well. I find the effects require consistent willpower and application, because any time I fall asleep the connections I initially make start to wither (this is the other side of neurons that “fire together wire together,” which is: “if you don't use it you lose it”
). Programs that are activated while being asleep also negatively affect the connections, unless I’m conscious enough to “catch” it in the act, and thereby isolate its effects.
Have any of you had similar experiences to what I’ve attempted to describe?
What books, lectures, and such would you recommend I examine that may shed light on some of these things? I'm still in the process of ordering Gnosis II and III, so I hope I didn't just ask a bunch of questions that could be answered in it, heh.
Like I said, I’m trying to understand my experiences thus far in the context of the work, so as much feedback, comments, tips, and critiques as possible would be appreciated.
Disclaimer: I often use certain types of physical descriptions of things in my “inner space,” but the interpretation of how a particular thing may be, I speculate, depends largely upon your own preferences (such as what centers you use to observe a given center, et cetera).