Experience of the subtle realms: Contents page
Chapter 9. Charismatic training
The purpose of charismatic training is the cultivation of presence in interaction with other persons. I referred to the idea of such training in Chapter 7, section 10, and now wish to take it up in more detail. It is relevant for living generally, and in particular for training group facilitators – who need to acquire distress-free authority, and to emanate a quality which liberates those who are seeking to learn within its ambience.
Charismatic training simply involves learning to live consciously and intentionally in two worlds at once. It means manifesting personhood simultaneously in subtle space and physical space. The subtle body wakes up within the subtle matrix of the physical body. A person starts to become their own ally in this world, as I mentioned in section 6 of Chapter 7.
Since subtle space is a form of the energy of consciousness, when I enter it I command the attention of other human beings within it: I set going a current of invisible energy that embraces and nourishes them at a subliminal level. For I am active where they are passive in a universal medium of energetic awareness. When we are all asleep together in conventional ignorance of this medium, we lack presence for each other. When one person is awake within it, the others will notice that a presence is stirring their slumber. And when we are all awake within it, we share presence with each other.
I will now refer to a series of training exercises. I describe them separately, but they are not mutually exclusive in practice, and can be used in a variety of combinations. I invite people to use them, in training workshops, in a spirit of inquiry and experiment. So you do the exercises as if they are doing what they claim to do, in order to find out through experience if they do seem to be doing it. And you adopt the belief-system on which the exercises are based as if it is valid, in order to see whether it holds up in the context of its application. The approach is non-dogmatic, the exploration of working hypotheses.
In actual training, the ambiguity of two worlds experience is owned and faced, and indeed used as a tool of inquiry and learning. And this prevents us all from getting improperly earnest about the enterprise. However, I shall present the exercises here assertively, dropping the use of the parenthetical as if.
Stand up and align the spine, head and neck in such a way that you find the secret current of energy drawing you upward and inward into subtle space. This is the levity line. The spine is upright and vertical but not rigid, the head and neck are forward and up in an unobtrusive lift-off position. As you gently adjust the alignment, you will find within the physical sensations the liberating uplift of the levity line – subtle, sustaining, and unmistakable. I introduced this notion in Chapter 7, section 5.
The levity line is a line of power between the physical body and its subtle matrix, and it gives immediate conscious access to matrix space – out of which physical space emerges, as I discussed in Chapter 7, section 13.
Once you enter the levity line, you boost your own awareness with the awareness inherent in that line, and your presence to those around you is subtly increased. Remember that in the subtle domain, energy, space and consciousness all go together. If you are asleep to that domain, the energetic awareness of its space rolls off you or minimally dribbles through you. When you are awake to it, it charges your presence to others with charisma.
The levity line becomes your line of reference for instant entry into the other world, an entry which, at the same moment, enhances your presence and standing in this world. At any time you can choose to live in it and act out of it. The challenge in daily life is to stay awake within it, not fall asleep around it; to maintain inner alertness rather than drift into forgetfulness.
It is also like the upright trunk of an energy tree. Its branches reach up and out into inner space in all directions, offering potential connection with manifold domains. It is rooted in the awareness of gravity, with the energy of the legs well grounded through the soles of the feet. This grounding of feet and legs can be achieved most readily if the knees are very slightly bent.
Indeed, the subtle uplift of levity in your posture is most exhilarating in the context of feeling the polarity of gravity and levity. Once you are aware of your feet firmly planted on the earth by gravity, then you can more easily find the contrasting lift of levity. Grounded in one world you are raised up by the subtle energies of another.
You can be aware of your physical body in physical space simply by looking down at it, so that you get a foreshortened view of your trunk, arms and legs. Or, of course, you can look at yourself in a mirror. You can also be aware of your physical body by proprioception, that is, by internal sensations coming from your muscles and ligaments, telling you what is going on in them, whence and whither and at what speed your limbs are moving.
But there is also something that includes this proprioception but is wider than it. This is an awareness of the total gesture of your form in matrix space. It is a comprehensive internal grasp of your body image. Now there is nothing at all perspectival about such grasp. You are not having a view of your form from this, that or the other perspective. Rather you are inside the Euclidean or matrix space of your body. You inhabit its whole three dimensional gesture in all directions all at the same time. Your awareness and your spatial form are one. You awaken your subtle body.
You are not perceiving in physical space, but being and moving in matrix space. And a ready mode of access to this being in matrix space is via the levity line. So stand up, ground the feet and legs thoroughly with the energy of gravity, then enter the levity line through those subtle adjustments of spine, head and neck. And now from within the levity line, expand your awareness to include all at the same time your whole posture in space. This establishes your conscious bearing. Then start to move.
At first, keep the feet stationary and apart. Let the knees bend a little, the pelvis roll, the trunk gyrate, the arms and forearms move around in all directions, the head and neck turn and stretch. Let the movements be born out of the levity line. Now let the feet and legs carry you round the room. And all the while, practise being alert to the total dynamic gesture of your form in matrix space.
In this movement, feel the air on your back and try moving back to back with another person without touching – so that you extend consciousness to the rear. Otherwise you may have frontal bias in your awareness of your form in matrix space.
What is this form? Strictly speaking, of course, it is your subtle body moving in matrix space in and with your physical body moving in physical space. Looked at from within, the subtle body in matrix space carries the physical body which emerges, when looked at from without, into various shifting perspectives in physical space.
What this movement does is to give you a sense of the effortless dance of generative form in matrix space. But there is no need to move around to get the effect. So the facilitator standing in front of a group – indeed anyone anywhere – can enhance their presence in this world by first entering the levity line from a well-grounded stance, and thence encompassing as a whole the subtle matrix form of their physical posture.
It’s just a question of being in all the space within the body all at once, and knowing how your form is everywhere awarely coming out of it. Then you have conscious bearing, you energise and command subtle space around you – and have presence. The subtle body becomes determinate within the subtle matrix of the physical body. It shifts from tacit to explicit functioning.
Let us suppose that the subtle body, with the subtle matrix of the physical body, is not only in matrix space but also in matrix time. I shall say more about matrix time later in this chapter. It is the time in which sequences in physical or clock time occur all at once. What is serial in clock time is concurrent in matrix time. It is womb-like, a subtle NOW in an inner time embracing outer time, giving birth to developing form and rhythm in the physical world.
So if your physical body is walking, running, climbing, leaping or jumping, pitch your intention into matrix time. Then you are aware at each physical moment of the whole subtle temporal form which embraces past and future movements in your physical sequence. Such awareness can be put to fruitful work. And in a way that intensifies your presence.
When, for example, you are running up a hill, you feel your subtle form a few paces ahead of you – and follow in its wake. Your psi grasp of your future steps empowers your present steps. Matrix time awareness of the immediate future has a sort of turbo-charging effect on your physical motion now.
In any physical activity, then, you can simply imagine your subtle body doing the next part of the sequence, in order to enhance and facilitate the current part of the sequence. This is easiest to do with forward motion of the physical body because what is next in time is also in front of you in space. As a training exercise, compare walking on the street, or climbing stairs, in the ordinary way with doing the same in the wake of the subtle body.
Conversely, when running down a very steep hill try holding your awareness in matrix time at the moment just before you start the descent. This image of yourself at the top of the hill acts like a brake as you descend, and helps to prevent you from going helter-skelter. In general, casting your awareness well back in a sequence helps to slow down movement in the physical present.
In any complex series of physical movements, cast you awareness into matrix time and grasp the whole sequence all-at-once in order to empower your physical mastery. This knack is exercised intuitively by dancers, divers, gymnasts, ice-skaters and others who engage in elaborate combinations of movement.
Habitual car drivers know all about expanding the spatial matrix of the physical body – at any rate at the level of knowing how, of the knack of doing it. When you drive a car through a narrow alley, or reverse it to park in a limited space between two other parked cars, you have simultaneous awareness of the total form of the car. So when you are craning your head back as you reverse to get a perspectival view, you also have matrix grasp.
This grasp is a sense of where all the car’s extremities are in non-perspectival space. The driver has thus expanded his awareness of the matrix space out of which his body appears to the matrix space out of which his car appears. And this expansion is born out of an important need for accuracy of manoeuvre in physical space.
This does give car drivers an odd and rather limited kind of presence, especially when they handle their vehicle confidently out of matrix awareness. By contrast, when through anxiety they lose such awareness and try to manoeuvre entirely from their limited physical perspectives, they become frenetic, diminished and phobic.
Dancers and skaters who fling themselves around within the limited space of a stage or skating rink, also need to expand their grasp of the matrix space within which their bodily gyrations occur, to include the matrix space of the whole stage or rink. When they dance or skate out of this total integrated consciousness, then they have the most elegance, impact and sheer presence. This is also because they are giving birth to their movements out of matrix time.
However, all this can be put to the immediate experiential test. When in a social situation indoors, enter your levity line, open out to your matrix body, and then expand your awareness beyond the matrix space out of which your body appears to the matrix space out of which the room, its furniture and all those in it appear. Embrace all this in one global act of spatial realisation, while continuing to interact socially.
Your subtle body now commands the matrix space of the room. Notice your own increased sense of presence, and notice how others notice it too. Their noticing is not necessarily made explicit by them – although on occasion it may be – it is more often a tacit shift in their level of response to you. This heightened reaction may be a good thing, leading to richer learning and loving.
Sometimes it may be a bad thing, leading to interference and intrusion. Then it is better to practise subtle absence rather than subtle presence. So there is an important caveat: it is not always wise or prudent to become a being of expansive levity among people of contracted gravity. A lot depends on the social context, and what your role is.
To practise subtle absence, don’t project any subtle energy outside yourself. Adopt movements and postures that keep it veiled and contained within you. Retreat awarely into an inner centre and be passive there, so that your physical presence becomes unremarkable, unnoticeable. You achieve a sort of psychological invisibility.
When, however, it is appropriate to emerge again, there are various devices to sustain the practice of presence through an extended awareness of matrix space, and to prevent oneself falling back to sleep within perspectival, physical space. I will mention them in the next few numbered items.
One simple way of expanding your awareness into the matrix space of a crowded room is to extend your consciousness simultaneously into its eight corners, four at the ceiling, four at the floor – assuming the room is rectangular. You can never stand inside a room and physically perceive its eight corners directly in one and the same perspective. You could get them all into one view with specially placed mirrors. But even then, in terms of actual eye focus, you would still have rapidly to scan the eight corners, so that in effect you would perceive them serially.
Now the eight corners in matrix space are grasped in one and the same act of awareness, all at the same time, wherever you are inside the room. Such awareness transcends yet includes any limited physical perspective ofthe room. This practice can lock your mind onto the matrix space of the room in a way that does not let you get too distracted by the shifting perspectives that cover so many views of people and things.
A useful training exercise with the eight corners, is to move slowly in a room and circle around yourself turning with elevated steps and sweeping gestures of the arms. During these gradual gyrations, you practise holding your attention on the eight corners. The challenge is to integrate static matrix grasp of the room as a whole, with dynamic matrix grasp of your circling movements within it.
The parasol is a simple exercise that puts the spatial archetypes of point, line and plane to alert, experiential work. The parasol is erected on your centre of gravity in the lower abdomen, on the reference point that grounds your mass through your legs and feet upon the earth. The stem of the parasol is your levity line, the subtle uplift of energy you can find by adjusments of the spine, head and neck, explained above.
The umbrella of your parasol is a plane of inner vision at right angles to your levity line and above your head, spreading out and away on all sides. From this plane of vision, you survey the matrix space of the room in which your physical body is present. You can explore the effects of pitching the parasol at different distances above your head, from a few inches to a few feet.
Of course, this is just a device, but an interesting one. It is intriguing to look simultaneously – both upwards and downwards and from all points of the plane – into the matrix space of a room where you are socially active. More accessibly, at the peripheral line where the plane intersects the walls of the room, there are innumerable complementary viewpoints of what is going on inside it.
As a training exercise, try rotating your physical body slowly under the parasol once you have set it up in your extended consciousness. As your physical perspectives of the room change with your turning, keep your attention primarily spread out on the plane of the parasol, looking down on the room from the plane as a whole. I find this easier if the parasol is some distance above the head.
One of the most socially intimate ways in which to expand into matrix space is to dwell in the matrix form of the other person you are talking to. So your awareness inhabits the matrix space of the two of you. This is particularly pertinent for a facilitator doing one-to-one counselling or working intensively with one person in front of a group.
This non-perspectival awareness of the matrix space out of which we are both emerging, in which our forms are suspended, is a simple foundation for entering the dual-unity experience. In this experience, we are one, I am you and you are me, yet I have a distinct identity and you have a distinct identity; and we celebrate our differences, our otherness, at the same time as we celebrate our unity.
Less mystically, my being aware in the matrix space of the other is a good ground for the practice of active empathy, especially when I am working as a facilitator in a personal development session. So it heightens my ability to attend not just to the meaning of what you are saying, but also to how you are saying it – your tone of voice, emotional emphases and inflections, redundancies and slips of the tongue. And it enables me to notice all your bodily cues – your rate and depth of breathing, your use of eye contact, your facial expression, your rigidities or labilities of gesture and posture.
Such holistic grasp of what you are saying, how you are saying it, and above all of how you are being and doing while you are saying it, is enormously aided by my awareness dwelling in your matrix form – both in matrix space and matrix time.
A general purpose exercise, for all kinds of social interaction, is simply to extend your awareness to include a full grasp, in matrix space, of the relative positions of yourself and the other persons you are now interacting with face to face. For this immediate social group become aware of how you are all standing, your respective gestures and postures, whether you are close or not so close, opposite or beside, above or below (standing or seated). And get the feel of this spatial arrangement as a whole, not just from any one viewpoint. And keep this awareness going when you or others in the group move round within it.
There are a variety of simple training exercises here. One is for two people to move slowly around each other: each becomes conscious in the matrix space that includes the total forms and relative positions of both of them. And they practise sustaining this matrix grasp while facing and looking at the other, while side by side and catching only a glimpse of the other in the corner of the visual field, and while they are back to back and cannot see each other.
Another exercise is for two people to approach each other, shake hands and say ‘Hello’, all the while having matrix grasp of the whole two person interaction. Often the handshake and the ‘Hello’ will throw them out of matrix space awareness. So they keep practising until their consciousness is no longer distracted and contracted by the social convention.
An extension of this is for three people to have a conversation on some topic of common interest, perhaps while drinking tea, and at the same time practise matrix awareness of the spatial configuration of the whole grouping and of each person in it. These exercises are important, because ordinary social interaction has built into it hidden norms of contracted spatial awareness. And these norms severely limit what it is that people say and do together.
Another way of expanding into matrix space is simply to enlarge your awareness to include the matrix space of the whole locality in which the house you are in is set. And you can go on to include the matrix space of the planet: in which case you are standing and talking with spatial awareness of this room and of the earth as a whole. Matrix awareness of the locality, or of the planet, is tacit, its content somewhat sketchy, in parts vague and unfocussed; but it is none the less real for that.
The exercises so far considered are about overall physical presence. They seek holistically to increase the subtle charge of the way in which you are present in some social context. The next set of exercises are for the occult gymnasium: by building up awareness of the subtle matrix of the physical body, they also at the same time start to awaken and strengthen the subtle body as a focus of conscious intent.
There are various simple ways of overcoming the illusion of exclusive physicality, and of becoming aware of the subtle potency of the matrix on which the physical body depends and out of which it emerges. The following exercises build up matrix awareness and subtle body competence. Note that each exercise shifts you over into matrix space and matrix time.
10.1 Hold your arms out in front of you with the elbows somewhat bent, fingers splayed and palms facing inwards. Now move both arms in an expansive opening out gesture as slowly as you can. This very, very slow movement will reveal the pleasing elegant energy lines and filaments of the subtle matrix, the form that is your primary incarnation – within, embracing, containing and upholding the secondary incarnation of your physical body. Any sustained, almost imperceptible, opening out movement will effect this subtle shift of awareness.
10.2 Conversely, although less accessible for many people, rapid leaps, tumbles, somersaults, complex juggling acts, manifold rotations in the air, shift attention into the matrix form. They can only really be done when command is centred in matrix space and matrix time. Hence the exhilaration of watching them, as well as doing them, because we sense the power of a doubly incarnate being at liberating work in the matrix space-time manifold.
10.3 Elongation will shift you over into the subtle matrix. And it is not the same as stretching. Lift your arms to the side well above shoulder level so you reach up to the heavens with an open angle. Now if you stretch you arms at this angle, you will try to extend them out in a straight line as far as they will go. But to elongate them, let the shoulders drop, keep the elbows a little bent throughout the exercise, the wrists and fingers too, then from deep within the torso draw out and lengthen the back, shoulders, arms and hands by a continuous unfolding in an almost imperceptible spiral movement, sustained indefinitely without any forcing or thrusting.
Notice how you awareness finds its subtle home in the subtle matrix of the arms and torso. Any sustained and unforced very gradual, slightly spiral elongation along the length of any muscle will transfer attention from felt physical tension to awareness of fine lines of subtle energy within the muscle fibres. You can explore this further with a tall, stout staff. Standing or kneeling, hold on to the staff with you hands, placing it in relation to your body so that some particular length of muscle can be elongated gently and continuously to reveal its subtle matrix.
10.4 A related exercise combines slow movement with alternation and small increments. Rest a long staff across your shoulders behind your neck, and raise your outstretched arms so that your hands take hold of the staff from behind. Now very slowly move the staff with the left hand a tiny distance toward the front, then do the same with the right hand. Continue the alternation, each time moving the staff a little bit further forward than the previous time on that side. Watch for the shift into subtle matrix awareness.
10.5 Command of subtle energy in the matrix body can dramatically alter muscle tonus and sense of mass in the physical body. Here are some simple exercises well known in the martial arts.
(i) Hold one arm up horizontally with the elbow minimally bent. Invite a friend to pull the arm down against your resistance under two different conditions. In one case, you hold the arm up in the ordinary physical way. In the other case, you project subtle energy along it to the horizon. Notice the greatly superior resistance to downward pressure in the second case. Another version of this exercise is to try to resist your friend pushing your forearm up – under the same two conditions.
(ii) Stand upright with your knees minimally bent, your feet side by side and a little apart. Invite your friend to push against your chest in order to topple you against your resistance, and this also under two different conditions. In the first, you stand in the ordinary physical way, and put your attention on your forehead. In the second, you direct your subtle energy down through your legs and feet to the centre of the earth. Again, notice how in this second condition you have much greater resistance to being toppled.
(iii) Lie on your back on the floor with legs closed and arms to your sides. Invite a group of friends to lift you up off the floor under two different conditions. In one you lie there in the everyday physical way. In the other you focus all your subtle energy at your centre of gravity in the abdomen and direct it down to the centre of the earth. In the latter case you are more difficult to lift. Another version of this exercise is to stand and have two friends lift you by your arms held firmly at your sides, firstly when you just stand there; and secondly, when you project subtle energy from your abdomen down through your legs toward the centre of the earth.
10.6 Practise mudras, that is, ritual postures. Create gestures of the arms, fingers, head, trunk and legs that cast your consciousness into the matrix mode. Hold the total posture and notice whether it takes you out beyond your subtle body into the further reaches of subtle space. If it doesn’t, then rearrange it until it does. Enjoy the liberating effect.
I have referred to the gaze in several earlier chapters. To enter the gaze-light, meet the gaze of the other, let go of emotional agitation and anxiety, then disclose in your own gaze the energetic light of consciousness – a consciousness that includes, but is not distracted or deflected by, whatever you are both saying or doing. This consciousness that you are disclosing appears to be yours, but is not really yours. It has a universal backdrop. It is supercharged with a subtle force that unites you to the other in a potent way – a way that liberates and empowers, and does not bind and block, the other. You notice that you participate with the other in an awareness that is greater than both of you.
The charismatic potency of a gaze that has this unrestricted awareness within it is central in facilitative work with people. In co-counselling we train the counsellor in the practise of ‘free attention’, by which we mean a deep and wide awareness focussed on the other, free from the counsellor’s own distress, sensitive to all that is going on in the other but never getting lost in it. It is a sustained, buoyant affirmation of the client. Entering the gaze-light is a potent way of mediating such free attention.
Of course, in everyday life, the gaze gets hijacked in all sorts of ways. It can’t shine out fully because the use of the eyes is taken over by the social protocol of conversation, by the content of what is being said, by distracting inner thoughts and feelings. But a person can practise to rescue the archetypal potency of the gaze-light from being obscured by all these busy shadows. Then you invite the other to join you in the subtle space of an expanded consciousness.
In Aikido, the trainee learns to project chi energy – or subtle energy, as I call it. By projecting this energy and then, as it were, letting the physical body follow after it, the trainee becomes much more potent in throwing his opponent.
In the last chapter, I suggested that human touch always involves the subtle energy of the subtle body. If a person is unaware of this dimension of touch, then it will be put to very limited use, blindly servicing a preoccupation with physical touch. If a person is aware of it, then it can be intentionally projected out, as in Aikido.
For while the physical body cannot extend itself, once it is fully grown, beyond its set limits, the subtle body appears to have no such restriction. It can expand and contract itself, project itself and extend beams, filaments and cords of energy from itself. And the energy which you can project from the subtle body can have qualitatively different impacts on the other person – depending on the sort of concentrated intention with which you project it (Gunther, 1983).
So the projected touch can be healing, affirming, enlightening, reassuring, or comforting in its intention and its impact. You can practise an affirming projection, by shaking the hand of someone as a form of greeting, while imaging, feeling and intending a flow of subtle energy from your hand into theirs and thence into their heart, a flow that affirms their worth and excellence.
Then you can go on to practise all kinds of qualitatively different projections of subtle energy as you have appropriate occasion to touch or hold other people in different social contexts. In training workshops, we also practise identifying the impact of a projected touch: the recipient divines what sort of dynamic quality the subtle energy carries as it reaches them from someone else.
Physical gestures can be used to project subtle energy with different kinds of intent. The hand that beckons, invites, applauds, affirms, restrains, reproves, silences, commands, draws out, can consciously send out a subtle beam or signal that empowers the meaning of the physical gesture.
A simple facilitative application of this is where the group leader needs to manage verbal contribution rates. This can be done by subtle gesture with the hands, drawing a speaker out, drawing a new speaker in, shutting out someone who is talking too much.
My view, of course, is that there is a subtle component in any and every gesture made by us as doubly incarnate beings. But when that component is tacit only, that is, not fully owned or noticed by the person gesturing, then it is underpowered. Charismatic potential is latent, dormant, buried in unawareness.
In training workshops, we have people send and receive subtle signals through gestures, noticing whether it is as if they are giving them out or taking them in. Then they start to actualise the latent potential. Some of the exercises are modestly stringent. Thus a row of people stand with their backs to a person who is making a strong subtle gesture of beckoning to one of them. Those in the row try to sense which of them is being beckoned; and that one turns around. Or a person is blindfolded, stands in the middle of the room, and moves toward the one person, among all those around the walls, who is beckoning with subtle energy.
Subtle beckoning – the psi gesture of invitation and drawing someone in – is wave-like, free and flexible; it is not grasping, possessing, demanding or controlling in its motion of hand and arm. And when beckoning someone, let your subtle energy reach out beyond where they are, so your gesture puts them in the middle of an energy stream, rather than at the end of it.
Suppose your consciousness oscillates between the worlds continually, but the effect is subliminal. You don’t really notice it because ordinary perception is so dominant: you remain unaware of the intermittent subtle and fractional shift to and fro between the physical foreground and its subtle background. But you can bring this effect fully above the threshold of your conscious attention. Then you intentionally come and go between the physical and the subtle. You oscillate in and out of subtle awareness. And so a natural process becomes a training aid.
You can shift to and fro with a steady pulsing: from ordinary body posture to awareness of the levity line and the subtle body; from physical perspectives to all-at-once awareness of matrix space; from present physical movement to the whole or to part of the sequence in matrix time; from ordinary physical effort to effortlessness when projecting subtle energy; from looking at the other’s eyes to taking up the other’s gaze; from physical touch to subtle touch; from physical gesture to subtle gesture; from being absent-from-subtle-energy to being present-with-subtle-energy; from awareness of the physical world to awareness of the subtle worlds within and beyond. Thus you go in and out, in and out, from one state of awareness to the other and back again.
Sometimes you may try combining this oscillation with the breath. The exercise is similar to the soham breath in Siddha yoga. Shift to subtle awareness on the in-breath, and to physical awareness on the out-breath.
Tacit invocations are ordinary greetings, farewells, pleasantries, appreciations, congratulations, which are spoken with charismatic intent – that is, with conscious subtle tone. The energy of speech resonates in subtle space as well as in physical space. The utterance is from the inner world as well as from the outer. I wrote of this effect in section 12, Chapter 5.
The concern here is not so much what you are saying, which is part of normal social intercourse, but with how you are saying it, specifically with the tone and intent. And it is not the physical tone of voice that is at issue, although of course this needs to be clear and audible. It is the emotional or soul tone and what might be called its spiritual resonance. There is a powerful projection of subtle energy too.
At the external social level, a certain convention is being observed. At a deeper level, there is a loving charge of energy going from one doubly incarnate being to another. I worked with a group of doctors in London a few years ago, who practised tacit invocations in relating to their patients, when greeting them as they entered the surgery, and in other quite normal utterances. It was one part of a plan discreetly to affirm the spiritual principle in the practice of medicine in the context of the National Health Service.
With explicit invocations, as with tacit, there is the same commitment to the use of subtle tone of voice, but what is said is now a quite overt invocation. The content and grammatical structure of the statement take it out of the range of ordinary discourse. Such statements include benedictions, commands and affirmations. And each of these may be implicitly or explicitly spiritual. I will give some examples of the six possible forms.
‘May you be whole’ (an implicitly spiritual benediction: it implies whole in spirit). ‘May the spirit make you whole’ (an explicitly spiritual benediction). ‘Be whole’ (an implicitly spiritual command: it implies whole in spirit). ‘Be whole in spirit’ (an explicitly spiritual command). ‘You are whole’ (an implicitly spiritual affirmation: it implies whole in spirit). ‘You are whole in spirit’ (an explicitly spiritual affirmation).
Statements of this sort have, of course, been part of traditional religious ritual for centuries. In the past their use has been beset by unctuousness, a false and modish piety, which makes them extremely offensive. But they can be used in the midst of everyday life, personal and professional, when the social context provides an opening for them, and when the are uttered with simplicity of heart.
Invocations, whether tacit or explicit, can also be spoken out of matrix time, and into matrix time.
In section 3 of this chapter I describe a way of enhancing presence by consciously entering matrix time when doing a sequence of physical movements. I wish now to say more about matrix time, especially in relation to the use of the voice.
Physical time is clock time – based on the regular recurrence of natural phenomena. The primary time unit is the period of the earth’s rotation, employed to measure our perception of the succession of physical events, of matter in motion in the physical world. Matrix time is the time within which sequences in physical time occur. It might also be called programme time: the time in which the composition of events in clock time is manifest. Then again it could be referred to as morphogenetic time, or inclusive time.
So if I am watching a dancer on the stage, I apprehend the total sequence of steps. And my appreciation of the dance rests on this grasp of the whole temporal form of it. Now this grasp of temporal form is itself in time, but in a time that is necessarily more inclusive and extensive than the time whose serial form is being grasped. My awareness is necessarily to some degree in matrix time in order to encompass an unfolding sequence in physical time.
You may say that it is just memory at work: I grasp the sequence of dance movements because while I see this movement now, I remember the past movements that have occurred. But the critical word here is ‘while’. This ‘while’ is in matrix time. I have sufficient awareness in matrix time to make sequential sense of remembered past movements, perceived present movements, and intended future movements.
This business of having sufficient awareness in matrix time is the same as what psychologists have called the specious present: that unmistakable sense of the present moment overflowing its boundaries to encompass some of the immediate past, and a bit of the immediate future. It is equivalent, in spatial awareness, to being aware of the real shape of the whole object while having only a limited and distorting perspectival view of it.
And just as our awareness of matrix space is underdeveloped and sufficient only to make sense of visual perspectives by correcting for shape, size and relative position; so too our awareness of matrix time is underdeveloped and sufficient only to make sense of relatively short temporal sequences. And, unless we are trained, we can only produce rather limited sets of physical movements.
There are many sorts of entry into matrix time, and the one I want to consider here is through speech. This brings us into the domain of ‘timing’ – fundamental in charismatic training, and in the cultivation of presence. It is fundamental, too, in the expessive arts.
In the theatre, and in the work of the comedian, timing is to do with the control of what is said and how it is said in such a way as to make maximum impact upon the audience. How it is said includes: the placing of inflection or emphasis; fluctuations of emotional tone; variations of volume, pitch and speed; the use of pauses and their length. Putting all these things together effectively is related to what is being said, and to the context in which it is being said.
But it is also a function of command in matrix time. The actor or comedian is speaking out of matrix time: their awareness is laid back in that psi time in which whole sequences in physical time are compounded, marshalled and organised. Once the actor knows his lines and what he has to say is secure, then he can attend fully to how he says it out of matrix time mastery.
You can practise to attain this mastery. Take some of your favourite stanzas, say from the English romantic poets – Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, Keats. Choose one stanza and make sure you know the lines thoroughly, by heart. Now declaim it aloud, and let the whole manner of your delivery be formulated in matrix time. This means you have a sense or feel for the whole sequence or temporal pattern of your delivery while (the matrix time ‘while’) you are engaged with any one part of it in physical time.
Another way of saying all this is in terms of soul. The soul is at home in matrix time. It deals in wholes, in patterns, in temporal sequences, in dramatic unfoldment. The passion of the soul, its creativity, its engagement with destiny, is formulated in matrix time. So when reciting the stanza, recite it with heart and soul. Then we can equally talk of inner time or soul time, the womb-like enlarged and extended present, in which passion of being is modulated to rise and fall and rise again in a whole temporal form of expression. In workshops I also call it charismatic time.
Such expression of soul in speech is also to do with emotional tone, or subtle tone, which I have already discussed. Subtle tone is naturally intensified when you speak out of matrix time. Soul speech also organises the use of pauses, variations of volume, pitch and speed, the placing of inflection and emphasis. The result is the drama of presence in and through the voice.
The use of pauses is a noticeable component of charismatic speech. The pauses are non-anxious, pregnant with inner time; and the speaker sustains eye contact which is also soul contact – with the listener. Speakers who are shy of their charismatic potential rattle on in clock time, without pauses, without significant variations in volume or speed, and without fluctuations in emotional tone. And their eye contact with their listeners is insecure.
The enemy of presence is anxiety. Actors often have a lot of fear before going onto the stage. It usually goes once they are out front, with the secure content of rehearsed lines which they can fill with presence. But extempore speech in everyday life may often generate a lot of subtle anxiety. Can I express properly what I need to say? Will I be understood? How will the other respond? And so on. On the stage of life we are writing the script as we go along.
This anxiety drags speech over into physical or clock time, making it more mechanical, like a fast metronome. When training facilitators, through role-play and other techniques of practice, you can see their fear reduce their speech to the repetitiveness of matter in motion. They talk with the frequency of agitated neurones, rather than with resonance of soul. The tendency of anxiety to cast speech into rapid clock time is unmistakable; and it debars access to charismatic time.
One way of dealing with all this interpersonal tension is to centre yourself and enter the levity line and the subtle body, in the ways I described earlier. Breathe easily, and open up your gaze-light with relaxed attention. In this state, there is perfectly valid continuum of speech rhythms between physical time and matrix or soul time. This is the speech mastery of a doubly incarnate being. For some content of speech and some social contexts, it is appropriate to talk more in clock time, be less soulful. In other situations, moving in and out of clock time and matrix time may be fitting. And then again, there are occasions when all speech is best expressed out of charismatic, matrix time.
Presence is enhanced when you talk out of matrix time, in the sense of talking out of an awareness of the whole temporal form of what you are saying – its past, present and future content and manner of delivery. But this degree of realisation in matrix time is relatively limited. It covers only a short sequence in clock time.
You can expand your awareness into matrix time beyond this short sequence and talk out of a sense of the whole temporal form of the social occasion, or of the day, or the month or the year. And there is one extension that is particularly potent: speaking out of a cognizance of your life as a whole, from birth to death.
Of course, these expansions yield only a tacit grasp of the greater temporal form. It is a feeling, an intuitive sense: the details of the sequence are inchoate and vague. And such extensions are not manifest in the content of what you are saying, but they subtly affect its manner of delivery and your presence.
So we have two degrees of matrix time awareness. The first encompasses the temporal form of what you are saying and how you are saying it. The second encompasses some larger sequence of your life, or even your whole life – which enhances in a subtle way the social impact of the first.
The whole is present in the part in a tacit mode. The whole temporal form of a person’s life is tacit in each moment of it. Why not extend your awareness into the tacit dimension, in order to enhance your expression in the explicit dimension of daily life?
To make a spatial analogy, physical time gives a limiting and distorting perspective on matrix time. In physical time we apprehend in succession what in matrix time is present as a total sequence, as the temporal form of our everyday life. When we are present in matrix time we can master our sequencing of external behaviour.
But as well as speaking out of matrix time, we can also speak into it, as I mentioned at the very end of the two sections on invocations above. When speaking into matrix time, you feel that what you are saying at this moment in clock time is resonating simultaneously both in the past and in the future.
Further on, in Chapter 12, I suggest that space itself is an expression of the archetypal speech of the Logos, of the creative Word of universal consciousness. Human speech, too, with the conceptual framework embedded in its use, creates our version of physical space. And the internal monologue of ordinary consciousness – the restless, inner, tacit speech of the everyday mind – sustains this version. By consciously rewriting the monologue, we can recreate and extend our grasp of space and spaces (see section 8 of Chapter 5).
Speaking out loud, from matrix time and with subtle tone, with content that reshapes the belief-systems embedded in ordinary perception, will remould physical space around the speaker, and generate an opening between the worlds, so that matrix space and vistas of the other world unfold in the awareness of both the speaker and any listener who is fully attentive.
The conventional assumption is that how you say something is a function of who you want to say it to and of what you want to say. In other words, manner of speech is determined by the direction and the content of speech. The social context determines the content, and both together determine the manner.
Charismatic training is concerned to affirm an influence in the reverse direction; so that the manner of speech influences the content of speech and its social context. But first let’s get clear what these three things include.
The social context of speech defines who is speaking to whom, what their roles are, what norms and expectations defines these roles, and what the purposes of the verbal interaction are. The content of speech refers to the meaning the speaker intends to convey, to what it is he wants to say.
The manner of speech includes linguistic manner, vocal manner, and behavioural manner. Linguistic manner is to do with diction and grammar or syntax: what sorts of words we use, and how we string them together to make statements. The same basic content or intent to convey a certain thought can be expressed in several different linguistic forms. Words can be short or long, Anglo-saxon or romance; sentences can be short or more elaborate. There are many different verbal ways of stating the same idea.
Vocal manner includes the use of emphasis and inflection, variations of emotional or subtle tone, changes in speed and volume and pitch, the use of pauses and their length. Behavioural manner includes eye contact, facial expression, use of hand and arm gesture, posture, movement and position relative to the other or others – how near or far, whether above or below or at the same level, whether opposite or beside or behind.
In Chapter 5, section 10, I suggested that to have total presence these elements of vocal and behavioural manner are generated out of command of the subtle body. In this chapter I have suggested how such command can be more fully understood in terms of matrix space, matrix time, and subtle energy. Now I think there is a certain order of influence in exercising this command.
First organise your behavioural manner (posture, gesture, etc.) out of matrix space – by entering the levity line and the subtle body, by expanding into matrix space, and so on. Second, organise your vocal manner (tone, inflection, pauses, etc.) out of matrix time. Third, let these two kinds of subtle command work their influence on your linguistic manner, that is, your choice of words and the grammatical organisation of what it is you want to say. Figure 9.1 illustrates the up-hierarchy from bearing to voice to language.
Figure 9.1 Subtle command from bearing to voice to language
It is noticeable in charismatic training how people simplify their language, get down to basic utterance, when they start to manifest physical, then vocal presence. And this then can start to influence what they say, the content; and the whole social context, the way they relate to the other person or persons involved, the nature of the relationship.
So there is an up-hierarchy at work here, in which influence proceeds from postural presence and bearing, to vocal presence, to linguistic selection, to ideas conveyed and thence to the dynamic of relating to the other. This is a powerful antidote to the cultural bias which seeks to work in the reverse direction. Using this up-hierarchy in training facilitators in my workshops has been immensely liberating for them.
The concept of an intermental field is a useful working hypothesis, especially in the charismatic training of facilitators. What I mean by such a field is the shared awareness between two or more persons. Such shared awareness is often tacit, a kind of penumbra of togetherness, an undertow of mutual participation. At a subtle level it involves a real interpenetration of minds: each of us is an idiosyncratic eddy in the totality of universal consciousness.
But the intermental field is behind the scenes: we cannot normally access it to communicate mentally or read each other’s thoughts or engage in concerted and unspoken mental endeavour. It seems as though the brain keeps us focussed on personal thoughts, and tends to shut out the full influence and impact of the intermental field. This is probably a biologically necessary condition of developing human individuality and competence at the physical level.
But it isn’t shut out fully. It is as if all sorts of flotsam and jetsam drift into the ordinary, brain-restricted mind, from many different (and ultimately inerpenetrating) intermental fields, both in this world and in the other world.
Now creative generation of the content of speech, of what it is you want to say, is greatly enabled by tuning in awarely to the intermental field of the group you are talking to or working with. If you are a facilitator addressing your group, scan the circle, make eye contact and enter the gaze-light, be inwardly relaxed, expand into the matrix space of the room. Then tune in to that subtle background field of shared awareness, which is tacit, not fully noticed or acknowledged by those who are in it, because they are preoccupied with the surface texture of their apparently isolated everyday selves.
Let the content of your thought and speech be formulated out of this intermental field in which you too participate. Of course, you may have prepared the gist of what you want to say and do before arriving at your group. Nevertheless, directly organise and express your thought and action out of the immediate intermental field in which you and your group are immersed.
This helps to give the content of what you say and do presence. It becomes geared to the souls of those who are receiving it. It goes through the back door of the mind at the same time as it is going through the front door. What you say acquires a subtle intellectual and personal resonance that defies analysis but bestows synthesis. You speak to the incarnate condition of souls at one and the same time from within that condition and from a state of unity around and beyond it.
Now you may notice that the more you tune in to the intermental aura of your human group, it is as if there is another intermental field interacting with it that is to do with presences in the other world. Of course, you can ignore or sceptically reject such premonitions of the beyond. Or you can use it to generate extra dimensions of creativity, human relevance and awareness in what you are about.
This oracular use of both human and other-worldly intermental fields is a powerful aid to the cultivation of presence. Creativity in the context of other-world intermental fields is another way of talking about creative passive hierarchies of the second kind (Chapter 2, sections 2, 3 and 4).
The intermental field of a group provides a potent context for re-thinking the whole body of thought and practice which is being shared with that group. I have many times most fruitfully extended, amended, revised, added to, basic workshop material in the context of an intermental field to whose members I have been presenting that material. On two or three occasions, I have generated the whole first draft of a comprehensive manual in that highly productive setting. There is a tacit dimension of co-authorship in what is written in this way.
When a person is practising the fulness of presence in a social situation, what is going on? Without putting in everything that I have covered above, a reasonably comprehensive answer is provided by the following.
Their subtle body awareness and projection of subtle energy are manifest through: their conscious postural bearing in matrix space, their awareness of the matrix space of the immediate environment, their awareness of the matrix of the immediate other, their matrix grasp of relative positions within the group of which they are a part, their conscious use of gaze and gesture, their conscious use of personal tone of voice and other aspects of voice, their mastery of matrix time in sequencing speech and other behaviour, their participation in the local intermental field.
Spelling it out like this makes it sound cumbersome. But it is not so in practice. For all human beings by the time they are adult have impressive skills in integrating simultaneously many different modes of awareness – sensory, perceptual, emotional, cognitive, and conative. And within each of these there are several different sub-modalities.
So the ordinary consciousness of human beings is already multi-modal to a most sophisticated degree. And the soul, it seems, yearns to extend its multi-modal range. For human consciousness is intrinsically holistic, thriving on the integration of comprehensive sets of interconnections and relations. The more it subsumes in the synthesis the more it feels exhilarated and empowered.
Nevertheless, it is still the case that being aware and alert to this degree is not everybody’s cup of tea. Nor is it appropriate in many contexts. Nor is it desirable in any context unless it is an extension of authentic person-to-person relationships founded on mutual respect.
But many people have found it liberating to have the option, when they choose, to live more fully and awarely in two worlds at once, and this in the heart of human society. Charismatic training alerts people to this option and to what is involved in taking it up.
Experience of the subtle realms: