About the way of Knowledge and the way of Communion—they’re different sides of the same thing– in the end you have to give up both in order to go beyond them, because both cause you to assume a position of duality—knower and known, communer and whatever-the-hell-the word-is-for-that-with-which you commune (or is it the ‘communee’ and the ‘communor’?). The bottom line, and the way through the door, is knowing the nature of the one who does the knowing, or communing, or seeking. Knowing is through the head, communion is through the heart—you have to have a marriage of the head and heart.
About knowing—I find that the ‘normal’ world is off to my left, and that I connect to it and participate in it via my left side, via my left, physical, heart. Most people operate in the world off to their left. If you change your center of interest, your point of focus, by moving to the right you begin to perceive the world more than you participate in it– you begin to “see” the world. At this point you can watch the world being made, and experience yourself as contributing to the creation and maintenance of the world. For example, one of my favorite things used to be (don’t do it too much anymore for some reason), sitting someplace alone– a mountain, beach, etc, and shifting my focus to where I can see the world being made– it’s as though there are, for example, huge tree-forms that extend infinitely up into the sky, and then inside those are slightly smaller tree-forms, then smaller ones still, and so on until you get down to the condensed tree-form growing on the horizon ( I think this is why I like fractals—it’s how I perceive the world being made). You can experience yourself as contributing to the creation of this by watching the world being made and at the same time paying attention to your solar plexus area—if you catch it right, it’ll feel as though you have a movie projector in your solar plexus and you’re watching the movie at the same time. We all participate in doing this.
Another way is to pay attention to how you maintain your center of focus in the world. You’ll find that you usually maintain a center of vision, a center focus of your field of vision. If you do an open-eyed meditation by sitting and relaxing, and *softly* (note, *softly*) relaxing your vision on one area, then putting your attention on the outside corners of your eyes and paying attention not to your center of vision but to your peripheral vision, to the far left and right of your visual field—if you do this you’ll see how your vision tends to come back to center—if you practice this until you can maintain your awareness at the outsides of your vision and not return to the center you’ll find that the world will sort of ‘pop out’ for you—you have to practice so that when you get the opportunity (in the mountains, etc) you can do it. I should also add that you should also pay attention to which eye you tend to look out of, which side you use more for seeing—try to move from one side to the other to see how it affects what and how you see (beyond the fact that you may have one eye better than the other). Also pay attention to the tension in your face and neck, if there’s more on one side or the other –try to relax and equalize both sides. You may also notice the sounds in your ears, that one side is louder, or different, than the other, or that they change as your vision changes.
Be aware, however, that the results of practicing this will sneak up on you at inappropriate times- I can remember driving to work and suddenly having the world ‘pop’ and I’m experiencing everything as though I’m sitting still and the road and scenery are moving towards and around me, and the whole thing is being projected from my midsection—hard to handle driving a pickup truck at 60mph on the highway– I had to pull over and refocus. This is the point, though, of always being able to find yourself, because if you can’t you can get lost in the ‘dream’, in the creation—if I hadn’t been able to find myself as distinct from the experience and the body-in-the-circumstance, I could have done some serious damage—at other times it’s ok to let go and let things develop. The way back out of the door to “freedom” is being able to find yourself and follow yourself, your own scent, your own footprints, your own presence of being, back out—like following a string back out of a cave. It’s one thing to be lost and be aware that you’re lost, it’s another to lose yourself—to lose your ‘self’.
The shift is something that you can do without doing the ‘visual’ thing, but which will also happen *when* you do the visual thing, if that makes sense. You can do the right shift on perceptual levels other than just the visual—it’s a life saver on the emotional level because you can shift and “see” your emotions, i.e., understand them, rather than getting lost in them. This is especially valuable when you’re dealing with universal creative processes like sex and survival—it helps you to see their ‘universality’ as well as how that universality works itself out in and through you and all individuals. In fact, you can see from that perspective how ‘individuality’ is a universal process at this level of things.
A bit of a short answer to your other mail about the space, etc.—I’ve never had a problem with ‘space’—I find voids very comforting and relaxing—I like looking up at the night sky and feeling the space in between the stars. On the other hand I find the ‘normal’ world incredibly claustrophobic. Expanding into space is like going home to me—I have nothing to lose. I most definitely don’t lose myself—if anything I tend to lose myself in the ‘normal’ world that most people find so secure, and I find that I’m most myself when I’m expanded. No fear there—not for you either once you get comfortable with it. You’re still you, aren’t you, regardless of where you are, or who you are (i.e., what body and personality you’re occupying)?