Prunings from the Hedge

Redeployment of Energy

To say that all of our energy is already deployed is of course an exaggeration.  If that were so, we would be like puppets, unable to move on our own.  It is true, however, that, compared to the energy we could enjoy, we presently have practically none at our disposal.  All that we have is renewed each night by sleep, so that when we awake in the morning, or later in the day from a nap, we are in the best position to find our energy leaks and plug them.

Habits are our energy leaks, as has been mentioned, and they run in cycles.  As they siphon off our daily allotment of free energy, the cycles build to a peak; then, incoming energy exhausted, they dump what is left and we fall into a trough.  That is when we feel a need to make jokes, or complain, or do a dozen things that stimulate the shards of energy left to us.  These practices are also habitual, and presently we drop, utterly spent, and sleep or seek oblivion in some way.  Later we wake up and start all over again.  That is the tale of our lives.

It behooves us, then, to guard our little surplus of energy upon awakening, and learn how to cope with daily tasks without losing that sense of clarity we retain from our sojourn in the dream realm and lying in bed.  That is the best place to start on our inner work with elementals.  If we are vigilant, we can catch habit cycles as they start to arise and turn our attention to other things.  When we are freshly awake, our eyes are not trained on anything in particular, and our ears pick up all sounds equally.  If we can maintain this wide visual and aural focus, we shall be sensitive to the inner whisperings that augur the approach of inner spirits seeking to feast off our little surplus of energy from sleep.

But even if we are living in a mountain hermitage, we cannot hope to get through the whole day in a state of calm tranquility.  At some point we shall succumb; but if we keep at it, day by day, we can gradually extend the period of calm alertness, and the longer we remain in it, the deeper we will descend into levels of inner quiet.  As we do so, we will undergo inner changes based on our knowledge of habits and their peaks and troughs.  Some of these inner changes will be described next.

It has been mentioned that cats are content to do whatever they happen to be doing at the time, even if it is only resting, and do not feel any uneasiness about not doing other things.  Witches keep cats as familiars, first of all, to learn from them and recover powers lost long ago when our ancestors developed the ability to think and speak rationally.  For every advance has its price, and shamanism and witchcraft arose in the distant past from the desire to obtain a rebate from the original transaction that separated human awareness from its old kinship with the animals.  Living with a cat helps us to get into the mood of a cat, and we can pit this against the currents of unease we discern in ourselves when we bring our freshly woken alertness to bear on the level of inner whisperings.   When the Buddha taught people to do one thing at a time, he was recommending this way of the cat, and providing his teaching as a substitute for the feline example.

In meditation we are advised to let thoughts pass by our minds like clouds in the sky, neither pursuing them nor running from them.  Let each thought recede, like the sail of a boat disappearing on the horizon at sea.  See the end of the thought, calmly watching its wake as it passes by.  Then you will fall into the silence between thoughts and presently find yourself on the level of inner whisperings.  On this level you gain certain powers of movement and choice you didn’t have up above on the level of inner talk.  These powers are described metaphorically in folk tales tailored to the limited understanding of people trapped on the upper level of inner talking.  For instance, you can fly, but people won’t see you flying through the air.  What will happen is much more wonderful:  Your awareness, freed from the power of the synopsis, will begin flying through the memories of your past life, most of which have been forgotten, and you will assimilate many of the feelings you had of yourself and of life at various ages.  When you finally land from this flight, you will no longer be the person who took off, yet you will be even more authentically yourself; for instead of letting present circumstances deal a few cards from your memory-deck, you shall have shuffled much of the whole pack and selected the cards you want to hold; and you can reshuffle the deck at any time.

What is the synopsis?  The synopsis accompanies us throughout life, telling us what our current position is like and what we have to do in the present moment.  It is most easily detected in dreams.  When we begin a dream, we find ourselves already in the middle of a situation, equipped with a sort of memory of how we got there and an agenda to follow.  Because our consciousness is much simpler in dreams, being cut off from most external stimulation, the synopsis emerges clearly as a power telling us what’s what and directing our actions.  If we chance to gain some lucidity in the dream, becoming partly or fully aware we are dreaming, we can question the synopsis and make some free decisions on our own.  Instead of staying where we are and doing what we are told is important to do, we can open a door and go outside into unknown dream surroundings.  When we do so, we find ourselves immersed in very vivid, crisp detail, and imbued with extraordinary energy, energy that had previously been deployed by the synoptic power.   Then we either go on a spirit journey or return to ordinary dreaming, or wake up.

The same lucidity can be achieved in a waking state, for we are just as subject to the synopsis awake as asleep.  If we are sufficiently quiet within, it cannot control us.  We can see its operation, which is based on a selection of memories, mostly recent, which purport to tell us who we are.  But if we have lived for years and years, we are much more than that, and we have the right to base our decisions on all our identities from birth forward, and even earlier.  This is an example of gaining a power we never suspected existed, because it has always been in the hands of a habit cycle which has been operating most of our lives.  Like wallpaper, it has become invisible over the years.

Laughter is often used as a means to re-stimulating our energy after it has been captured by a habit cycle and dumped into a trough.  As we live more on the level of inner whisperings, we will still appreciate humor, but instead of laughing we will find ourselves smiling within.  The need to laugh often will no longer operate in our lives.  “There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious,” C.S. Lewis once wrote. “It is too good to waste on jokes.” [1]

These are some examples of inner changes brought about by slipping into the silence between thoughts and descending to quieter levels within, down the inner pillar.

[1] The Last Battle, p. 154.