Last night I became clear on three pillars of a newly supercharged practice: attunement, listening, and presence (space). Or more accurately, I became clear on a concrete behavior corresponding to each aspect. For more presence, open my eyes. For more receptivity/listening (the feminine principle), breathe (as implied or "instructed" by the streaming energy). And for greater attunement (the masculine principle), focus more precisely on the energy streaming in through my third eye (or crown or mouth). Okay, the last one isn't as physically concrete, but it's quite subtly concrete; it's about feeling and staying with the core intensity of the incoming stream, like trying to swim with the strongest, central part of a current. This activity is centered in the third eye/crown/mouth (which for me seem to be ever joining), but when coupled with listening (physical breathing) and presence (physical eyes open), the current extends through my whole body.
Thomas said we can practice attunement and receptive listening simultaneously until we realize they are "not two." At certain points last night, I saw that clearly. The receptive breathing became simply a way of respecting and appreciating the energy I was focused on. Listening and attunement became one.
Consciously initiating a breath (whether in or out) when the only natural impulse is to run and hide (by contracting the jaw, throat, abdomen, or all three) serves as a gateway to relaxation. Mentally I would tell myself to relax and allow the energy in. I would do this initially by starting a breath—but really it's not so much conscious breathing as it is conscious opening (relaxation) of the various breath gateways (the throat especially, for me last night). That's because, when I allowed it to open, I found that the energy carried with it its own "instructions" on how to breathe. All I had to do was follow its lead re: pace, volume of air, and direction (in or out). It could be quite a lot of breathing—like a breathwork exercise, especially in its tingling hyperventilation effects. The difference is that, unlike breathwork, the only mental control in this case was to keep the physical breathing channel open, not to conform to some preconceived rhythmic breathing pattern. In fact the breathing could be quite erratic. The only consistent part of this practice was to not hold the breath, which means that if breathing did stop, it was only from a place of repose and relaxation, not of contraction and holding.
When I lie down at night, the metaphorical snake of my spinal column immediately begins to coil into my base. This is intense, like a descent into deep, dense darkness where the air is thick and stale, and the claustrophobic sense of being in my body makes me want to hold my breath and not let the awareness descend any further. But to actually relax in my base—this is a foreign experience to me. Last night I took the possibility seriously, which led to the three behavioral pillars I described above. However, it wasn't until my wife came back to our bed that I dialed the practice back (so as not to disturb her with my loud breathing/whimpering/groaning). Before that, each successive deepening into relaxation was accompanied by a more intense opening and inrush of power. So this relaxation wasn't exactly conducive to sleep. At certain points it felt like my skull cracked open to let more light stream in between the hemispheres of my brain. All of this to say: maybe I also need to learn how to relax into my base while closing my crown. (That would be a good question to ask: what are the valid "use cases" for consciously closing the crown?)
One more thing: my subtle experiences are almost entirely felt—not so much seen or heard. Yet during my supercharged practice last night, some subtle visual capacities began to come online. Everything is still quite faint—mostly blackness, with intermittent silver wisps punctuated by occasional brow strobes. Anyway, I thought this was cool.