We unworlders talk about Metsuke, the balance between focus and detachment. In the same conversation we talk about Monroe's Focus 10, also called the MABA or Mind-Awake-Body-Asleep state, a term originally coined by Oliver Fox and popularized by Monroe.
Not too long ago someone in an unworlding discussion group used the word "distraction" in a sentence and a ROTE fell out of the sky and landed at my feet. It's been slowly unrolling ever since, and the result is a new term for Focus 10/MABA: Suspended Attention . The ROTE even came with its own vision.
Step zero is to remind ourselves that the human being is not some mechanical contraption made out of some mechanical spirit stuffed into some mechanical body. Spirit--the ineffable--is everything, thus indefinable, and "body" is also just a description. Pull that body/mind duality out by the roots and deal strictly with perception. Then this conversation can proceed.
Consulting Synfonemia first as to where distraction falls within the elements of our world: for starters, list other words with the root "tract".
TRACT, contiguous area, parts connected to each other such as the digestive tract or a stretch of land
DETRACT, take away
CONTRACT, draw together
RETRACT, draw back
ATTRACT, draw toward
DISTRACT, draw away
OK... ever wonder why they call it a "drawer"? That slidable shelf/box you keep your clothes in? Because you draw it out, you pull it out. Draw and pull mean the same thing; you draw a line by pulling it out of a point. So distraction is something that pulls you away. And we agreed above that "you" are not spirit or body, but perception .
The listed TRACT words all deal with 3ness, which is all about different things being joined together. What is Metsuke? The balance between focus and detachment. Detachment is the opposite of attachment or connection; more 3ness. Distraction and detachment are Synfonemic synonyms: they are both imperfect descriptions of a mysterious force that balances 3ness--when its use gets out of hand--by turning 3ness down.
If Metsuke is the balance of focus and detachment, what is focus? Well it's gonna be the place where what might otherwise have been discontiguous recipient points of Attention come together. Focus is like polarized or concentrated Attention. Focus is a kind of togethering. It's 3ness.
So focus and detachment are literally just opposites. Which makes Metsuke nothing more complicated than the balance of 3ness. The most complicated thing you can say about Metsuke is that it's the balance of 3ness against its opposite. Actually 3ness has no opposite; you just turn it up or down. Elements don't have opposites. Actually, opposition itself is an element: 2ness. Similarly, time is not a fourth dimension as popularly assumed by science; dimensionality itself is an element--3ness--while 4ness, which can be described as time, is a different element.
Now that I've finally managed to rename Mind-Awake-Body-Asleep, it only remains to give examples of how this works in unworlding. My experience is that it works like letting a snake out of its cage, as in a kundalini uprising. Some of the saner voices out there would agree that kundalini rises many times, not just once as the hucksters of one-time permanent enlightenment would have us believe. Once you strip the trappings of religion, capitalism, and tradition away from unworlding, the quest for enlightenment, the opening of the third eye, and the raising of kundalini, I think you'll see they're all pretty much the same thing. It's just that unworlding vs. its predecessors is designed to come with less instructions and more useful descriptions.
While Metsuke refers to an abstraction--a Frawmbickly Act, a useful tool in general--Suspended Attention or what we used to call Mind-Awake-Body-Asleep is an example of Metsuke put to use. And now we know how to achieve the mysterious MABA. We'll get right back to that, to find out what it is that we now know. Something that Oliver Fox and Robert Monroe didn't tell us in so many words. So... here are those many words, along with some hints about that kundalini thing.
Quick double check: what is suspended attention? I mean what would it mean according to the dictionary, if we hadn't already decided on a new meaning for it?
When you suspend something, according to the original root words, you hang it up. In our time it's come to mean "interrupt". When you hang somebody up you're slowing them down or stopping them; when you hang up an old-fashioned phone you're putting the mouthpiece in its connection-breaking cradle, hanging it on hooks, as well as stopping a conversation. So 'suspend' has a meaning close to 'distract' or 'detach' but more complex, more positionally specific.
And Attention is awareness put to use. Directed/polarized/focused awareness. When you pay Attention you direct your own awareness. When you get someone to pay Attention to something, you're managing to direct their awareness. Attention, like money, is a form of 4ness that could be generalized as 'utility' or 'toolishness'.
Suspending attention then, as a generic concept straight out of the dictionary, would have to do with interrupting what someone is attending to, or thinking about, thus altering their focus of Attention. Ever get lost in the middle of an activity or a monologue and look up with a quizzical expression and say, 'Where was I?' This is also one of the better reality checks for unworlders. See how everything ties in once you understand the Synfonemic basic elements that define our practice? 'Where was I' could mean 'what state was I in' or 'what place was I in' since a state is a state of being and, in an unworlding, can be represented by a dream place. 'Merely to be there...' in the above Tolkien quote. Ever notice that a place literally puts you into a state? 'Let's go to X.' Why bother? You're already someplace, why not just stay put? Because you'll like the way you feel when you get there. States and places are different representations of the same thing: a shift in awareness, even in mood.
MABA--a term we're in the process of abandoning--is a state sought after by unworlders ever since Bob Monroe told us about it. What he didn't really do was to define it very well. You had to find that out for yourself. I guess that's why he decided to call it 'Focus 10' instead of using an inherently descriptive term. But do we each have to rediscover everything for ourselves? Or could it be that Monroe and others aren't sure how they found themselves there, at least not clearly enough to tell others how to go about it?
Synfonemia solves that problem by defining the basic elements of thought first, assuming that we create our worlds by thinking, and then tells you exactly what to do with your mind in order to put that critter where you want it to be. To go here, you do this. The only problem with Synfonemia is that it still knows infinitely more about me than I know about myself, but with the discovery of Suspended Attention experientially, an important step has been made. That's where a possible experience of kundalini rising comes in.
What's that? I've been writing a book about unworlding for over two years (really all my life) and I'm just now experiencing Focus 10 (now called Suspended Attention)?
Well no. We all experience Suspended Attention all the time, it's part of going to sleep. It's just that we haven't done a very good job of defining the steps to going to sleep which are also for the most part the steps to getting consciously unworlded, with a few subtle changes. What we're after here is those few subtle changes. We're learning how to Go To Sleep Right.
Two days ago after a period of days or weeks staying relatively focused on the 8ness personality I've learned about from observing my dreams--the personality I call Limberluck--I'd just had a meditation session and then read a chapter in a good science fiction book by Vernor Vinge called Rainbow's End. When I stood up, I went Whoa! I am in a non-ordinary state of being!
Assuming that it wasn't a mild case of food poisoning, what occurred over the next many hours was probably one of those things they call a Kundalini event, but let's not get hung up in the teeming tendrils of ancient terminology; let's talk about what actually happened.
I wasn't dizzy or wobbly, I was vibrant or energized or galvanized or something. Based on what happened that night when I went to bed, I'd have to say I was starting to feel the effects of all the extra breathing I've been doing for the past two-plus years. My meat body is dissolving and my air body is finally starting to get a toehold on what world I live in. Or call it "kundalini rising" if you prefer. Or food poisoning. I actually don't care.
Before I Noticed these energy sensations, I'd done an Awakening session in the early afternoon. I had recently--during a meditation session the previous day--discovered a way to make Noticing sessions more productive: by introducing dimensionality. Now dimensionality is 3ness, right? Here's what I practiced after lunch before going into a state in which I was not aware of being either awake or asleep for two hours: I practiced mentally looking at a big square screen right in front of me with my eyes closed, then from the bottom corners of the screen I drew lines--perspective lines, a beginning artist might call them--lines from the bottom corners of the screen, extending back into the darkness and meeting roughly about at the center of my visual field. From my journal:
"A Tunnel opening appeared at the place where the two lines met and I put spiral lines on it going inside and watched it start to move. As the end of the Tunnel--essentially where the two lines meet--wobbles around, it is the Tunnel curving, which is in turn me moving through the Tunnel. Went to sleep at this point. When I woke up I viewed the Tunnel with exceptional clarity and was shown a small dark image of an abstract nature--like a shadow of a bush or something--and a back wall behind it, i.e. the depth dimension. As soon as I widened my perspective to panoramic/Metsuke, I started to see a floor made of black-and-white checkerboard squares i.e. even better fleshed-out depth marked right into the floor. I moved over the checker-patterned floor above the object on the floor, past it and down a Tunnel with a checkered floor back to the physical when my left eye opened slightly and let in too much light. I'm noticing a tendency for the eyelids to relax and open slightly while generating images extremely well."
What I had managed to do involved two new skills or realizations: I could make the flattish screen of the closed eyelids--really the mind's eye--much more dimensional, instantly, by pro-actively building a floor for my mind's eye to set things on. Something about a dark mist doesn't hold things up as well as a nice solid, three-dimensional floor. In fact, in our world, the ground, or groundedness itself, is the very foundation of solidity.
The other thing I learned is that the wavering of the focal point of Attention, which is uncontrollable without many hours of daily training in concentration exercises, can be used instead of resisted, and this was a big deal. I'd done this before without realizing it. Now that I've realized it, I can use it all the time. And I'm that much closer to understanding why shamans through the centuries like to enter a Tunnel in order to transition to the Unworld. It introduces not only the notion of the Urumara--the Tunnel opening and the outlet at the other end--but the notion of vision extending into dimensionality, which is the crux of a solid world. Real things aren't straight. In nature, a real cave curves. Realism is a big part of lucidity.
When I extended the perspective lines to the center of the screen and back from there, naturally due to the lack of concentration exercises in my practice I was unable to keep this point from moving around. What I did about this was not to try and force the point to keep still; without knowing what I was doing, I used the wavering to define the famed light at the end of the Tunnel , or in this case, the furthest point back that I could see, from my location inside the Tunnel, due to the twisting and turning of the Tunnel. What had been a squirrelly, untameable point of focus became the ever-changing end point of a vision, and since the end-point of where I could reach with my vision inside the Tunnel kept floating around, it induced a sense of motion! Everyone knows a sense of motion is the goose that laid the golden egg. We unworlders would pay dearly for the ability to induce a sense of motion at will.
Long story short: I went into a deep trance for two hours. Call it sleep if you want. When I came to, I did not call it sleep. I called it neither awake nor asleep. Somewhere in the Unworld. Certainly not sleep. Or food poisoning.
In the late afternoon I went for a breathwalking session on the dirt road that goes past my house and didn't stop till dark. I was really onto something. I was in a state of spontaneous--that means unforced, not the product of the conscious mind's machinations--enthusiasm about my practice, so at 7:15 I did another meditation session and then went right to bed for a Vac-U-Move session. For some reason, when I told my journal I was going to bed, instead of exhaustively listing my goals and repeating my current affirmations in the journal as I often do, I cockily wrote only, "Tunnel to Toontown." I didn't know how true this was gonna turn out to be.
I took 30 Buzz Breaths with enough enthusiasm to put me straight into a solidly Vibey state and relaxed into motionlessness as quickly as possible. In the next hour and fifteen minutes, I had at least nine incredible experiences in Suspended Attention, which took me another hour and fifteen minutes to write down. Amazingly, I remembered all these experiences when I got out of bed afterwards. I never fell asleep. All or most of them happened due to this new dimensional way I'd learned of Noticing images, but that's not really all that was going on.
I said I never fell asleep, right? Well have you ever heard of Mind-Awake-Body-Asleep? I think we were just talking about that. I was unmistakably in an altered state of consciousness. But I did not focus on the state. Because the usual boredom-and-impatience-inducing, overly vigilant Evaluator of All Things--the rent-a-cop department down at Monkey Mind Central--had miraculously forgotten to come to work, what kept happening is that I was in a floaty state, a revery of well-attended detachment where I would momentarily get distractedly thoughtless and BAM! I'd Notice that I was already in a scene of some kind, and instead of the usual, "Well that woke me up," for the most part I'd be able to stay in the scene lucidly and see where it went. The details are in Chapter 31 of my dream journal, January 31, 2018. The odd thing about this is that as soon as the mind was allowed to drift like a dog without a leash, it would already be in someone's yard digging something up. From the journal, after I'd recorded all nine Awakenings:
"[I think that's all there was except some pretty ornate Noticings which were unrememberable and/or indescribable. Focus now is Noticing the depth dimension, i.e. images in front and behind each other, which pulls the Attention into the scene and that seems to cause the scene to spontaneously blossom with detail and definition. For me, this seems to work best if I have a frame with four corners in front of me facing me, and then I project lines from the corners to meet in the middle somewhere, then expand the intersection into a square or round opening and move my head imperceptibly in a circle which draws a spiral on the central circle or opening/Tunnel entrance. The Attention flits around BUT instead of struggling to hold the opening or spiral in one place, let it float around as it naturally does, and feel its distance, it extends into the far visible end of a Tunnel and the wobbly motion of the Attention defines a curve in the Tunnel beyond which I can't see. Continuing this creates a sensation of moving into the Tunnel.]"
"[I have now experienced Focus 10 for myself solidly and I now know what it is by my own experience. The many-legged creature or energetic structure is perfect. The huge ultra-thin mushroom cap dome tries to float away with the invisible force of the Uppers pulling up on it--it's a wind sail like a hot air balloon and the pixie dust of evaporated daily stress in the air pushes it upward gently while the flexible slender-thread legs anchor it to the conscious mind [the ground], so the Remote Mind and the conscious mind both get to share the experience due to Metsuke. This is the perfect picture of the dynamic tension between the Uppers and the 2-3-4 which the Dream Usher has to balance against each other in Suspended Attention.]"
When I tried to go to sleep after recording the nine Awakenings, I was too excited. (When that last simple sentence wrote itself, I became emotional. Jeepers, maybe I do have food poisoning!) Anyway, I quickly gave up trying to sleep and became totally and unself-consciously engrossed in mentally pumping out Professor U. d'Guru skits until I couldn't stop laughing and got out of bed to meditate again and then settled myself with some crackers and cheese. (Why do I keep getting ecstatically emotional while I write this two days later? Kundalini rising, not food poisoning. I'm starting to vibrate again... Let's just say this unworlding stuff might have its mechanical elements, but at its core it is deep, primal stuff. The core of unworlding is the core of me. Hey, I just realized that the Remote Mind has four members and the conscious mind only has three... Idiocy is outnumbered! There's hope after all! Anyway, the conscious mind might have gravity on its side, but the Remote Mind has pixie dust on its side. May the greater force win.)
After the meditation session outside on my second-story terrace, I Noticed that my brother-in-law's internet cafe was still open at 11 p.m. and I had to decide whether or not to care about this. My brother-in-law, who is also my next-door neighbor, has assaulted me twice for suggesting he run his entertainment business by the local ordinance and thus close it earlier, so people who get up at 5-6:00 a.m. can get some sleep. It took several tries, but I got this rehashed conversation with myself shut down just in time to keep it from ruining everything. Literally within seconds of my silently accomplishing this from the safety of my own home, I saw my brother-in-law came out of his house and tell everybody in the internet cafe to go home. I don't believe in coincidences; this was a Resentment Test and I guess I passed it.
Having managed to stay calm, I lay down and started dreaming before I went to sleep! As soon as I closed my eyes, entire scenes started to form. The only one I remember is a Shetland pony in a back yard with a cliff or very steep, rocky slope going down from the back of the yard. There was a cat the same color as the pony and we nuzzled each other's faces. Then I heard a noise--so I must have been in the Projection Room--and there was a huge purple pig grunting loudly. This was not visioneering, it was Beyond Noticing. I was dreaming without being asleep! I did lose consciousness, if you want to call it that, but when I got out of bed at 1:15 a.m. I wrote that I had been dreaming continuously but never felt like I was really asleep. Of course I was asleep but I was not in any typical kind of sleep. It took me 40 minutes to write down the dream I had, which included Chained content in the form of the pig and cat from the waking dream earlier.
When I lay down again, as soon as I closed my eyes, an object with alien writing all over it appeared as a mist parted for me to see it. Then the object, which looked like a thick brown tablet covered with raised letters, dots and symbols, tilted up slowly so I could see the alien letters. This scene repeated itself for me about four-to-six times. Every detail was in high resolution including the wisps of fog that floated away so I could see the object. I watched other waking dreams spontaneously and effortlessly unfold and finally went to "sleep" if you can call it that. Even in my sleep I felt that energy was rushing through me as if I was on some sort of potent, but harmless and somewhat relaxing, psychoactive drug, but I was stone cold sober and in good health. Compared to actual psychoactive drugs, this would be the kind that is designed to merge with the body's functions instead of beat it up and make it tired.
At 4:45 a.m. I awoke with a slight headache from a series of extremely bizarre dreams. If you read them in my journal, I'll just say you have been warned. The pig appeared again, but not in a very happy way. However there is nothing overtly "positive" about a kundalini awakening. You have to take the bad with the good, and the way I got into this state to begin with, I am pretty sure, is that I somehow managed to suspend my hyperactively evaluative typical state of mind and spontaneously gave up my pushy attempts at manipulating myself into a magical mindset, and somehow landed in a sweet spot and effortlessly hung out there for almost 24 hours.
I couldn't go back to sleep, so I just took some headache medicine and lay around thinking about what I'd just been through. From the typical point-of-view--which I don't subscribe to--I didn't 'get unworlded' as such; but from my point of view, I was unworlded continuously for at least a whole day. What we don't realize is that the Dayly Dreame is an unworlding, but we usually waste it by allowing inertia to determine the contents and configurations of our minds. Somehow for a day I defeated this tendency without trying or planning to, and allowed one ordinary day to merge with the unknown, and now I know what "Focus 10" is.
Recommended reading: "Focus 10" by Frederick Aardema. It's floating around on the internet somewhere and it's also a chapter in his book Explorations in Consciousness .
But for me, from now on it's Suspended Attention . A dynamic, flowing, ever-changing state of balance between too much 3ness and too little 3ness: an application of Metsuke. Like everything else in this business, when it works, it's effortless.