... we are talking about the sensation of being present, or of presence? In which, at least part of that sensation is the conscious effort expended in which we attend to the higher and the lower, keeping them distinct and not mixing those influences and yet not letting them cancel or oppose one another either. It would be the sensation of having the benefit of that conscious effort come in an added firmament in our conscious awareness?
I thought this was pretty well put. Yet it opened the doors to some further questions, the first of which, was, for me, exactly what is this conscious effort we speak of? The way the reader put it, it sounds to me like "we" make this effort. That is, it is something that I myself, "do," within the ordinary context of my ordinary being.
I come back again to Mme. de Salzmann's citation of voluntary sensation. It can't be stressed enough that what is voluntary arrives of its own volition; I don't call it, I don't invoke it, I don't provoke it. I don't make it happen. It doesn't emanate from "me," that is, this ordinary part of my being which I generally used to express everything in life. It does not, in short, ever come from the mind or its impulses.
Voluntary sensation arises directly from the mind of sensation itself, which is a mind that ought to be active in its own right. It isn't; and every time I need to look for sensation in myself, to invoke it, go out and create it, move it around, discover it, and so on, the sensation that I am encountering is not voluntary sensation. In every single instance, even if the sensation is real, tangible, and solid, it is involuntary sensation. That is, the sensation did not arrive by itself, is not a living quality that inwardly forms a relationship with mind; it is sensation that was provoked, invoked, or otherwise manipulated.
The absolute character of the voluntary sensation that accompanies Presence is that it is untouched. I need to come to an experience of sensation in myself that is untouched; and until I understand precisely what that means, I do not know what real sensation is. Understanding the distinction between organic or real sensation, voluntary sensation, and the sensations that I move around like pieces on an inner chessboard is vital. That which I touch and move about on my own is not voluntary; and what I need to experience is this voluntary sensation, that is, I need to come to a practical, immediate, and living understanding of what the sensation of Being is within the context of that mind.
Once I have this understanding, I can begin to see quite clearly why I can't work directly with the feelings; cause the arrival of feeling is of exactly the same nature, although of a slightly higher order, due to its more intense rate of vibration. Real feeling arises voluntarily; and, generally speaking, it's quite a shock, because real feeling is very different than emotion, and has much deeper aspects to it. I am almost always in emotion; once I acquire the presence of sensation, I am able, at least, to know for certain the distinction between emotion and feeling, and distinguish between them. But I can never bring real feeling to myself; I can only wait for it.
Conscious presence is the blending of the voluntary elements of mind, sensation, and feeling; and since any one of these elements will be present to a greater or lesser degree in three-centered consciousness—that is, since the balance is rarely perfect or completely harmonious—conscious presence has a range of expression. Not only that, because conscious Presence is required to respond constantly to the environment around it in the most flexible possible manner, it will of its own nature adjust the dominant center, or mind, which is taking things in according to the necessity of the moment.
This means that a real sensation of conscious Presence must of necessity change from moment to moment, adjusting itself to the circumstances; and it will not adjust itself according to what I "like" or do not "like." It adjusts itself according to necessity, which engages according to a set of principles that "I" — my ordinary self — doesn't understand, because they are dictated by a higher level.
I can participate — and if I am flexible and relaxed, that participation can be quite active.
But I cannot direct.