Upon reading the first part of Zan on Zen, Peter had found that he felt an affinity with the idea of the universe being an energy field with an element of consciousness. The way that the three components of the universal principle, matter, energy and mind blended into each other, bore a similarity to the way that ice, water and steam were all phases of the same substance, simply displaying different properties. All of creation, by this reasoning, was a unity, a single entity. This idea had a powerful effect and brought to mind a strange phenomenon that he had experienced in his youth.
In his late teens, Peter had gone to see the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey”, since he had read the novel and found it captivating. At the movie scene where the character Dave was hurtling through space in the capsule, Peter had been so engrossed in the special effects, depicting stars and galaxies, that he had actually experienced an altered state. Initially, suspicious of this strange feeling, he had even considered the possibility that someone in the movie theater was smoking something that was still illegal in Colorado back then. Because his mental faculties were not impaired, however, he realized that this was not the case. Peter had simply put this occurrence down to the movie’s special effects, and had thought no more about it.
Recalling that instance of expanded awareness, while considering the fact that the universe is an energy field, Peter thought that he might at last have an explanation. Possibly the movie scene had subliminally introduced the energy field idea to him, and the feeling he had experienced was a characteristic of this realization. It was with this idea in mind that Peter commenced his relaxation routine. This time he did not consider any negative encounters with individuals, or negative situations, instead focusing on the concept of pure energy, as permeates the whole of creation. The first section of the book Zan on Zen gave a clear description of energy, in all its forms, and also explained how all matter is simply a form of energy, so he had a clear understanding of the principle. In his relaxed state, Peter established the energy flow through his body, in time with his breathing. Thinking of the three phases of reality, and acknowledging that he consisted of these three phases, and so was in tune with all of creation, Peter soon found that he felt a very profound sense of well-being. By contemplating the vastness of the universe, and at the same time recalling those scenes from the movie “2001”, he found himself feeling a similar shift in awareness as had happened in his youth.
Peter now understood, because of his previous relaxation routines, that his thoughts, and therefore his state of mind, were under the control of his will, and that he could choose to mold his thought processes as he wished. He focused on this fact intently and came to the realization that he was not his thoughts, but rather he was the creator of them. This further enhanced the sensation of being in an altered state, which was accompanied by the realization that he was a center of power within the universal energy field. Experiencing an incredible sense of well-being and tranquility, Peter concentrated on the conclusion that this exercise had led him to: