It is one thing to understand that this is a living, purposive and conscious ("animated") world we inhabit; but another and more difficult matter to experience it as such.
At least that has been my experience, and apparently the experience of many others: we find ourselves stuck, thinking in the materialistic fashion that innately imposes the usual alienated life in which everything is experienced as a 'thing' - and we find ourselves unable to relate the our environment.
Of course I have tried to experience the world as alive and conscious - but it seldom works. Indeed, the very act of trying is what seems to block the process. It is as if my willing forms a skin around my-self.
As so often - it seems I had things the wrong way around; I was trying to do the opposite of what was actually required. The clue came from reflecting upon a passage about Heart Thinking in a talk by Stanley Messenger that I have posted before.
I regard it as a primary insight that we need to make a conscious choice in order to move forward to the next and destined development of consciousness. It won't just happen-to us: we must actively choose to make it happen: meet our destiny half-way...
I also regard it as necessary that we recognise the primacy of intuitive thinking - thinking which is based-upon direct contact between beings (not merely indirect communications, such as language)...
So that, in effect, we think each others thoughts, without perception or mediation; without need for language or any other symbolism.
At one point in that above-linked lecture entitled "Crop Circles: gateways to new worlds"; Stanley M comments that Beings (such as angels, or the so-called dead - or, implicitly, the manyfold Beings that surround us in our environment (sun, moon, stars, wind, mountains, trees, animals...) - cannot talk to us unless we first our-selves produce a language, more exactly a channel of contact, in which we can talk to them.
Now; SM actually meant 'talk', as the mode of contact - and he deployed 'channeled' conversations as his medium. However, I would regard such perceptual and 'hallucinatory' experiences as being pretty-much inaccessible-to, as well as mostly inappropriate-for, modern Men. But if I modified 'talking' to the kind of direct and intuitive knowing that I regard as primary and necessary; I found that my question was partly answered...
It became clear that what was needed was for me - consciously and by choice - to initiate direct intuitive contact with Beings, thereby to dicover from experience that they were alive.
And this was different from what I had been trying to do - which was to be receptive to the 'communications' from things around me. I had been trying to experience the world as I did when a young child - but this time consciously. I had been looking, listening and feeling; when what was actually required was for me to make an active approach...
That is what I tried to do. The problem was that It Never Worked. What never? Well, hardly-ever.
My conclusion was that this is not sufficient, it was not specific enough, thus it didn't work.
The questions arose: what (from all the infinite environment) should I approach, and how should I make this approach for it to be effective?
One clue is that this must involve 'heart thinking'; a term which means the same as intuition - and thinking with the heart is distinguished from head-thinking/ reason/ logic on the one hand; and gut-thinking/ instinct/ spontaneous impulse on the other hand. In practice, heart thinking is happening when knowledge 'appears' in conscious thinking, knowledge that we know to be from another Being (not our-selves) inserts-itself into our stream-of-thought.
So, that tells me how to know when it has-happened (and it is characteristic of heart thinking that it is retrospective. We know that an intuition has-happened - but do Not know when it is-happening.
A further characteristic of heart-thinking is that it is self-validating; while it is happening, I am sure of it, I don't doubt it. It brings with it that faith which is the natural consequence of trust. And trust is the consequence of love.
So, we begin to see how all the necessary elements are fitting together... Still, the problem remains - how exactly to initiate this process of heart thinking, how to make contact, and with-what to make contact?
(Because there are plenty of ineffective recommendations knocking-around; notably the 'exercises' prescribed by Rudolf Steiner - despite that most of these ideas come (whether directly or indirectly) from Rudolf Steiner. Steiner suggested an essentially arbitrary method, by which some-arbitrary-thing is picked-out (e.g. a plant) and then a mental-concentration form of meditation is practiced; whereby (through practise) thoughts are compelled to remain focused on the object, and to follow certain prescribed themes. I mention this only as an example of something well-meaning that has proven itself solidly-ineffective over the course of a century, during which Anthroposphy has become ever-more Ahrimanic, passive and politicised - and nearly all Anthroposophists (who practice these exercises) have become psychologically-indistinguishable from the mass of mainstream, bureaucratized, totalitarian-minded leftists.)
I got the clue for this next and final step from another comment Stanley Messenger made in the 'crop circles' talk, from about 1h 22mins before the end; which was (in my slightly edited transcription):
The huge evolutionary step that has been taken over thousands of years in Man's history is that a conscious being now exists in the universe which can arrogate to its own consciousness the freedom to decide what is true - to create universes.
And this is a perilous and devilish capacity; and is at the same time a capacity that can raise mankind to the level of the gods.
What is the difference between those two possibilities? The difference is whether, in this growth of self-awareness, mankind will come to the realisation that the perceptions of the heart are more fundamental than the perceptions of the brain. The realisation that our capacity to know through the heart reaches a more profound and truth-filled level than can be reached by perception, hypothesis and analysis.
The difference between this new freedom on the one hand to deny and destroy the reality of the cosmos; and the opposite capacity that it can create new universes of its own; depends, in the end, entirely on whether there is love in the heart - or not.
If there is no love in the heart, then this advance to a freedom of knowledge is the most Satanic thing that could possibly have happened to Mankind.
In the first place, this distinction is a stunning clarification of the catastrophes of 2020. We are ruled by those who have-not love in the heart, and the masses have allowed/ chosen that love should leach from their hearts in all world-relations excepting some of the human. Hence we have embarked upon the perilous, demonic, Satanic pathway - which is the terrible consequence of Man's choice to misuse his new freedom to create new universes.
The 'reality' that that is being created - before our eyes - is literally a Satanic hell; in which people's capacity to choose what they believe, is being used to believe the inversion of those true values that derive from God and creation.
We have created, and are developing, a 'universe' where lies are truth, the ugly and disgusting is celebrated as beautiful, evil plans are celebrated as idealistic visions; and where all representations of God, the Good and Creation are being subverted, mocked, destroyed, vilified and punished. Then all this is being locked-in by a global totalitarianism based on fear, resentment and despair.
But most vitally this 'love in the heart' requirement is the final clue to how to experience our living in an animated world; a world of Beings. How do we come to know these Beings, how do we begin to have a relationship with these Beings?
Firstly, we focus on those Beings we love.
Only by love can there be heart thinking. So anything and every-thing we love - but nothing else - is suitable for us to address. As well as people alive and around us we may love someone we have never met, perhaps one who has died; or an author, composer or artist from the past. We may love a pet, or other animal. And we may love any environmental 'thing' - a particular plant or tree in our garden, a landscape or hill, the crescent moon or the constellation of Orion.
We may love something 'made' like a house, a church building, a picture, an old car, a much-used tool...
But love is not arbitrary. The point is that we must truly, spontaneously, already love the Being we address.
Love is not an aspiration, but a necessity: an absolute requirement.
Start with what we actually love: that is vital.
Secondly, we ourselves actively, by conscious choice, express our love: and so we open the channel of communication.
A mistake is to try and manipulate, or get-something-from, that which we address. Animistic thinking is magical - but it is not magic. (Magic is an attempt at manipulating reality.)
What is needed is analogous to the difference between telephoning your mother, and making a sales call; the difference between patting a dog, and using a carrier pigeon to send a message; between a real fan-letter expressing gratitude and delight, and asking for an autograph.
Love is - in the proper sense - disinterested.
Being based in Love; we might rightly express such emotions as gratitude, appreciation, respect, admiration, even adoration.
Putting all this together:
If we want to experience the whole of reality as living and conscious - experience the animated universe - be in relation-with the world; then we begin by knowing this is true, selecting that which we actually love; and then opening the channel for direct contact by expressing that love in positive, generous, affirmative and appreciating ways.
After which we may expect to become aware of our heart thinking - so that the responses to our consciously-chosen initiation of contact becomes consciously known by us, as having appeared in our own consciousness.
We will know that we have-been in direct communication; and will intrinsically (at the time it happens) know the validity of this process.