Thanks to all for the kindness of your patience.
I can see by the responses that I haven't made the meaning clear at all though. I'm puzzled by that, but feel challenged to try again, but where?
I am tempted to do a full explication of Proust's passage above, which thing seems to state the case more clearly than I can, but also wouldn't care to have a flock of rotting astral tomatos pitched at me either. :-) So I will hold off on that tactic for now.
At least, this trying to explain what I understand of the idea seems to be helping me to wrest pieces it from the primordial fog.
So, OK, here: Let's go back to casteneda:
There was a time, when Don Juan was teaching Carlos about dreaming. Eventually, Carlos learns that one can dream a 'double', a second self which can travel and take action in this world. Juan also has a friend, Don Genaro, who was evidently well accomplished in the art. And one day Don Genaro visits (materializing out of a swirl of ashes, as I recall) in his "dreaming body". Carlos, always playing the dumb fop, asks Don Juan some along the lines of "But, but, is he is real as I am"? And they both look at him an then start laughing, and Don Juan explains: No, he is not as real as you are. He is as real as Don Genaro is."
From the book "Tales of Power", we learn that 'power' is something that a person, or any being, deploys to make 'the world' real. He assembles both himself and the reality in which he exists with it. Without it, he can do niether. If a person loses power, he has ill luck and becomes vulnerable. If he loses all, he dies.
(Now, I know that many people feel that Casteneda was a fraud. I don't. I suspect that what he did, likely under advice from his teachers, was to fictionalize his work to protect himself. Any person in the public eye gets a virtual swamp of various astral and thought forms glogged at their consciousness, and for sensitive persons this can be a nightmare. When writing about fringe topics it is an occupational hazard, even. The things learnable from what CC writes are far too consequential to dismiss them just because I don't know all the details of the events that lead to the books being written.)
Now, relatedly, occasionally, we meet a person, an animal, or even a plant, that seem far more real than their companions or other examples of their kind. For instance, I once saw a daisy plant in flower in a neighbor's yard, one of six plants, that was clearly in a class of its own. It was like it glowed, or had a greater presence, or was reposed in some unique form of magnetic field all its own. It did not have more or larger or more brilliant flowers. There was nothing obvious in its physical structure that I could point to, and dismissed it as some sort of fluke in my own perception, maybe some cryptonesia relation to something I saw in the distant past or something. But then a few days later, pulling into the driveway with a friend, I mentioned it, pointing to it, and instantly he said "Yes! Patty and I were talking about it the otbher day! Isn't that something!" But we never did isolate just what that 'something' was.
Occasionally, when at the track, you will see a racehorse with this kind of 'glow'. And what a bet it turns out to be! For no matter what that horse's record, it presently has this 'power', and no other horse will pass him, no matter how slow he runs. This is in part what horseracing handicappers of old refer to as "class" (though most handicappers these days derive a sense of class from earnings).
I am thinking now that this "class-stuff" is much the same as the "invisible magnetic field stuff" is much the same as CC's "power-stuff" and is much the same Proust's "faith", by which he could or could not invest displays of feminine beauty with the "reality" that he used to. In this last case though, we have Proust projecting the power on to things he percieves, rather than sustaining and bringing into high profile his own existence.
This hopefully will be clear to anyone reading who can identify examples of this "heightened reality" of particular persons, places or things from his or her own past experience. And it seems like we all must see this as various points in our lives. You might not be able to recall one at first, but maybe later, in a day or two, some memory will surface and you will say to yourself, "Oh! ....I bet that's what that lunatic was talking about.....!~"
Individually, the various concepts are relatively mono-dimensional, but taken together, for me, they give each other a depth that makes it seem like workable idea, and of a very practical nature: We each have, at this moment, a certain amount of "power", by which we sustain our individual realities and ourselves within it. It varies over time, place circumstance, and person.
And yes, I think now, after all, that Proust's faith-stuff is the same thing as CC's "power". And this demystifies Carlos' concept, for me, and makes it attainable. One can see at a glance, if one train's oneself to look, I imagine, the relative amount of 'power' in any person, place, or thing. As Don Juan puts it, (aproximately, going from memory here), when first explaining the idea to Carlos "At first the idea of power is an absurdity. One can't even imagine it. Then he begins to get the idea, but he is not sure if it is real or if he is just deceiving himself. Then it becomes real and he is stunned by the immense value of what he sees..."
So. I have got my original question answered. Thanks all. Of course, I'm aware that I might well be the only one that came this far along this thread, ;-D , but if anyone else is out here: It would be great to have a discussion about this whole 'power' idea on this forum, with this group. But I will also be rereading some of CC's work and seeing what I can develop further about it. If anyone's here and interested I will share, but otherwise I will let it drop here.
Does Tom cover this at all in his work? (I confess, I have taken his advice and am consuming it in small chunks, now presently revisiting the ideas of 'belief', 'ego', 'fear' and 'entropy'.) If anyone has followed out to this far, you can see how he might want to. It would be fine to hear his thoughts on it, whether he sees anything in it or finds it to be totally dissable non-sense.