I think something is lost in translation here. It has been mentioned before that Thanissaro Bhikkhu sometimes is off the mark in his translations. If we look at some other translations of the Nimitta Sutta - Piya Tan argues that the three bases mentioned in the sutta are: Basis of samadhi, The effort sign and The equanimity sign. So 'uplifted energy' here equates to 'the effort sign'. He argues further that the three nimitta are specific conditions for meditation in the sutta and that they are conflated with the 5 spiritual faculties.
The three “bases” of the Nimitta Sutta are, in fact, conflated forms of the five spiritual faculties. The Sutta’s commentary (AA 2:364) glosses nimitta with karana, whose meanings include the following: (1) cause, reason, ground, motive, means; (2) valid reason or argument; (3) event, matter; (4) proper action,
task (DP, abridged). Here nimitta is best taken in the sense of “means,” since it refers to conditions for mental focus. Namitta Sutta - Translated & annotated by Piya Tan
So we end up with:
- Basis of samadhi = Faith & Samadhi
- The effort sign = Effort
- The equanimity sign = Mindfulness & Wisdom
In this context, rather than being 'states' to be attained, as you seem to allude to in your question, the three bases point to a particular mental orientation in meditation session itself. Applying too much concentration, energy or equanimity in a sitting leads to unsatisfactory results. This is illustrated further in the Namitta Sutta by Buddha in the simile of gold refining:
Suppose, bhikshus, a goldsmith or a goldsmith’s apprentice prepares a furnace. Having prepared it, he starts a blaze in the furnace mouth. Having started the blaze, he places the gold [in a crucible] in the furnace mouth.
From time to time, he blows on it.
From time to time, he sprinkles water on it.
From time to time, he simply looks on at it.
Bhikshus, if the goldsmith or the goldsmith’s apprentice were only to blow on that gold, it is possible that it would burn.
Bhikshus, if the goldsmith or the goldsmith’s apprentice were only to sprinkle water on that gold, it is possible that it would cool down.
Bhikshus, if the goldsmith or the goldsmith’s apprentice only to look on that gold, it is possible that it would not come to full refinement.
But if he were
only from time to time to blow on it,
only from time to time to sprinkle water on it,
only from time to time to simply look on,
the gold would then become pliant, malleable and bright, uncorrupted, and it could be properly worked on. Whatever ornament that he wishes to make, be it a diadem, a gold plate, earrings, a necklace, or a gold chain, that gold can now be used for that purpose.
So concentration, energy or equanimity need to be applied skillfully in the moments when they are appropriate to deepen the meditation (refine the gold).
This brings to mind intensifying in the "The Brahmin's Thread" method, one of four methods to set up Samadhi in the Mahamudra Tradition:
It is necessary for intensifying and easing up to become balanced, so set it up as if spinning a Brahman’s thread. If there is too much intensifying when meditating, thoughts go astray. If there is too much easing up, you get slothful, so make intensifying and easing up balanced. Moreover, a beginner initially intensifies to cut off moment-by-moment occurrences and then, when overdoing it, ease up and tries not to react to whatever has arisen. After alternating between one and the other of these, try to make intensifying and easing up balanced. Intensifying and easing up the mind again and again like this is called “spinning the Brahman’s thread.” Pointing Out the Great Way - Dan Brown (p. 244)