Mailbag: One-Pointedness

The following post is based on an email exchange I had with a Skype student the other day. I have added some extra information and clarification to the below text, and some of this was taken from similar replies to other students, as this is a question I receive a lot.

The question concerns, directly, how to reach jhana, and the magic ingredient that makes jhana happen, and which is the real difference between mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation. The following information will also be in the new jhana guide, and it is good to constantly be feeding you the same information again and again so it starts to sink in.

The single factor that turns a general mindfulness meditation (e.g. mindfulness of breath, “body scanning”, being aware of thoughts, and all that other good stuff) into a concentration meditation with jhana is: one-pointedness. This is where you take your focus from being broad and inclusive and make it very narrow and exclusive. So, rather than trying to be aware of the whole breath at once, instead you focus exclusively on one tiny aspect of it, e.g. the sensations in the bridge of the nose (my personal favourite).

PL wrote:

Quick question: When I switch to concentration meditation do I inhale AND exhale through my nostrils? As you can see from today’s notes I found this difficult …

With all meditation I will breathe in and out through the nose. I also tend to have the mouth open very slightly, though. My tongue is usually gently placed against the roof of my mouth, and the tip will rest against the gum behind the top front teeth.

For concentration meditation my awareness is entirely on the bridge of my nose, as though there is a singularity (a single point) there which my attention HAS to stay within. This will tend towards a focus on nose breathing for most of it. However, with my mouth slightly open, there is always air moving in and out there, too, which takes the “pressure” off of only nose-breathing.

PL wrote:

What exactly do you focus on when you focusing on the bridge of your nose?

The sensation of the breath? Why the bridge. I find it hard to find a sensation to focus on (unlike the belly or breathe at your mouth)

And why do you put your tongue on the roof of your mouth again?

I focus on a point in spacetime — a singularity — located at the bridge of my nose.

You already do this with your attention often anyway: if you look at a dot on the wall, you are focusing your attention on a single point in spacetime. If you hear a bird behind you and to the left, your attention goes to that single point without you having to look with your eyes.

Attention can be directed towards objects without using the obvious senses such as eyesight or hearing. If you just THINK of a point in spacetime, your attention is already going there.

So, I think of the bridge of my nose. This often starts out with breathing, since it is easy to get a location as air passes through the bridge of the nose. However, what about in between breaths, or when the breathing slows down? At that point you use SENSATIONS at the bridge of the nose.

In any part of your body, at any time, there are sensations. The reason the breath is used for concentration meditation is that it creates obvious sensations at points it passes through. So, when you breathe in through your nose, you should be able to feel sensations at various points within the nose, and be able to focus on a specific set of sensations, e.g. within the bridge of the nose, as the breath creates those sensations there. However, as you have probably realized, the breath tends to change by itself at various points, sometimes slowing down and sometimes becoming completely still. The tendency here is to lose track of the sensations in the point of focus, since they are now no longer being so strongly generated.

However, there are always sensations in those points, available just by thinking about those points.

“Where awareness goes, energy flows.” (Primary principle of yoga)

If you think about the bridge of your nose, sensations appear there. They are subtle but can be found. You just keep bringing attention back to the bridge of the nose again and again, many times a second if needs be. Eventually you “lock in” and can keep attention there, and this is known as access concentration. Now, if you send enough attention into that single point, it eventually “explodes” and becomes a jhana. Some people get distinct explosion effects; others get a slower yet still prominent arising of jhana, noticeable by sudden bright lights, and intense feelings of happiness and exaltation.

These feelings can also sometimes arise slowly but noticeably and must be nurtured into a jhana. This is done by maintaining exactly what you were doing to create those feelings in the first place! The factor that creates those feelings is one-pointedness: the act of maintaining attention upon that single point, the bridge of your nose. It can be tempting to get distracted by the good feelings when they start to arise, especially during access concentration which is when they will start to arise. However, this will take your focus away from the one-pointedness that is creating those feelings. You should instead therefore choose to stay with the one-pointedness, even though the good feelings are coming and you are getting excited. The reward is that by remaining one-pointed the good feelings reach a critical mass and explode into a jhana, which is far more powerful than the good feelings created by access concentration alone. 

If you can’t find sensations at the bridge of the nose, then you have to imagine that they are there. In reality, putting attention on the bridge of the nose itself creates subtle sensations there. You just need to keep looking harder and harder and for longer each time (this ITSELF is concentration). Whether you are looking for sensations, or finding them and experiencing them, you are CONCENTRATING. This is what concentration is: strict control of attention upon a single point. People don’t realize that it is the act of concentrating itself that creates the jhana. Even if nothing appears to be happening, the concentration itself is “charging up” the jhana and it can suddenly appear.

Concentration itself is a steady flow of attention towards a single point. You should imagine that that single point is something you “charge up” by pouring your attention into it. Eventually it reaches a supercritical mass and explodes and becomes a jhana. If you get distracted because it starts to feel good, you won’t cross that threshold. Once you are in jhana you can in fact allow yourself some distraction to enjoy the good feelings. Or, you can maintain one-pointedness and progress to the next jhana. It is the one-pointedness that carries the progression the whole time.

I use the bridge of the nose because I find that it is the most stimulating centre and links into the dopamine centre, the “sweet smell of victory” reward circuit connection with the nose, and this leads to the quickest way to get rapture, the “exaltation” feeling indicating the start of the progression to full jhana. Other points on the nose or body have different “flavours” of emotion and I have found the bridge of the nose the easiest one to work with for beginners because the effects can be rapid and noticeable. Other yogis agree with me — Yuki on the comments section here has practically an identical method to me; it’s worth searching out our discussions on the blog.

The tongue is placed in the roof of the mouth to keep it still and thus reduce verbal thoughts. Thinking is just very quiet speaking. Your tongue and other speech apparatus twitch when you have verbal thoughts. If you keep the tongue still, verbal thoughts get quieter, since every circuit in the body is two-way. The Buddha also practised this method.

So, here is a quick recap of what I have just said:

  • Mindfulness of breath is used initially because it “smooths” erratic thoughts and emotions. It begins to train broad concentration and get the mind flowing as one. I recommend 15 minutes of mindfulness before going for jhana.
  • To switch to concentration meditation, make your area of focus much smaller, e.g. a single point at the bridge of the nose. Pour all attention at this point.
  • The single factor that creates jhana is one-pointedness of mind: attention directed at this single point.
  • This point can be imagined as collecting your attention energy and charging itself up. When it reaches supercritical mass it will explode into a jhana. However, this process can also be slower with a definite noticeable charging of energy before jhana arises. The speed at which jhana presents is determined by a combination of things including technique (i.e. how much attention you can pour into that single point in a given time) and how well you prepared your body and mind beforehand, e.g. with the 15 minutes of mindfulness of breath to promote the correct conditions for jhana.
  • As supercritical mass approaches, good feelings will arise (access concentration). It is important to maintain one-pointedness and not be distracted by those good feelings, as it is the one-pointedness that will have you cross the threshold into full jhana, whose feelings are far superior to access concentration’s. So, you must delay gratification even as the good things are starting to happen! Wait for more — it is worth it.
  • To progress to higher jhanas, return to one-pointedness and this will carry you through to them.

Now, there are some apparent inconsistencies in the above with what I have written about entering jhana in the past. These are specifically:

  • The idea of working with a “flowing breath”, whereby you actively control the breath into streams flowing through a single point e.g. in the nose. This creates the illusion of flow and stability in the object indicative of jhana.
  • Working with pleasurable feelings to amplify them and create the “supercritical mass” required for jhana intentionally via those feelings.

These practices are not at odds with the principle of one-pointedness I wrote above. In fact, these things will tend to occur by themselves as part of the mind’s “jhana process” — the rhythm it falls into while entering jhana, since this is something it already knows how to do once the external world is let go of.

However, the skill of one-pointed awareness must take precedence. Without it, you won’t get jhana. Once you are good at it, though, you can use things like a flowing breath, and tuning into good feelings, to accelerate jhana entry, and even to customize the jhana (for example, by selectively tuning into bliss more than the other factors, etc.).

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65 Responses

  1. engadget says:

    This is a great article. I learned a ton about concentration meditation from your site.

    I’m at a stage where I try to get absorbed into the sensations on the nose bridge. I can hold constant focus for about 2 mins before a thought arises, upon which I need to refocus.

    Keeping the tongue to the roof of the mouth helps in reducing thoughts.

    A few questions
    1) After an extended period of absorption, my mind envelopes/engulfs the sensation and becomes more calm. Is this access concentration?
    2) Do you see nimittas before reaching first jhana?
    3) I’m practicing 45 mins/day or more on concentration. Not to be impatient, but when have you seen people move to first jhana?

    • Illuminatus says:

      “1) After an extended period of absorption, my mind envelopes/engulfs the sensation and becomes more calm. Is this access concentration?”

      Almost certainly yes. Stay in that state and jhana should arise. Use your concentration to hold and maintain the integrity of that “sphere” around the point of focus. By the way, in brain wave science, this is the alpha wave state.

      “2) Do you see nimittas before reaching first jhana?”

      Almost always yes. With the above method however the idea is not to become distracted by ANYTHING but to maintain one-pointedness. Therefore I do not tend to have prolonged nimittas as the jhana arises before long.

      I do however experience prolonged nimittas using a more diffuse, “easy-going” method such as Ajahn Brahm’s anapanasati method.

      “3) I’m practicing 45 mins/day or more on concentration. Not to be impatient, but when have you seen people move to first jhana?”

      It’s all about that one moment where you do the one thing that triggers jhana. It’s very hard to get that technique into people’s heads because we are talking about modes of attention they aren’t used to accessing, and which are almost impossible to put into words adequately. I suspect a lot of it is luck. So, in answer, I have known people who got it very quickly, even on their first time. I got it after 2 weeks without even knowing what jhana was, then spent months trying to recreate it mostly unsuccessfully. Then you have people who spend a couple of years without getting it before moving on to something it.

      You might stumble upon the exact article you needed to read one day, which gives you the key to the perfect tech FOR YOU. Then you might get it immediately. It might not be anything on this site (though hopefully it is! 🙂 ).

      I recommend you make lots of formal resolutions: “I intend to reach a state of jhana today.” Then remain optimistic, open-minded, hopeful and happy about your practice, knowing that even if you never get jhana then the meditation you are doing is already having many positive benefits.

      • engadget says:

        Thanks Illuminatus for the detailed reply!

        It’s interesting that I never (w/o psychedelics) reached the alpha wave state/sphere before reading your blog. I spent a bunch of time reading other books, techniques, etc, and your instructions worked.

        Earlier I used to meditate for 30 mins tops and just observe the breathe (not get absorbed), but it’s a world of difference when you dedicate yourself for 45 mins. Thanks for your suggestions on it.

        A few other questions when you get time:
        1) Are there any lifestyle, diet, supplements, etc that would help a newbie establish firmer concentration? Examples could be some herbs (TCM, ayurveda), NoFap, nootropics, keto diet, etc.

        I’ve tried a bit of psychedelics in the past and I think got to jhana like states, but two problems with it — I don’t learn anything on how to get to those states w/o the drugs, and second, I’m not sure if those states are real states or just hallucinations. Now I’m staying away from hard psychedelics mainly because something felt “fake” in those experiences.

        2) I like the energizing exercises before concentration to make sure the mind has enough energy to focus. Are there any other pre-concentration ‘workouts’ to help?

        3) Have you found any feedback technologies (e.g. neurofeedback, HRV, HEG) to help with concentration?

        • Engadget says:

          Also, I notice increased focus and sexual energy even after the sphere/alphawave state.

          • Illuminatus says:

            Even 30 seconds spent in the alpha wave state will significantly change your day.

            The alpha state is also the state associated with psi events, and I can confirm that more time spent in alpha will noticeably increase things like synchronicities and psychic events. Probably lucid dreaming will start to happen regularly, too.

          • Illuminatus says:

            P.S. Engadget can you please stick to one username and one email, using same spelling/capital letters each time? That way your comments won’t arrive in the moderation queue. Thanks. 🙂

        • Illuminatus says:

          “1) Are there any lifestyle, diet, supplements, etc that would help a newbie establish firmer concentration? Examples could be some herbs (TCM, ayurveda), NoFap, nootropics, keto diet, etc.”

          The most important one seems to be good sleep. I currently have some of the best sleep tech around and will be putting it up in an article shortly.

          Nofap will help beginners a lot by sensitizing the dopamine circuit. However once you’re skilled then orgasm has very little effect on concentration, in my experience.

          Re nootropics, phenibut is probably the best, particularly for visual jhana (e.g. kasina), but it’s highly addictive and tolerance grows rapidly. Also, if you are a responder, it makes you quite high, which could trick you into believing you are better at meditating than you are.

          Stick to l-theanine plus caffeine. Switch to St. John’s Wort on a biweekly schedule to offset tolerance. L-theanine and caffeine will have more noticeable results for beginners, though. SJW is subtle but improves energy work particularly at the crown chakra. That’s a rather advanced meditation, though. But I used to use SJW all the time back in the day — it is conducive to insight as it turns up the “gain” on sensations.

          “I’ve tried a bit of psychedelics in the past and I think got to jhana like states, but two problems with it — I don’t learn anything on how to get to those states w/o the drugs, and second, I’m not sure if those states are real states or just hallucinations. Now I’m staying away from hard psychedelics mainly because something felt “fake” in those experiences.”

          Well, truthfully, there is plenty “fake” in the pure non-chemical jhana, too. At deeper absorptions it is basically the same as LSD. Even a hard first jhana can be incredibly trippy, especially if you stick to one-pointedness during it. If you spread out and tune into the bliss sensations, it is more like heroin (not that I’ve taken heroin, but I have had strong opiates).

          LSD is only useful for meditation if you are already skilled at jhana. If you take LSD and get given higher jhanas, like Infinite Consciousness (which it seems to induce) then you won’t know the difference between whether you are attaining higher jhanas or just tripping balls. In reality, the line is blurred between the two, since tripping IS access to altered forms of awareness.

          “2) I like the energizing exercises before concentration to make sure the mind has enough energy to focus. Are there any other pre-concentration ‘workouts’ to help?”

          Hatha yoga. Pranayama. Kriya yoga/ kundalini/ energy work. Pranayama will probably give you the most noticeable early boosts.

          “3) Have you found any feedback technologies (e.g. neurofeedback, HRV, HEG) to help with concentration?”

          Never tried so can’t comment. The depth of the altered state however is a biofeedback loop: when you learn to go deeper, the strength of the altered state is the realtime guide. So, technique improves because your mind starts to notice how when it worked in X way it produced Y result.

          If anyone has tried feedback devices like the Muse headset, I would be happy to post their review. I am suspicious of that one personally because it only appears to train slowing down brainwaves, which isn’t necessarily one-pointedness.

          • Pete says:

            I would like to chime in with respect to neurofeedback, and say that it has been nothing short of profound with respect to my meditative development and overall cognition. The muse is a relatively inflexible tech with respect to the other higher end EEG setups available on the market. In the last few years a few EEG neurofeedback amplifiers have come out that strike a nice balance between affordability and functionality, basically professional grade tech available for sub £600 ranges.

            One of the things I find particularly excellent about it is the open-endedness of its application and how one can use knowledge of neuroscience gathered from scouring pubmud articles for example, to guide training with respect to specific goals. One can do this with both location/function based info, network/function based info, frequency/function info, and inter-frequency/function info, as well as various combos of these. A lot of fascinating work has been done to map the correlations between brain dynamics and mental functions, and with flexible protocol creation and tweaking, we can utilise the vast range of neuroscience research, as well as have the DIY community push neurofeedback forward through exploration of the various application possibilities. For example, I developed a means to target subcortical/reptilian brains areas more directly than I’ve seen any other protocol be able to do, and training a cross-frequency coupling synchrony protocol here at frequencies below approx 12hz (upper alpha) induces a state of profound relaxation, as we are targeting the primary neural modulator of the stress response directly and can basically shut it down at its source.

            It appears to go deeper than just for example stress regulation though. I have come to experience quite profound states of ’emptiness’ and deep formless states of mind from doing neurofeedback at the low frequencies around 0.3-1hz, that are beyond anything I ever experienced off the cushion. It appears that NFB can bootstrap and accelerate a deep meditative ability relatively very rapidly, and so by implication, it seems logical that it can also take one further than one might otherwise be able to go, if indeed mystical states of consciousness are ever-deepenable as some believe, in which case the primary bottleneck would be speed of development.

            Its all round brilliance as a mind modifier I cant overstate. Its given me powerful attention, significantly intensified consciousness, more advanced long-term and short-term memory, excellent anxiety regulation, high amounts of mental and physical energy, very restful sleep, higher ability with mental set-switching and perspective taking, greater capacity for logical coherence with respect to ideas, more advanced social cognition with respect to intuition and connection, better self-control, more ready access to flow states and deeper experience of flow states across time, faster, more expansive and more relevant/interesting mental associations, enhanced musical and semantic creativity, really I cant think of any dimension of cognitive functioning that it hasnt radically touched. I’ve been neurofeedback most days for over two years and all of these enhanced abilities have progressively stacked up over time, and they show no sign of slowing down.

            This is all an immense change from the beggining of my NFB journey, why I got into it in the first place was because I had pretty severe brain damage from an intense depression and chronic drug addiction for years in my youth, out of which i came with a brain fucked in absolutely every dimension I mentioned up there, a real shadow of a human, crazily anxious, crippling depression, no thoughts, couldnt sleep for more than about 30 minutes at a time, short term memory was fucked, could barely remember what i did yesterday, severely socially autistic, basically hell itself. NFB pretty much saved my life, and now I have the tools to continue to enhance my mind in a huge variety of deep ways, and in a way that may not even place hard limits on various vectors of development ie be indefinitely extendable along various of the improvement dimensions described above.

            We see what the great humans of the world have become, I think in significant part through luck, that various genetic, environmental, sociocultural etc conditions converged to shape those minds, and then their will feeding back into this whole process to utilise and extend the potentials that their conditions opened up. I think that we are very close now to being able to engineer the conditions that render people extraordinary, within the average ordinary person, if they so choose to walk that path. Anyway I just wanted to chime in here with my experience in case anyone out there is inspired to try this out because of it. In the sense that the mind is the constructive root of our experience of and capacity within reality, I think its one of the best investments that one could make at this time, and that this overall class of technologies, which we might call something like sustainable and open-ended psychological development tools (catchy I know XD), is going to continue developing (just as the field of neurofeedback continues to) and is going to become a force that may deeply shape the future of this planet and its inhabitants, and be an indispensible and highly efficient addition to our currently relatively pauce arsenal of tools for the cessation of suffering.

            If you’re interested in more info on the subject I’d recommend checking these out (and feel free to ask me any questions);
            http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/69328-the-power-of-neurofeedback
            http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/72710-tagsync-operation-and-discussion/
            http://tagsync.com/

            • Edenist Whackjob says:

              Way cool. Maybe you could do a guest post on this stuff?

            • Illuminatus says:

              Sounds amazing Pete, thanks for sharing your story.

              While I read around and let that all sink in, can I ask whether you have experienced anything resembling magick/powers/ paranormal events through this brain training?

            • Mayath says:

              Great post. Very inspiring.

              I’ll need to do more reading but this is exciting. Here’s what I’m wondering right now.

              What do you think of Transcranial magnetic stimulation as a tool to improve cognition?

              Some people say it increases ability for Flow. Shinzen young also says it could decrease the time it takes for people to become awakened.

              However I saw on Reddit that Absolutus criticises them, saying that Jhana is more effective as a tool to boost cognition.

              He implies Jhana is still the best tool to improve cognition out there.

              https://www.reddit.com/r/Meditation/comments/5iysdu/is_there_a_scientific_explanation_of_whats/?

              “Generally speaking, high frequency brain waves are commonly associated with stressful states, and if someone is forced into the high frequency range with something like TDCS, they are likely to feel stressed and anxious (albeit focused), rather than blissful. The Jhana gamma states are different because there is a conscious effort of unionization, of sorts, while also raising the frequency. In other words, the effects of Jhana can’t realy be induced with outside instrumentation, since there are highly complex cognitive mechanisms at place keeping everything in check.”

              What do you think? I don’t know enough about these technologies to have an opinion yet.

              I haven’t heard anything about Jhana not being effective with EEG so it looks like your method might be better than TCSM if what Absolutus says is true.

              Could you go into more detail about how you experience Creativity? Does it feel like different parts of your brain working better in sync or does it just feel like something magical that flows out of you?

              You mention states of emptiness? Are you talking about the fourth Jhana or something else?

              What is your experience with the Jhanas?

            • James says:

              Pete what kind of meditation, and psychedelic experiences do you have if any if you don’t mind answering?

              “I developed a means to target subcortical/reptilian brains areas more directly than I’ve seen any other protocol be able to do”

              Is that just a certain frequency you found?

              Sadhguru talked about the “Am” (om) mantra and how it can stabilize the physical and psychological process.

              “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1 from the bible.

              I’ve also notice with a certain meditation I do, there is a “ahhhhh” of an orgasmic quality that accompanies relaxation and seems to sit in the second (from the bottom) chakra.

              • Illuminatus says:

                I have a post here describing how to make your own tech using audio tones: http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/make-your-own-tech-1-audio-tones/

                • James says:

                  Yeah, I remember reading that.

                  I’m curious if what works for one person would work for everyone.

                  In Kryia yoga (the one book I read about it, anyway) you are suppose to chant “Om” in each Chakra starting from the bottom of the spine moving to the third eye. Chanting “Om” is suppose to balance them/purify them.

                  (It also says you need imitation from a master for the technique to be worth doing, that is something I’ve never fully understood either.)

                  re-reading your older post has kindled my curiosity for this, and I’ll be playing around with it some more.

            • Kambofire says:

              Hello Pete, Thanks for sharing a bit of your process! Amazing process. I´d like to ask you how did you get started? Did you just got a machine and start using it or you first went to a practitioner?
              I ask this cause I do own equipment but I havent even been able to use it. WOuld you help me out with the basics please?

  2. Ram says:

    You described in detail your mindfulness meditation before. Would you do anything different trying to use it like this as a way to prepare the mind for jhana? Also, you’ve talked before about how verbal noting isn’t that helpful, and I have to agree — it really feels like it gums up the works for me. If you don’t use verbal notes in this kind of mindfulness, are you basically just noticing every time you get distracted, knowing what it is that distracted you, and getting back to the breath?

    Also, what exactly is the role of mindfulness in getting the mind into jhana? I feel that I can frequently get into a good state of mindful awareness where I know everything that’s going on in my mind and perceptions, but it takes a lot of concentration and I don’t know if I could keep that kind of watch on my mind while also maintaining the strong one-pointedness that leads to jhana. Does practicing mindfulness make it easier to keep it up while concentrating on something else?

    • Illuminatus says:

      “You described in detail your mindfulness meditation before. Would you do anything different trying to use it like this as a way to prepare the mind for jhana?”

      The method in the following post is completely perfect as a preparation before going for concentration meditation:
      http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/basic-mindfulness-meditation/
      I would not change anything there.

      “Also, you’ve talked before about how verbal noting isn’t that helpful, and I have to agree — it really feels like it gums up the works for me. If you don’t use verbal notes in this kind of mindfulness, are you basically just noticing every time you get distracted, knowing what it is that distracted you, and getting back to the breath?”

      In the mindfulness link I just mentioned noting is allowed. If it helps, it’s fine.
      However noting is largely included as a “bridge” for beginners so that they can impose order upon their verbal thoughts.
      The end goal of mindfulness, in my opinion, is that you can notice the bodily states that PRECEDE thoughts — and not necessarily have to have a verbal word pop into mind to describe it. So, you can notice “warm” without saying the word “warm” in your mind. The problem with always having to have a word for everything is that you get confined within your existing conceptual system. Same words, same way your world is put together. Once you get beneath the words, into the sensations themselves, that’s where insight comes from, and that’s how you can bust into your concepts and have the mind reorganize them in accordance with the insight gained. This is a way of burrowing under rationality and exploding it from beneath so it can reorder itself post-meditation. That’s how you end up going from, say, thinking, “This isn’t fair”, to noticing that concept as just sensations felt in the body, thus transcending the suffering caused by the conceptual system that imposes “This thing not being fair to you” and having it reorganize to equanimity. That’s how personality change works via meditation, and why I believe verbal noting should be transcended soon after starting practice. That is why noting is a “bridge” to the sensations underlying the thoughts. I totally understand that beginners are very reliant on their verbal thoughts, that’s why this bridge is included. Ideally, after doing mindfulness for longer than 15 minutes, verbal thoughts will have died down significantly anyway.

      “Also, what exactly is the role of mindfulness in getting the mind into jhana? I feel that I can frequently get into a good state of mindful awareness where I know everything that’s going on in my mind and perceptions, but it takes a lot of concentration and I don’t know if I could keep that kind of watch on my mind while also maintaining the strong one-pointedness that leads to jhana. Does practicing mindfulness make it easier to keep it up while concentrating on something else?”

      The role of mindfulness as a preparation for concentration meditation has a few layers:

      1) It organizes the mind both verbally and sensationally. So, maybe people don’t realize this, but if you are sitting for 15 minutes verbally noting each thought or feeling as it arises, then returning attention to the breath, you are actually creating a highly coherent mind. Chaos is reduced considerably. Mindfulness of breath is VERY “smoothing” for thoughts and emotions.

      2) It creates broad concentration. You are flexing the concentration muscle by bringing it back to the breath. You are also learning to direct concentration quickly and strongly by identifying thoughts and feelings as they arise; so you are shining concentration like a light beam onto events as they arise. This is a very good workout for the concentration muscle and for the mind as a whole.

      At the moment you make the switch to pure concentration meditation, you should then make your focus very narrow, i.e. only on the bridge of the nose. During concentration meditation your awareness should be so focused upon this point that distracting thoughts literally have no space in which to arise. The mindfulness warm-up session prepares concentration for this task by making it strong and flexible. After the mindfulness warm-up session you should have far fewer verbal thoughts already, and your attention is now strong, and your mind is pliant because of the training. This provides the ideal circumstances in which focus can then be made ultra-narrow (on the bridge of the nose) and ultra-strong and unwavering. And that is the circumstance in which jhana can arise.

      During the concentration meditation attempt, there should be no noting, because there should be no verbal thoughts. In fact, there should be no thoughts at all, because you pull your awareness back to the bridge of the nose so strongly, literally constantly, that there is no space left for thoughts to arise. All your concentration, all your awareness, is poured at that single point.

      The reason beginners don’t usually get jhana is that they are not aware of how strong and focused the mind can become, and how it has to be for jhana to happen. This is no ordinary state of awareness. Where in real life would you focus upon a single point so strongly that literally no other thoughts could happen? Probably hunting. We probably have concentration meditation from tracking the movements of animals while staying perfectly still.

      The mindfulness preparation is all about building a bridge from the ordinary waking state to the ultra-focused concentration state.
      You can practise concentration enough that you can block out verbal thoughts at will in the waking state, if you wish. Also, when you are highly attained, you can get access concentration just by gazing upon any object. This is all about training, training, training.

  3. Chrome says:

    What do you make of the reality model of unwilling reincarnations through karma versus you being the unconscious creator of your own reality. Are these all just narratives that come out of the vacuum after experiencing nothingness, and rationalising? T

    http://www.truthcontest.com/entries/the-present-universal-truth/real-story.html

  4. Alex says:

    Just wanted to share that this advice was really helpful for me. My mind previously felt completely silent, and it seemed like I was focusing on the breath, but this was actually more of a mindfulness-type focus. I would maintain this kind of focus for 20-30 minutes per session, with some bliss occasionally arising but never enough to get me to Jhana. I applied some of the advice given here and was able to enter Jhana the next day. One of the main problems was that I wasn’t putting enough effort in when focusing on the breath, so I couldn’t “narrow down” my focus on the small area / singularity. I’m now applying consistent effort and a sort of mental “push” into the object, rather than just resting attention on the breath, which seems to work.

    Thanks again for the support and high quality posts, as usual 😀

    • Illuminatus says:

      BOOM! What were you worried about? 😉

      Seriously though, well done — you earned it.

    • engadget says:

      I agree with your comment of great advice on this site/blog/post.

      I’ve made more progress in concentration meditation in the past week than the previous year. I’ve yet to hit jhana, but I’ve experienced alpha-state/sphere a couple of times.

      There are two key words that hit home the point for me: one-pointedness and absorption. One-pointedness towards a sensation and getting absorbed.

      Somehow in the past books/retreats/blogs/reddit/etc, this was not conveyed, or I didn’t pick it up.

      – I used to keep observing breath and think it was concentration meditation.
      – I used to sit for less than 30 minutes
      – I used to sit in a bad posture

  5. Moviestar says:

    What do you think of concentrating on the awareness of awareness? (Or what is also called the “I Am” sensation or “I exist”)

    • Illuminatus says:

      It depends what your goal is. All meditations have goals, even if the goal is to let go of goals. What would your goal be?

      I think retriggering the sense of “I am” would be difficult for beginners. It’s not a regular sensation they could keep invoking, like the breath. Forming it into an object would therefore be difficult. You could keep saying “I am…” over and over to invoke the feeling but the feeling might become fatigued and there is a danger of it becoming a mantra meditation on the WORDS “I am” instead.

      I have tried this meditation in the past, and just gave it a go now for a few seconds. It is a low-frequency sensation occurring deep in the abdomen, at the base of the spine. It evokes a sense of nascent consciousness, like being in the womb. Again, I’m not sure what it’s purpose would be, though that’s not to say it is without one.

      From a strictly Buddhist insight perspective, the goal would then be to recognize that feeling as being made up of sensations and to notice the Three Characteristics in each. Perhaps it would therefore have some potential in alleviating fundamental existential suffering. However that kind of meditation can be done on just about any sensations since the Three Characteristics can be found in all sensate (dualistic) experience.

      • Illuminatus says:

        To clarify, the purpose of this meditation done under the Buddhist insight perspective would be to find the sense of “I am” and then to find that there is no “I” in it at all.

    • Max says:

      I did that meditation the first time on a retreat, and after some time my consciousness kind of ‘switched’ to the nicest state I can remember ever having been in. It lasted for maybe half an hour afterwards, and my memories from those 30 minutes are all in a kind of golden light. I can’t recall very much, unfortunately, it’s slipped away similarly to how memories of a DMT trip fade. Probably because that state is so far from the one I’m in usually. One thing I recall is sitting at lunch afterwards, and seeing so clearly the suffering and tension in some peoples’ faces. And thinking to myself, if only they could see “this”, they wouldn’t have to suffer. I can’t remember what “this” was, though.

      I tried that meditation lots of times after the retreat but it never got me back into that state. Very interested in hearing any other experiences or pointers in regard to this kind of meditation.

      • Illuminatus says:

        You almost certainly fell into the first jhana, hard. I had a similar fluke experience around 2 weeks into meditating, without knowing what the jhanas even were at that point. Then I struggled to get that state back, and would only manage to fluke my way into it every three months or so. Eventually I was able to get it often, and how I did that is where all my tech comes from, e.g. the knowledge of one-pointedness.

        But even now I cannot get it every time. For example, I found that stuffing my face over Christmas blocks jhana. I can get my mind still, and can get the one-pointedness usually required for jhana, but it turns out that being constipated or having a gut full of meat seems to disable some nerve in the abdomen linked to the opioid system, effectively blocking jhana from fully arising. There are other factors that block jhana, too, such as poisoning yourself with alcohol, and inflammation responses from other environmental trauma, and also strong mental-emotional disturbances which can take a long time to settle down. This is why monks strictly control their environment, e.g. by eating a set diet (usually vegetarian) and living in isolation where these intrusions from “real life” cannot happen. I have a lot more respect for the monastic lifestyle now from the perspective of generating ideal conditions for jhana.

  6. James says:

    I’ve had the body “experience” of jhana with no pleasure at all before, I could feel the energy move and sensations and knew I did the right things to get there, but I was just blocked off.

    When I got deep deep into meditation a few years ago, the biggest success I had was daily stretching and eating lots of veggies. But then I went too deep to fast.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Too much jerking off definitely screws up the reward circuit, too, leading to “dead” jhanas like you and I just described. My advice now would be for beginners to avoid masturbation entirely until they can regularly reach hard jhana, and then for more advanced meditators to limit masturbation to 2-3 times per week.

  7. James says:

    To add to that, I’ve noticed video games (as much as I love them) hijack the shit out of your reward circuit… When I’m consistently meditating, I have zero desire to play video games.

    I’ve heard very wealthy people talk about how video games hijack your reward system too.

    • Illuminatus says:

      The problem is that they make you feel constantly rewarded without you having to produce anything in the real world. So, it conditions time-wasting as a reward.

      On the flip side I somewhat believe that certain types of game can train a) flow states and b) single-point concentration which can be migrated over to concentration practice. So, in first-person shooters (which I used to be great at), if you play in a very specific way then you can condition those skills somewhat. For example, I only used to go for headshots. To do this, I would only aim for the head. My whole game became a flow state of single-point awareness on the crosshair in the centre of the screen and putting heads in the middle of that crosshair. Really, your automatic animal responses and peripheral vision can track the rest of the things on your screen perfectly well without you having to consciously look at them. You could play and win an entire game without ever taking your attention off of the crosshair in the middle of the screen (which more monkey-brained, scatter-attention players might not realize).

      To transfer that to concentration meditation you choose a single point on the bridge of your nose then cause attention to fluidly return to that point all the time. Even if you are distracted, make the way your awareness moves towards and back from the distraction “fluid”. If one-pointedness is the #1 rule of concentration meditation, then fluidity is #2.

  8. Mayath says:

    If I’ve jerked off before meditating than Jhana is a no go. But I can still jerk it pretty regularly and still have Jhanas. It mostly screws up the first and second Jhanas and weakens the third and fourth. But I could have progressed quicker if I’d dropped it.

    But not wanking, no drinking, no drugs and a stress free life are the key to consistent Jhana access once the mind has unified enough to allow consistent access.Going out and drinking is something I really have to think about now because I know it’ll fuck up my meditation for a day or two.

    I love the phrase “dead Jhanas”. I can hit the dead Jhanas in every session because my mind is focused enough, no matter what my phyiscal and mental health are like, but it’s like an engine stalling. I’ve done everything right but there isn’t enough Piti or Sukha or whatever the specific NT combination for proper Jhanas to emerge. It’s very frustrating.

    Sorry to bother you with yet another question Illuminatus, but when you were first developing the Jhanas, way before your Kundalini accident , do you remember how long it took for Piti/energy to develop and did it lead to any strange body/mental sensations?

    I’ll write down what I’ve experienced and see if you relate to any of it. I don’t think all it is necessarily dark night stuff because it’s actually very pleasant and blissful. Just a bit too much at times.

    The Visudhimmaga talks about Grades of Piti development, which are linked to energy development in the body. This energy development is linked to unification of mind and it leads to all sorts of weird sensations before the mind and body are pacified. When the body is pacified one can sit for as long as they, generally being only aware of their body being a space unless they just to investigate it further. The senses are pacfied too which is linked to thinks like lights in the vision and hearing tingling sounds.

    I’ve never hear anybody talking in any depth about pacification, apart from Culadasa’s book and I wonder if I’m an extreme case, because I seem to have had every symptom you can have, during mental and physical pacification. I’ve had lights in my vision, weird tingling sensations, tinnitus sounds(but more pleasant) nausea, sweet tastes of honey in my mouth and perfume smells that just happen spontaneously, weird aches, weird autonomic reactions, like sweating, watery eyes, chills and built up energy pressures in my head.

    Has anyone else experienced this range of stuff? It doesn’t happen just in meditation. It’d be nice to know how much longer I have to endure it. I’ve had medical checkups and I appear to be as phyiscally health as someone can be, so the only conclusion I can make its all meditation/energy related.

    I think I’ve had a mix of the dark night and pacification and it’s been very difficult for me to separate them. There hasn’t been any spontaneous negative emotions or viewpoints arising out of nowhere. It’s very blissful actually but uncomfortable in how happy it can be.

    It’s only now that I’ve reached Stage 8 in TMI’s system and corresponding with regular acces to the 4th Jhana has the uncomfortable painful stuff settled down.I only experience the extreme energy stuff now within Jhanas, which are becoming more hard than soft. I’m seeing lights and getting even more absorbed than I thought possible. I know 4th Jhana is characterised by its stillness and equanimity but I’ve been in 4th Jhana and feel still and equanimous while watching my mind feels like a bright shining powerful star like light and energy pulse up and down my body. Again, the joyful energy is so blissful sometimes that’s it’s uncomfortable.

    I’ve more mental and physical energy than I’ve had in my life. Mentally, I feel like I could use the force or telekinesis but emotionally all this blissful energy is exhausting and I’ve been resting more. A bit contradictory that I’m energetic and sleeping more, but sleeping seems to be the best way to allow this newfound energy go wherever it needs.

    Anyway, another whinge/rant by me. I’m just putting this all out there for people who might be like me, who might have a hard time during pacification.It’d be nice to hear more from advanced practioners talking about how they physically and mentally changed. The metamorphosis of pacification is a really weird journey It’s kind of lonely because you can’t explain what is happening to you.

    Anyway, Jhana is as much about energy development as it is about concentration in my opinion. Being super healthy which includes not wanking seems to be the best way to make energy development as pleasant as possible. If your not super healthy before you start it, it can be painful and tediously long.

    My personal feeling is that with more unification of mind and energy development it is possible to masturbate and do things that overload the reward circuit occasionally, as long your not overdoing it. If your a beginner, you have to cut out a lot of shit but the more advanced you are, you only have to be reasonably healthy to still have Jhanas. Jhanas speed up unification of mind and energy development but they seem to happen on their own time depending on the individual.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Honestly, you now probably have more experience being in the extended hard jhana states than I do. I spent most of the last 3 years entering 1st jhana with a focus on rapture not bliss, then exiting and doing insight. Almost all of my meditation experience is tied up in insight.

      Since the start of the year I have been practising the “kundalini jhanas”. These are soft variants which still follow the standard pure concentration jhanas. I will typically rise to 4th very quickly and the purpose of this is purification of the entire channel, base of spine to crown of head, with the object being the kundalini beam going up the spine. When this beam meets “blocks” it bursts those blocks into sensations which I observe with the standard insight method. So this is a combination of kundalini, concentration, and insight. This meditation was “invented” by me (in quotes to indicate it is more a rediscovering from myriad past universal practices of such things) for my specific purposes. The upward kundalini beam is how things like depression are avoided, since those symptoms have very visible characteristics along the spinal channel.

      I have had the mega-hard “off world” (out of body, descriptions matching the Pure Land, etc.) a handful of times and these were basically all flukes. I have ordered Culadasa’s book with my Christmas Amazon vouchers and it is released in paperback on 3rd Jan, so I will be able to start matching up my conversations with yours better after reading that. The main reason I ordered it is to learn how to get the off-world jhanas reliably, since they are mind-blowing.

      “Sorry to bother you with yet another question Illuminatus, but when you were first developing the Jhanas, way before your Kundalini accident , do you remember how long it took for Piti/energy to develop and did it lead to any strange body/mental sensations?”

      I had a good relationship with piti very early on. If you search the comments section there is an interesting conversation I had with Yuki where it turned out we have basically the exact same method, discovered independently and by accident. It is like we can magic pleasure out of thin air. It is certainly to do with that dopamine circuit in the nose. I also wrote some posts about this — for example there is one called “Drinking Air Through the Nose” or similar. Basically, I could just imagine there was sweetness in the air and begin to breathe it in through my nose. Or, I could sniff into that nose-bridge cavity with one-pointed awareness maintained there and begin to experience very rapid piti. Then, it is just a matter of “cycling” that feeling, and this is done by imagining the air and act of breathing (and simultaneous smelling/tasting sweetness) and imagining that current of air as a continuous flow in the bridge of my nose into my brain. It turns out there is a reward centre right there, possibly the orbitofrontal cortex.

      Once a perception of “flow” was attained I could let my mind absorb into that and enter full-blown first jhana very rapidly, often with sudden “loss of body”, bright lights, and strange visuals. In fact I could enter it so easily I spoiled it for myself, even doing it in public if the situation displeased me, zoning out with my eyes closed which was very strange behaviour. These are some of the reasons the current jhana guide needs basically to be thrown out — I find jhana much easier than most people (which I did not realize at the time) and also the public stuff should be discouraged as it is dysfunctional behaviour.

      Back to your question, though, I basically always get sweet tastes and smells and other dopamine-related sensations. They never bothered me and I always enjoyed them. I almost always get the “see through your own eyelids” phenomenon, too, whereby I can see nearby objects through my closed eyelids. They appear as “silhouette impressions” and if I then look directly at them in my mind’s eye they disappear.

      When it comes to generating visual objects e.g. desired reels for online gambling I can experience a full-blown kasina jhana with lifelike reels often within 30 seconds or so. So obviously I have very highly-trained visual faculties, probably abnormally so. Developing most of that honestly arose before I even knew anything about the jhanas. I have been very visually-orientated as long as I can remember and had visions regularly during early jhanas before I decided to begin consciously suppressing them.

      Sorry if I’ve got off-track a little here.

      My practice has been very slapdash over this Christmas break so hopefully after Culadasa’s book arrives and I begin following that we will be able to discuss the more traditional jhanas — deep piti and sukha for extended periods — so I can maybe help with your questions more. As I said, I always tended to exit the jhana relatively early and go into insight, so you probably have more experience of the deeper concentration states than I do.

      • Illuminatus says:

        P.S. As I said, and as the above tends to describe, I was mostly cultivating piti (rapture). One of my goals is to develop that into sukha (bliss/happiness) for extended sits. Then we can have better-matching conversations. I have had longer sukha sits, with things like really exploring the fullness of first jhana up to fourth (and even the first jhana itself is vast in this respect), but these typically take me a long time to set up mentally and to then enter. I have rarely done this. Going into rapturous visuals and exploring those, often with a kasina, has always been a temptation easily pulling me away from the more pacified states. In the new year I will be all about the pacified states, though.

        • Mayath says:

          You’ve been very helpful so far :). Your Kundalini method has been so useful to me. I’ve basically used you site as a place to rant and whine about weird shit anyway :).

          “Almost all my meditation experience is tied up in insight”.

          Insight has just been a side effect of my concentration work and was never my goal. It’s just been one of the rewards. I personally believe concentration to be the faster, more effective route because I’ve sped through the Dukka Nanas and developed the first four Jhanas pretty quickly in the scheme of things.

          I might be developing a little too quickly because I’ve been extremely up and down and I think this put a lot of strain on my body. 4th Jhana has really saved me. The danger of concentration might be going too quickly. But I don’t think that’s a problem for most people, considering how tough some find it.

          It’s interesting how we’re probably in similiar territories now but have used very different systems to get there.

          On concentration:

          I dunno, your concentration seems pretty strong to me but maybe that’s because you’ve been using the Kundalini streams as your Jhana method. You wouldn’t have those things without strong Concentration. Maybe you naturally have a lot energy or Piti and it’s why manipulating energy came so natural to you. I can hit Jhana rapidly playing with Kundalini but it took me a lot of concentration work to locate energy.

          I don’t tend to use Kundalini as a Jhana source because I can go deeper with the breath.

          Your posts about Jhana before you discovered Kundalini seem to match up with very soft Jhanas or what I would term either Whole Body Jhanas or at the lite Jhanas, using Culadasa’s lingo. First and second Jhanas in some of those posts like the breathing in pleasure one, correspond to what would be my access concentration now.

          To be honest I have very high standards for Jhana and access concentration. I roll my eyes when I see crap like someone thinking they can achieve them in two months with 15 minutes. If there lucky they get get a sprinkle of Piti and think there Absolutus.

          Once a certain amount of unification of mind has developed alongside Piti, it doesn’t really matter what method you use to get Jhana. Focusing on pleasure is good for beginners learning to taste Jhana but the harder Jhanas only come with time. I’ve hit Jhana using Kasina, Metta, choiceless awareness and Kundalini. I have the concentration so the method is irrelevant.

          It’s not the sweet smells or tastes that bother me. I enjoy them. It’s the extremely powerful energy that I have access to. Its not Kundalini awakening level of power. But it has lead to me feeling nauseous, achy and with loads of pressure. Your kundalini energy method has been a great help in directing energy along with Emotional Freedom technique where you tap accupture points. I’m through the worst of it. I’m just wondering how long the Grades of Piti development is meant to last because it’s been really drawn out and I can’t find any journeys similiar to mine.

          Hopefully Piti/energy will settle down soon.First and second Jhana are just too intense and extreme for me to spend too much time in. I feel like I could explode and take my whole neighbourhood with me.

          I’ve been meaning to ask you about those old posts about attaining Jhana in public actually. I can do it too but it just make me seem stoned and unable to socialise properly. Too intoxicated. I’ve tried using it to improve my skills but I haven’t got very far yet. I get too absorbed in the pleasantness of the Jhana, when really what I want to do is be focusing better at what I’m doing.Not getting high. The dream is to be able to use Jhana to rapidly learn new skills. I’ve improved my video games skills but nothing else. Early days yet though.

          The hard Jhanas are more about time than anything else. You have to have the Body pacified enough that you can sit for hours in access concentration without going into Jhana. I find ignoring Piti the hardest thing here, not the concentrating.Sukha(bodily bliss) comes pretty easy to me so I can sit for hours if I want. I barely feel my body if I so choose. For me to hit an extremely hard Jhana, I gotta wait till the light behind the becomes a bright light and it sucks me in.

          There’s a relationship between the Fourth Jhana and brightness of mind but I haven’t fullyfigured it out yet. Hitting Fourth Jhana seems to be an access point though. It’s a sign you can move onto deeper Jhanas. For example, If you can hit a soft Fourth Jhana consistently you now have the concentration to hit a hard first Jhana. Same with the extremely light whole Body Jhanas. When you hit Fourth in them, you can move onto the soft ones.

          TMI should help youbut the later stages are more insight focused, which you’ve alreadygone very far in. You might find it useful to work on developing concentration without trying to hit alternate states of consciousness too.

          I hope you post your thoughts on TMI. The early parts of the book might not have much practical use for you apart from maybe helping with your teaching. But the interlude chapters and the chapters on stage 8 or beyond should be very useful to you. I’d peg you being around stage 8 or 9.

          Pa Auk Sayadaw has the hardest criteria for Jhana out there. You should look him up. I don’t know if his Jhanas can be attained consistently outside retreat conditions. Here’s a good book but it’s not very useful if your not on retreat. https://www.amazon.com/Practicing-Jhanas-Traditional-Concentration-Meditation/dp/159030733X

          You might find a free textbook by him somewhere online. One of my future meditation goals is to go on a long retreat and achieve his Jhanas.

          I’ve only briefly tasted Off World Jhanas and I’d hesitant to talk too publicly about them because what I’ve experienced just sounds like lies or mania. I definitely wouldn’t say anything about them in real life.

          I don’t know if I would guide someone into having those kind of experiences. There extremely ungrounding. My Mind feels extremely powerful after coming out of them and if I had any of the Siddhis cultivated, I could do extreme damage. Extremely hard Jhana seems to grant free Siddhis.

          I experienced the perfect music Siddhi after coming out of one. Every sound seemed heightened and even normal sounds like my breathing seemed to contain a perfect orchestral sound that I could hear in my mind. Everything sounded so rich and beautiful. Songs were just hanging in the air waiting to be plucked. My dreams has songs better than Mozart. If there are Gods, that’s what they listen to.

          I really regret not being able to play an instrument because if I could cultivate that Siddhi I’d easily become famous.Unfortunately it faded away when I woke up.

          I don’t know if such things should be spoken about publicly. I’m sceptical of myself because it could be just classic Mania, The difference from Mania is that I sober up quickly and I feel clearheaded. I’m not acting like a crazy person in real life. I just come off as relaxed and happy. These states are extremely conductive for creativity because you feel some mind blowing shit.

          Another experience I had, was that my mind felt like a bright light. That experience has stayed with me and has deeply moved me. Briefly it felt like I could sense the “aura” or see what the colour of other minds looked like. A lot of minds just look dirty, clogged with blackness, with bits of coloured light like pink, red or green trying to break through the black. But I had a deep sense that the mind is meant to be bright and white.

          Crazy shit. Going mad is very fun :).

  9. Mayath says:

    Btw, this is what I mean by Unification of Mind because it’s not a term I’ve seen used on this site:

    One-pointedness makes unification of mind happen when the hindrances are overcome. is when unification of mind consistently begins to happen. What I mean by unification of mind, is that the different systems of the brain/mind are no longer competing for your attention while your focus on your object. Unification is why advanced meditators can achieve Jhana quickly while objectively not working as hard as beginners do.

    The different parts of your mind are unified around whatever your intention is. Unification reorganises the brain and provokes the release of energy. There is nothing anatomically that corresponds to energy in the body so energy sensations, I assume is the brain reorganising itself, particularly in the Parietal lobe, the somatosensory system and the frontal-temporal systems.

    Unification makes Jhana access much easier and Magick too, because intention is the most powerful thing in consciousness now. Consciousness is not scattered anymore. In my opinion, unification of mind is the real goal of concentration mediation because it leads to better cognition and happiness off the cushion, regardless if your not hitting Jhana everyday.

  10. James says:

    “They never bothered me and I always enjoyed them. I almost always get the “see through your own eyelids” phenomenon, too, whereby I can see nearby objects through my closed eyelids. ”

    I’ve had that.

    I’ve also had seeing through my eye lids while sleeping. I’m “aware” but alseep. I stopped doing that because I’d see too much weird shit. Like an Native American in full indian garb floating above me starring at me… Streams of faces in blue/white light scrolling by my bed, a dude floating in the corner of my room etc…

    Those things tend to weird me out and wake me up.

    • Illuminatus says:

      “Streams of faces in blue/white light scrolling by my bed”

      I get this too, but the faces are in black and white, and just occur in my mind’s eye. It used to freak me out — a lot — but one day I started tuning into them and found that many of the faces were just people I’d seen that day, albeit they were mostly strangers. Sometimes my friends would pop into that stream and I would see them doing things they could conceivably be doing at that moment, like sitting using a computer, but I never bothered to verify whether this was actual clairvoyance. I suspect it wasn’t. I then found I could “invoke” specific people but this takes a lot of effort — actually, it involves intending to see someone then relaxing and letting the stream “find” them. But, yes, I could then “find” them and have their face morph perfectly out of the stream. I even started to get these streams in full colour at one point. I tried magick on one of the faces one time — a girl I wanted to bone — but nothing happened as a result of that, so I’m not sure if this even has magickal potential or whether it’s just, basically, some mental artefact or hallucination. If you are wondering, then, yes, I have done intentional magick using jhanas to seduce specific women, and it works so perfectly that I came to consider it completely unethical and no longer do it. I was going to save those stories for my novelized autobiography I work on from time to time.

  11. James says:

    I find a lot of magick work can be done purely off of access concentration. I’ve done the whole seduction stuff too but found I didn’t enjoy it or would self sabotage, ultimately I only like girls who like me and treat me well and those girls tend to be pretty easy to seduce 😀

    I’ve been considering going to a Ashram for a few months to really catapult my practice and spiritual development – the latest one I looked at was this:

    http://www.paaukforestmonastery.org/

    http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/teach-train3rd.pdf (this PDF goes deep into the training). Page 35 they talk about specific element meditation/training.

    One of the basics of Shamanism/yoga/hermetic basically ANY form of “magical” training is the idea of the 4 elements (5 if you add space).

    Sadhguru talking about the elements:

    “If you have just a minor mastery over the elements, you will start living in a way most people think of as magical”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTeKZRsZvDY

    As a small side note on that quote, I think I may have been sick one time in the last 5 years, and it was for an afternoon. Since I started doing breath of fire I stopped getting sick. Family I live with will be throwing up, running fevers, shitting themselves etc… and I’ll wake up with a bit of a stuffy nose.

  12. Nhattan says:

    Could you please show me by picture where is the bridge of the nose as i can’t figure out because my native language is not English. And one single point you said is just one spot “on” the bridge or “in” the bridge? Sorry for such ridiculous questions but i would appreciate very much if i can hear from you!

    • Illuminatus says:

      It is the blue dot here:

      • Wait, is that what you meant with the bridge of the nose?

        When I was referring to the bridge of the nose spot I meant really at the nostrils area, but between the nostrils and a little bit more inside, feeling the breath sensations there.

        • Illuminatus says:

          Draw it on this diagram please and email it back to illuminatus@personalpowermeditation.com

          • Illuminatus says:

            LuminousBliss wrote:

            “you focus on the spot where the bigger red circle is, however when the air passes at that area the impression you get is that you feel it a little bit deeper inside the nose (not on the outward skin part) and those little red circles inside the nostrils also get affected”

            I tried it very briefly today — it’s great!

            Can you test my spot and see how you find it?

          • Illuminatus says:

            The way I felt it was that it was its own bony structure I could “grab” with my mind and it gave one-pointedness and piti straightaway. This kind of grab is also what I do with the bony structure at my point.

            • Thanks for trying it out!

              Yeah yesterday night before I went to sleep I tried the method you use , feeling any kind of sensations (vibrations, pressure, tingles ) and it did produce that inner sound and some piti. (I can’t feel breath passing there so I can only rely on other sensations appearing there .

              Inwill give it a few more goes, but it will take some time since i am very busy nowdays and almost no time to meditate .

              And yeah that grabbing structure I could feel it in your bridge of nose as well.

  13. P_locked says:

    I have some great news! I experienced Jhana a couple of weeks ago. I’d have to say it was a light 1st Jhana but man was it incredible. There was sort of like a explosion of white light coming from different places in my vision like fire works and I felt so happy and giddy. I was definitely experiencing a lot of bliss and when I ended the meditation, the world was different. Every step I took felt amazing and people had a glow to their faces. When I drove my car, I could feel all of the parts of the car working within the car and could practically visualize it. Every time I looked at some area while I was driving, it felt me with a deep and satisfactory feeling, almost nostalgic in nature. I also couldn’t stop giggling when my girlfriend was talking to me.

    The technique I used was nursing the breath but also to maintain one pointedness, I was continuously bringing back my awareness to the breath on the bridge of my nose. Before it solidified, I bringing my awareness back to it many times a second. Then, the breath started feeling amazing.

    Of course, I’ve been trying to get back to this state but it just seems to be eluding me. I can stay very one pointed on the breath at the bridge but nothing happens. I barely feel any bliss arising and it is weirding me out. When I don’t try to remain one pointed and have a loose focus on the bridge of my nose, I will feel pleasure around the rest of my body except for the breath. Could you explain why this might be occurring?

    Also, I don’t know if this is relevant, but I feel that this pleasure arising in the body happens when I get distracted by some part of my body even when not realizing it. Like, all the energy I’ve been building up at the bridge of the nose escapes a bit into the part of my body my awareness accidentally includes when distracted and that’s where I feel the pleasure arise.

    • P_locked says:

      I also have to add that one I leave the meditation, after 10 or 15 minutes, I feel nicely buzzed on pleasure circulating through my body. It’s kind of like the feeling of a body high you get when you have weed. It’s kinda of there in the background of my awareness all the time and I just need to focus on it sometimes to bring it to the forefront but coming out of meditation, it’s the most noticable.

      • Illuminatus says:

        That’s right. Absorption of any depth, even for just 5-10 minutes in the morning, gives this feeling and change in perception for the rest of the day. 5-10 minutes can literally fix your day, which is why I’m pushing so hard for everyone to meditate. And it gets better the more absorbed you can get.

        If you have eyesight problems then the above state you describe is when those problems will spontaneously resolve themselves. I now have permanently improved vision, even if I don’t meditate that morning.

        • True.

          Just 10 minutes puts me in a very glowing ecstatic joyful mood for most of the day.
          What helps even more is for example when you listen to some good music, it will help to intensify those feelings even more and prolong them.

          Doesn’t have to be music, can be anything that triggers good feelings such as smiling or doing anything you like.

          It’s very important to be aware of the light nimitta when meditating, it’s a good way for the mind to get familiar with it and even outside of meditation some degree of the nimitta will be there to radiate some bliss like having suddenly a sun above you shining towards you.

          • Illuminatus says:

            It is exactly like this for me. EXACTLY. And pretty much like that all the time now, even if I didn’t meditate that morning.

            Nicely described. 🙂

          • Illuminatus says:

            This reminds me of something that happened last week. I was sitting at my computer at work listening to Noel Gallagher’s 2016 remix of D’You Know What I Mean? and it sounded AMAZING — started taking me right back to the ’90s, like a timewarp of happy emotion. The nimitta behind my eyes just started growing, out of nowhere, and my breath started synchronizing to the waves of bliss automatically. Within a minute the nimitta was as bright as a thousand suns and I could feel my body disappearing as I was about to cross the threshold into full jhana — and I suddenly thought, what the fuck am I doing? I’m at work! and backed off.

            I also remember the first time I attained third jhana, I had a persistent hallucination for a whole week of golden light from heaven raining down on me wherever I went.

            So, yeah, good advice on the nimitta. 🙂

    • Illuminatus says:

      Well done mate!

      To get it again, try this tech which I’m about to write up on the blog:

      Place AWARENESS at the sides of the visual/sense field, but place ATTENTION on the bridge of the nose. So you will be running two processes simultaneously.

      So, if the visual field (with eyes closed) is a circle with the nose in the middle, then while meditating you should gaze with your eyes towards the far sides of that circle, while simultaneously feeling the breath at the nose.

      I have a feeling this tech will blow open jhana for lots of people.

      • P_locked says:

        Thanks a lot for the recommendation. I tried it just now and it definitely feels weird for me since it’s new. I’m guessing I’m not separating my awareness from my attention since I feel like I’m sort of feeling with my eyes as I gaze to the sides of my vision and therefore splitting my attention between there and the bridge instead of my awareness. I think I’ve been doing the same when doing the Breath of Fire and Sadghuru’s meditation as well. During the Breath of Fire, I place my attention at the third eye instead of just gazing at it and the same goes for Sadghuru’s. In both cases, I’m filling my third eye with my breath as I’m placing my attention there. Is it supposed to feel like a blank stare with no tension?

        • Illuminatus says:

          The “awareness” will always tend to spread off to the periphery. The “attention” will always tend to stay central.
          Imagine it like being aware of a whole field but also tracking the movements of a deer.

          You CAN do them both at once (and you need to for jhana to arise), but I understand that it may be difficult to dive right in and play with both awareness types, especially when the current world we live in mainly trains the “attention” type.

          To make it easier I gave you two actions which literally force both awareness types at once: the eyes looking out to the sides (awareness) while you feel the sensations on the nose (attention).

          Just keep plugging away.

    • Kautilya says:

      Very inspiring stuff.

      How did you get to this point man?

    • James says:

      The other day without getting a full jhana, when I opened my eyes I could see the luminous silver lining around everything, and saw the air crackling with energy.

      • Illuminatus says:

        I get that often, particularly when meditating at the crown chakra. I believe that this phenomenon is the origin of the “Holy Ghost” idea in Christianity, probably discovered by Christian yogis (back when Christianity had a mystic practice rather than the sheep herd it is now).

        • Illuminatus says:

          BTW during the kundalini awakening that energy was present basically all the time, everywhere, all around me haha.

          • James says:

            I’ve experienced it once before on ayahausca.

            I’ve been getting more and more of this type of thing recently as I’ve been meditating.

            A week or so ago I had a small bit of san pedro and could feel the energy moving up my spine into my head, and since then I’ve been more reliably able to just “will” the energy up.

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