In case you’re wondering where I’ve been, I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been writing something big for this site. I won’t say what it is yet, but I’m about halfway through. I’m not sure when it will be completed and won’t make any guesses at this time.

I will be making some regular posts in the interim however. There will be some book reviews including Aaron Sleazy‘s new meditation book, Meditation Without Bullshit. I will also write up some beginner’s tech in a week or so.

For now, let me help get you into the Christmas spirit with Cliff Richard’s 1990 classic, Saviour’s Day.

Need help with your meditation? Book a Skype coaching session →

35 Responses

  1. Kautilya says:

    Why you always teasing us Bruh???

    LOL….I assume the new beginners tech has evolved from this then –

  2. Morgan says:

    Good to see you back Edd. A while back you posted that you were going to get back into pickup after a long time off women. Did you and how has it gone? I’m curious how things have changed now you’ve kicked the drugs and seem to have got your shit together and imprinted circuit 1 safety.

    I enjoyed your posts on nextasf as you were one of the only people not advocating the cold approach 10000 chicks on the street until you make it advice that is common there and leads to all sorts of trouble for guys that dont naturally have a good vibe. Has your view changed since then, namely that vibe is prime and that virtually anything works if you have a good vibe, and hardly anything will work if you have a bad vibe.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hi Morgan,

      – The thing I’m writing is pickup-related, but I’ll say no more about it.

      – Yes, vibe is prime. See:

      – Second most important is outcome independence, but you can only have that if your internal state is unperturbed by the prospect of either success or failure. Neither should move you much from your centre. I won’t go back into pickup until I’m sure I’m there. In the past, whether I failed or succeeded, thoughts of the encounter would play endlessly on my mind for days or weeks. It’s just another addictive pattern.

      – As well as kicking drugs I also gave up smoking and drinking, bar the occasional glass of wine with dinner if it’s offered by someone else. I will drink at Christmas though with my family because it’s fun. Not looking forward to the hangover, though — even a few drinks ruins me for several days, now.

      So in all I’ve “cleaned up” but haven’t “got my shit together”. I’ve really just gone back down to zero by stripping out all the things that don’t work (which includes just about every activity society does). Now I have to climb back up. For that, I’m following my own meditation plan (1-2 hours a day, currently).

      There’s little point me speculating on the future much at this point since perma-bliss/enlightenment is a bit like throwing the chess table on the floor rather than moving the pieces around. Almost certainly, though, my days of roaming around bars and clubs for women are long over. I tend to only see sickness in those places, now.

    • Arpan says:

      ” the cold approach 10000 chicks on the street until you make it”

      It’s one of the most injurious things a man can do to his psychological setup, especially in terms of the amour propre that preserves the fragile personality of average human beings. Even after years of meditation, that much rejection by literally “nobodies”, is bound to fuck a person up on some level, no matter how indifferent he acts.

      @ Edd: “I tend to only see sickness in those places, now.”
      Is that an intellectual viewpoint you have reached as a result of finding new and sublimer vistas to explore or is it something more visceral/intuitive ? I have always got strong intuitive red flags(“this is gonna pull you down a muddy rabbit hole”) in such situations , which has only increased since I started practicing meditation seriously. This has also been the case with atleast two more practitioners I know (though they were active on dating/drinking earlier).

      • Illuminatus says:

        ”the cold approach 10000 chicks on the street until you make it”

        Interesting couple of stories. Firstly there was a guy who contacted me because he had literally done 10,000 approaches and got something like 10 lays. He literally kept it all in a spreadsheet. I won’t name him, but he was well known for this in the PUA community. For those who have trouble counting, that’s 9990 rejections. He contacted me asking about drugs or some mind tech he could use to improve his numbers, as he thought his problem was a “meek, withdrawn state”. My advice was: “No shit, I’d be feeling pretty meek if I received hundreds of rejections per week.” I told him to give up and find something better to do with his time. As far as I know he is still at it.

        The truth is, even one rejection would bug me for days, unless I got a success that same night (and then I’d be in a hypomanic state of excitement for days or weeks, which has its own massive problems). Now, that whole story says a lot about my need for approval from women. Almost certainly a mother issue there. However, if we go more basic, then the reality is that going after girls does require a certain level of balls and irreverence: this is the reason the majority of human men who have ever lived have never produced offspring (true story). We’re a hierarchical tribe species and mating rights have never been equal. This is the real reason why most men never really go after the women they want: there are all kinds of hurty emotions making us not do it.

        In the second story, a guy contacted me asking for anti-anxiety tech to make him approach. He went out to nightclubs literally every night. EVERY NIGHT. He just bought a beer, stood there all night, then went home. He would wake up the next afternoon then go and do the same thing at night. Anyway, firstly he said he didn’t want to meditate. Then he knocked back each tech I gave him one after the next saying it wasn’t for him. Finally I recommended he do something more productive with his time like work on his career or fitness. Turned out he’d made his money early by starting a company and this was literally all he now did with his days. He wasn’t interested in doing any hobbies. For all I know, he is still doing this.

        Both contacts started out as Skype coaching requests but we never got that far as I told them both I couldn’t help them. I turn down the majority of coaching requests because I know they will just be wasting their money, praying for a miracle.

        ” “I tend to only see sickness in those places, now.”
        Is that an intellectual viewpoint you have reached as a result of finding new and sublimer vistas to explore or is it something more visceral/intuitive ? ”

        There was a moment I will never forget. I was tired of the endless drama of chasing women so had decided to take that idea off the table and just go out to a bar to “relax”. I was standing there, thinking, “Well, what exactly is the point of this place if not for that?” Then I saw it. The bar, the drinks, the gaming machines, the dance floor, the music, the dresses, the skinny jeans, the haircuts: they’re all just PROPS. Some sort of “reality-o-vision” turned on and for several minutes all I could see was nothing but ape sexual behaviour. Women preening, men bravado’ing or huddling. The WHOLE THING was set up for sex. And at that moment it all just seemed completely mental to me.

        On the plus side, I now think: if that’s what you want, just go and do it. The pretences of “fun” and the concept of “the bar” have been revealed as a charade. If you wake up that day and decide you want sex from a bar that night, you need to go straight for the X-marks-the-spot. Ignore ALL the distractions in “the bar” and all the tomfoolery of human ego and all the other stuff that drags you off on tangents. The whole night, what you call “fun”, is essentially just a bunch of tangents away from your goal. Don’t stand around hoping you’ll feel like approaching soon. It will never happen. There are so many mental traps to fall into. Simply never forget the real reason you’re there and you’ll get something. And the quickest and easiest way to get laid in my memory is to take MDMA, go to a bar, talk to the first women you find attractive, and let the drug do the talking.

        These days if I go to a bar it’s because someone else in the group wanted to go and I’ll stay a while till I’m bored then just leave. I’m under no illusion that some woman is going to fall into my lap, because my intent simply isn’t there. Thus, I’ve given up the fight, so I never feel bad about not approaching or having some other thing I was supposed to do. I’d really rather just hang out at somebody’s house, these days. Or go and play golf.

        • Gary says:

          What about using magick? Can’t you set the intent while in 4th jhana and go out to the club or bar?

          • Illuminatus says:

            If you want sex badly enough — meaning you are willing to suffer all the distractions and ignore all the tangents — then you will get something based on that intent alone. That was the premise of Gunwitch Method (find woman->enter sexual state->talk to her while maintaining sexual state).

            The benefit of using visualization is that you can be a lot more specific about the situation you want to find yourself in later.

            People already do a form of this by having a “type”. So guy X will always end up talking to a petite blonde because “that’s his type”. This is actually quite common.

            With magick though you can be really quite specific. The deeper the jhana the better. You can say things like, “I want to meet an attractive redhead, newly single and looking for a rebound, who likes jazz”. Then forget all about it. Later on at the bar you find yourself stood next to an attractive redhead. You notice she has a tattoo of a musical note. You ask if she likes jazz. “Yes, I do!” The magick all came true, and you get your rebound fuck.

            It’s easily explained materialistically. Plenty of redheads out on the town. You see one who has a tattoo that reminds you of your spell. You ask about jazz and statistically a woman who likes music enough to get a note tattoo will probably have eclectic tastes and like jazz. She’s in a bar and has a tattoo so she’s already probably a slut, and sluts are always rebounding from some guy or other, and since bars are there for sex and she’s a slut, you get your sex.

            The benefit of using magick is that it takes a lot of the responsibility (and thus pressure and anxiety) away from you. When a situation is unfolding apparently in accordance with a “magick spell”, there is a sense that this is what you asked for or that some god or magickal forces are at work and all you need to do is sit back for the ride. A door has been opened, and all you have to do is walk through it.

            I have done this many times. The part where the materialist explanations break down is when you make the intentions so ludicrously specific that they become statistically improbable. E.g. I once intended to meet a fellow tramadol addict to go to salsa classes with and she appeared the next night (amusingly, she was someone Aaron Sleazy hit on when he visited me). She even had a tramadol blog, which I won’t link to.

            My issue now however is that I don’t just see the sex and the “Wham, bam, thank you Ma’am!” I see the broken condom and the trip to the VD clinic. The boyfriend you have to dodge. The drama when you don’t text her. The drama when you DO text her. Seeing her again when you know you shouldn’t. Pair-bonding with inappropriate women just because they’re sexy and give you anal.

            This is another thing I think is very bad for people generally (both genders): multiple pair-bonds in your life. I think for each pair-bond and subsequent breakup you become exponentially more jaded and unviable as a long-term partner. I think living promiscuously is probably very bad for your sexual psychology the more K-selected you are.

          • Arpan says:

            I have rarely touched 4th jhana, but from what I experienced and more importantly, from what I hear about that state, using it for such goals is like using artillery to shoot down a mosquito.
            One literally BECOMES what one intends in 4th jhana. So the important question to ask is: Do you, at your core, intend to become a good PUA ?
            That would suffice.

            • Illuminatus says:

              I will also point out that you do not actually need the fourth jhana to do basic magick. If you can hold a visualization in reasonable definition in your mind for several seconds or minutes, then exit it and FIRMLY decide you wish to experience it, then it has a high probability of coming true at some point. Interestingly, exploring such visualizations often dissuades you from intending it, as the simulation reveals some consequences you may not have considered before that in your “flight of fancy” mode.

              A good example is winning the lottery. The “flight of fancy” is that the money solves all your problems and you’re on a beach in the Caribbean sipping a cocktail. The reality though is that much of the Caribbean is a third-world country, you won’t know anyone there, everyone back home is hassling you to give them money, you’ve now alienated yourself from everyone you knew, and you’re just as miserable because emotions of greed and lust are fleeting and unsatisfying in the long-term.

              • Arpan says:

                “I will also point out that you do not actually need the fourth jhana to do basic magick”
                I know, that’s why i restricted my answer to 4th jhana and didn’t comment on magick.
                The explaination about ritual and direct magick you once wrote to me resonated with me pretty well.

                “Interestingly, exploring such visualizations often dissuades you from intending it, as the simulation reveals some consequences you may not have considered before that in your “flight of fancy” mode.”
                I tend to use this method precisely for what you stated: it might hammer some sense in me in case am wasting time after a worthless goal. Thus, only the things I really value get pursued ultimately.

        • Rigz says:

          >Or go and play golf

          What’s your handicap?

          • Illuminatus says:

            I don’t have one; I don’t play often enough. The weather here is usually vile leaving me the 6 days or so of sun in summer to go around the par 3. I went to the driving range a few weeks back though and hit some monsters.

        • Arpan says:

          “This is the real reason why most men never really go after the women they want”

          ‘Women they want’ is important here. I find most guys caught in this loop don’t really have(or renounce if they did have) a definite choice amongst women so as to be able to cast a wider net. This itself weakens their persona. Thrn it hurts them even more when they are rejected or mistreated by women who they deep down considered inferior from the inception. If a guy does not descend to this, then too his soul is saved lol. He will either get his girl or would see wisdom early on.

          “The whole night, what you call “fun”, is essentially just a bunch of tangents away from your goal. ”
          This is just another manifestation of the phenomenon i stated above: not having a clear personal goal in these matters. People, especially ladies, can sense that very fast.

          Also, if i am not wrong, unless one approaches women, there is a pretty high chance of one remaining single for rest of his life in West. That’s something absent here due to our still surviving “arranged marriage” system here. Hence, just being “successful and decent” works, if all one wants is a good relationship. The girl won’t kick one’s ass even if it’s just a long term relationship(not even marriage), unless one’s a real douchebag.

          Overall, I see many on the pantheon of wisdom, East to West agree on how a “bad” woman can break a man’s spirit and his creativity and a “good” woman can boost it in long term. The more they practice supplicating to women with inferior intelligence/emotional maturity/success/status as compared to themselves, lower in the scale of personal evolution they drop, harder they find it to rise, especially without exposure to a skill like meditation or a great life goal. The argument that it’s just for gaming girls seems BS to me. Whenever I have put on a show with some effort to attain any goal, for a while, it invarisbly rubs off on my actual persona.

          To me this pursuit seems very similar to pursuit of Jhanas. People keep in bringing complicated techs to attain them, never realizing the “attitude” they bring into the meditation(which Ajahn Brahm emphasizes). Pro jhana practitioners(like Pickup Artists) keep struggling to explain it to them, giving increasingly complicated techs, sometimes forgetting to amd sometimes unable to, communicate the vibe/attitude they carry into meditation. As soon as the the guy learns how not to bring in desire, aversion, sloth, restlessness and doubt etc and just be in the moment, he is able to slip into the jhanas(get new friends, better girls) by just just closing his eyes(being in a social situation with the right vibe).

          • Illuminatus says:

            I have found it harder to attain jhana since becoming a supposed “authority” on it. It seems the more I write about it, the more that technical side feeds back into my practice and just scrambles it. The best time was when the year or so when I had just finished Shinzen Young’s “The Science of Enlightenment”, didn’t know what any altered states were or their “names”, and was just sitting attempting equanimity. Jhanas “found” me often. A spoiler for Aaron Sleazy’s meditation book: he just sits and lets go of thoughts. He has formless realms from that without ever knowing a single Buddhist/yogic label. Time was when I could close my eyes and have visions or be in another place within minutes. My concentration practice is nowhere near that level nowadays. Primarily I blame MCTB for wrecking my practice.

            That reminds me. I intend to write a post at some point called “Jhana: Cleaning up the Language”. I have been trying to fit all my experiences into MCTB terms since finding that book. But lately I’ve been watching Vern L’s vids and reading The Mind Illuminated and other things and finding that most of my meditation experiences over the years don’t fit into the classical jhanas. E.g. the early meditation I did often was actually a third eye meditation on the visual field which gave “Divine Eye” experiences and ecstatic states. I only started calling them “jhana” to fit it into MCTB’s structure. Later on, I was doing energy practice as opposed to classical jhanas. There’s a lot that needs correcting. I have had the classical jhanas also, though, but that kind of practice simply didn’t make up the majority of my meditation.

            I will also list all the out-of-body stuff and other altered states I experienced without trying to force them into an existing structure.

            • Arpan says:

              “he just sits and lets go of thoughts. He has formless realms from that without ever knowing a single Buddhist/yogic label.”
              That sounds a Lot like me. The precise reason why I would enquire from you often about what state I might be in. You had once replied that you have no clear idea abt formless states but it’s possible to enter them withoutamastering 1st 4 jhanas.
              This got cleared in an Ajahn Brahm lecture: he stated that 5th jhana by giving up all perception of form.
              Well this happens naturally in “Letting go/Do Nothing /Acceppting all phenomenon” family of meditations since mind is locked onto a rather formless object: occurrences in the present moment.

              The jhanas that “found you” were hard or soft ? I find myself falling into softer ones like that.
              As an aside Bhante Vimalaramsi’s 6 R method is great if a neophyte wanna experience a soft jhana.
              He emphasises on actually “recognizing releasing relaxing and re-smiling” at the distraction when one gets distracted. Earlier I thought this was ineffective but i find 2 fold advantage to it for beginners(i taught it to one guy):
              1. It includes distraction as a part of processes, thus eliminating “fight” and promoting a positive attitude in the moment.
              2. It simply does ensure that you don’t bring a tense/unwholesome mind back to the object .
              This also ensures that distractions appear with lesser frequency as you are allowing the mind to have a “complete experience” of them and removing unwholesomeness.
              This process becomes faster and more reflexive in practice than it sounds. To use ur phrase: “relaxing within attention” is ensured by intentionally dropping of unwholesome formations that mix up with concentration.

              Finally: what tech are you using these days ? Incase it’s not something new that you would reveal later.

              • Illuminatus says:

                “You had once replied that you have no clear idea abt formless states but it’s possible to enter them withoutamastering 1st 4 jhanas.”

                My problem was that I’d had myriad experiences such as the star field anomaly which I talked to you about before (did you ever find the book where that is mentioned by the way? I would LOVE to read that) and other ones just from sitting for a long time wherein I perceived reality as vibrations, and other strange phenomena. So I assumed they were kinds of Formless Realms, since I was trying to slot everything into MCTB at the time. During these experiences there was zero sensory stimulus from the outside world (so, I could not hear sounds etc.) and this is one of the qualifiers I am using to determine “hard jhana” in my planned post. However, I did not noticeably ascend through the first four classical jhanas so I have no idea whether they are true “Formless Realms” in the classical sense.

                The majority of my “jhanas” were “soft” in that I could still hear an alarm to end the session. They are consistent with TMI’s “Pleasure Jhanas” since pleasurable sensations were used to enter them (and this is where all my “smell the air” tech comes from, and smile jhanas, since smiling also creates pleasure). I reported a “soft jhana” with apparently a growing white nimitta as early as 2010: (see “White Light Meditation” at the end).
                Remember I was making meditations up as I went along there so seem to have stumbled into something.

                It was when I really started staying with the breath that I got the really hard jhanas (on one occasion “losing” 8 hours, but luckily it was at night and it replaced my sleep). But I only have a handle of those experiences (and would like to develop them again; I found them difficult and got into other stuff at the time).

                As recently as September I was able to use a mental image of the spine to enter hard luminous jhanas (bright light; total bliss; total disconnect from reality; often going into lucid dreams; also, complete Paths of Insight ending in Cessation when they did not go into lucid dreams) but this ability has already disappeared which has been very frustrating for me.

                My practice at the moment is “trying to figure out what the hell is going on”. My concentration is okay one week, shit the next. The change in seasons (suddenly cold and dark) seems to have played a major role here. I expected to be at the point now where such things wouldn’t affect my basic concentration. It’s all very frustrating.

                • Arpan says:

                  Re starfield: I searched a lot of digital resources for it, but failed. I clearly remember reading it somewhere and it struck because my dad narrated something similar. I searched through the 2 ebooks i thought it was in, but they miss the essential detail of interest here and just talk about a white light Swami Vivekanand saw every night while falling asleep.
                  But it was essentially limited to what I wrote to you and i can reproduce all other things related to it from memory. He had far more interesting plethora of experiences,thus that phenomenon does not get much coverage. And as it is with most yogis, they tend to hush it up.

                  I have a strong feeling that i studied it in a hindi text online or offline, thus it’s not coming up in internet search. I have read cartload of material on all this. Would surely link you to it whenever i chance upon it.

                  “I expected to be at the point now where such things wouldn’t affect my basic concentration. It’s all very frustrating.”

                  “Success in meditation, according to Patanjali, depends upon samvega, the intensely energetic practice of meditation and quickness of performance necessary to such practice. Such energetic practice and quickness in fulfilling the conditions, however, depend upon the aspirant’s physical and mental equipment, mastery over posture, ABILITY TO OVERCOME THE ENVIRONMENT, …”

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    Thanks for that, it is reassuring.

                    I have also cleaned up my diet. It is largely fruit-based now. Interestingly, eating a couple of oranges gives me a huge energy burst. I will have to try it before meditation tomorrow morning.

                    • Arpan says:

                      My morning meditation was certainly impacted (increase in torpor) after whatever non vegetarian food I had the earlier evening(which was rare anyways). I gave up non veg completely at 15, took to fruit based breakfast and fastkng once per week.
                      This, along with regular physical exercise seemed to have had the best impact on meditation from the physical aspect.

        • Morgan says:

          >This is the real reason why most men never really go after the women they want: there are all kinds of hurty emotions making us not do it.

          Do you think that this is something that can be overcome through meditation? So say for example you got so good at jhana that you could just go into a deep bliss state and then go out and talk to women while staying in the bliss state the entire time, how would you come across to them, like an unfearing psychopath, or just a general “chill” guy? Would there be instant attraction, or would you still have to game them, tell them emotional stories, etc?

          I’ve noticed that every now and then you will see a guy who just doesn’t look afraid at all. This creates a sense of fear because you instantly compare yourself, and if you are anxious, you think “he’s not anxious, he’s a threat”. Any women around seem to be constantly checking this guy out also. But at the same time he doesn’t have a Jhana type grin or Buddha “glow” about him either, and its not like women are frothing at the mouth for Buddhist monks or other people who are in perma bliss.

          • Illuminatus says:

            It is within the reach of most people to change this through meditation, yes. Did you read the forum post I linked to?

            Regarding jhana/bliss states, there are two phases you need to make distinct in your mind to understand this.

            The first is the very short-term phase, immediately after meditating. So, if you attain a bliss state, immediately afterwards the “afterglow” persists for hours and sometimes days. The nature of the afterglow depends on the depth or “hardness” of the state attained during the meditation, and the type of meditation used (e.g. energy vs. classical jhana), but to keep this simple, I will split this into just two levels called “shallow bliss” and “deep bliss”:

            – Shallow bliss: the mind will be clear, peaceful, and you will feel more in the present moment. This may make you socially easy and better at pickup. However, it is just as likely that the sexual urges driving you towards pickup will have dissipated and you will be far more accepting of things how they are. In my experience it is a coin toss as to which happens. Energy meditation however leans more towards maintaining sexual desire in my experience as it raises sexual energy (which must then be transmuted to equanimity via longer meditations if you wish to rein that in).

            – Deep bliss: you will likely be completely blissed-out, totally accepting of the present moment, awash with complete gratitude, all sexual urges or any sense of wanting anything completely washed out of your system. You might not even want to move out of your chair or get up off the floor.

            As you can see, neither of these is particularly useful for pickup.

            This brings us to phase two. Phase two is when you have been cultivating bliss states daily or nearly daily for a long time, usually many years. These meditations progressively cleanse you of anxieties and permanently improve your neurochemical state. This is what the goal should be, not just flash-in-the-pan bliss states. This is also what Sleazy did for around 10 years BEFORE he started his pickup career. Another spoiler from his book: his meditation permanently raised his serotonin levels to the extent that doctors assumed he had a brain tumour (which tests revealed he didn’t). He has written about these things online before so I’m not exactly ruining his book by sharing them.

            I haven’t cultivated such states deep enough or regularly enough to claim such huge personality changes, though the small practice I have had has changed me noticeably in those ways. I have not practised as much as Sleazy due to getting distracted by many things e.g. drugs which I have written about plenty.

            Also consider however the possibility that, if you did cleanse and calm your entire being via meditation in this way, you might not end up being the same person driven to go out and hook up with girls that you feel you are now. This reminds me of how Silicon Valley has its employees practise meditation as a “productivity tool”, but the reality is that if those employees cultivated genuinely equanimous states via meditation they might end up realizing their boss is a prick, their job isn’t for them and is a waste of their time, etc. Anything could happen. If the employees really got into meditation half of them would probably leave within a year.

            • Arpan says:

              @ Edd: on an unrelated note:
              Can any of the above bliss states you mentioned above improve reading comprehension, increase reading speed etc in your opinion ?
              In general, what’s the best way to go about doing that according to you ?
              On old forum I read a comment of yours where you said that you had “shifted” to a right brain perspective and read large chunks of text in viaual form rather than linear verbal form until you got exhausted. I have hit upon some similar lucid states, but they are few and far between and I have almost no idea about how to control them.
              This is important to me because these days I need to read and assimilate a lot of material requiring moderate comprehension skill.

              • Illuminatus says:

                Unfortunately I was unable to recreate the experience. After trying a few times I gave up. Seems to be one of the many one-offs you get when fucking around with your consciousness.

              • Gary says:

                From your posts it seems that you are able to reach relatively deep states during meditation. Have you not noticed an improvement in reading comprehension right after a meditation session? I meditate regularly and and can reach levels of peace but no jhana yet and after a session I find that I can pay attention much better to the material I study and and my complrehension and memory is much better. This only works for me if I go straight to studying after meditation though. The effects wear off after about an hour or two.

                • Illuminatus says:

                  Not sure who that was directed at, but I have improvements in all mental function after meditation, including things like musical ability.

                  However we were talking about a specific “speed reading” phenomenon I encountered after one session where an entire page could be read in one scan and it would play like a movie. Very bizarre, and mind-blowing.

                • Arpan says:

                  I do find an improvement after a session of meditation.
                  And over the years my base level cincentration has vastly improved too.
                  However sorry for not making myself clear: I basically wanted to ask if one can enter something like a soft jhana WHILE reading, like monks can enter bliss states while doing routine monastry chores or atheletes/dancers can enter the “flow” while performing.

                  @Edd: i mentioned your right brain lucidity experience as just one example. Do you have any idea regarding what I wrote above ?

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    Let’s dispense with the term “jhana” for such things (which is the goal of my planned post) and adopt a more fitting phrase which is “flow state”. For chores, sports etc. then to enter a flow state I do the following:

                    1) Put the attention on the widefield: so, include your peripheral vision (so you see “visual field as a whole”, not just looking out the sides of your eyes) and listen to environmental sounds. Simultaneously bring awareness to the breath. This should fairly quickly induce a noticeable state shift to equanimity and expanded awareness. Things like anxiety and performance pressure should fall away immediately.

                    2) Return to the activity, but abandon the idea of a central agent or “doer” and instead let your hands, body etc. do the thing you want. The body should begin obeying the intention in a flowing way.

                    This is the classical way to return locus of control and awareness to the right brain, with the left brain as faithful servant.

                    The issue with reading is that it is so left-brained that the tendency is to switch back to that narrow-focused verbal mode almost immediately. I have not had to absorb large amounts of information from books etc. for a long time so I cannot really advise how to use a flow state in this way. I tend to read only for enjoyment these days and therefore take time to read each sentence in its own time. When scanning large texts (e.g. to get a source to write about on here) then my tendency is to use the right brain to sweep the page and then grab the fact with the left brain when it is spied. The result is CHERRY-PICKING. I only usually read things in this way to support my existing biases.

                    The “speed reading” phenomenon I described in the post you mentioned was not like this at all however. There was NO PERCEPTION OF TEXT. So, the words were not seen as words, and there was no voice in my head reading them. It would instead play as a movie. I tested a few pages by going back to them to see if I had indeed absorbed the facts and I had. I have not been able to recreate this, though there are many courses available online claiming to do similar things. I am not sure if I would endorse this for reading very fact-based materials such as science or medical textbooks, though.

                    I would suggest that a relaxed state would aid fact retention, though. Stressed states tend to “filter”. Play around with the flow state tech and see if it helps your reading and let us know.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      Jesus, I just realized that maintaining awareness of the widefield is how I’ve always done successful concentration practice. (So, you establish the widefield while letting the object arise in the centre). This is one reason writing up techs messes things up — forget one thing, and it changes everything.

                    • Arpan says:

                      To give you an idea of what kinda stuff I am studying these days: I am preparing for competitive exam for induction into Indian Administrative Services. Candidate: seat ratio of this competition is one of the highest in the world. Over 800,000 candidates for about 100 seats(rest are for other less coveted services). They test one on current affairs, an optional subject and general knowledge on a large variety of subjects like history, general science, geography, polity etc.

                      Your skim reading approach is what I have been adopting for current affairs which is the most important and time consuming component. But how much I grasp and from how many angles and how well I retain depends on how much “natural calm interest” I have while using this approach. For this and for the motivation in general I just calm my mind by AWA/letting go kind of tech and then gently suggest my mind to “fetch me that fruit(goal)” and my mind leaps eagerly to work. I often use this midway while studying to suggest to the mind how interesting and complex global politics is abd it would be a joy to understand how these A level diplomats think and it suddenly creates a juicy childlike fascination in the mind. In such states the mind effortlessly correlates all I read in newspapers, magazines, hear from people in random conversations abd watch on TV, too create a harmonious matrix of my own view on the subject.

                      What you point out in (2) regarding abandoning the “central doer” is something I feel happening vua AWA too. The doer tends to “thin out” with the “I”.

                      I feel I have a better knack for AWA type techs and Equanimity comes easily to me. Infact lack of fear of disappointment and pain deprives me of most negative sources of motivation, which manytimes becomes an issue.

                      So would you suggest culiovating more of AWA and then “flowing” egolessly into the task(as it fulfills ythe factors you mentioned: calmness, equanimity and lack of doer) OR would do ypu think widefield tech you mentioned should still be better ?
                      I can usually improve retention with this but speed seems to follow a sinusoid that has a mind of its own.

                      “The issue with reading is that it is so left-brained that the tendency is to switch back to that narrow-focused verbal mode almost immediately.”
                      I had partly overcome the issue of getting pulled out of the “present moment” in tasks like coding. I had to code a Lot in college and would often develop a lot of head tension and general irritability. I found that carrying the momentum of “letting go” generated by meditation by coding just after the session of meditation spilled it into coding. I would periodicallly intentionally stand back to observe my mind churning complex chain of programming loops and “relax around” the mental mechanitions gently without disturbing them. This would perpetuate the letting go. Slowly this had become quirt reflexive ad my mind learnt how to distinguiah between Activity of Thinking and Tension/stress and would relax the latter in real time, much lile how noting becomes second nature to Insight meditators.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      “So would you suggest culiovating more of AWA and then “flowing” egolessly into the task(as it fulfills ythe factors you mentioned: calmness, equanimity and lack of doer) OR would do ypu think widefield tech you mentioned should still be better ?”

                      In practice they will achieve the same thing. Any good meditation practice should spread awareness to the widefield.

                      I need to write a post about the widefield at some point. It’s weird how I’ve just forgotten about it these last months. What on Earth changed that I forgot that? No wonder my concentration went to shit.

                      Little tech for anyone reading who wants to experience widefield and its calming meditative effects immediately: Go for a walk and attempt to see the visual field all the way to both edges. Rather than “looking out the sides of your eyes”, trying to get the whole image, including the centre, as one big picture. Now hold it and eventually it will stick. Attention should shift automatically to the breath as well. This is how you get vision like in the movie Limitless.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @Edd: Thank you 🙂

                      Yeah I have read your walking meditation post where you mention widefield. Will try that out.

                      Btw, have you given up AWA ? You were only giving positive reviews about it last time around

                    • Arpan says:

                      “Play around with the flow state tech and see if it helps your reading and let us know.”

                      I walked 40 min with widefield awareness today and then went back to read a new text. It seemed to have broadened my “eye span” which did impact speed. I have felt this in past but was unable to get back to this “broad vision” while reading in a reliable manner. The typical speed reading instructions to eliminate subvocalization and enhance Eye Span gradually via exercises seemed too tardy to me. A meditation tech does both in a harmonious natural way.

                      I am now catching the essential feel of this state and would try recreating it after silencing my mind via my usual acceptance/let go tech and then “leaning” into this state.
                      Thanks Edd

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      “Btw, have you given up AWA ? You were only giving positive reviews about it last time around”

                      I believe AWA is the way forward. I had some experiences with it that made me think it was taking me backwards but actually it was correcting problems (which temporarily manifested as stronger versions of themselves, making me back off from AWA for a while). So it was a “purification”, which continues. I will write them up when I’m further along.

  3. Pablinov says:

    Hi illuminatus, i remember reading two books called “The Open-Focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body” and Dissolving “Pain: Simple Brain-Training Exercises for Overcoming Chronic Pain ” by the same author, talking PRECISELY about that widefield of attention and including exercice that aim to expand your focus, it advised like you said to play with the whole field of your vision and also talked about “feeling” the sensation of space, anyway happy to see you back online 🙂 !

    • Illuminatus says:

      Nice one. The bottom line is that widefield = right brain. And the right brain “knows” how to fix everything, if we just settle into it. And that really is the whole purpose and mechanism of meditation, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *