Mailbag: Formations and Their Annihilation

Adrian wrote:


I recently bumped into your blog. Its really amazing and I want to thank you for your walk and sharing from experience so much.

I still have a lot to read here but I want to ask you a question, Ive been “meditating” for 20 years and even though I ve gained benefits from my practice, after reading you  I realize that I kind of stayed in an early stage and was happy there. I am here to move on.

My question relates to a deep chronic tensing of my perineal muscles, Ive tried many things in order to try and release that constant clenching. Its not there all the time, it always appear when Im talking to someone and at other moments. Its as if I would clench my fist and keep it like that for a while.

Ive tried to bring awareness in to the area but i cant pass through. I hope I am being clear with my words. SO Id like to ask if you can give me an advice in order to  help me contact with and hopefully realease once and for all this tightness. I am sure there has to be some kind of emotional component but no matter how much catharsis i go through or emotional release , it changes nothing here.

MAybe you already wrote about something similar or that can help in this way so please , can you point me in a direction i can investigate or a practice you think may help??

Thank you again for the guidance you offer in your blog.


Hi Adrian,

What you’re describing is a standard fear/anxiety response, common with social interactions. There is an emotional/psychological component — in Buddhism this is called a “formation”, and will be a mindbody impression of danger concerning that interaction. Formations are combined sensory, body and mental object impressions. In certain stages of meditation progress they can be perceived with great clarity.

The solution is to purge the formation entirely. You have to perceive the sensations clearly that make up the tightening response, along with the sensations of the mental object (the situation you are in that is triggering it). Together, all these sensations are a “formation”, and they are a whole. So, cause and effect does not exactly apply in the traditional Western way. So, it is not, “He sees X, and his brain interprets Y, and his body does Z.” It’s more like: it all happens at once and is a formation. And the formation is made of sensations. Typically, clearly perceiving those sensations tends to neutralize them.

The reason I am telling you this is is to outline the problem so you can understand my solutions.

See, the traditional Western approach would be to do talk therapy and discover the root of the fear and the quest for social acceptance yada yada yada and hope that that somehow causes the response to disappear. Of course, this basically doesn’t work at all, since there’s a lack of acuity in perceiving the sensations. (This is not to say talk therapy is useless; it isn’t. It just works in a different way, namely by providing a positive and accepting social bond.)

You have probably also tried bodywork approaches: work with the body response/ muscle and hope that there is a trickle-in into the mind side of things. This was my approach for a long time. It can have some effect, but mainly you end up working with gross sensations (“release this muscle”) and it’s not fine enough at all.

The solution is to do everything all at once by seeing the whole damn thing as a formation and fizzling away the formation. However, this does require significant meditative training and very high-resolution awareness of all the sensations that make up the formation (both mental and physical, which it turns out are actually the same substance at the sensate level). It also certainly requires the ability to slip into some interesting altered states (which are pretty normal for high-level meditators). The benefit of the formation approach is that the method for dealing with a formation works on ANY formation — including “pleasant” ones like addictions. The story of Buddha sat meditating beneath the tree while the Ten Armies of Mara attacked him is a story of formations, and the Buddha clearly perceiving and meditating through those formations in order to neutralize them.

I will now describe three methods I know of of dealing with formations, using your problem as the example subject. Please note that while these types of meditation are thought of as different, in my opinion they are all really just different paths converging towards the same destination which is the perception of and neutralization of formations.

– Kundalini. My preferred method. Intentionally trigger the formation, by entering a situation that causes it. Then either 1) get a good memory snapshot to retrigger it later while meditating, 2) walk away and do the meditation immediately on the fresh formation, or 3) do the meditation right there in the situation, which can be difficult if you are talking to someone at the time but with skill is definitely possible.

While the formation is active, send a broad stream of “up” energy from the ground up through the body. Notice that as it passes through there are tight areas. These are the physical aspects of the formation. The up-stream is acting like an interference pattern to reveal the formation. Now pass the stream through the blocks. The main issue here is that the stream must be made of ultra-fine particles in order to reveal the most subtle parts of the formation, otherwise there will be unpleasant resistance (although, generally, even a poor version of this exercise works better than doing nothing). The mental side of the formation is also dealt with during this process, which is harder to describe in words, but basically the mental is just ultra-fine physical sensations (mindbody nonduality). In about 50% of meditations I will personally get visuals of the karmic causes of the formation while this purge is going on, which are often logically nonsensical and seemingly have little connection to the current situation (which is why psychotherapy based on logical, linear connections is often useless — the mind is very broad and thematic). Continue the purge (the up-stream) during the visuals. Once purged properly, the formation will never return. However, understand that “social anxiety” (for example), is made of many formations and must be dealt with in many passes, though typically each pass will help the other linked formations as they are all interdependent.

I have personally eradicated 95% of my social anxiety using this exact method (and I’m just finding new ones to annihilate now; but the bulk of the work is done, meaning I am hardly ever anxious). Rapid progress can be made even in just a week, since many of the formations grow from the same root, and pulling out that root purges anxieties you thought were different but were all fundamentally connected.

Please note though that this type of practice probably takes years to develop since it requires both high acuity for sensations (which insight meditation trains) and ability to generate stable kundalini streams at will (and maintaining such streams as semi-independent objects is more a concentration meditation skill). I have a kundalini guide coming out soon which describes this practice, so watch out for that.

– Insight meditation. Probably a lot of training is required to be able to accurately perceive the sensations that make up the formation. You wrote: “Ive tried to bring awareness in to the area but i cant pass through.” The issue you are having is a lack of the high resolution required to really penetrate the block. To be honest, this takes a very long time to master. But, the time is going to pass anyway, and if this is your main issue, it is as good as any other to crack. Basically, you need to turn that awareness into an ultra-fine comb, passing through that locked muscle until your awareness can perceive every micrometre of it (here is a tip: nerves are far more important than muscle, and even nerves will eventually be resolved to just “sensations”, too). This will probably take months. If you just did that, however, you would likely gain all the insight required to solve your problem, seemingly “by itself” without requiring logical analysis.

Typically, the accurate perception of the sensations within that “block” is enough to simply negate it. So, just having true awareness of it often just causes it to vanish. This is a gateway to witnessing the full formation, as the mental side will likely begin presenting itself too.

I personally did insight meditation on an ankle injury which led to a hologram-like visual of the inside of the ankle. This also cured the injury (and hurt like hell while I was doing the “scan”).

– Concentration meditation. If you do pure concentration practice and get an intensely blissful jhana, then immediately enter the situation that usually bothers you, you will most likely find that the “formation” doesn’t even trigger. So, you wouldn’t even get the muscle tension that bothers you, or any of the connected urgent thoughts. They just wouldn’t arise. The mental state would be so altered that you would coast through the situation as though walking on a cloud. It is like personality transformation when this happens. Jhana is totally useful this way, though effects tend to be somewhat temporary. In that sense, you are basically suppressing negative formations from arising for some time after the jhana. By doing this often, there will be an eventual “pruning back” of the negative formations since, if they fail to arise so many times, they eventually die off.

On another occasion, after jhana, the negative formation might trigger but you might find you can now clearly perceive it and it is met with a lot of equanimity. Concentration meditation improves acuity of sensations by connecting them to the reward circuit (pain plus pleasure equals equanimity) meaning you do not recoil from the formation and can therefore begin standing to experience it, which changes its nature, usually permanently. This is a precursor to the formation being entirely witnessed and it disappearing forever.

In practice, all three types of meditation I just named invoke each other. The kundalini method uses concentration to maintain a kundalini stream, and insight to penetrate the formation. The insight meditation is powered by kundalini and uses “up” energy to neutralize the formation upon its witness. The concentration meditation uses positive kundalini in the same way, which ends up highlighting the formation and allowing insight to occur.

So, where do you go from here? I’ve given you a lot of information but not a lot of “do this” advice. Well, if you pursue any of those paths with a lot of diligence then you will almost certainly solve your problem. You could start however by running your awareness through your block a thousand times till you get that high acuity I spoke of. Things will reveal themselves to you during this process — you will gain insight, on the experiential level which cannot easily be put into words but which leads to a sort of intuitive “knowing what to do”.

Sorry, there’s no quick fix. What you’re describing is the essence of the human condition — knowledge of problems, but lack of knowledge of how to solve those problems. Most people just deflect them and blame someone or something else, which immediately causes the formations to propagate and reflect back and arise again and again and again in what then become predictable cycles. Be glad you are looking to annihilate these formations instead of sending them back out into the world.

The solution is to learn the meditative methods, since if you can crack one problem using them you can then crack absolutely any other problem that presents itself, since all these problems are the same fundamental thing: formations.

Regards, Edd

Note for readers: The kundalini guide is mostly written. I’ve got to make some graphics for it which is time-consuming, and set up the members area. Then the guide will be sent to a couple of members (who I’ve already nominated) for review, then I’ll release it. Next couple of weeks, tops.

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44 Responses

  1. EvaLA says:

    you’ve mentioned Shinzen’s style as the best for mindfulness/putting difference between thoughts, what is the best for seeing sensations clearer / insight? Mahasi noting?

  2. Edenist Whackjob says:

    I have a huge formation around HBs. It’s weird, it seems to revolve around certain themes like dominance and being a real man (Circuit II) as well as not doing anything that goes against God’s will (Circuit IV). Also, there’s a ton of inertia from being a sex-loser during my formative years.

    The funny thing is I get IOIs left and right these days (even from the hottest HBs) but it’s like the formation turns off the RAS, so it becomes very hard to integrate the “sexworthiness”.

    Also, I find myself very annoyed at myself for wasting so much time on this area of life. From going out drinking all the time, to hanging out in cafés, to constant intrusive thoughts, it’s all about HBs.

    Can you relate to some parts of this?

    • Illuminatus says:
      “Your whole intelligence has been hijacked by your hormones” -Sadhguru

      I find thoughts about women extremely compulsive and chaotic. All my relationships were chaotic. All adventures for getting new girls were chaotic. If thoughts create your reality, then these chaotic thoughts will only create a chaotic reality (even if you’re getting “what you want” out of it).

      With women, it is always something new to consume your focus. You get one, then you worry she might cheat. Or you think of all your plans to keep this one. Does it ever end?

      I think advice like Blackdragon’s is probably sound but you need total emotional control over yourself to pull it off. I know hardly anyone who could actually do that.

      I stopped pursuing women 2 years ago after a particularly chaotic mini-relationship. I’ve had enough women in my life to know what the game looks like both with them and without so didn’t worry much that I was “missing out”. I have been celibate since then. I was bothered for the first couple of months without sex but then noticed the relief of not having to think about women any more. Meditation became a LOT easier.

      A couple of months ago I started having oneitisy thoughts about someone new at work and I recognized all the old formations coming flooding back. This really knocked me off kilter. It made me crazy again. It was completely consuming. But it was exciting at first so I indulged it. Then however it started making me sad and frustrated. So I sat through the formations using the kundalini/vipassana method discussed above. This actually annihilated the formations in one 30-minute sitting, but it was an intense sitting requiring a lot of concentration to stay engaged with the formation, working through a lot of resistance.

      I was surprised by how quickly the meditation worked and it lifted the veil of oneitis frustration/sadness. I am still attracted to her but it now feels purely fun and light — so the “neediness” formations have gone. I will probably start going after women again in the near future. I have been doing the meditation on various formations as they arise and the result has been a peeling back of the societally-conditioned views on women (e.g. Disney stuff) and other karma from earlier in my life. Girls are becoming more like ape women in my mind now, which is a positive sign, since it means I’m rolling back to formations of a more biological basis. I may make some posts on this as I go along. Initial results with using the formation tech on even deeply conditioned beliefs however seems promising.

      My advice to guys without much experience with women would probably be to get their meditation tech very high first so that they don’t care if they have women or not. That way they can go after women out of choice and won’t be needy, and also won’t freak out if they lose a girl since they can use the meditation to recover themselves quickly.

      In fact I would advise to get the meditation tech high before endeavouring anything major in life, e.g. long-term career path etc. The more inner peace you have, the less chaotic the life paths you go down.

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        Thanks so much for typing out responses like this. Really helps!

        “Girls are becoming more like ape women in my mind now”

        So you see them more as animals now? But still fuckable?

  3. sebster says:

    What is your thought about memory formation?

    Because it seems that a beta blocker called propanalol seesm to be able to block the memory considillation around fear. What seem to happens is that when you take a beta blocker before the fearfull event/action and you try to peserver as good as you can, the next time you can do the same action all fear will be gone and usually all /or most body symptoms is gone. This is because your newly formated memory does not have the fear element anymore, its not stored in the new memory your bring up. For example i read somwhere that phobias can be cure with only 2 session with this?

    What is your thoughts on this, is this a healthy approach to reduce fear, is there any downside to this type of training?

    You can read about it here;

    And if you google “propranolol and memory consolidation” you can find the scientific papers.

  4. sebster says:

    What is your thought about memory formation

    Because it seems that a beta blocker called propanalol seesm to be able to block the memory considillation around fear. What seem to happens is that when you take a beta blocker before the fearfull event/action and you try to peserver as good as you can, the next time you can do the same action all fear will be gone and usually all /or most body symptoms is gone. This is because your newly formated memory does not have the fear element anymore, its not stored in the new memory your bring up. For example i read somwhere that phobias can be cure with only 2 session with this?

    What is your thoughts on this, is this a healthy approach to reduce fear, is there any downside to this type of training?

    You can read about it here;

    And if you google “propranolol and memory consolidation” you can find the scientific papers.

    • Illuminatus says:

      I am by no means against drugs, as my posting history will indicate. 🙂

      I have some thoughts on this practice, though, from the perspective of spiritual progress.

      – What fears are you going to use this on? BTW I have tried propanalol for pickup, and it does not eliminate anxiety.

      – Are you going to carry around propanalol with you all the time in case you want to use it for something?

      – Constant use will inevitably lead to tolerance and it working less effectively.

      – If you use the drug for every major fear you will not learn the skill of witnessing, investigating, and eliminating the formation (as written about in my article above). So you will tend to get stuck at the Fear stage of insight cycling, if you rely on drugs to proceed beyond them.

      – I don’t know if “wiping the memory” via the drug would actually wipe the formation from your karma (though it might). If it didn’t, then events would likely keep arranging themselves to bring the fear formation to you again and again till you investigated and annihilated it. So, the drug might be just delaying the inevitable.

      – Certain intense spiritual events, e.g. kundalini awakening, appear to rely on heavy adrenal activation. (I am not saying this is a good thing, just that this is how some of them present.) My two most life-changing spiritual events were both very adrenal, very terrifying kundalini awakening events, with hell realms and hallucinations and all sorts of crap. But even though they were horrible I am a lot happier now. Perhaps the adrenaline carved the lessons of the events deep into my brain and such trauma was required in this way to make a permanent shift (similar to how people “find God” after car crashes and things).

      I would suggest that this drug approach only be used on things like PTSD whereby a person is too traumatized to meditate effectively. When they have been treated then their priority should be to learn effective meditation and work through problems without the drug.

  5. Mayath says:

    @Illuminatus:: What are the connections between Formations and Karma? How do you define/understand Karma?

    Also a question about practice: Does going deeper into the lower Jhanas(3rd and fourth for me) change how you experience the first two? I think I’ve hit the fourth Jhana a few times now. I’ve by no means mastered and it may just be a deep soft third. It’s such a strange state for me to describe. Basically a flowy being alright with everything feeling.

    Anhway the first two Jhanas seem a little less passionate for me for a lack of a better word. The pleasure is there but not as strong and I’m less attached to it. I might be going through a bad patch concentration wise but I feel like my attention is more one pointed than ever. The Piti just isn’t as intense and wavey.

    It might just be that I’m locked out of the Jhanas for the time being because I’ve been very sick lately. I’ve suddenly got a lot of pain in my stomach and that’s brought with it a lot of frustration, anxiety and depression.

    I thought I’d beat these things but apparently not. They were just lurking and came back up and the strategies I used to face them before aren’t working as well. If I could stabilise the fourth Jhana maybe I could heal myself. Diet and medication aren’t helping a whole lot.

    I’m trying to separate the emotional and physical pain but it’s long and boring and unrewarding currently.

    I think I’m one of those people who needs to get Enlightened, otherwise I’m just gonna spend my life cycling through bipolar like highs and lows. The path of insight didn’t appeal to me in the past because it seemed like someone was just making themselves internally bipolar by cycling through the A&P and the Dark night, but fuck it, I might as well trade one type for the other.

    • Illuminatus says:

      “@Illuminatus:: What are the connections between Formations and Karma? How do you define/understand Karma?”

      Karma is formations-in-action.

      So if your parents are abusive to you because they themselves were abused then that is behavioural transmission of karma. The formations are copied from parent to child and persist.

      And there are many levels whereby formations can persist through life, death and rebirth (e.g. down bloodlines). So, it was scientifically proven that alcoholism can be passed through sperm. They don’t know how that happens, yet. That’s a formation being passed through to a child. There are so many transmission routes for formations. Genes, epigenetics, culture, language — and all manner of ways not yet understood by science. Formations arriving in a new birth are the “karma” that new birth inherits. Then that organism creates its own formations via experience.

      I think evolution at large is just lifeforms being shaped by the formations of their ancestors and the environment, and genes are our crude explanation for that. Epigenetics won’t be the end of it, either. They will find ultimately that transmission is non-physical.

      “Also a question about practice: Does going deeper into the lower Jhanas(3rd and fourth for me) change how you experience the first two? I think I’ve hit the fourth Jhana a few times now. I’ve by no means mastered and it may just be a deep soft third. It’s such a strange state for me to describe. Basically a flowy being alright with everything feeling.”

      Well for me the first, second and third show an obvious progression in terms of refinement of the sense of bliss/happiness. Third is probably the nicest state I’ve ever had, and after I had it for the first time I had a persistent hallucination in my everyday life of golden light raining on me from heaven, all with the pleasure of the jhana, and this lasted for about a week. So, it had some serious afterglow. But who knows what it would be like for anyone else.

      The fourth jhana, in my opinion, is tangibly very different from the first three. (And I am only talking about solid, hard jhanas in all these descriptions.) In the first three, there is this nice UPWARD progression — I see it as “climbing to higher jhanas” rather than your “going deeper into lower jhanas”. The third jhana is like a peak and can be hard to let go of due to the refinement of the bliss. However, once I let it go, the switch to fourth is more like a DOWNWARD plunge underwater. The sound of the breath becomes very dominant and muffled, like someone turned all the treble off on an EQ. This shift is very sudden. The bliss and everything disappears in a very hard way, and the equanimity that is left is extremely profound. There is an absence of all pain — but no pleasure either. To someone reading that, it would sound more like being dead. No pleasure? Must be terrible! But the equanimity is all pervading — you just do not mind anything. Everything is completely, profoundly okay. But it’s not like you have “regular” thoughts in the sense of even thinking in those terms, anyway. It’s impossible to describe adequately in words and, really, if someone has not experienced it before there is basically no reference point via which to describe it.

      “It might just be that I’m locked out of the Jhanas for the time being because I’ve been very sick lately. I’ve suddenly got a lot of pain in my stomach and that’s brought with it a lot of frustration, anxiety and depression.”

      Illness will screw up the jhanas. I tend to view the pain and unpleasantness of illness as a formation to be worked on via kundalini and insight. I suspect this causes it to pass through quicker, but I am hardly ever ill so cannot really say for sure. The reality is that as long as you have a body you will have illness at some point and it always has its difficulties.

      “I think I’m one of those people who needs to get Enlightened, otherwise I’m just gonna spend my life cycling through bipolar like highs and lows. The path of insight didn’t appeal to me in the past because it seemed like someone was just making themselves internally bipolar by cycling through the A&P and the Dark night, but fuck it, I might as well trade one type for the other.”

      I can personally say that, as one gets used to moving through those stages, they flatten out and are barely noticed any more. It is actually concentration meditation that will then tend to bring on an intense A&P, for example.

      • Mayath says:

        Thanks for your reply. Really nice insight into the formations and karma. I think your on the money. I feel kind of embarassed about my questions now. I think I was undergoing some dark night experience, fear, anxiety and disgust were just pouring out of my being last week.

        What’s exacerbated my pain is that I’ve pretty much realised I’m a coeliac and was dealing with intense pain from gluten and that I was also undergoing a dark night that was very physical. Lots of aches, pain, nausea and dread.

        But I’ve been on a meditation retreat the last fewdays and I think I’ve sorted myself out. I just applied extreme insight and mindfulness to my pain and the aches, pains, the ones I think were due to meditation, have disappeared for at least the time being.

        I spent 6 hours lying in bed, just accepting and being with everything good or bad. Something shifted inside me and I just couldn’t be bothered by anything. I might be in Equanimity?

        Not really sure where I am in the progress of insight and I’m gonna wait for a few days and see if anything stays. My mind feels like it has more space, more horizontal, more encompassing.

        I spent today in a lot of pain because I ate something I didn’t realise had gluten in it and though the pain was burst appendix level intense it didn’t emotionally or mentally bother me. Everyone kept commenting on how calm and mindful I seemed. I could even hit the first Jhana again when I tried.

        How would one work with Kundalini and insight to cure illness? I suppose that question could be a series of posts in its own right but even in the Pali Canon there are descriptions of Arahats who still suffered a lot physically.

        I believe you could cure alot of conditions depending on time age and ability but I also think as long as you have a body your going to have some level of sickness and pain. I’m pretty confident I’ll have the ability to heal myself someday and if not, meh, I’m just living without bread.

        Right now, my current plans are to cut out everything that makes sick, continue cultivating mindfulness of the breath, cultivate more Metta and body scan. I think I’ll be healing myself any time soon with just meditation. I gotta hit the 4th Jhana and beyond before I begin playing with Kundalini either, cos it just seems like cultivating it is asking for trouble without being properly prospered.

        • Illuminatus says:

          “How would one work with Kundalini and insight to cure illness?”

          Treat the pain/discomfort as a formation and investigate it using the methods outlined in the post. So, send a shower of kundalini up through the affected areas to illuminate them.

          But the most important thing regarding healing is intention. So, whatever meditation you use, it should be underwritten by a strong desire to heal, and formal resolutions should be made in this regard — so, literally say the words, “I intend through this meditation to heal my illness” or whatever words feel most powerful and intent-full to you.

          • Mayath says:

            Thanks. I’ve been investigating the pain for weeks using mindfulness but it hasn’t healed it. I’m gonna try this. My Piti has come back after the retreat but I don’t know if I’m attained enough to start directing kundalini energy.

            I can locate energy feelings in my body sometimes but I think that brief dark night I went through cut me off from them. Should be doable if I can get myself physically pain free and restore my Jhanas.

            • Illuminatus says:

              You should also try the genuine sleep method I posted about in reply to Kambofire below (“melting” method and the focusing upon the top lip to include sleep).

  6. Kambofire says:

    Wow Edd!
    I am touched at your generosity that is obvious in your blog but I wasn´t expecting such a detailed reply and guidance to my question. As I mentioned Ive been meditating for many years, not as consistently as I probably needed but I think I can find what you suggest with diligence and maybe not in as much time as someone who has never done any of this would take. Like you said wisely , it will take time but time will pass anyway so I might as well work on and learn from what is in my experience.
    You are spot on in that it is related to anxiety and fear. Its amazing how much fear has been a guiding “light” in my life and I am just really becoming aware of it, somehow I manage to live a fairly happy life but not to my full potential. Now is time to really address this and go into this adventure this is offering me and hopefully grow from this. The intersting thing is that it really feels as if it was more of a chronig thing that get worse in some social scenes but that it can be there just reading or being in a somwhat relaxed state. Yesterday I went to a floatation tank (HAve you tried?) and was scanning my body specially connecting with the perineal area and it was amazing how sublte the tension can be even though I am in such a “relaxed state” . Im starting to think I dont even know what to be relaxed means…
    Is the kundalini method something you came up with?
    Id like to know how is the up stream energy different from sensing my body from toes to head? Is it something that has to do with intention more that technique? Is it a matter of creating this sense of energy moving up from the ground? I really like the idea as i feel it connects us with mother earth.
    When do you think you´ll have the kundalini guide ready?

    • Illuminatus says:

      “Yesterday I went to a floatation tank (HAve you tried?)”


      “and was scanning my body specially connecting with the perineal area and it was amazing how sublte the tension can be even though I am in such a “relaxed state” . Im starting to think I dont even know what to be relaxed means…”

      Sounds like some nerve activation connected to an emotional circuit. This is the sort of thing where going through the Stages of Insight will probably lead you to get “stuck” on the stage associated with that nerve for a while, then one day while meditating it will suddenly turn off and you will get relief. Then you will gradually figure out how to do that at will, and that stage can be considered mastered.

      “Is the kundalini method something you came up with?”

      I discovered it for myself in my own practice, but I have no doubt that it has been discovered a million times before by meditators.

      “Id like to know how is the up stream energy different from sensing my body from toes to head? Is it something that has to do with intention more that technique? Is it a matter of creating this sense of energy moving up from the ground?”

      Sensing the body from toes to head is a bit like turning on each light on a Christmas tree individually to see which one is a dud.
      Creating an upward energy stream is more like turning on all the lights simultaneously. The dark areas are where the lights are out. You can then focus on those areas and send more energy through them till they turn on (i.e. the energy block is cleared).

      Creating a persistent upward energy stream that goes through the entire body probably requires quite a lot of skill. I learned how to turn on nerve current flows (and keep them on) via posture work. A simple example is to imagine you are constantly being pulled up by a string attached to the crown of your head. Your spine will straighten up. As long as you continue the imagination, the spine will stay straight. You are generating a nerve current flow via the imagination. Now, if you can recreate that without imagining the string, then you have learned to create nerve current flows (i.e. energy streams). It is in fact just a matter of persistence to learn how to do that reflex using just your will, without having to imagine the string. Then, to create an upward energy stream like in my article, you just apply that reflex to your whole body from the feet up.

      “When do you think you´ll have the kundalini guide ready?”

      I just moved house and had no internet access for the last week and still don’t have it, so that has set me back (writing the guide requires constant source-checking online). Within the next couple of weeks, I would say.

      • Kambofire says:

        Thank you!
        Ive been working mainly with a bit of mindfulness of the body meditation to start with and then concentration meditation since I bumped into your blog and I feel Im finally moving on, a bit slowly but in a good direction. I ve been getting rushes of what I think is rapture but its like waves that go through my body and last like a second or two and the it happens again. Im not sure but I think there is a part of my mind wanting to grasp it and so it goes away?. I have a feeling I really messed up my brain with chronic use of weed, I find it very hard to focus and there is some kind of obsessive activation of “explaining reality in my mind” and I think this is what keeps me from entering 1st jhana. Is there any recommendation for a quicker purification of these type of patterns? I guess it´s also about addictive patterns in my body/mind.
        I also had been able to sit for 1 hr with a good amount being better focused.

        Anyway, I look forward to the kundalini guide although I will keep working in my samatha practice for a few months before so I can refine my focus.

        • Illuminatus says:


          For concentration meditation you rest your awareness on a single point for as long as possible. This point should be tiny, a 1-dimensional singularity, at the bridge of your nose. Eventually you fill it with enough attention that it explodes and becomes a jhana.

          This will work better after a short mindfulness-only session. I recommend 15 minutes body/breath mindfulness then 15 minutes concentration, and if you get jhana then you will naturally continue past that mark.

          • Kambofire says:

            So you think longer sessions may be not that good? I have time and had been dedicating one hour or more to concentration sometimes twice a day.
            Practical question, bridge of the nose is a bit below between the eyebrows?

            • Mayath says:

              Longer sessions of mindfulness are always good. I sympathise with Illuminatus because there’s no easy answer to length. I for one think 40 minutes to an hour a day is the MINIMUM you should be doing of meditation. You can slack later when you become more attained in this territory but you’ll still want to be doing a lengthy session once a week.

              It all depends on you, your goals, your commitment, your mental and physical health, your natural concentration ability, natural mindfulness ability and ability to enter Flow in daily life. See how many variables there are?

              It’s hard to say who should do what and for what length. No one can tell you in 2 months time if you do this, this and this you’ll reach Jhana. That’s the bare minimum if your really lucky. In reality your going to spend a lot of time mucking around feeling like your going nowhere. That’s why it’s better to train Mindfulness first.

              You don’t need special states for mindfulness and it can help improve your life in tons of way. Look how it’s being used in medicine everywhere these days. It’s the foundation for all meditation practices and the stronger it is, the easier other ones will be. So spend as much time as you can being mindful off the cushion and practicing mindfulness meditation. Don’t practice mindfulness trying to reach Jhanas or special states in the early states. It’s out of your hands at this stage and it may or may not come. Better to practice and cultivate things that can have an immediate effect on your life.

              You’ll come back to mindfulness again and again and you don’t lose it like you can with the Jhanas. It’ll help you cope with life and the pains meditation can bring into your life. Meditation can and will bring a lot of suffering into your life in some form, whether it’s purification or dark nights(unavoidable but the severity of it can vary). It will also make everything better. How strong your mindfulness(combined with some insight) will influence how you cope.

              Most people in my opinion won’t be reaching Jhana in 2 months unless they practice really, really diligently. They might hit a loft first Jhana but they won’t be mastering it, moving past the first two or reaching it every time they sit.

              Of course there’s always outliers. I’m one myself. I reached Jhana in the first few weeks I meditated. But I couldn’t do it consistently. I had a lot of training to do before I could do that and you can still lose it to things like the Dark night or just life.

              In the early days, focusing on attaining Jhana was a waste of my efforts. I should have been focusing on mastering the skills to overcome the hindrances instead. Training mindfulness is basically training concentration.

              You might ask how I’m separating concentration and mindfulness if there very similiar? I separate them by their goals. All meditation is concentration and mindfulness to some degree. It just depends on what your emphasising.

              Insight/Vipassana for example, is just extreme mindful examination of the sensations of reality as they arise and pass away. You need concentration to stay focused on this examination.

              Concentration mindfulness is when your more focused and using your mindfulness to make sure your mind stays on its object. It’s directed stable focus on one point or unwavering attention on an object. In Insight and mindfulness your attention can wander more and will have encompass a wider scope(eg your body over breath sensations at the bridge of the nose).

              Mindfulness meditation is basically just training both concentration and mindfulness. It’s concentration without the alternate states.

              I what meditation your practising depends on what your cultivating and what your emphasizing.

              Another way to separate types of meditation is by their goals and outcomes.

              Here’s a rough, not meant to be definitive sketch:

              Concentration meditation-Goal:

              To reach Jhanas. You’ve failed if you haven’t hit access concentration, Piti hasn’t arisen or you haven’t had some form of alternate consciousness no matter how minor.

              Everything and anything can fuck up your concentration meditation. Illness, lack of sleep, alcohol, substance abuse etc. It can simulataneously be the toughest to master and some days the easiest thing in the world.

              If your trying to reach Jhana and you can’t hit access concentration in thirty minutes to forty minutes or Piti and Sukha(pleasant sensations in the body and energy feelings) it’s unlikely it’s gonna happen. That’s why I agree with Illuminatus when he says 30 minutes for CM. If nothing happens and your just floundering around, better to switch your meditation type or do something else.

              Insight-Goal:See the three characteristics and travel the progress of Insight. Nothing necessarily has to happen when you get off the cushion. Hopefully you will have better insight into yourself, your mind, your body, the physical world as you experience or reality. It’s unavoidable to have some form of Insight, especially since nearly all our forms of meditation are Buddhist influenced.

              Mindfulness-Goals: being present and accepting of what’s happening. knowing what’s happening right now. Knowing how the mind narrates and moves. It’s outcomes are less stress and self knowledge. Early stage Insight meditation is always mindfulness meditation.

              Longer sessions are good if their mindfulness because your building the foundation for concentration. You will know how your attention and awareness operate intimately and you’ll have trained your mind to begin doing things that are unnatural for it to do.

              Sorry if I seem really discouraging I’m just trying to be realistic. People spend years trying to reach Jhanas. I don’t think it should take that long but that should give you an idea that it’s probably not gonna be next week. It should probably take 6 months with optimal, consistent practice. Definitely should be attainable within a year.

              Length is good but in the early stages focus on cultivating mindfulness. You can’t spend enough time on this. If you wanna attempt Jhana, which i actually encourage people to do, no matter where they are in their practice, if it doesn’t happen in 30-40 mins, probably won’t happen. There’s no straightforward answer to this question unfortunately. It depends on what you want to do and cultivate.

              • Kautilya says:

                Mayath – what a fantastic response.

                If I hadnt already taken Illuminatus’ suggestions to heart I defintely am convinced now.

                So its true that mindfullness has aspects of both concentration and insight – less ruthless that concentration but also less penetrative than insight regarding. sensations?

                Hwn you say its not gonna happen in 30-40 mins and you may as well move on….do you mean ever? As in if you dont reach it in that time then your just not one of those people who can access it?

                I have the next 2 months free – could you give me some practical literal enforcable advice for what you would suggest if I want to truly transform my life?

                Thank you so much for that post!

                • Mayath says:

                  Yes, mindfulness has aspects of both. It is non judgemental present awareness of where your attention is. It can either be on one stable point or state (concentration) or your being mindful on the changing state of things(sensations, feelings and thoughts are constantly in flux).

                  .Hypothetically you can concentrate with weak mindfulness and you can enter weak dull alternate states of consciousnesses that are like Jhanas but really aren’t. There not like Jhana because the effects of them fade soon after the meditation. There just pleasant. Jhana is more powerful.

                  To be clearer, this is happening when people say there meditation was really enjoyable and flew by and they don’t know where they went. That doesn’t happen in Jhana. You are fully aware and alert in a way people in dull concentration states aren’t.

                  You’ll hear about dull concentration states from people who typically practise mantra meditation like NSR and TM, who think there quite attained but really there just hanging out in pleasant dull states. They typically don’t know much about meditation or the hindrances. Beware that some people who say they have the Jhanas are just in hanging out in dull concentration states. Illuminatus has a good recent article on dullness.

                  It really depends on where you are so its hard for me to give advice. I sound like I’m constantly try to sell his book, but Culadasa’s the mind Illuminated is the best text on meditation out there.

                  Find out what stage your at. Be honest with yourself. Don’t say your at a higher stage than you are. Here’s a good overview:

                  If I was you’d I try to set up my life like I was on retreat. Try to be mindful at all time. Sit three times a day and do different practises. Not just concentration. I actually think mindfulness of the breath is not the first thing people should be mindful of. Do body scanning for an hour for one week.

                  Do Metta meditation( it will cultivate Jhana factors like Piti and Sukha and positive emotion in general). Do an hour of this. Fake it till you make it.

                  Then do Mindfulness of breathing for an hour. Mindfulness of breathing is the best thing to focus on for working on the hindrances. Culadasa’s book will give you the best tools and strategies for working on the hindrances out there period.

                  Do walking meditation. Do yoga and stretching. Schedule your day. Eat healthy, stay fit, keep your mind active and get the required hours of sleep you need. Relax and enjoy yourself too. This isn’t about being hard on yourself. Just stay away from drugs and alcohol because they can set you back. Don’t masturbate either for the two months if you can or keep it limited. You can go back to these things in moderation in time.

                  In fact don’t think about willpower. Meditation is essentially like Magick. All you can do is set the intention to do certain things like pay attention to your breath. It’s completely out of your hands if your attention keeps wandering. You just have to wait till your brain rewired itself the way you want it.

                  Become an expert yourself.Read everything you can on meditation, Buddhism, Raja Yoga and Magick if your into that. Read mastering the core of the Buddha, Absolutus’s Amas( he deleted them but there probably out there somewhere, a lot of inspiring good information is in it. He doesn’t know as much as he think he does and disregard everything he says on Vipassana and mindfulness. You can’t avoid insight on this path. That much is clear to me. You can ignore it but that’ll just make it worse in the long run).

                  Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young is great too. Generally educate yourself. Leigh Brasingtons book is good too. Don’t start applying his techniques till your stage 6 or 7 in your practice though.

                  Online, Dharma overground is good, stream entry on Reddit is better, this site is really good too.

                  If your depressed follow a mindfulness based cognitive therapy program. Read Mark Williams book on mindfulness and depression and just follow its program. I’ve given you the guts of it anyway but it’ll ease you in slowly and gently.

                  Also apply Illuminatus’s technique in the article on depression that is somewhere on this site. It’s genius. I think it’s called beating depression forever. You it when negative stuff comes up which it will. You gotta purify that stuff.

                  If your really bad at meditation, find recorded meditations online somewhere that’ll help you. I don’t know any good ones as I don’t use them but search and you’ll find.

                  Keeping a journal on your meditation is a great tool. See what worked and didn’t work for you. Document what you did that lead to a good meditation and what didn’t work. You really have to experiment and see what helps and doesn’t. That’s why I say read widely and use a variety of techniques. People rarely agree on the minutiae of technique so it’s better to use someone’s else’s until your confident in constructing your own technique.

                  No, if it doesn’t happen in 30-40 minutes it doesn’t meant it won’t happen. It’s just unlikely to happen if you don’t have Piti, Sukha or access concentration. You can’t put a timeline on Jhana.

                  I couldn’t reach it in two hours over the weekend even though my concentration was excellent but this morning I hit it in 15. Don’t think about time scales.

                  All you can do for Jhana is set up the right conditions for it to occur. Some days it won’t. Working on beating the hindrances makes your place a mind it will be more likely to occur. If you can get to stage 7 in Culadasa’s model you should become someone who can hit it fairly often. It doesn’t mean that you will never be someone who can never hit it if you don’t reach it within thirty minutes.

                  As someone who obsessed over Jhana in the past, I wouldn’t worry myself too much over it in the early days or what people say about it. Just practice, keep the faith and you’ll get there eventually.

                  You can progress a lot in a short time. In three months I went from no practice to stage 5 or 6 with occasional first Jhana on Culadasa’s map because I practiced smart. If you practice smart diligently you’ll progress quicker than someone who tries really hard but does things stupidly. If one hour is too much for you at a time, do 40 or 30. This is like weight lifting training. You can only do so much. Don’t burn out. Your brain needs to rewire it and wishing or willing yourself somewhere your not is wasted energy.

                  • Kautilya says:

                    Great stuff – the ‘dull pleasant’ states were a real insight?

                    You know what – I actually ordered the Culdasa book – Mind Illuminated last week!

                    Not so much a shocker, because I think I read a comment about it here – must’ve been you.

                    – So do you think the essence of what Absolutus says is true – regarding Concentration Meditation at least?

                    – Any good books you can recommend from the Raj Yoga perspective?

                    – How does some “practice smart diligently?”

                    • Mayath says:

                      Probably was me haha! I just it find it useful to know what stage your at so you can actually practise accordingly to where you’re at, instead of floundering around trying to do things your not ready for.

                      I think the essence of what Absolutus says is true. I haven’t reached Limitless levels of intelligence but I feel like my intelligence and cognition has definitely significantly. I’m not a genius yet but I’ll explain what effects I have experienced:

                      Better working memory: This time of memory is for the transient holding of information. It’s for doing things like sums. Mine is much better because I’m not as distracted now so I can do things more efficiently in my head. Training concentration and mindfulness, defintely has to strengthen working memory. Grasping things has become much quicker to me. I don’t understand things rapidly but I come to understand them pretty quickly. Unless it’s something that’s completely foreign to me or I have no interest in mastering. I find I’m learning complex things much quicker and understanding them better.

                      My own personal theory is that even before reaching Jhana, meditation will increase intelligence. Mindfulness trains working memory, which is memory that allows you to do things like sums in your head.

                      High working memory is correlated with higher Fluid Intelligence which is problem solving and creativity. So even if your not hitting Jhana, you should notice some slight improvement in your mental capacities if your practising properly. These effects are more subtle though compared to Jhana but they happen.

                      The first few times I hit Jhana my mind felt like it could do anything. It felt more powerful. It was a subjective feeling but my memory did seem much better, much clearer but that effect only lasts for awhile out of Jhana. Making memory stronger and more permanent is a goal haha.

                      My autobiographic episodic memory is definitely stronger. I used to never be able to remember things that happened to me now I can remember events much more clearly or where I even thought of something or what I was wearing. I remember the “story” of my life much better and I can my memories of events pretty clearly in my head.

                      However my semantic world know memory could be boosted quite a bit. It’s only a little bit stronger than it used to be and this frustrates me as information that I need/want to know about concepts isn’t as readily accessible as I’d like it to be.

                      I’ll read something on neuroscience and though I can understand I’ll struggle to remember the minutiae of the biology. That might be like most normal people but I want to be beyond that, so it annoys me that though I can remembering learning something( episodic memory) I won’t necessarily remember the information as clearly as the episodic. I’d love the ability to be able to read loads of Wikipedia pages for example and just remember them clearly. It’s improved but not as quickly as I’d like.

                      I’ll have to go deeper to strengthen my semantic memory access. It’s probably harder to access semantic memory because it’s stored all around the different Cortexs while episodic memory is in the medial temporary lobe, where the hippocampus and Amygdala are. The Amygdalae play an important role in attention so theoretically if your attention is getting stronger, your episodic memory is gonna get stronger too.

                      Anyway, everything I’ve experienced so far makes me think what Absolutes says is possible. I haven’t really experienced Siddhis so I can’t comment on things like that but I think he’s a great source for concentration meditation and Jhana.

                      Could everyone become creative geniuses from meditation? I don’t know. One thing I haven’t noticed is any significant Limitless levels boosts in my creativity so far for example. I’m not producing new or better ideas at a different rate than I already was. Ive always been creative and I’ve always had lots of different ideas. I think I’ve already cultivated this trait through maladaptive daydreaming so I don’t know I could could cultivate this way of thinking any more than I have. Really, I could only improve the depth and originality of my ideas.

                      To do that I’d need to become more intelligent than I already and increase my memory and have more life experiences. The fourth Jhana I hope will give me the ability to access groundbreaking “aha” ideas on demand. I have no reason to believe it’s not possible.

                      To be honest, I’ve only been practising for a year really and I’ve only hit the first three Jhanas. I’m still exploring this territory just like anyone else. But I’ve experienced things I would have been sceptical of before trying any of this stuff so now I can’t help feeling that’s there’s at least some truth to all these grand claims people make.

                      But could meditation make everyone into geniuses? I don’t know. If your not someone who doesn’t read widely or explores things in depth or tries to understand things I don’t think Jhana will increase your intelligence. You still have to actually go out and learn and study. Jhana just makes that easier.

                      You also have to be curious. I’m sure lots of Buddhist monks have attained fourth Jhana and can do amazing things with their mind but their not interested in learning about the world or making things. They probably have the ability but not the will to do it. You still gotta work hard and spend the time needed to do stuff even if Jhana gives you talent.

                      Also, I don’t think someone with low intelligence and creativity would magically become a genius overnight if they somehow learned to hit the fourth Jhana. I think they’d still have to cultivate those things there very weak in and that could take quite a while, for them to become even moderately good at them.

                      But I dunno. Maybe someone could become a genius at something there shut at if they kept hitting the fourth Jhana. We don’t really know because nobody out there is testing things rigourously or scientifically. All we have is subjective reports so far.

                      Becoming a genius is a time restricted thing. You won’t get information beamed into your head. You still gotta learn.

                      The lower soft Jhanas I believe (I’m very willing to be contradicted by someone), at least, just increase your mood, information processing speeds, memory storage capacity and ability to access flow.

                      The ability to access flow on demand is what I’m particularly interested in because I believe it could lead to learning new skills and abilities much quicker.

                      But yeah, basically, I think/hope he’s right. I respect him even if I think his views on life are unrealistic. I don’t think hard work and willpower will get you everything you want in life. Shit just happens and suffering and pain are a part of that.I’m probably more nilistic than him, because to a certain extent I just feel like most worldly things are meaningless anyway.

                      I think brain function and intelligence can be increased. There’s interesting things being done with Nootropics and transcranial magnetic stimulation by people out there, that suggests that improving ourselves mentally is indeed possible.

                      I don’t know a terrible amount about Raja yoga. I’ve always found the Buddhist meditation texts more useful even though I don’t identify as a Buddhist exactly.

                      You should read Patanjali’s Sutras. Avoid the Christopher Isherwood version. It emphasises Prayanama and Asanas(yoga stretches). If you get fit and flexible you ‘ll be healthier and can sit for longer. You also work out the stresses in your body quicker than depending on meditation to heal them.

                      Read Aleister Crowleys book 4. It’s his masterpiece and it has a yoga perspective. He also emphasises Prayanama and Asana. He goes into Magick as well and if your interested in that stuff you eventually end up reading Crowley.

                      You could try Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekanda as well.

                      You’d probably be better off asking someone else about Raja yoga because I haven’t read too many texts on it.

                      Other texts with a Buddhist perspective I recommend are The path of serenity and insight by Bhante Gunarante and With each and every breath, which I’ve found really useful for working with the breath.

                      But at the end of the day, I always find myself referring back to TMI.

                      What I mean by practicing smart diligently is that meditation is like anything else. You can go about it the wrong way and be like ‘ohh look how I spiritual I am’ and not actually achieve anything or go anywhere. To achieve mastery you need to learn a lot about the subject, ask for advice and become critical about your practice. It’s not about practising harder it’s about practising smarter. Knowing what your weaknesses are and eradicating them. Knowing your limits and pushing past them.

                      If someone practises properly and intelligently there’s no reason besides bad physical health or stressful draining life circumstances that they shouldn’t be hitting the Jhanas within a year.

                      No one should be spending years doing a lot of meditation but not actually getting anywhere. That is an example of someone not practising intelligently. They haven’t figured out what their doing wrong. They might not even be aware their not progressing! That to me is dumb. You should be constantly thinking about your practise, evaluating, criticising and being skeptical. Try and keep a sense of humour though ;).

                      If you practise right, know your strengths and work on your weaknesses, you should progress. If you encounter problems you should be able to figure them out or know where to look for information to help you, if you need it.

                  • Arpan says:

                    “Absolutus’s Amas( he deleted them but there probably out there somewhere”

                    It’s available here:

              • Illuminatus says:

                Thanks for all your help replying to questions, Mayath. Terrific responses.

                • Mayath says:

                  No problem. I don’t want to seem like I’m stepping on your toes or anything like that or proclaiming I know it all. I mostly agree with what you have to say anyway :).

                  Btw, I’ve been using your kundalini healing method and it works brilliantly. My stomach pains are completely gone and the palpitations in my chest are gone too.

                  I’m hitting Jhana easier too. I’ve only done the exercise three or four times but it’s seemed to have a big effect on me.

                  I can feel “energy” sensations in my body flowing more vividly and there flowing in a more gentle way.

                  I must have been blocked energetically because my Dark Night symptoms have lifted too. Thanks for the help!

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    Great news!

                    I am now fairly sure that, used responsibly, kundalini is actually the fastest way to grow spiritually.

                    • Mayath says:

                      Yeah, I’ve been extremely wary of playing around with Kundalini in the past because of its dangerous reputation.

                      But the speed at which I’ve healed is uncanny. I genuinely wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t experienced it.

                      There’s other things I’ve done That could have contributed like changing my diet to avoid things I know trigger me, but that didn’t really have an effect.

                      It has to be meditation that did it.
                      It’s the mix of concentration, insight and kundalini that did the job. It’s one thing to hope these things are true, it’s another to discover that they are!

                      Im gonna be responsible with it though. I’m still gonna do a bit of energy work in my practise, I’m just not gonna go overboard with it. I’ve been finding it kind of does it self anyway without me doing anything. I’ll sent up Energy up my spine and after that I just let it do its thing after a while, letting it flow around. It’s very nice.

                      I’m very excited for your Energy article. I’m wary to manipulate it too much and don’t know exactly where it should be flowing.

                      My plan at the moment is still to master the Jhanas and get more insight before I fully fuck around with it.

                      I want to be fully prepared in case there is any negative consequences.

                      Do you know any good resources on Kundalini? Everything I’ve found either warns against it or batshit insane or unusable.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      “I’ve been finding it kind of does it self anyway without me doing anything. I’ll sent up Energy up my spine and after that I just let it do its thing after a while, letting it flow around. It’s very nice.”

                      Exactly. I think meditation itself can be viewed as restoring natural, automatic kundalini flows.

                      Now, here is the issue. “Kundalini awakening” denotes a moment whereby the kundalini flows you have noticed happening by themselves, begin to trigger by themselves outside of practice and, for a time, become largely uncontrollable. So, suddenly, kundalini turns on a circuit and stays flowing through that circuit till something crazy happens like hallucinations and physical changes. All the circuits you repressed through things like societal conditioning can begin to turn on spontaneously.

                      “I’m very excited for your Energy article. I’m wary to manipulate it too much and don’t know exactly where it should be flowing.”

                      During the awakening the kundalini shows you where it wants to be flowing — places you didn’t even know it could go, because you had those circuits under repression. This can lead to things like, for example, sudden lifting of self-censorship and blurting out your real thoughts/feelings on an issue. This sort of thing is known as de-armouring in Reichian work. Kundalini awakening is extremely shedding of Reichian armour giving erratic behaviour and emotional responses.

                      In my opinion, you then NEED a new conceptual, moral or philosophical framework to create new internal structure. Because you become like water, and need a new container to pour into. Luckily I had the Buddha’s. But without that I can see how people would get in trouble, since they become (temporarily) unstructured potential energy. That energy can become anything, including ongoing psychosis, if it is not steered by a solid philosophy (insight).

                      “Do you know any good resources on Kundalini? Everything I’ve found either warns against it or batshit insane or unusable.”

                      Nope, sorry. I only even looked into kundalini because of what started happening to me. All my guide is just from my own experience.

    • Illuminatus says:

      “it was amazing how sublte the tension can be even though I am in such a “relaxed state””

      True relaxation, e.g. of the sort that gives genuinely good healing sleep, is a matter of very specific modes of awareness. To get truly good sleep, for example, you should lie without a pillow (absolutely vital to sleep with no pillow) either on your back or on your side and put awareness on the point just underneath your nose, on your top lip. This awareness point triggers a state called transient hypofrontality where the body takes over free of the mind and the relaxation is profound with the breath becoming extremely deep and automated. The sleep you get from this technique is basically identical to that brought about by strong sedatives such as benzos or opiates.

      My other tip for both sleep and relaxation is to imagine yourself melting. So you should scan awareness around the body and where you find a tight point, imagine it melting. Then your awareness will find another tight point quickly, which you also melt. If you are trying to sleep, you will be asleep very quickly doing this.

      • James says:

        Thats the same spot they had us concentrate on for the silent meditation retreat I went to.

      • Rishi says:

        Also look into Yoga Nidra – essentially Yogic Sleep.

        Guided ones are ok but would be a bit like what Illuminatus said about the meditation advice you’d learn from a copy of Cosmo (that was funny lol!)

        Eventually the point is you do your own Nidra once you can and you could indeed include ‘melting’ as part of the body scan stage and then use this ‘transient hypofrontality’ technique.

        Although – the nose/top lip convergence point is an area well known for focusing on in meditation so will this then create a greater liklihood of falling alseep if used as an object??

        • Illuminatus says:

          If sat upright the spinal energy will counteract the sedation. So brainwaves become alpha and are prevented from becoming theta/delta. But if you still find this spot sleepy during meditation then switch to the bridge of the nose which is stimulating.

  7. Moviestar says:

    A quick fix would be psychedelics.
    I can attest everything in the article is true and works great, just coming from a psychedelic perspective. A good trip if you let it take you, preferably in a healing setting, will have you go through all 3 stages. You will purge and you will gain insight in 3d 🙂

    Useful stuff about the formations, thanks Ed.

    • Moviestar says:

      Forgot to say that, the reason they work, is that psychedelics make the formation exactly as it would appear in life. With the help of visuals, sensation, memories etc.

      • Illuminatus says:

        This is a double-edged sword, and I’ll explain why.

        Firstly, psychedelics give “free jhanas” — to different levels, depending on the drugs used. The level whereby formations suddenly appear as independent thoughtforms indicates a minimum of second jhana, since second jhana is the phase at which mental objects appear to persist by themselves without the need for applied effort.

        When a formation becomes incarnate in this way — either via meditation, or drug use, or mental illness in the case of schizophrenic hallucination — one of two things can happen. Either you get insight from it (as you said), at which point the formation will either cease to exist afterwards or will become inconsequential or even humorous to you — OR you will become even more invested in the formation now it is incarnate and you kind of “double down” on it.

        An example of the latter is when someone’s religious beliefs (childhood conditioned formations) suddenly become incarnate, e.g. as a religious vision of Jesus Christ. If your formation turns into Jesus and he commands you to do something, is that likely to increase or decrease the causal power of that formation going forward?

        What determines whether a formation diminishes or increases in power is largely down to:

        – Your goals with the practice. So, are you trying to destroy a formation’s power over you? Or are you actively trying to encourage certain formations to turn into visions, e.g. spirit guides, religious figures etc., in order to actually reaffirm your convictions and have them somehow “guide” you? Those are two completely opposed goals, but perhaps people didn’t realize that those options existed before reading what I just wrote.

        – Your understanding of insight, i.e. the Buddha’s Three Characteristics (a.k.a. the Three Marks of Existence), AND your skill in investigating phenomena through that lens in order to navigate them.

        My advice is that anyone taking psychedelics should set serious intentions beforehand, e.g. “I am taking this drug in order to work through my addiction to alcohol and annihilate it”. Then take the drug and let the chips fall where they may. Serious verbal intentions made in this way have enormous effects over the trip (and over jhanas, if your skill level is high enough to create such jhanas without drugs). In that example, his childhood trauma or some other karmic explanation for his alcoholism may appear as tangible visual hallucinations but because the intention has been set beforehand that you are “working through” such formations, they will tend to play out in such a way that they can be let go of.

        • Kambofire says:

          “An example of the latter is when someone’s religious beliefs (childhood conditioned formations) suddenly become incarnate, e.g. as a religious vision of Jesus Christ.” “Or are you actively trying to encourage certain formations to turn into visions, e.g. spirit guides, religious figures etc., in order to actually reaffirm your convictions and have them somehow “guide” you?”

          Wow! this is such an interessting topic for me, do you think all people see, hear or perceive in any way as their spirit guides and stuff like these are all mental formations? Is there space to perceive or interact in any way with incarnate beings?
          I read yesterday that in Bön traditions they actually engage with spirits in a pretty shamanic work. I m also surrounded by people , two mainly, that constantly receive accurate information about other people and one that specially receives guidance on issues and topics that she didnt know before.
          In working with ayahuasca and other entheogens I can see pretty clearly how most of the stuff that I´m seeing is proyections of my mind. BUt then there are other things that happen that cannot be easily interpreted as such.
          I had been told a few times and by different “sensitive” people that there is this indigenous looking guide hanging around me. How come they all see what apparently is the same being??

          • Illuminatus says:

            Well, to clarify my position, I believe that all of the UNIVERSE itself is just mind. So everything one can experience is a formation of some kind. There’s no “out there” or “in here” — it’s one mind experiencing itself in infinite ways.

            • Kautilya says:

              If we replace Mind with Consciousness – in that Consciousness encapsulates the mind and is far beyond it.

              Then the Universe and all that is – is just Consciouness

              Then your beliefs are that of the ancient Yogis

  8. Illuminatus says:

    Sorry guys, I’ve been moving house this week and haven’t had internet access. Will reply to your comments now.

  9. Kautilya says:

    I have held back with a few things, just waiting for answers to come to me which some have. Today after reading you reply above starting ‘One-Pointedness’, a set of questions came to my mind.

    I’m balancing you saying to some other guy you don’t care because in your opinion he’s a cunt, but you also said I think about your new focus now involving more love kind of approach. That said I have started doing every meditation as 30 mins minimum now and just like that, so thank you. With that, I have a few questions.

    1) To clarify – Vipassana jumped the gun?. Day 1 is observation of breath in nostrils, Day 2 is choosing a small tiny part in nostril to focus on (your mind should be like a ‘watchman’ they say, concentrate only on the breath at tha tiny point, not letting a single breath go unnoticed), Day 3 is observe sensations around nostrils.

    So was day 2 of vipassana the essence of concentration meditation which they just didnt give due credit to?

    2) What do you mean by mindfullness as body/breath? I have been perceiving your instructions as virtually concentration meditation, but just not ‘ruthless’ with other things – more like relaxed attention on breath.

    Also do you recommend if 30 mins is ok I attempt an hour or does that give diminishing gains vs several 30 mins sessions spaced out?

    3) Sometimes, I find in my current mindfulness phase – that it is easier to concentrate sometimes, even with deeper controlled breaths then back to normal – is this ok?

    Also is ther anything I can do to make my current mindfulness preparation phase more ‘fun’ or enjoyable or involve rapture that may enable to me do it better/longer?

    4) It makes perfect sense to attain jhana, that way meditation becomes joyful and you will suceed. Its not work or exercise if you love your job, training or anything else you do and you are on your way to super attainment.

    But yourself and Absolutus seem absolutely convinced (and have made me ~ 92%), the way you casually give advice involving it, that I and others here can attain jhana and higher in a reasonable time?

    Or are you, Absolutus and I dunno Daniel Ingram and other guys just specially talented at this, because this seems like the way to ALL other talents and easily achieved for ALL OF US with dillgent practice to transform ALL aspects of our lives.

    5) How many guides have you got (social anxiety, kundalini etc.)? Should I buy them (lol!) ??

    Is this idfferent from the guide proposed for February about Jhana that may have a link to book and membership aspect?

    Lets say my 9-5 is free time…

    6) do you think its coincidence I found your site?

    7) Ok just straight advice. I am going to the gym now in evening, will spend about an hour a day on business or another aspect of personal development.

    But my general 9-5 is well free time for at least the next 3 months. what would your best advice as a person trying to give value to the world and people, be to me to best utilise this time? (If you could be a bit more literal i.e. not ‘train’ but ho to the gym for 2 hours, train a different muscle group, x reps, drink protein shake within an hour)

    Apologies for the lost post man. Wanna really go down this path and honestly take advantage of your generous expertise.

    Much Gratitude,

  10. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Illumi, how is the fitness regime going? I’m curious and would like to learn more 🙂

    • Illuminatus says:

      I put it on hold till I’d moved house. So that will be something I’ll be posting about over the next couple of months.

      I haven’t been replying to things the last week because they’ve only just put internet in.

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