Where Meditations Converge

All meditation types, if done correctly, converge at the point where the left and right brain hemispheres are coming together. This is the beginning of mental unification.

All meditation states and stages can also be explained by the interplay between the hemispheres – and relative levels of discord or harmony.

If, with eyes open, you look at an object (e.g. a coloured disc), and then simultaneously become aware that you are indeed looking at that object (in other words, watching the process of watching), then you not only have Awareness Watching Awareness, but also perfect dual-hemisphere concentration. Attendant rapture will follow almost immediately if this concentration is maintained.

Maintaining such a level of dual-hemisphere awareness is difficult and energy intensive; this is where constant practice comes in. However, the mindbody responds to energy demands by producing more energy! We call this piti. As piti develops, such exercises become trivial in how easy they are. This is also when magickal phenomena (which is simply the action of energized intent upon reality) become obvious and utilizable.

In Conscious Mental Rest, we let the right hemisphere select a place for the eyes to look at (known as the “Attention Comfort Zone”). We let the right hemisphere’s superior body knowledge choose this place; we recognize it because that place feels most “easy”, like the eyes want to rest there. This spot may be slightly left or right in the visual field dependent upon existing body asymmetry. Over time, this spot will usually move to a more central position, though this should not be rushed, but rather allowed to play out as it wants. In this way we accept the right hemisphere’s awareness as prime. By then watching this spot, the left hemisphere gazes and marvels at that intelligence, giving us effortless Awareness Watching Awareness.

In directive meditation, we place attention on a spot on the medial line – whether it be the nose tip, a chakra, or some other location – in order to encourage symmetrical left and right nerve current flow at that spot. In this way, we attempt to encourage harmony between the brain hemispheres by giving them a common goal. Eventually, a resonance develops between the hemispheres, similar to plucking the two prongs of a tuning fork, and mental unification begins to occur, as well as the creation of a point of communication between the two hemispheres which allows insight to flow from one to the other. In hatha yoga, symmetrical body movements and poses also encourage such unity.

When we practise “Noticing I am aware” while out walking, we are simply training the left hemisphere to return often to noticing the usually-invisible awareness – the “bringing reality into being” – of the right hemisphere. This is so matter-of-fact that the left brain does not have time to invent a counter-narrative. Reality is accepted as-is and both hemispheres begin to get on the same page. When both hemispheres are perceiving the world in tandem, this is when insight pours across the corpus callosum and an integrated worldview begins to develop (with the right hemisphere’s perception being accepted as prime, as it rightfully should be).

The most blissful moment in mantra meditation is the point in the cycle when the mantra is fading out to silence and is bleeding into the body’s energy currents and emotional pathways. This represents an object originating in the left hemisphere (the mantra) passing across the corpus callosum into the great unknown of the right hemisphere’s consciousness and dissolving in its depths: yang partially illuminates yin in this moment, and the bliss of being erupts. By returning to the cycling of the mantra over and over again, consciousness straddles the corpus callosum and sets up an interchange pathway between the hemispheres across which insight can flow. The mantra’s arising and passing encapsulates the universe’s constant cycle of emerging from nothing and dissolving back into that same nothingness. All of Creation can be witnessed in the mantra’s cycle.

In Do Nothing we endeavour not to control the content of awareness but rather sit back and, over many hours, observe the same phenomenon of thoughts, emotions, objects and perceptions arising into being then seamlessly dissolving back into their Source. By refusing to engage the left hemisphere’s narrative, by refusing to act upon its demands, but by instead simply sitting back in amusement, we force it to accept the right hemisphere’s unbiased projection of reality, its shadows on the wall of the cave, exactly as they are, and at this moment a great rapture may arise.

Enlightenment occurs when the download is complete. Awareness permanently moves from left to right brain and sits down on the throne in the right hemisphere, the true seat of consciousness. The left hemisphere is returned to its proper place as obedient and totally faithful servant, and its own machinations no longer disturb the order of things.

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27 Responses

  1. Aldous says:

    Brilliant post! What a conduit you are!

  2. Pretheesh says:

    About conscious mental rest, I remember in my previous work place, at one time I could just open an article online and allow the ‘rest’ to happen that used to initiate release of stress in body, while others would think I am focused on reading the article ๐Ÿ™‚
    I need to re-bring that skill.

  3. Arpan says:


    Rupert Spira’s approach to AWA seems pretty easy to grasp: When you are attending to nothing, you are attending to awareness. It is not about focussing your attention, but about relaxing it. This aligns with my experience too. I have always found Do Nothing done in the right spirit to be non-different from AWA, that is what made me stick to it.

    • Vorth says:

      Interesting, relaxing into awareness has helped me make more progress then before.
      Doing AWA was mentally tiring for me but relaxing into AWA seems to be easier.

  4. Pretheesh says:

    I have read a similar practise of do-nothing here.

  5. Aldous says:

    In the middle of all the usual “well, here’s a quote from MY man…” can I just take a moment to thank Illuminates for a fantastic piece of writing which has genuinly clarified some stuff and enhanced my meditation practice this weekend and indeed thank him for this site and forum which is no small undertaking and is provided for free. To be able to read posts like this is a gift.
    Re: the actual content of the post just having this in the back of my head had me reach a very lovely bliss state last night with great ease. Again, thank you for sharing.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Thanks Aldous! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Pretheesh says:

        Quote from someone is not posted here for degrading the contents here :). It can be seen as part of the celebration of the existence of this very website.

        • Arpan says:

          Yes. I tend to take the no nonsense approach that Ed himself takes on this platform, and just post what adds something to the topic, and praise what strikes a chord very intimately.

          • Saturnus says:

            Same here. If I wanted to post a thank you for every post that blows my mind, the automod would ban me for spamming the forum ๐Ÿ˜›

            • Pretheesh says:

              lol ๐Ÿ™‚ it is true that simply posting someone’s discoveries without testing out for oneself could also be lazy attention seeking ๐Ÿ™‚

              Anyway this is wonderful to have an online community like this. Thanks to Illuminatus.

  6. Pug says:

    Hi Illuminatus,

    Thank you for the blog post, it was inspiring as usual.

    I do have a couple of questions:

    1. When doing object meditation is it necessary to make the effort to ‘watch the process of watching’ when focusing on the object for one to be doing AWA?
    Or is AWA part and parcel of correct object meditation practice?

    2. How would you say the practices of Loving-Kindness/Forgiveness fits into the unification of the two hemispheres?

    Thank you

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hi Pug,

      When the brain hemispheres come together, we get AWA. As I wrote on the forum:

      We have two brain hemispheres so that one hemisphere can become aware that the other is aware (Awareness Watching Awareness).

      Over-training one hemisphere (the left) leads to the segregated self.

      This throws up the likelihood that all other animals (since they all have bilateral nervous systems) are practising Awareness Watching Awareness at all times.

      All the major types of meditation will achieve this. The question is, “How quickly?”

      A beginner may still sit for 2 hours before the hemispheres start to come together. (Mind and Body is a good indicator that unification has begun.) It is possible that that is simply how long he needed to sit for. In other words, there may be a period when first starting meditation where he just needs to sit still for long periods so that the hemispheres can start to talk (using body stillness as the shared “communication protocol”). It seems to me that just sitting still, even if the mind appears to be chaotic, starts a “download” that provides insight and technique later on seemingly from “nowhere”. E.g. he sits for 2 hours, doesn’t think he’s got anywhere, then on his next session, suddenly finds he can concentrate well. The technique was passed during the last download but did not immediately filter into awareness. These time gaps between practices allows the techniques and mindsets to be integrated and then stand forward on subsequent sessions. My point is, there is a lot to be said for simply sitting still for long periods.

      Then again, maybe a beginner will go straight to “Noticing I am aware” and get some hemispheric communication relatively quickly.

      Everyone is starting out at different places and with different mindsets towards all of this. Grasping for results “now” will delay deeper awareness because grasping is a left-brain mode, so right hemisphere comes under suppression with a grasping mindset. (However, left brain can be trained in its own kind of concentration, which is similar to what we think of as “concentration” in the basic English word.) This may even provide “soft jhanas”. While interesting, getting caught up with such things does delay progress.

      1. When doing object meditation is it necessary to make the effort to โ€˜watch the process of watchingโ€™ when focusing on the object for one to be doing AWA? Or is AWA part and parcel of correct object meditation practice?

      In the context of my post, “correct object meditation practice” is dual-hemisphere. Just staring at the object is “mono-hemisphere” (left brain). What happens is, if you stare at the object long enough (maybe 2+ hours for a beginner), the left hemisphere tires and the right drops in to pick up some of the slack. This is noticed by the eyes finally relaxing and the sense you are looking at the object “with your mind”. Rather than “looking at the object”, you are now “aware of the object” (dual-mode). Perceptually, space will develop around the object and things will cool down. Ingram’s “Fire Kasina” practice seems to all be about this. The reason beginners can get something out of such practice is that they use a mode they are already familiar (“looking at”) and eventually settle into an alternative mode (“aware of”).

      Where speed and skill develop is to do with recognizing the target mode (dual-hemisphere) and bootstrapping more directly into that mode. There are a few ways I know of for doing this. The first is to “watch the process of watching”. This necessarily requires two hemispheres working in order to be done. It’s difficult and requires some working knowledge and application of two attentional modes. It is, however, an extremely rapid gateway to rapture (which becomes self-reinforcing for the process since rapture is extremely pleasurable, elevating, and eventually mind-blowing). Rapture starts out subtle but can quickly ramp up if one can maintain this dual awareness even for a few seconds continuously.

      Another method is to watch the object (left hemisphere) while simultaneously attending to the space around the object (right hemisphere). Space is more “felt” than “seen”.

      One more method is to consciously use both eyes to see the object, separately at first and then combined. E.g. start with your dominant eye and look at the object. Next, consciously try to see the object from the other eye at the same time. Then maintain both processes. The two streams will overlay and the object will “pop out” and be perceived with space around it and become very vivid. Again, difficult and mentally intensive, but bringing rapid rapture. A probably simpler variant is as follows. Close eyes and make dhyana mudra (thumb tips touching). Watch left thumb. Then watch right thumb. Now try to get a sense of watching both thumbs (as two objects) at the same time. Attention will most probably begin to fluctuate rapidly between the two thumbs in very jumpy process (like, “Left, right, left, right”!) This is fine. This fluctuation will soon smooth out to FLOW. It will stop being jumpy. Then both thumbs will be able to be seen at once. At this point the mind is noticably smooth, quiet, flowing, and potentially rapturous.

      In these last three cases, attention is brought very exclusively to the object (all other thoughts are quickly and necessarily pushed away due to the mental demands of the practice). I doubt many beginners would be able to take to such methods easily which is why I don’t teach them any more. But if you have put in your requisite hours of practice (mostly just getting to know your own mind through simple sitting), such things can become available intuitively.

      What I am talking about above is how to train extremely strong exclusive concentration. This is the sort that lends itself most rapidly to ecstatic states and applications of mind/intent such as magick. Experience shows me that hardly anyone can pick up these techniques and run with them hence why I no longer bother teaching them.

      The reason beginners can pick up and run with “relaxing into AWA” is because it trains both hemisphere modes in a gentle, familiar way. Relaxing is “expanding”, the right hemisphere mode. This will balance the tendency to stare at or grasp at experience (“contracting”, the left hemisphere mode) which most humans are (almost hopelessly) stuck in.

      There is also something big to be said about mindset. Mindset seems to trump technique most of the time. If you are open, curious, equanimous, and willing to surrender to experience, these are all necessarily right-brain modes which will counter left-brain dominance and bring a new way of seeing reality in probably a very obvious way. My most powerful experiences came from being open to new experience and new ways of seeing the world (right brain likes novelty; left brain likes routine). This is the opposite of “trying to get something”, a left-brain mode which suppresses natural (right-brain) faculties of being open and receptive to the experience one is trying to have.

      An exercise you could try, in daily life as well as during concentration meditation, is to ask yourself, “How would it feel to view this object with perfect equanimity?” The face might soften and a receptivity to experience might develop immediately. Notice the change and enjoy it. Then that mode can be used to witness thoughts and emotions matter-of-factly which dissolves them into bliss and equanimity. Try to remind yourself to do this when looking at objects for a whole day and report back. E.g. look at everyday objects while working or out walking and think, “Let’s see this with perfect equanimity and see it just how it is”. This mindset can organize the mind and energetic systems into harmony very rapidly.

      2. How would you say the practices of Loving-Kindness/Forgiveness fits into the unification of the two hemispheres?

      They are both strongly right-brain modes. Loving-kindness (if performed properly) is unconditional. (Remember: The right brain can only say “Yes” to experience. It is the left brain that has both “Yes” and “No” faculties, hence it is the one that does all the editing to create the narrative.)

      “Forgiveness” is a Christian thing because it assumes wrongdoing. The Buddhist way is more like recognizing the other being’s suffering and finding compassion with that (karuna). Again, this involves only saying “Yes” to experience. (Forgiveness on the other hand involves a “No” followed by a “Yes” — whenever you see a “No”, you have a left-brain process.)

      • Pell says:

        Have you found AWA and the Loving All Method(exclusive focus on metta) to be equally as powerful? Your experience with the Loving All method seemed to be very fruitful like your return to AWA has been. It’s so cool to see your practice evolve like this. I wonder what your thoughts are on this blog post:

        There’s also an ebook guide on the sidebar of this blog and I wonder what you think of it:

        Thanks for sharing this wisdom!

        • Illuminatus says:

          HI Pell,

          Have you found AWA and the Loving All Method(exclusive focus on metta) to be equally as powerful? Your experience with the Loving All method seemed to be very fruitful like your return to AWA has been. Itโ€™s so cool to see your practice evolve like this.

          The methods all lead to the same thing — an emotion called agape — “a universal, unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance”.

          What is interesting is that you would expect to experience that sort of emotion when practising “Loving All”. But to have it arise from Awareness Watching Awareness is something else. It means that love is something inherent within the experience of things.

          I wonder what your thoughts are on this blog post:

          The post begins by establishing a war between nondualists and mindfulness practitioners, but I’ve never experienced that war, so it seems artificially created (or at least exaggerated) for narrative purposes. So, I skipped the rest.

          As for the e-book, I won’t be reading masses of materials just to give you my views. Sorry.

          • Pell says:

            It’s marvelous to see that love eally does stitch together the universe.

            Yeah, I didn’t know what I was expecting by sharing those links. I totally understand haha.


  7. Pretheesh says:

    Regarding seeing an object, had anyone here tried to focus on an object intensively to the extend it can be just seen as colour and not something with shape and weight?

    If the object in front is an illusion, then may be it would appear as just colours and perhaps the weight aspect might disappear into just sensations which have nothing to do with colour.
    Don’t know if this have any connection with right brain activity etc.
    Just sharing for the fun of it.
    Might be an interesting exercise for some ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Illuminatus says:

      Separating objects into their component “qualia” is a valid exercise. For example, with this red triangle, qualia that can be focused on individually include: redness, triangularness, and pointiness.

      Investigating colour is an interesting way to learn what emotional effects different colours have on you. E.g. blue is pacifying; red is exciting.

      Finally, this skill can be applied more broadly. For example, the “love” emotion in a situation can be isolated even if it is only 1% present and barely detectable. It can then be grown.

      It is also possible to see God working even in despicable situations.

      One thing I do, with just about everything, is to see the principle behind an exercise then think laterally about that principle and try to apply it to other seemingly unrelated areas. That is how noticing the red in a red triangle became noticing love in a situation. This is how I come up with so many techs.

      I think this kind of lateral thinking is quite rare in people. But it can be practised.

      • Pretheesh says:

        Hi Illuminatus,

        I was thinking, as isolating ‘love’, would isolating feeling of being ‘safe’ can be applied to anxiety/social-anxiety, etc be helpful. For eg even if there could be a threat of experiencing shame or being judged or anything like that still in that same situation there is also some safety like ‘physical safety/financial safety/safe to have a roof, food, etc. And remember to focus on existing safety or things we do take for granted but do not appreciate having it, because of being lost in psychological shames/fears, etc

        I am trying to test it out while sitting meditation to feel how would it be to feel totally safe even with difficult thoughts and sensations.


        • Illuminatus says:

          Hi Preethesh,

          Removing anxiety is not about changing reactions to things. This is what people don’t understand.

          If you see other humans as mad beasts who are hunting you down, you are RIGHT to feel anxiety. You do not want to be without anxiety around a mad beast.

          So, instead, you must change how you see people! You must see them as something other than mad beasts.
          This will necessitate a total shift in the way you envision humans and your place in reality at large.

          One thing long-term meditation achieves is a natural COMPASSION for other people. They come to be viewed as vulnerable creatures. This itself is a huge shift in worldview.

          This does not however mean you then view them as “harmless”. In fact, it is possible to view other humans as having the potential to display many different sides of themselves. The side they display is usually the side you draw out of them. This can often be as simple as showing them respect, in order to draw out respectful behaviours from them. People act how you encourage them to act. When you “go first”, they will often follow.

          This is probably going to be a long journey for you, but you could start by seriously imagining how you would LIKE your day to be. How would your daily interactions look in an ideal world? Be creative and do not assume things are impossible. If you want to experience being part of a group of people who show you a lot of love and acceptance, that is absolutely possible to experience at some point in the future. This is at least a starting point.

          • Pretheesh says:


          • ARPAN says:

            “One thing long-term meditation achieves is a natural COMPASSION for other people. They come to be viewed as vulnerable creatures. This itself is a huge shift in worldview.”

            I have been observing this shift in my perception too. I never believed that anyone was archetypically evil, but just human. Though the part about vulnerability wasn’t strong in my consciosness, until recently. This was also because I didn’t accept my own vulnerability to some extent. I grew up thinking that I could always “find a way out of anything”, which is a great attitude, but it can warp into dimmed acceptance of our vulnerablity.

            Watching The Man In The High Castle these nights and one great thing they bring out in the show is: human vulnerablity. It is based in 1960’s in an alt-reality where Axis won the War and there is possiblity to travelling to alt-realities including our own. People who seem cunning and almighty one reality are humble and simple in the next. Circumstances bring out different aspects of their personalities in different realities. Though there is a core in them that never changes. A person who would do right according to the false doctrine he has been taught, out of sincere belief in it, will do right in the alt universe according to the values he has been taught in that reality. This is most strongly evident in people who’s minds are most free, mature and meditative.

  8. Alex says:

    Is the Isha Kriya technique basically a way of harmonizing both the left and right hemispheres of the brain?

  9. LightSeeker says:

    Your descriptions seem to align with the difference between attention and awareness Culadasa talks about. Have you read his book?

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