In one of Dustin DiPerna´s online retreats, while Daniel P Brown´s "Pointing Out the Great Way" foundation was still active, I encountered an intriguing new method of meditation. He called it "King of Samadhi" if I remember correctly.
I have written a shorter post on it here. (Note: I may have to combine that post with this one).
The general structure of the meditation
Up to the here relevant point in the meditation, the student has been led through the standard phases of the POGW approach up to One Taste:
Take up the 7 point posture
Formulate the intention
Imagine receiving all the help needed from the "retinue" (an imagined group of helpers)
Emptyness meditation of Self
Experience of the timeless and changeless nature of awareness itself, of the ground
Experience of the boundaryless nature of awareness
Ocean and Wave metaphor
Now follows this:
Take the perspective of the ocean, and from this perspective, direct attention to the real body. Notice how the body floats in the boundaryless ocean. The body seems to float in the space of this ocean-like awareness. The body is like an insubstantial wave. Keep the ocean-like view of the vast changeless timeless awareness-ocean, and from this perspective see the body arise as insubstantial, as a body of light floating in this awareness field.
Notice that these instructions are NOT the original wordings, as I have no intention to violate any possible IP.
Funneling attention through awareness
What has happened there?
The meditation at this point is at its core an awareness meditation,and not a concentration meditation if one follows Blaschke (2017). That is, the predominant perspective of the meditator (their "basis of operation") is that of the vast expanse, ie of awareness itself.
Attention is then - in Blaschke´s terms - "funneled" through this level of awareness. Attention is at this point not coming from the individual self, but from and through awareness.
This gives attention a particular "funnel" to "see" the objects (in this case, the body): attention gains in subtle perception. The body, in the focus of attention, becomes "insubstantial", or later in the meditation, like an empty vase filled with light. This corresponds, for example, to the imagery of the hollow body one seens in psychedelic art.
Blaschke : concentration and awareness methods
The following quotes are from Blaschke´s (2017) dissertation. They describe the general differences between concentration and awareness methods, as he is describing them in the context of his research approach.
As further background, it may be useful to read my post on attention and awareness (may have to be updated).
Let us begin with concentration methods that anchor attention on an object (e.g., the breath, a mantra, an image or external object). The basic idea is that if attention is successfully fixated on an object, then attention’s chaotic and distracting quality (ordinary consciousness) can be cancelled out. When this is effected, the “deeper waters” of awareness (the “knowing” quality or “lucidity” of awareness) behind attention can consolidate and become salient. As the deeper waters are intuited, attention (now more laser-like and refined) can detect subtler content in the event-perspective (object-side) specific to the deeper levels of awareness. Thus each level of awareness has a subject-side and an object-side with its own type of content.
As attention becomes brighter and more stable, the practitioner’s “basis of operation” shifts of its own accord to a more subtle level (spiritual or divine). Concentration methods of this kind rely on “intensifying” and “easing up” as the key meditation skills, because these skills regulate the supply of energy to, and the quality of, attention.
In contrast, awareness methods work with a reversed logic. They aim to directly anchor the practitioner’s basis of operation in the lucidity of awareness by (i) emphasizing and holding on to the awareness-perspective (subject-side) and (ii) withdrawing involvement from the chaotic nature of attention and its contents (object-side) while (iii) maintaining a high level of clarity of the content. The basis of operation ( modus operandi) of the practitioner is thus directly shifted into the “deeper waters” of awareness.
The mechanic of awareness methods requires practitioners to allow attention to do what it does without getting distracted, drawn in or perturbed by it. Eventually, the practitioner’s basis of operation stabilises and remains disengaged from the plethora of content that parades on the surface of the river (ordinary consciousness). An “inner observer”, “watcher” or “knower” emerges that remains unmoved by this ongoing, chaotic activity.
As the basis of operation is released from attention, the lucidity of the awareness-perspective becomes like an “unshakable presence” that can intentionally sink with a high-level of clarity into the depths of consciousness (spiritual and divine levels). The object-side of experience then changes without direct intervention, because the level of awareness that the basis of operation shifts into contains its own type of content. Gradually attention settles without direct intervention. In this way, awareness methods rely on “mental pliancy” to shift between levels of awareness. It is a skill that does not require high levels of concentration.
Blaschke, B. A. (2017). Consciousness of god as god is: Phenomenology of Christian Centering Prayer. XXX. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from https://www.google.de/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10063/6608/thesis_access.pdf%3Fsequence%3D1&ved=2ahUKEwjX6-OVu4T-AhWWT6QEHTWdCwEQFnoECAgQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1XSS6sXYbd31t0uAaIbHUL
Gebel, T. (2022a). Attention and Awareness - confusion. Till Gebel. https://www.till-gebel.com/post/attention-and-awareness-confusion
Gebel, T. (2023b, January 9). King of Samadhi - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.09.30. Till Gebel. https://www.till-gebel.com/post/sam-harris-daily-meditation-2022-09-30-feel-your-body-resting-in-space-king-of-samadhi