Breathing and Mixing - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.09.20

Sam Harris

Imagine that your are breathing in the world, and with each exhalation, cast yourself out into your visual field

This meditation, where in one´s imagination, consciousness, awareness, or the Self is mixed, merged or dissolved with the outer world, with space, or with the sky, lies at the root of Dzogchen practice.

The mixing or blending or unification of consciousness and space is a key practice of Dzogchen. In fact, it is the root of Dzogchen practice. (Barth, 1998/2007).

Experiencing non-duality

This type of pointing out instruction aims at letting the student experience how it feels to dissolve the border between inner and outer, between (illusory) Self and not-Self.

It is therefore meant to provide experiential access to non-duality. The instruction represents one of the three ways to teach non-duality, as explained by the POGW approach.

In a way, this Dzogchen approach is like a hypnotic technique, which uses imagination to change the experience of one´s inside by blurring borders. The instruction may include somatic elements or not. For example, when the instruction encompasses the breath, a somatic experience is created. In this context, it is interesting to know that Dzogchen and hypnosis are indeed related.

Mixing using the sky

The generic pointing out instruction goes something like this: "look out into space, and mix your awareness with space". This instruction can be formulated in different ways. Here is one that I find particularly poetic:

The essential point of the mind is to focus as if dissolving the mind in the midst of the external expanse of the empty sky (Gyaltsen 2022, p 876)

Clearly, the "eternal sky" was very much visible in the Tibetan highlands. It is somewhat more difficult to imagine in when one lives in a city and meditates in one´s living room, rather than in a high mountain cave overlooking a vast space.

So, here is another original text using the sky:

Awareness is most likely to be recognized once positively free of conceptual thought elaborations. The lion´s gaze and mixing awareness and the sky are the special instructions to look directly into the face of awareness so as to recognize the lucidity brightness, intensity and awakeness of awakened awareness that is always right here in the immediate experience of one's mind. (Yungdrung, 2022)

Note: the "Lion´s gaze" is a metaphor where awareness looks at itself. You find an explanation and example here.

Mixing using the world

The instruction in today´s Sam Harris mixing meditation uses a two-step process:

  1. Breathe in the world

  2. Breathe out the Self

Mixing using space

The supreme method here to realize the nature of mind, is to unite space and awareness. When thus mixing space and awareness, you spontaneously purify all fixed notions. Such as a reality and characteristics, negating and establishing, And you abide in the truth of suchness, dharmata, Free from dualistic subject-object cognition. (Aryadeva, 2022)


Unusually in this series, Sam Harris explains this meditation in his own words. His purpose is to create a sense, through the directionality of breathing and seeing, of the unconscious "localisation" of the Self in the center of our head (or around there).

Reuse of this technique

Sam Harris has used this technique in another context (in a meditation ca 1 year ago). In that meditation, the "breathe in the world" is used to create a sense of the inner reflection of the world on the inside of the eyeballs. Using the "fluid eyeballs" and the "fence of the eyebrows" is a technique used in the "The Six Lamps" by Tapihritsa (2022)

This meditation is a variant of the "mixing" meditations

However, one can also see this meditation as a typical "mixing" meditation: the boundary between inner and outer is dissolved by taking the outer in and projecting the inner out.

Thus, it is a variant of the "mix your awareness with space, mix space with awareness" meditation.


Aryadeva. (2022a, August 17). Prajnaparamita Upadesa by Aryadeva. Retrieved 5 September 2022, from

Gyaltsen, S. T., Gurung, G. S., & Brown, D. P. (2022, April 29). Self-Arising Three-fold Embodiment of Enlightenment: [of Bon Dzogchen Meditation] (English Edition) (2nd ed.). Mustang Bon Foundation.

Tapihritsa. (2022, May 3). The Six Lamps: According to the Zhang Zhung Oral Transmission Lineage of Bon Dzogchen (Daniel P Brown & G. Sonam Gurung, Trans.). Mustang Bon Foundation.

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