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Localisation as obstacle - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.09.26

Sam Harris

You are not over here noticing sensations that are over there

This post addresses the concept of "localisation" of consciousness.

Localisation means that the meditator has the impression of perceiving from (or "operating from") a localised, individual perspective: the meditator is here (e.g. inside the head) and the perceived objects (including the meditator´s own body) are "out there".

Thus, it is a dualistic viewpoint, where perceiving subject and perceived object are separated. However, Sam Harris´ intent for his meditations is to provide an experiential basis for a non-dual perspective. Thus, he again and again provides pointing out instructions that deconstruct the dualistic perception.

(Bach et al., 2022)

The above pictures shows in a simple form the dualistic perspective.

This is opposed to a view where the meditator "operates as" or "is" awareness itself, as in the teaching metaphor: "Be the ocean watching its own waves".

Sam Harris´ pointing out instructions in many Daily Meditations use one or more of the senses. Below is an example using the sense of breath:

Be aware of the sensations of breathing from within the sensations themselves

The freedom of the non-localised view

What is the significance of localisation / de-localisation in Buddhist meditation?

In his analysis of the Heart Sutra, Dan Brown takes the Heart Sutra as a model for the staged development of the meditative views up to "awakening".

This is the mantra:

And this is the deconstruction:

Here is his summary of the Heart Sutra´s stages:

So we say emptiness is the path. Because as long as I see everything as substantial and out there I don't look at it this way. But once I open up to the view that I get from this perspective I can go beyond all those seemingly substantial structures of the mind and all the reactivity involved in that and I am genuinely humanly free. "

(Quoted in Gebel, Till. (2020d, July 16))


Bach, J., Graziano, M., Cohen, J., & Lal, V. (2022, February 23). Vectors of Cognitive AI: Self-Organization. YouTube. Retrieved 10 September 2022, from

Pointing Out the Great Way. (2020). Level 1 Retreat, Mahamudra Meditation, Pointing out the Great Way (D. P. Brown & G. Nelson, Eds.). Kein Verleger.

Gebel, Till. (2020d, July 16). The Heart Sutra as a complete spiritual development project. Till Gebel.


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