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Localisation as obstacle - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.09.26

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Sam Harris

You are not over here noticing sensations that are over there

This post addresses the concept of localisation of consciousness.

It is inextricably connected with the idea of attaining freedom from being caught up in / as a Self.

Localisation means that the meditator has the impression of perceiving from (or "operating from") a localised perspective that sees objects and events "out there".

(Bach et al., 2022)

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

Sam Harris, again and again, deconstructs this impression through his pointing out instructions in many meditations. For example:

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

The freedom of the non-localised view

In his analysis of the Heart Sutra, Dan Brown takes the Sutra as a model for the complete development of the meditative views.

Here is his summary:

"So what the Mantra means is

  • I get caught up in thought - I go beyond thought.

  • I get caught up in Self - I go beyond Self

  • I get caught up in space and time - I go beyond space and time.

  • I get caught up in localisation and consciousness I go beyond that.

  • And now I am operating out of this limitless huge boundless bright awareness-love. That's my true nature. That's my way home.

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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