The inseparable pair: mind and events (2) - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.09.27

Comments and expansion

Sam Harris

Turn attention back on itself even while noticing the next appearance in consciousness.

In this quote, the particle "even while" has a special significance: it denotes simultaneity.

After having learned to recognize and distinguish between "the ground" (consciousness) and the arising mental events (thoughts, sensations etc), the meditator then learns to experience both simultaneously.

The meditator can then hold in awareness the container AND the arising events in a balanced way, neither overfocusing on the container (and thus suppressing thought) nor becoming lost in thought.

Tibetan Buddhism: the inseparable pair

In "Pointing out the Great Way", Daniel P Brown explains that the direct realization of this non-duality is a prerequisite for awakening.

The mind’s awareness and the events of ordinary consciousness form an inseparable pair, and... the perception of a duality is erroneous. Direct realization of the mind’s nonduality is an essential prerequisite to awakening the mind. (Brown & Thurman, 2006, p. 43)

Or, in the translation of "Self-Arising Threefold Embodiment of Awakening"


It is best to understand awakened awareness in terms of the view of the inseparable pair - the vast expanse and the liveliness of what arises within it. (Mtshn et al., 2022, p. 114, Intro by Daniel P Brown)

See also about the related post on the unity of consciousness and its contents.

This view is also called "Lion´s view" , and this metaphor is a favorite teaching metaphor.


Brown, D.P., & Thurman, R. (2006). Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition. In No Title (Annotated). Wisdom Publications.

Deida versus Soma: femininity and spirituality (). (2021, June 6). Till Gebel. Retrieved 7 September 2022, from

Mtshan, S.R.B.S.R., Brown, D. P., & Gurung, S. G. (2022, January 14). Self-Arising Three-fold Embodiment of Enlightenment [of Bon Dzogchen Meditation]. Mustang Bon Foundation.

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