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Arrive suddenly: the speed of awareness - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.10. 04




Sam Harris

Just take your seat and close your eyes and try to arrive suddenly there

This instruction to "arrive suddenly" occurs in many Sam Harris meditations, so it has significance.


And, I have to proudly report, that by now it sometimes takes me a second to "settle in view" where I "become" awareness, and "see" the space/ground and the flow of mental events simultaneously. Ok, it's not that fast every time, and it's not 100% stable throughout a 20-20 minute meditation , but with practice it's faster and faster.


So, I know that one can cut the "preparation time" significantly.


There are a few potential purposes for Sam Harris to formulate such an instruction: remove limiting beliefs, using the speed of awareness (instead of thought), skipping the efforting phase, showing that perhaps a long and arduous "path" is not necessary, and to support the instruction given in other meditations to "punctuate the day" with short moments of awareness.


Immediacy as Dzogchen Thogal practice


Thogal means "over the skull", "over the crest". It actually means to arrive instantly without jumping to get there, like a quantum leap. Thogal practice makes it very easy to experience, know and differentiate rigpa from all other mind states, in its purest form.

Rigpa is our primordial Buddha Mind that is intrinsically perfect, permanently. Because it's permanent, it's always present. But it is not our experience, rather our experience is other coarser states of mind as content, which are appearing within the space of changeless rigpa awareness. By practicing thogal, rigpa itself becomes its own self-experience. What is experienced is its own penetrating transparency, insightful [missing quote]


The instructions to enter the meditative state occurs in Shardza's "Self-Arising Threefold Embodiment of Enlightenment " under the heading "Concentrated Evenness", that is concentration meditation.


..Third, set up the mind identityless like a swallow entering its nest. The metaphor, at the time a swallow enters its nest, it enters at once, not gradually, and enters by flapping. The mind also is not set up gradually, but in a state all-at-once. It is set up so that whatever appears is identityless. (S. T. Gyaltsen et al., 2022)

Removing limiting beliefs

One way to understand it is as a clearing of limiting beliefs. We can be faster than we think.


Using brain speed of awareness

Dan Brown made a similar point. In the Pointing Out the Great Way meditations, one often hears


Using your high-speed awareness, do "X"

This instruction rests on the neurological fact that thoughts are slow, but awareness is quasi-instant. Typically, POGW uses this phrase to initiate emptiness of Self meditation :


Recall your sense of Self. Then, using your high-speed awareness, try to find this Self anywhere in your body, in your emotions

(Obviously, the result will be that there is no self).


This is not a long drawn out search process.


Sam Harris uses the "briefly" instruction similarly for his "turn attention to itself" instructions when he says:


Briefly look for the looker


Skipping the effort phase

Another way to see it is as an instruction to skip efforting. Efforting tenses up and creates a sense of a Self that does something. Thus, the "arrive suddenly" is better preparation for "non-dual" looking.


Skipping the path

That's, in a wider sense, the message: there is no path. We are really already there, if we just open our eyes it will instantly become clear. We can skip the path... but only once one either had a sudden insight into this or retroactively, in the sense of "now that you reached the roof you can throw away the ladder".


"Punctuating the day"

Quite often, in his concluding statements, Sam Harris suggests to "Punctuate the day" with mere moments of awareness, as a practice. These are the "finger snap" moments of micro-awakening. Just like micro-dosing, they do have an effect.


Just doing it


Word cloud 2022.10.04 www.wordclouds.com

The most frequently used word in Sam Harris meditations is the word "just". Don't spend too much effort on it. Just arrive instantly.

The swallow : no identity

The instructions to enter the meditative state occurs in Shardza's "Self-Arising Threefold Embodiment of Enlightenment " under the heading "Concentrated Evenness", that is concentration meditation.


..Third, set up the mind identityless like a swallow entering its nest. The metaphor, at the time a swallow enters its nest, it enters at once, not gradually, and enters by flapping. The mind also is not set up gradually, but in a state all-at-once. It is set up so that whatever appears is identityless. (S. T. Gyaltsen et al., 2022)

Resources


Gyaltsen, S. T., Gurung, G. S., & Brown, D. P. (2022). Self-Arising Three-fold Embodiment of Enlightenment: [of Bon Dzogchen Meditation] (English Edition) (2nd ed.). Mustang Bon Foundation. https://www.amazon.com/Self-Arising-Three-fold-Embodiment-Enlightenment-Meditation/dp/195695001X


Peterson, J. (2023). Thogal. Facebook. Peterson, J. (2023). Thogal. Facebook. https://m.facebook.com/groups/204949616776773/posts/1241931796411878/

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