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Being observer - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.10.27

Sam Harris

See if you can recognize that the feeling of being the observer is itself a thought that has gone uninspected.

This pointing out instruction deals with the meditator´s challenge of "recognising" the most insidiously hard to recognise appearances.

It may be relatively trivial to recognise emotions (such as sadness), and even thoughts (such as whether one will be late for an appointment).

What´s really hard, are those mental events that create the illusion of being an observer of everything.

Again and again, Sam Harris points this out: the feeling of being the observer is itself an appearance in consciousness/awareness. The feeling of looking from a center is itself an appearance in consciousness/awareness.

It´s the same with such thoughts as "That´s it!", which may appear when one has the feeling that a particular meditative goal has been reached.

In Mahamudra, the concept of "sealing" means the recognition of mental events as soon as they arise - as in "sealing" the event with the stamp of recognition. Sealing has two dimensions, speed and scope:

  • speed of sealing: the point in time, when a mental event is recognised. Sam Harris references this when he instructs to recognise the next thought as soon as it begins to stir (like a snake whose head is cut as soon as it appears from the hole)

  • scope of sealing: the class of mental events that is recognised. For example, the scope of more experienced meditators is wider, since it encompasses those hard to detect feelings such as being the observer.


Gebel, T. (2022p, October 26). Recognise - Sam Harris Daily Meditations 2022.10.24. Till Gebel.

Gebel, T. (2022i, August 11). Sealing and nailing in Mahamudra - and emotional triggers in Western psychology. Till Gebel.

Gebel, T. (2022p, October 2). The snake´s head - Sam Harris Daily Meditation 2022.09.07. Till Gebel.


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