Nirvikalpa—guided meditation

The following is adapted and abridged from Awaken The World, Samadhi meditation #4. Some of he words are from the video, presumably by Daniel Schmidt and Tanya Mahar, and some are my own. The voice is mine (JJM).

Guided meditation

Know Thyself (Nirvikalpa)

This is not a guided meditation, in that there will be no instructions to follow. I am speaking directly to that part of you that is beyond the thinking mind. Don’t listen to learn something. Don’t try to absorb any meaning. Instead, let the words create a space, or an opening, or a resonance. The words are pointers to something beyond your experience. Whether or not you have had previous direct experience of emptiness, leave your expectation at the door and proceed from an openness. From not knowing.  

The ancient imperative “know thyself” points toward this journey of discovery that is beyond thinking and the senses. Discovery of your true nature. Discovery of what you mean when you speak the word, “I”. 

This is Samadhi. It is not an altered state. The “altered state” is what we experience most of the time, a state of delusion. Maya. Identification with form and thought. Identification with a body and mind that you inhabit, but which is not you. 

The path to realization is simultaneously an exploration to discover more and more of yourself, and at the same time the new habit of identifying with less and less of yourself. The yin aspect is equanimity, to accept what is without resistance. The yang aspect is to be fully present and conscious, with an awareness that penetrates into deep being. Both are practiced simultaneously. 

Being present to a field of change. Learn to do nothing at all. Observe what the mind is already doing, and let it go. 

You may be accustomed to a mantra or the breath to ground you in the now. Or focused awareness of sounds and thoughts and sensations as they arise and pass away. Observe sensation directly without judging, without labeling, without interpreting where it came from or what it means. This is change, the world of impermanence, the entire phenomenal world. This is Annika. Sometimes there may appear a glimpse of the whole, a perspective outside of time, outside the physical. This is Akasha. You may observe your sensory data becoming more wave-like, fluid flowing freely, as the observer dissolves into the observed. 


Prana is the source from which material reality flows, and it is in your very breath. Prana is the Dao, or deep reality beyond naming. Your body, your life, your metabolism is an expression of prana. Let it go.

We pay attention to what is, to what presents itself. Sounds, light, touch, thought, sensations… Is there anything missing from your vista? A dimension or aspect of your reality which is not part of your perception, something hidden in plain view? In your awareness beyond awareness, can you sense the source field of the changing world?

These are not questions to be answered with the mind, but suggestions about what might appear upon cessation of the thinker. 

“Not that which the I sees, but that by which the I is empowered to see. That alone is Brahma the eternal, the ground of existence.”

There is perception, but there is no self perceiving. There is thought, but there is no self thinking. These things are happening. I am not involved. I witness the world outside me. I witness what I formerly called “myself” in the same way. I am not involved. 

Observe the observer. Witness the witness. Then witness the witness of the witness of the witness until…perhaps…it all dissolves.

Duality is the inside and the outside, the self and the other. Nonduality is erasure of the line. No self but Brahma. 

You can’t imagine what Samadhi is. Don’t look for something. Don’t ignore anything. Be persistent. Phenomena of the world arise and pass away. The world is labile. Your body, your mind are labile. You are something else. Your ego is having a human experience, unfolding over time. You, you are outside of time.

Gate. Gate. Paragate. Parasam gate…Bodhi Svaha.

Pure awareness, I-am-ness. That which does not change. 

How do I find my way there? Your mind is asking this question. There is no answer to the mind’s question. There is no “how”. The mind is a vessel of swirling fluid. As the mind quiets, pure awareness settles to the bottom. 

Prajna. Direct awareness of what is. A luminous emptiness that dances the world into being. To live this wisdom is to dance with it, moving freely between the here-and-now and the timeless absolute. 

This is not something to work toward. It is happening right now. You are already that. There is no technique. There is nothing to be done. Nothing to accomplish. Wu wei. Meditation is not something you do, but something that happens to you. You dissolve. You become transparent.

Give up all seeking, and surrender to the heart of your being. Here is where words leave off usefulness. Awakening to reality has been called the gateless gate, the gate that no one can pass. How to pass? There is no “how”. No one can pass the gateless gate. So, be no one. 

Be no one.

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