Refinement #1

Introductory post to the practice can be found here.

As I continue to offer refinements to this mind-bending (and eventually mind-snapping) illusory form practice, I recommend reflecting on some of these tips as a form of contemplation. What we’re talking about (hearing), and eventually discovering (through contemplation and meditation), is not easy. It’s very subtle, and goes against the torrential forces of the way we’ve been taught to perceive. This practice will lead to a perceptual and epistemological revolution, precisely what the Rebel Buddha discovered as he overthrew the tyranny of ordinary appearance. It will also provide a glimpse of how the awakened ones see the world.

Refinements for our practice: While gazing at the object, don’t focus on any particular aspect of it. Instead, allow your gaze to relax to where you don’t see any given thing particularly clearly. This invites a reduction of the intensity of visual appearance, which otherwise tends to suck you into the appearance, and is when you make the fundamental mis-take of taking the appearance to be solid, lasting, and independently out there.

This is precisely where we go non-lucid in the most foundational way – where we lose the essence in the display. We lose our mind (or at least half of it, the emptiness half), whenever we take things to be real. We lose the essence (emptiness) in the display (luminosity). As we’ll see, we’re blinded by the light – the display of form, which is nothing but frozen light – the runaway light of the mind.

Looking at things in this new way invokes a non-dual experience of appearance and mind (subject and object, mind and matter, internal and external). So keep your gaze diffused, open, and receptive to whatever you experience, without judgment. If you focus too much on the details of what you see you’ll promote your fixation on the apparent separateness of mind and object, on duality.

This next tip is important: with this practice we’re attempting to use the experience of visual perception as an opportunity to dis-cover the mind’s true nature (its luminous empty nature); to reveal the emptiness or insubstantiality that is not separate from the clarity of the perceptual experience. With practice you will discover that what you are really looking at here is not the object per se, but the nature of the experience of the object – which is the inseparability of emptiness and luminosity. You will discover that there actually is no object, and even no “out there.” This is true daytime lucidity, which is what transforms a non-lucid life into a lucid life, precisely what the ultimate lucid dreamer, the Buddha, discovered.

The physicist Richard Henry lends a hand: “The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things… The universe is entirely immaterial, mental, and spiritual, and we must learn to perceive it as such.”

Hang in there – LOTS more to come on all this. We have to keep coming at it again. . . and again. . . and again, and we have plenty of time in the months ahead to do this – properly. But please keep this in mind: nothing will change for you if you don’t engage in this practice whole-heartedly. You have to really look. Don’t let the “answers” provided spoil the questions, the queries I’ll continue to invite. The impact only comes when you finally see for yourself.


I like this guy.

Shunryū Suzuki-rōshi “LETTERS FROM EMPTINESS” HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE IDEA OF EMPTINESS Sunday, March 8, 1970, San Francisco


Andrew, I can’t thank you enough for spending the energy and time leading us through these mind-blowing absolute teachings!


Andrew, when I first learned meditation, I was told to focus on the space a few feet in front of my face. This brought everything out of focus, or into a very soft focus and helped to quiet and clear the mind. Later I learned to work with a panoramic gaze which further deepens the samadhi. Appearances lose their solidity and other phenomena happens, which I just classify as nyams. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but this practice seems to be headed there, so much so that I just slide right into it.


I have been practicing panoramic awareness meditation outdoors at my sit spot for a few years now, interestingly it was introduced during a wilderness awareness school course, it was called turning on your “owl vision”!
Reading Andrew’s book and discourse the past few weeks, listening to him talk about this topic over the past year, has shifted something. It has led to the softening of my rigid point of view in the moment, literally. Now, as I have come to understand this process and experience is close to what is defined as emptiness. This is a difficult one. To let go of your belief or thought of what is real. Intellectually, it is difficult. The practice of the meditation though seems totally accessible, doable, actually enjoyable, I feel warmth in my heart and spacious.

In terms of what I see, I see various optical phenomena.

I have used the owl vision while watching TV or a movie, doing the illusory form practice. I will forget and get lost in the story if I focus too much on a character or plot.
Sound familiar? Yes, this is what also happens in Lucid dreams!

I now understand how important it is to practice this. It will help me let go of my fixed mind when I am bored at my partner or child speak, and connect with my heart. Just mundane stuff. When I cause suffering for myself, for example, birthday parties or seeing photos of my children growing up always tears me, but I realize that this is just my idea (its a habitual response) of them. In reality they are growing, happy an healthy. They don’t care they are growing from being adorable babies, its me - my clinging to a state of their development that causes me pain aand suffering when they will be off to college. I realize only I can free myslf from samsara,

Feeling grateful.


How do you accomplish this?

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I use a similar practice called “Wide angle Vision”. Same idea and it is in some sense what you use when you are highway driving. You don’t stare straight ahead when you drive–you kind of gather in the entire scope of cision so you can see what’s happening in your entire field of vision. Do this by using your peripheral vision. One way to accomplish this is to raise both arms in front of you, wiggle your fingers, and then move your arms slowly away from each other, while softly looking/gazing straight ahead. Keep the movement of wiggling fingers simultaneously in view til you begin to lose sight of one or the other. Bring back to edge of seeing both simultaneously. You’ll find you cannot stare ahead and in fact now have a wide angle view of your world. You can then drop your arms while holding the peripheral view.


I had an experience with a couple of baby owls last year where we were “communicating” for about a minute. It was exhilarating. I tend to gravitate to open awareness and in the last couple of years have been able to transition from closed eyes only to keeping my eyes open in meditation.