Meditation - Samadhi - Zammai
Andreas Mamet first experienced Samadhi aged 21 - he explains Samadhi (Zammai in Japanese)
Andreas Mamet entered the journey of meditation over 40 years ago. In the 70s he lived in India for 5 years to deepen his practice. In the early 80s he taught meditation in Japan and Germany. He now lives in Mount Shasta, California, where he is … practicing meditation.
In recent times I have been reading pieces on Samadhi in some publications and I have found that samadhi is described in different ways, but often as some form of a heightened state of consciousness that the meditator experiences. I marvel at that, since the implication is the continuation of the meditator as someone who has the Samadhi experience.
This is not the case.
Samadhi is the suspension of any sense of self. The meditator – disappears. In Samadhi, all that remains is the stream of experiencing. The division between object and subject is gone. All nouns are gone. All that remains is the verb, the process of experiencing in the acuteness of the very moment.
The event of Samadhi is very shocking, because no amount of creative imagination will prepare one for this experience. Meditators may think that if they meditate long enough, deep enough, the experience will come to “them.” Somehow the self thinks that it is an experience that will become part of the self, just another object for the mind-ego structure to hijack.
This is not the case.
Samadhi is the annihilation of self. The self and Samadhi cannot be in the same room, so to speak. If there is Samadhi there is no self. If there is self, there is no Samadhi. I cannot emphasise enough the intensity of the shock that Samadhi creates. The first time it happened, I was 21 years old, after three years of intense yogic training. I sat in meditation and was focusing on a spot two inches above my head, visualising a flame. Then I visualised entering the core of the flame. All of a sudden, from the core of the flame, space began to open rapidly and an incredible vastness unfolded in which my self and any thought activity disappeared completely. The shock penetrated my system to the marrow in my bones. Samadhi is like a death, since it erases life and our perception as we know it. Depending on the power and depth of Samadhi it can take months or even years to integrate the event. Samadhi also creates a contrast in the sense that for the first time there is awakening and in that awakening there is the recognition that life prior to that immense opening was a life of deep sleep.
Sutras for Contemporary Times - Andreas Mamet
At one point in my life I spent five years in India. That time was basically a meditation retreat. While my friends in Europe went to College I spent hours every day with meditation practice. One evening, after the last meditation session, the sense of perception was greatly altered. There was no separation between “me” and the people around me. While speaking to somebody, there was a powerful sense that my being extended into and beyond the “other.” It seemed that my being looked right back at me through the other person’s eyes. The illusion of separation was lifted. There was no dialogue, but instead there was a mysterious monologue through two forms.
Samadhi can come in different ways. It can come in a split second, at the speed of lightning. One moment the self is there, with its chattering thoughts. Then in a flash there is a tremendous emptiness, a vastness without thought that has shattered and erased the mind-ego structure. Samadhi is. And mind is not. Thus Samadhi is the experience of no-mind.
Samadhi can arise gradually, too. It can arise for example during the process of technical meditation. The experience can come softly unfolding gently in a matter of minutes. If the Samadhi experience unfolds gradually, there is a greater chance for it to be interfered with by mind. The mind can stop the event, using any excuse since mind senses its coming death and seeks its preservation and continuation. There is also time for an emotional fear reaction since there is a clearly unknown event approaching and we tend to react with fear to anything unknown.
While it is almost “easier” to explain the Samadhi experience via negativa, by saying what it is not, there are many different phenomena that may accompany the event. There may arise different aspects that cause different flavors or degrees of depth in the experience of Samadhi. (Tibetans talk about the 19 ways of nothingness and I believe the number 19 merely stands for “innumerable”). Yogic scriptures talk about the difference between Sarbij Samadhi and Nirbij Samadhi. The former means “with seed”, the latter “without seed.” What this means in actuality is that the mind-ego structure does return after the event of Sarbij Samadhi, whatever depth the Samadhi may have been. Not only does it return, but also in most cases the mind-ego structure hijacks and claims the event (if not prevented by an awareness that witnesses the dynamics at play). Existentially speaking, there is great humor in this: the mind is claiming no-mind. Words are claiming silence. Presence is describing absence. The instant the mind claims the experience of no-mind, corruption enters into the picture.
While the mind-ego structure returns after Sarbij Samadhi, after Nirbij Samadhi it does not. Thus Nirbij Samadhi is the experience of Enlightenment and Sarbij Samadhi is not; it is a glimpse of Enlightenment. There are people who have had Sarbij Samadhi experiences but mistake this for enlightenment. Enlightenment is not the case. Hundreds or thousands of Sarbij Samadhis can take place prior the event of the Samadhi of No Return.
The experience of Samadhi has been compared to that of a drop merging with the ocean. That strikes me as a good comparison, even though it does not point toward the vast emptiness of the experience.
If the practitioner is trained in yogic systems from India, there is a great chance that the Samadhi experience will be accompanied by Kundalini phenomena. The body may experience powerful sensations of heat or cold, or waves of electricity may be felt in the hands, belly, heart, brain or even the entire body. The degree of that electricity may be very high; to a point the practitioner may temporarily become non-functional on the outer plane. One of the reasons for committed, life-long practice is the need to prepare the nervous system for the impact of this electricity, since that is what it actually is. This electricity may cause shaking of the body or other phenomena, such as self-arising asanas (positions), mudras (movement/ pose) or pranayamas (breath).
The practitioner may experience sound that is simultaneously silence. This experience is impossible to explain.
If the practitioner is trained in other systems, the above phenomena may not occur at all. Some lamas I talked to did not seem to know the Kundalini phenomena. They also seem to be unknown in most Zen schools. For that reason it seems that the experience of Samadhi and Kundalini phenomena do not necessarily need to go hand in hand.
How to access Samadhi?
I emphasize again that the answer to the question can only be found in the spiritual cessation of the entity that poses the question and pursues the experience. Because the answer exists only in the death of the mind/self structure that desires Samadhi. Nevertheless, history has provided innumerable tools that provide a chance for this to happen. The first thing of course that the mind/self structure does is to identify with those tools and the process of their use. Thus, the newborn identity is that of a spiritual seeker, meditator, and so on. In that way the mind/self structure’s survival is guaranteed. This seems to be a phase that is unavoidable.
The following perhaps may turn out to be helpful: Establishing a process of witnessing all mind functioning. Witnessing the body. Witnessing the breath. This can be done both as a general practice throughout the day, and in meditation sessions.
There are many different kinds of meditation techniques: Whether they work simply depends on you and the technique fitting together. There is focus on the Hara, the heart chakra, the third eye, and the top of your head. There is Kriya meditation. Samadhis that arise from working with each of those gates are notably different from each other. Samadhis that arise from the Hara have a very powerful earthy, grounded quality. Heart Samadhis come with an inexpressible sweetness and ecstasy. Third eye Samadhis are cool and luminous. Top chakra Samadhis can be immensely shocking. (It may be interesting to note that Samadhi experiences take place in high-intensity sports, during sex, and in the arts, such as dancing, music, painting, etc. However, since these contexts are utterly devoid of direct training, people may experience great confusion in response to the event. If Samadhi happens in the context of a genuine mystery school, at least there is conscious training preparation.
It would be helpful to find somebody who is anchored in Samadhi, who understands what “disappearance of self” means. The bad news is that the number of people who claim the event is higher than the number of people who actually DO know. The good news is that there exists a growing number of Western people who have Samadhi experiences and may even be fully anchored in it (it is still a very small number!) Unfortunately they might walk right by you in the mall, since they may look ordinary and probably won’t wear holy robes or emit signals to help you to recognize them. And a reminder: Some holy robes may contain promise without keeping.
These days there are also some people who go around and teach others by saying “There is nothing to do, don’t do anything.” This amazes me - especially when considering that these very same people have verifiably engaged in massive effort and work themselves over time periods of many years and possibly lifetimes. To tell somebody who might be at the beginning of the journey that there is no work to be done is simply painfully inappropriate. Another reminder: a person who has known Samadhi or even is anchored in it continues to have the capacity for committing mistakes on various levels.
A human being who has experienced Samadhi will be altered forever. The experience represents a freedom beyond anything that could be described, and for that reason it is a haunting experience that can only propel us to seek out situations and conditions where Samadhi happens again. And again and again. Until one day the seeker has disappeared forever and returns no more.
RETREAT IN JAPAN
During this retreat we will explore different techniques of meditation and invocation in a high intensity schedule. We live in a time where we are flooded with a multitude of spiritual pathways.
One can get lost easily in spiritual practices that give no results. The techniques of the old traditions need to be adapted to the stress that we suffer in our modern day world.
Because the needs of people are different, a variety of techniques need to be explored to find the one that is powerful for you.
Unless we clear our emotional and psychological hindrances, true meditation will not arise. In this retreat we will explore a variety of techniques like:
• Sound Meditation
• Catharsis in a safe environment
• Invocation to create the life of your dreams
• Laying of Hands Healing
• Mantra Meditation