Formless Awareness—Nirvikalpa Samadhi

My Yearly Brush With Snow

My Yearly Brush With Snow


April 4, 2017 9:43 AM

I awoke to snow. A few moments (seconds, minutes, hours?) earlier I was in, what is often called in Sanskrit, nirvikalpa samadhi—formless awareness.

This happens about once a week now but last night’s was the most… clear. I am aware, but not of any thing. A radiant, outward flowing awareness with no destination or intention. No other. No me even.

But, upon awakening I was struck by how almost all accounts of this “state” (quotes because it lies below all experience), seem to miss a key point: Love.

We are NOT just “pure awareness”. If you’ve ever experienced this state first hand (and are not just parroting what you’ve read), then you know this “state” is Love. Capital-L Love flowing outward. Aware Love.

Obviously, if you’ve never experienced this state, you won’t believe me. When you compare a nobody like me to any of the great, long-dead-and-thus-can’t-be-questioned sages, I’m—well, a nobody.

But consider this: If nirvikalpa samadhi—formless awareness WITHOUT love—is our highest state, then why is there anything else? What would motivate anything to form?

Many believe that all this is here because God grew bored and wanted to experience something/Himself. Why would God grow bored?

Why? Because Love is the life force. Even God wants to be happy. Even God is motivated by Love. And thus She created all this.

Formless awareness—nirvikalpa samadhi—is awareness AND Love.

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18 thoughts on “Formless Awareness—Nirvikalpa Samadhi

  1. Good points! If we are to accept the premise that “she” does not clone ppl, every one of us are unique and different in our own special way, then one cannot even compare objectively. Subjectively, superficially we can compare on the mind level, but that level of comprehension does not achieve the essence of nirvikalpa samadhi—formless awareness.
    While it is quite pointless to compare the egoless “you” to the great masters and sages of yore, the quality of “enlightenment” is the same, aka that stateless state of unconditional LOVE.
    On a relative note: everyone starts out as a “nobody”, until mass awareness starts perceiving someone as that “somebody”. I know, I know, in the overall scheme of things, all our doings, beings, and becomings seem quite ridiculous. But it all serves as that tool/ mechanism for growth, evolution of consciousness, and hence… “matters” (pun intended). XD

  2. For me, while it did not “feel” like love from within what you call formless awareness (I call it isness) – as I came out of/down from/?? suchness/isness [you do a much better job of describing than I do] I always know “that was/is love”. After that first time, I spent a lot of time looking at older books and asking teachers [my own teacher died shortly after I “experienced” it] and none of them described it as love. Am so glad you are putting it out there for folks who might be confused as I was so many years ago.


    • Thanks Lyn. Yes, while “in” it, there is no thought or separation or experiencer/experience (super hard to describe), but—like you say—upon exiting it, then words and concepts start to form… that is when this Pure Loving Awareness at our core is realized.

      It is a sad state of nondual affairs today that spiritual teachers are afraid to talk about anything that goes against traditional teachings. Cynically, I suspect it would hurt their sales too much… but I have always refused to live in fear. As such, it will probably kill me one day. 🙂

      • I was very graced in that my teacher was not traditional. I did study with a traditional teacher for a while, but quit when he gave me the ultimatum that I could not to study with anyone else. When I asked my final teacher what he thought about studying with more than just him, he pretty much said great, go study, and come back and tell us what you learned.

        I had hoped that things would change with the traditional teachers by now, but as you say, they seem to be afraid to talk about anything that does not fit in their particular nondual world view.

  3. I am really glad you used the Sanskrit term. That helps connect with a larger body of knowledge (with which many are already familiar) and brings clarity where there are usually only vague descriptions by people for whom English is a second language.

    It also suggests a method (perhaps covered in some form in your books, I have not had the time to cross-check). The method is to use physical posture (sitting asana) to still the body, breathing (pranayama) to quiet the energies and draw awareness within (pratyahara), concentration to still the mind (dharana), surrender to induce meditation (dhyana) and finally, contemplation of love and gratitude to induce samadhi (of which there are various levels). This is essentially Patanjali’s yoga system. Works for me.

    • Thanks Rob. I don’t like to use Sanskrit—and avoid it whenever possible for many reasons (inaccessible to most, predisposes the reader to assumptions, cultural differences, …). But sometimes it can’t be avoided.

      I don’t have a method for this, it just happens occasionally when I’m asleep. I honestly don’t see the purpose of trying to fall into it other than as confirmation that it exists. You can’t do anything from it. You can’t think or act or take notes. It seems to me to be mostly an ego thing, “I can access Nirvikalpa Samadhi! Whoo hoo! Aren’t I great! Follow me and you can too!” Pshaw. Not my thing.

  4. When Ramana Maharshi was in Nirvikapa Samadhi for couple of months in a underground chamber,insects and pests ate away his parts of thigh….yet he was motionless in his sitting posture…..did u experience this?

    • Nah. I live in a pretty clean rig. But, because I do live in the wilderness most of the time, I did come out of it once with a tick embedded in my groin. Didn’t feel it, but that’s not saying a lot since I think ticks first inject an anesthesia.

      I don’t live with anyone, and since there is no awareness of the exterior world while in nirvikalpa samadhi, then there is no way to test this. I don’t have a way to “go into it” (it just happens during deep, dreamless sleep) and thus couldn’t even have someone cut/poke/pinch me while in it (because they wouldn’t know when I was in it).

      I don’t consider it to be a big thing. It simply comes naturally as the ego weakens. It is a byproduct of spiritual awakening, not a destination. Like I said in reply to Rob’s comment, you can’t do anything from it, so what’s the use? I just shared in the interest of transparency and to make the point of the Love issue.

  5. Artfully spoken Wayne. I never know how to start, every state presents chicken or egg conundrums. Love as a precondition to Nirvikalpa Smadhi or love as result of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, I cannot see these concepts as having separation.

  6. Mahayana Buddhist tradition tells us that not all enlightened states are equal. pratyekabuddhas (solitary realizers) who obtain enlightenment without the motivation of compassion (love) do not obtain the highest state. Thus liberation from suffering without love lacks understanding of the true nature of reality. Maybe the Hippies were on to something.

  7. You said “I can access Nirvikalpa Samadhi! Whoo hoo! Aren’t I great! Follow me and you can too!” Pshaw. Not my thing”.
    It seems to me that your comment misses the point. While you cannot make Samadhi happen, you can prepare the ground. That is the distinction between mediation as a practice and as a state of consciousness. But there is a point to repeated entry into Samadhi. It’s not a joy ride or foundation for more egoism. Rather, it changes you (perhaps through neuroplasticity it rewires your brain). My analogy is that it tunes your vehicle like a radio can be fine tuned to transmit higher frequencies (better to see Her with).
    And indeed, your whole teaching is based on “follow me and you can too”, so I am puzzled at your comment.

    • No offense intended Rob. I’ve just been spending too much time on facebook seeing all these opaque teachers acting like they are special. It’s been digging at me…the whole “Come worship me—I’m enlightened. I’m special,” but then they only show their stage face. My own issues and frustrations. No disrespect to you or the traditional teachings.

    • @ Rob
      “And indeed, your whole teaching is based on “follow me and you can too”, so I am puzzled at your comment.”

      It is my understanding that the egoless avatar we call “Wayne” acts as a beacon of awareness and love. He merely points the way for others, using his experiences, knowledge as markers on the path.

      Whichever path you choose is entirely up to you, he requires no worship, praise or even acknowledgement. His books and methodologies are techniques anyone can implement, which may or may not lead to same results he “achieved”; because we’re all unique on this physical plane, but ultimately ONE in the absolute sense.

      Rob, you may have misunderstood “showing the way” and “following”, which is not synonymous with his teachings. Wayne’s intentions from the heart, mind and spirit are clear. Hope that helps. Blessings! 😀

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