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Meditations on externalizing the mind
by Gordon Hogenson
Issue 1, Summer 1997
Originally published in The Resonance Project
The following is an exercise in realizing and manipulating the illusory character of existence. Since it emphasizes the brain's role in constructing reality and provides an inverted perspective of inner and outer space, the practice is called neuro-inversion. This article provides a step by step approach towards the realization that what you experience as reality is no more than a construct in your brain. Once you achieve this state of consciousness, you can work from deep within your brain to manipulate your perception of reality, and in a relativistic sense reality itself.

Activating the Flow
The first step in this neural exercise is the running of energy -- also called prana or chi -- along the meridians of the body. You should get in a comfortable, meditative posture, close your eyes, and begin taking deep, even breaths. As you do this, imagine that you are also breathing in energy, and that this energy is cycling through your body and filling you full of force. Sweeping and energetic music -- like Bach's Organ Concerto in D minor -- will keep your thoughts from drifting and aid in the building of energy.

Once you feel your body being consumed by the energy, visualize waves of energy rushing up through your body and swelling into a ball around your palms and fingertips. As you visualize this, you will begin to feel a tingling along the meridians in your arms and hands. As the energy in your hands grows, you will find that your fingers are becoming more sensitive and nimble, and that you are able to make fluid gestures with your hands.

Try moving your hands along with the music -- amplifying and shaping the energy as if you were playing the music. Try to hit every note by feeling it somewhere in your fingers. As you do this, you will be activating a rhythmic flow of vibrations through your body. Hand movements and motor skills take up large parts of the brain, and when you energize your hands, you are also stimulating a large portion of your brain.

When your hands are successfully energized, you should feel as if you are playing the muscle fibers of your arms and hands like keys on a vast multilayered piano. When the muscles are fully relaxed, prana can flow through palms and out of the fingertips. This is the signpost that you are nearing a breakthrough experience. If you amplify the flow of prana, it will actually feel as if you can shoot vibrating threads of energy right out of your hands. If you get the urge to try this, by all means shoot away.

Activating Vision
Once your hands begin flowing with pranic energy, you can begin mapping the fluid movements back onto the visual system. This exercise is best performed while staring at a blank wall, either in complete darkness or with only a candle for light. Begin by letting the hard lines of "solid" reality drop out of focus. Focus instead on the movement of your hands. Notice how each movement throws ripples of energy into the space around you. These ripples are not only affecting the molecules of air around you, they are also affecting the subtle patterns "beneath" the solid surface of reality. As the fluid energy begins to ripple, you may also observe a visual noise of colorful, randomized shimmering that appears in thin air.

This visual noise is more than just random speckles in empty space, it is actually a fluid substance which permeates you, the empty space around you, and all of material existence. Shadows cast through this noise have a three-dimensional structure, and light reflections of these shadows appear as three-dimensional energy clouds, or ghosts. As an example of this phenomenon, consider the visual spokes seen around a star or distant street lamp. Instead of seeing the light as a solid orb of energy on a black field, try reversing your perception to perceive the darkness as physical substance which has gaps or wormholes that allow the light to shine through to your eye.

I believe that there is some kind of close association between this visual noise and phosphenes -- those colorful lights and patterns seen when you apply pressure to your closed eyeballs. Phosphenes are like quick snapshots of visual noise within the eyes, but the visual noise itself remains both within and outside of the body. It is possible to gain conscious control over the imagery in the phosphenes using the methods detailed here.

The Unity of Vision and Consciousness
As you become able to perceive ripples in the visual noise, energize the muscles behind your eyes and open them wide. As you do so, imagine that you are also opening your brain. It may help to imagine that your head actually rolls open from the eyelids, or that you have no head. Instead, the room you are sitting in suddenly becomes your head, and the visual fluid in the room is actually part of your brain.

Begin exploring this place by focusing the mind on particular points in space and trying to locate those points in your brain. Extend your consciousness into each corner of the room. Use sound to focus your energy towards certain areas of the room and "tune" the muscles of your head and face. The vibrations from within your body can be externalized and used to make the visual fluid dance in the space around you. Use the concept of feedback between your brain and the visual fluid to amplify and fine tune particularly powerful wavelengths. With practice, you can gain a degree of control over the flow of this translucent substance. Ultimately you will attain a state where the fluid can be self-organized into densely packed images and manipulated as easily as your muscles.

Shadow and Substance
This translucent substance is the very same prana that you were feeling and manipulating with the hands earlier. Realizing this is like bumping into your own shadow and seeing that it has a kind of physicality. Extend your sense of touch out into the space around you. Feel the visual substance with your hands. Play with it. It has heat, tensile strength, and can be pushed, pulled, and strung out. Try moving it thread by thread. This can be done, but it takes very refined control over the individual muscle fibers. Exercises like Tai Chi are good for honing this motor control. There is a definite one-to-one correspondence between muscle fiber and visual thread. You accomplish the neuro-inversion when you can extend all nerve sensations out into the threads. That is, instead of feeling through your hands, you feel through the threads themselves.

What you will have achieved through this meditation is an awareness that you are completely enclosed in a material substance that makes up your perceived world. When you feel anything through your skin -- texture, heat, air resistance -- you are actually feeling this substance. See Carlos Castaneda's A Separate Reality for further discussions on these threads.

Thought Joins the Dance
In this state, the physical manifestation of thought is felt and seen clearly. Each thought involves a movement in the body and a corresponding movement of the visual threads. You cannot think anything without also feeling the motion associated with it. Of course this is true in all states of consciousness, it is only more obvious when this meditation is practiced.

This state provides an excellent way to watch the inter-operation of mind and body. Body movement and position will affect thought and idea. You can feel the neural mind "grasping" with every turn and twist. You can "really stretch it," have "a sinking feeling," and even catch a "sneaking suspicion" as it skulks about. You may even experience somatosensory puns in everyday words. Smiling, looking up, and raising your hands into the air will cause you to instantly feel joy. Hunching over and sagging the muscles of the body will stimulate sadness. Watching your own movements can lead to a deep understanding of the mental states you attach to them.

Practice various postures and movements and really pay attention to the emotions they tune into. Explore the effect of repeating a word or phrase. Observe which thoughts move you deeper into uncomfortable territory, and which move you most towards joy. If you practice stilling the body for long periods of time, you will experience profound peace and silence.

The Brain is the Universe
It will probably be obvious at this point that you are inside the brain. The reality you are experiencing is in the brain. You are no longer experiencing an illusion of external reality, you are experiencing the brain itself. Because this mental state is so alien to the normal way of perceiving, you will encounter barriers. These are responses that operate to prevent you from unraveling reality any further, and are composed of an intimate connection between instinct and emotion. These uncomfortable responses are usually variants of the panic and fear reaction that occur when confronting the unknown. If it does feel that you have literally turned your brain inside out, or otherwise unraveled it, simply feeling your head will confirm that your brain is still intact. If you find yourself starting to panic, simply breathe deeply and move toward the familiar. Do not feel trapped inside your brain -- your brain is your home. Play in it! beyond the brain -- great space.

The space which exists outside of your visual field is not just a dark unknown. Sound, imagined space, body feelings, and thought itself all contribute to the sensation of this space. There is no difference between the fibers of visual space and the fibers that move with every sound and thought. When you realize this, you realize that there is no definite boundary which dividing your thoughts from the rest of reality. There is potential here for realizing the interconnectedness of all things, seeing the relationship between mind and matter, and transcending the illusions of physicality. This is rather like holding the world in one's hands as if it were a huge bubble. Tarthang Tulku, in his excellent work Time, Space, and Knowledge, refers to this apparent higher dimension as Great Space. Readers who wish to explore these experiences further are referred to his book.

Gorden Hogenson is a mad scientists and student of natural philosophy, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry at the University of Washington. He is currently fighting off the grip of an irrational passion to "figure it all out" as soon as possible, and invites anyone who already has figured it out to contact him at

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