Samadhi Awakening Beyond All Identifications

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Samadhi: Awakening Beyond All Identifications

By Andreas Mamet

Much is being written about awakening (Sanskrit: Samadhi) these days and often I find it described as an experience that constitutes a type of enhancement for the spiritual seeker once she or he has found Samadhi. The seeker becomes a special edition. A seeker-plus model. A model with turbo charge. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The experience of Samadhi is inseparably intertwined with the annihilation of the seeker. The arising of Samadhi is equal to the cessation of the seeker. Samadhi is the suspension of the mind-self structure. The mind exists in its never-ending function as an entity that hijacks identifications. It does so relentlessly, without ceasing. When it says, “I am hungry,” it identifies with a sensation in the stomach. When it says, “I am angry,” it identifies with an emotion. And the list goes on forever. Each time the mind expresses an identity notion, it perpetuates an existential lie. We all know how this looks in a worldly context when we encounter notions of “I am rich and famous” and the resulting modalities of arrogance and self-absorption. It is interesting to observe that these same mind dynamics are transferred straight into the realm of the spiritual. The mind-self continues the usual modalities without so much as a blink. It rolls with the flow. Now the identities have morphed into “I am a powerful meditator.”

Now we are somebody who can say, “I channel God, Mother Mary, or St. Germain.” Now our new ID is “I am close to God” (and you had better listen to what I tell you). With the continuation of such notions, arrogance and self-absorption simply remain alive and well even though working in different disguise. The very first line of Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras is “Yoga Chittam Vritti Nirodha.” Yoga is achieved when all motions of the mind have ceased. In other words, it is achieved when the mind’s capacity for hijacking identifications comes to a full stop. Samadhi is the experience of the opening of one’s inner space. In that opening of the inner space the mind-self simply disappears. In that disappearance all processes of identification evaporate. Samadhi is the presence of a silence so vast that the mind-self does not survive the arising of this presence. In the reality of this presence, the mind must be absent. Therefore, Samadhi and mind-self do not exist simultaneously. They cannot.

If the mind-self is, Samadhi is not. If Samadhi is, the mind-self is not. In India there exists a spiritual tool that is designed to navigate the meditator to the final goal, the ultimate “here now,” which is Samadhi. This tool is called “neti neti.” It means “Neither this nor that.” Each time the meditator detects an identity arising inside, she or he is advised to reflect, “I am not this.” The next identity arises, and again she or he reflects, “I am not that.” This technique is part of the practice of Gyan Yoga, the yoga of the intellect, since it uses the intellect to actually go beyond the intellect. It guides the meditator to experience freedom from all identifications: Samadhi.

In Samadhi the seeker disappears. What remains is the stream of experiencing. All separation between object and subject has disappeared. All nouns have vanished, and what remains is the verb. What is left is the process of experiencing in the electrifying acuteness of this very moment. The event of Samadhi is very shocking. No amount of creative imagination will prepare one for this experience. The first time it happened to me, I was 21 years old, after three years of intense yogic training. I sat in meditation and focused on a spot two inches above my head, visualizing a flame. Then I visualized 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.

Samadhi is like a death, since it erases life and our perception as we know it. Depending on the power and depth of the 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 arises the recognition that life before that immense opening was a life of deep sleep. Yogic scriptures differentiate between Sarbij and Nirbij Samadhi. The former means “with seed” and the latter means “without seed.” What this means in actuality is that the mind-ego structure does return after the event of Sarbij Samadhi. Not only does it return, but in most cases the mind–ego structure hijacks and claims the event if not prevented by an awareness capable of witnessing the dynamics at play.

Existentially speaking, this is very humorous: The mind is claiming no-mind. Words are claiming silence. The very second that mind is claiming the experience of no-mind, corruption has been activated. 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. Some people have had Sarbij Samadhi experiences and mistake this for enlightenment. And immediately they go out and give satsang to others, proclaiming their lofty state. Enlightenment is not the case. Hundreds or thousands of Sarbij Samadhis can take place before the event of the Samadhi of no return. I wish to emphasize that the experience of Samadhi does not create infallibility. Even those rare beings who are fully anchored in Samadhi retain the human capacity for committing mistakes on various levels.

Learning continues. The universe evolves forever and so do we. How to reach Samadhi? There are many different kinds of meditation techniques: Whether they work simply depends on whether you and the technique are compatible. 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 one another. 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-of-head 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, and so on. 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 to prepare. A human being who has experienced Samadhi will be altered forever. The experience represents an oceanic freedom beyond anything that could be described and for that reason it is a haunting event that can only propel us to seek out situations and conditions in which Samadhi happens again. And again and again. Until one day the seeker has disappeared forever and returns no more.

Andreas Mamet entered the journey of meditation more than 30 years ago. In the 1970s he lived in India for five years to deepen his practice. In the early ’80s he taught meditation in Japan and Germany. He now lives in Mount Shasta, California, and spends his time teaching in Paris and Tokyo.

His book recommendation of the moment: Between the Visions by Raylene Abbott, available at as a five-star book. He can be contacted at