Some time ago, can't remember exactly when, I added guided meditations via Sam Harris' Waking Up iPhone app to my morning meditation routine. (I also enjoy listening to the daily guided meditations by Tamara Levitt on the Calm app.)
Here's a transcript I made of part of one of Harris' guided meditations. It followed an exercise where Harris asked the listener to breathe in a vision of the world on an inbreath, and to breathe out themselves into the world on the outbreath.
Well, the point of that exercise is to notice, once again, how much the sense of self, the sense of being, is located, is anchored in vision. You might find it useful to play with this as you meditate with open eyes and you look for the seat of attention.
You might notice there’s a transition between breathing the world in, and breathing yourself out into it. And it’s that implied center of consciousness, that place where you seem to be, that point toward which you could inhale everything, and from which you could exhale yourself out into the world — it’s that point you are looking for.
And the moment you look, it’s not seen. And it’s in that awareness of there being no thing to see, that you should rest your mind. And if that’s confusing, rest assured it won’t always be.
This is a common theme of Harris, how it isn't possible to find the see'er of what is being seen, the hear'er of what is being heard, the think'er of what is being thought, and so on.
Which is a thoroughly Buddhist notion, of course: the reality of no-self.
This is very different from other meditation practices that try to withdraw attention from the world into some sort of "eye center" or "third eye," with the aim of realizing oneself as immaterial consciousness or soul.
Here's some other notes I've taken after listening to Harris' guided meditations. These aren't exact quotes, like the passage above is. But they're very close to Harris' own words.
-- Follow the breath back to the one who is breathing. Toward what? Who is the one that is seeing?
-- Breathe with yourself into the world. Look for the place between breathing in the world and breathing yourself out. Look and find there is nothing to be seen.
-- Is there a center to consciousness, a place from which you're being conscious. Look for it briefly, then rest your mind.
-- Everything that appears is a wave on the surface of consciousness.
-- Is there a hearer in addition to the fact of hearing?
-- Where is the self, if every sign of it is appearing in consciousness?
-- Don't lean forward to breathe. Lean back. Receive like a mirror would.
-- Drop back into the space into which thoughts and sensations are appearing.
-- Don't feel like attention is coming from some point. Rather, that feeling also is coming from the open space of consciousness.
-- Cover the breath. Just receive each new sensation. The point is not the breath. It's the quality of awareness you are paying attention to it.
-- A feeling of "I" is also an appearance in consciousness. It feels a certain way to feel you are directing attention. Drop back and be the space in which that feeling too is arising. Is there a center of consciousness?