Qualia Mastery, in a nutshell:
1) Explore the state-space of consciousness because you want to know it for yourself
2) Study it from many points of view because you want to understand it intellectually at a deep level
3) Intend to apply it for the benefit of all beings
I really like meditation, but I have never been a fan of not understanding how it works rationally. It seems to me that doing powerful things to your state of consciousness without having a good sense of what is going on can open you up to unfounded beliefs.
As I’ve gone deeper into meditation and energetic practices, though, I’ve come to realize that one can in fact make rational sense of what is happening. This guided meditation series condenses this knowledge into 9 sets of practices that have transparent and interpretable effects.
I go over the basics of how the mind works, with principles like what you pay attention to gets energized, energizing an internal representation highlights its resonant modes, sufficiently energized representations become plastic and malleable, and certain vibratory qualities feel better than others because they spread out stress more uniformly.
And then, with the basics covered, we go on to play and construct interesting states of mind, including heavenly realms of experience and computationally non-trivial mind acrobatics.
No magic needed; just curiosity and openness of being.
I hope you enjoy and learn from it! And also please feel encouraged to share feedback or reports of how it went for you.
The Varieties of Attention
This is a guided meditation provided by Andrés in order to enrich one’s conception of the nature of “attention”.
Attention is typically thought of as a fuzzy “spotlight” that redirects cognitive resources to a region of one’s experience. But this is just one of many varieties of attention. In fact, many changes to one’s state of consciousness have very little to do with changes to perceptual features like color, brightness, auditory pitch, tactile sensations, or the texture of thought. At times, one can tell that one’s state of consciousness has changed dramatically and yet it is very hard to pin-point exactly what that change consists of. In many of those cases, that’s because the change is primarily attentional. Thus, learning about alternative modes of attention is an important tool to enable higher quality phenomenological reports and replications. It has the added bonus that knowing a broad range of attentional modes can radically enhance one’s meditation practice.
Join us in this guided meditation to get acquainted with a much broader set of attentional modes.
- Attention & Awareness: Oscillatory Complementarity, Non-Linearities, and the Pointlessness of It All
- Guide to Writing Rigorous Reports of Exotic States of Consciousness
- QRI Glossary
- High-Valence Meditation (Rob Burbea)
- Developing Piti, Developing Focus, Developing Wellbeing (Rob Burbea)
In this guided meditation Andrés walks you through a variety of methods to modulate the “energy parameter” of experience. This is a building block for the framework of Neural Annealing in the nervous system, which explores how (suitably defined) energy impacts internal representations, facilitates solving constraint satisfaction problems, and has the potential to lead to sustainable high valence states of consciousness by reducing internal stress.
We explore energy sources such as (a) sensory input, (b) pleasure and pain, (c) attention, (d) and surprise. Additionally a wide range of techniques for how to build, manage, and skillfully deploy the energy are discussed and practiced.
- The Hyperbolic Geometry of DMT Experiences: Symmetries, Sheets, and Saddled Scenes
- Peaceful Qualia: The Manhattan Project of Consciousness
- Neural Annealing (Michael Johnson)
- Healing Trauma with Neural Annealing (Gomez-Emilsson)
- Good Vibe Theory
- The Brain as a Non-Linear Optical Computer: Reflections on a 2-Week Jhana Meditation Retreat
- QRI’s Tracer Tool (as an example for how to measure an aspect of the visual energy parameter)
Textures of Valence – Consonance, Dissonance, and Noise
In this guided mediation Andrés walks you through:
- A factorization of experience into three main channels with their corresponding inner and outer versions: “see”, “hear”, and “feel”.
- Using your energy body as an antenna capable of picking both shapes and frequencies of internal representations: the duality between form and vibration in the phenomenal world.
- Symmetry & smooth geometry as the foundation for valence.
- Consonance, dissonance, and noise as a way to obtain a readout of the valence of our world-simulation.
- A number of pragmatic strategies for addressing phenomenal dissonance.
- Michael Johnson’s Principia Qualia first introduced the Symmetry Theory of Valence, valence structuralism, and qualia formalism
- The Consonance Disonance Noise Signature framework first introduced by Andrés Gómez Emilsson in Quantifying Bliss
- The Symmetry Theory of Valence (@The Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London)
- The Constructive Aspect of Visual Perception (Steven Lehar)
- See, Hear, Feel (Shinzen Young)
- Practicing the Jhanas (Rob Burbea)
- Geometry Through the Eyes of Felix Klein
Local Binding and the PageRank of Attention
In this guided meditation Andrés helps you explore the way in which attention constructs local binding connections between phenomenal features and how the flow of attention and awareness can be modeled with the graph algorithm called PageRank.
- Review of the nature of attention: what you pay attention gets stronger, gets locally bound, and gets connected to what you were paying attention right before
- Noticing local binding in See, Hear, Feel (inner & outer)
- Cross-modal coupling: divide and conquer technique for preventing negative valence and a coherence technique to enhance positive valence
- Oscillatory complementarity between awareness and attention
- How objects of perception can play the role of witnesses and witnessed elements of a scene
- Hybrid attentional modes
- Chains of witnessing and Nth-order intentionality
- PageRank of attention
- Space witnessing space
These are all very helpful techniques and insights to practice and add to your Qualia Mastery Toolkit.
The Thermodynamics of Consciousness and the Ecosystem of Agents
In this guided meditation Andrés walks you through QRI’s recent work on:
- The Thermodynamics of Consciousness: how energy flows from energy sources (sensory stimulation, valence, attention, surprise, and the background noise signature) towards the bound field of consciousness, which is then shaped via the energy sink landscape of symmetry and recognition, and then exit via motor action or “outer field radiation”.
- The Ecosystem of Agents: our minds work somewhat similar to a next-token prediction engine like GPT-4, where the existing constraints help resolve the ambiguity of the regions of experience which remain amorphous. In order to make accurate predictions of the world, we need to actually simulate agentive behavior (because the world of full of agents). To do this we create “subagents” that play the role of agentive forces so that we can predict them (and ultimately remain safe).
The meditation also walks through a series of strategies for dealing with subagents in order to harmonize them and experience a healthy and wholesome ecosystem of friendly subagents that help each other in beautiful ways:
- Improve the training data
- Practice the meditation where you guide lost subagents to a pool of love that re-absorbs them
- Good vibes as base: your mood provides the evolutionary selection pressures for agentive forces, so cultivating beautiful mindsets will enable more friendly agents to arise
- More Dakka on equanimity and metta
- Reward clean intentions before flattery (there’s a vibe to transparent intentions)
- Explore different network structures for agents that are more easily manageable
High-Valence Calisthenics – Exploring the Heaven Worlds
In this guided meditation Andrés walks you through a wide range of possible high-valence states of consciousness, aka. phenomenal “heaven worlds”.
Calisthenics are exercises that you can perform with minimal equipment and that are intended to exercise every muscle group in the body. Now what would it mean to do “meditation calisthenics”? Well, that you exercise every kind of meditative approach in order to keep all of your “meditation muscles” fit. More specifically, “high-valence calisthenics” would be the practice of engaging with every kind of positive valence state of consciousness achievable without the aid of external aids (whether chemical, sensorial, or situational).
In this guided meditation we go through the high-valence configurations of “see, hear, feel” (inner & outer), artistic states of consciousness, social mindsets, metta, “cosmic party mode”, the worlds of insight, intellectual understanding, realization, and the modes of being of refined and purified high-valence (Jhanas).
We conclude by dedicating these beautiful qualities of the mind for the benefit of all beings.
“Calisthenics (American English) or callisthenics (British English) (/ˌkælɪsˈθɛnɪks/) is a form of strength training consisting of a variety of movements that exercise large muscle groups (gross motor movements), such as standing, grasping, pushing, etc. These exercises are often performed rhythmically and with minimal equipment, as bodyweight exercises. They are intended to increase strength, fitness, and flexibility, through movements such as pulling, pushing, bending, jumping, or swinging, using one’s body weight for resistance in pull-ups, push-ups, squats, etc. Calisthenics can provide the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility, and coordination.” (source)
Divine Qualia – Open Sourcing God
Without making any ontological, philosophical, or metaphysical assertions or assumptions, we point out that the phenomenology of the divine and in particular the concept of “God” has an important resonance for the human soul. Therefore exploring this phenomenology is essential for a complete direct understanding of consciousness.
In this guided meditation Andrés walks you through an exploration of the phenomenology of different conceptions of the divine. The key guiding question for this exploration is: what does it feel like to inhabit the phenomenal world in which God is conceived in this or that way? Rather than pursuing a specific conception, we instead engage in an open ended exploration of the divine for the sake of developing Qualia Mastery. We call this approach “Open Sourcing God”, where one is not dependent on other’s interpretations or rules to access the God of one’s own understanding.
Conceptions of the divine explored include Chaos, Ingroup, Hierarchy, Creator, The Law, Archetype, Replication, Dynamics, Life, Energy, Coincidence and Synchronicity, Love, Compassion, Witness, Consciousness, Awareness, Oneness, Axis of Annealing, and Valence.
- Simulations of God: The Science of Belief (John Lilly, 1975)
- The True Beauty of Your “Soul” by Shinzen Young [a secular conception of the soul worth paying attention to]
- Key Ideas of a Soulmaking Dharma (Part 2 – The Eros-Psyche-Logos Dynamic) by Rob Burbea
Harmonic Meditation – Calibration Exercises
In this guided meditation Andrés walks you through a series of exercises that illustrates harmonic resonance in the energy body and then channels excess energy into high-valence tactile sensations (cf. Piti), which can be a possible foundation practice for the 1st Jhana.
The meditation focuses on the inner and outer “feel” channels for (see, hear feel) X (inner, outer) as formulated by the “factorization of experience” introduced by Shinzen Young in his Unified Mindfulness framework. When necessary feel free to use the inner and outer “see” channel for support, but try to keep “feel” primary. We explore the following kinds of oscillations:
- Toroidal flow (up, down, both at once)
- Checkerboard pattern
- Zebra pattern
- Homogenous attention in space
- Space qualities: solid, liquid, magnetic, viscosity, gaseous, plasma
- Pleasure, joy, peace
- Laminal flow and energy management techniques
It is recommended that one first listens to the guided meditations about Energy, Attention, and Valence of this Qualia Mastery series before doing this one.
- Developing Piti, Developing Focus, Developing Wellbeing (Rob Burbea)
- Representational and Computational Properties of Resonance (Steven Lehar)
- The Resonance and Vibration of [Phenomenal] Objects
The Phenomenology of Ontology
In this guided meditation Andrés guides you through what believing in different ontologies feels like.
Without making any claim (implicit or otherwise) about the nature of reality, one can still explore the phenomenology of ontology. Namely, explore what it is like to inhabit a phenomenal word in which the building blocks of reality are rendered as being this or that.
At a very high level, one key insight is that one can notice how different facets of one’s experience reify, solidity, and rigidify an ontology. For example, this shows up in “dualism”. In this ontology, one posits that the universe has both matter and mind. This has the tendency to trigger the feeling of being encased or trapped in your body. But pay attention! If you notice carefully, you will realize that this is implemented with somatic feelings that rigidify the sense of being caged inside your body. This sense is, ultimately, a fabrication, rather than a realization. It’s just how the mind chooses to render that particular sense of reality.
Following this insight, we notice how there is a transmutation from the ontology one believes in, into a characteristic phenomenology of existence (and back). In fact, “the pain of dualism” is a feedback loop that involves somatic sensations, and not something intrinsic to a belief system. Similarly, every other ontology tends to trigger phenomenological feedback loops for its rendering. Pay attention! 🙂
The ontologies we explore in this meditation include:
(1) Dualism: Mind and matter.
(2) Trinitarianism of matter, consciousness, and space.
(3) Atomism – we know that science confirmed the ancient view of atomism, but notice how without some kind of holism/binding, only “mind dust” can exist.
(4) Jain ontology (in which there are ~9 fundamental kinds of ontological building blocks of reality) – space, time, dynamism (movement and rest), atoms that can combine, the soul, and all kinds of “karma particles”.
(5) Monism – It’s all qualia. It’s all awareness. It’s all information. It’s all algorithms or computation. It’s all belief. It’s all a social construction (cf. Strong Tlon Hypothesis)
(6) Ontologies of infinities.
(7) Ontologies of Zero. In particular, we zoom in on David Pearce’s Zero Ontology, in which the reason why there is something rather than nothing is that “zero information” is the case (and this implies the existence of all mutually-consistent universes of bound qualia).
This last ontology is particularly powerful: when explored deeply, it can trigger the “Rainbow God” phenomenology, where all of the flavors of qualia come together and “cancel each other out”. This is highly related to the phenomenology of 5-MeO-DMT as well as that of the formless Jhanas.
May all benefit from this meditation!
- Why Does Anything Exist? Zero Ontology, Physical Information, and Pure Awareness (Andrés Gómez-Emilsson discusses and expands upon David Pearce’s theory for why there is something rather than nothing)
- No-Self vs. True Self (Daniel Ingram)
- WHY DOES ANYTHING EXIST? (David Pearce)
- Jain Ontology
- Burning Man (Strong Tlon Hypothesis)