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Vajra Fist

Strobascopes and hypnagogic states

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I read this fascinating review of an app called Lumenate:


As the article says, the app is based on Brion Gysin's 'dreamachine', which was hailed by hippies in the 60s as a sort of visionary tool. 


Basically you turn your phone's flashlight on, and hold it close to your closed eyes in a darkened room. The app makes the flashlight flicker at a particular rate, while you listen to trippy space music. I know, I was sceptical too.


I tried it this evening for a couple of 20 minute sessions, and I found it a pretty fascinating experience. Your brain takes over and construes the flashing lights as visual objects. Suddenly you're seeing beautiful fractals and spinning mandalas. Other times you're moving backwards or forward through space at warpspeed, with the stars flashing past.


So, all very entertaining, but I wonder if there's a shamanic or even jhanic angle to all this. For instance, at a certain point in meditation, you see within your mind a sort of internal dot of light, known as a 'nimitta', that becomes a point of focus and signifies the entrance to the jhanas.


In the fire kasina practice, you stare at a flame and then close your eyes and see its afterimage, which serves as another nimitta. 


So I'm wondering whether something like this strobascope could be another nimitta, and therefore an entry point for jhanas.


Or if its just a responsible way to us crusty has-beens to relive a misspent youth?


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