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A Map of Deconstructing Sensory Experience with Vipassana

deconstructing sensory experience

by Michael W. Taft

This is a map of deconstructing sensory experience using vipassana. It can help you to understand where you are at with your vipassana practice, and what may be coming next.

Note: this is only a map, only a model. Just like a menu is not food, this model is not claiming to be reality. It’s just a handy way to help you orient your practice.

This model doesn’t count for nondual meditations, high-concentration/jhana practice, etc. It is only to help you with your vipassana practice.

Very important: I previously included a Level 5 in this map, but I have since removed it. There are only four levels in the current map.

These are not discrete or digital stages. They are analog, and shade into one another. Each stage is desirable and useful for various things. No stage is somehow better than another.

In vipassana practice, however, we are usually attempting to tranverse the stack from stage one to stage four. Stage five may or may not be something that happens.

When our practice is very skilled, we can also tranverse the stack from bottom to top (4 -> 1) and do what we might call “nondual vipassana” or something akin to many Mahamudra practices.


1ConceptualThinking about sensory experience objects using words.
2Phenomenal ObjectContacting the phenomenology of sensory experiences in the form of objects.
3Flow / ChangeContacting the phenomenology of sensory experiences as vibration, waves, or change.
4Pure AwarenessNoticing awareness itself with no content.


Listen to Michael talk more about this map in the podcast.


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