Explore alternate dimensions of consciousness.
Portal of Light is a universal app for iPhone and iPad designed to be used as an open-eye meditation aid. It is a natural continuation of my long fascination with mandalas and yantras. Those who have spent serious time with them should be aware that mandalas and yantras are far more than just interesting symmetrical images, revolving about a central focus point. Rather, they constitute a doorway – a portal – to alternate dimensions of consciousness. Quite literally, whole landscapes of the visual mind lie hidden within these images, vistas available to those willing to put the time required into drawing them out. Portal of Light is part of my ongoing homage to these wonderful images and the worlds that lie behind them.
Designed primarily for gaze-based meditation, Portal of Light is an app that requires an unhurried viewer. It asks for a steady gaze and a calm mind. And interestingly, if given the opportunity, it will often give these states right back to the viewer. It is thus, in a technological world with barely time to breathe, a time-out app – a small oasis of calm.
Taken further, with focussed intent and perhaps a little help from other technologies such as binaural beats and yogic breathing, Portal of Light is capable of focussing and intensifying alternate states of consciousness. In the right conditions, it can be not only surprisingly powerful, but surprisingly surprising. It is thus a facilitator for explorers of the mental beyond.
Active: Portal of Light is best used seated on the floor or a meditation cushion, with the iPad/iPhone lying flat directly in front of you. If you gaze gently past the tip of your nose, the screen should be center frame. It is thus viewable with your head bent slightly down and within easy reach for touch response. You should ideally be in silent darkness, or in candlelight. Background sound will interfere with the mantra-chant response, so ensure you are in a quiet environment if you want to chant.
Passive:If using an iPad, select screensaver mode and position at head height 3 to 4 metres from a comfortable chair. iPhone installations work quite well as an object of interest left lying visible on a low table. Choose dim or no lighting, preferably at dusk. Play your favourite music (preferably ambient) and just let your thoughts drift where they may.
Accessing the options menu:
Touch 5 fingers (or 4 for the iPhone) to the screen to activate the menu. Tap an option to select, or tap outside the center strip to enter screensaver mode. Screensaver mode cycles through all the modes that don’t require sound for visuals.
This is just a basic plasma. I include it because, even 10 years down the track, I still find this algorithm one of the most beautiful and visually soothing out there. You can change the colours by moving a finger around the screen. I’ve heard some people call this the “chillout” mode. It allows you to take time out from some of the more intense, consciousness focussing settings.
Old school kaleidoscope reduced to the very basics. Has surprising depth and can really draw your mind deep into centre frame.
This is a voice and touch responsive complex kaleidoscope. It is designed to respond to repeated mantra chanting, or perhaps meditative shakuhachi playing. It doesn’t work well with music unless very ambient with plenty of space between sounds. It is fairly sensitive and this sensitivity encourages you to strive for greater tonal control. It is thus an excellent exercise for smoothing out your diaphragmatic breathing. The idea is not so much to control the shape of the image you create (because you won’t be able to), but rather to give you visual awareness of your breath control. Aim for as smooth an image as possible. Pause between breaths and meditate on the gradually fading image.
This is gaze only. Focus gently on the centre of the screen and hold that focus for as long as you can. Keep you mind as clear of thought as possible. Use the changing imagery to keep drawing your attention back into focus.
This is possibly the most powerful of the touch responsive modes. My recommendation is to create a simple image with a single finger and then use OM (or your favourite mantra/sound) at judicious intervals to watch the effect on the fading pattern. It is very important to allow “gaps” in your interactivity with this mode. Really give the pattern a decent chance to subtly morph and fade. Focusing your attention on these subtle fading changes can produce a very strong consciousness altering response. For deep trance-inducing interactive visual meditation, this is my favourite mode.
B&W is a moving, monochrome persian rug. It responds to voice and touch. It can be very mesmerizing and enjoys playing tricks with your depth perception.
Or maybe a sci-fi gift wrap… Magic Wallpaper’s emphasis on repetition challenges the mind to form its own patterns and surprises the viewer with unexpected ways of seeing. Gaze only.
This mode is a more complex plasma kaleidoscope. It is gaze only. Although quite busy, it has a gentle beauty and is well worth spending time with.