The Seven Steps of Meditation

By George A. Boyd © 2017

Most people have heard of mindfulness, but they are not aware there are deeper stages of meditation. Mindfulness is the first step on the ladder of meditation. Here are the seven steps of meditation:

  1. Mindfulness – In the first step of meditation, you collect your attention and learn to be present. Once you are present, you can begin to monitor your experience in the present time, or apply your focused concentration to the task at hand.
  2. Contemplation – In this step, you move your attention along the thread of consciousness, and contemplate the content arising at deeper layers of your mind. We teach this practice in our beginning meditation course, The Introduction to Meditation Program, and in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation, or the by-mail or online Accelerated Meditation Program.
  3. Awakening – As you progress in contemplation, you reach the stage where you can unite your attention with the three immortal principles of consciousness: your witnessing consciousness (attentional principle), your loving spiritual heart (spirit), and your blissful, wise, and compassionate Higher Self (Soul). In the awakening process, you first encounter this immortal essence within you; then you unite your attention with it; and finally, you become one with it and identify with it. We teach you how to awaken your immortal essences in our intermediate classes.
  4. Transformation – You learn how to unfold your spiritual potentials through transformation. You learn how to travel in full consciousness as your attentional principle and view all of the levels of your Soul’s consciousness, which we call the Superconscious mind. You learn how to free your spirit and enable it to travel back to its Origin on the inner streams of light and sound. You learn how to move your Soul from its current position on the Great Continuum of Consciousness to a new, higher state of development. You learn how to do this in our intermediate courses.
  5. Realization – As a result of transformation, your Soul’s unfoldment allows you to understand something new. You begin to have profound insights. You gain new abilities. Your love and compassion expands to embrace a wider circle. Your experience in meditation brings these gifts to you. You learn to deepen this process of gaining understanding and insight, expanding the circle of your love, and discovering your Soul’s abilities in the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation.
  6. Ministry – As you continue to unfold your spiritual potentials, you begin to be able to minister the Light of Spirit, You learn how to express your ministry through spiritual healing, counseling, teaching, guiding, doing intuitive readings, and ultimately, awakening the spiritual potentials of others. We train others in spiritual ministry in our advanced webinars and our teacher training programs.
  7. Mastery – When you complete your journey of development, you arrive into the Presence of the Divine, where you are anointed and empowered to help others move through these other six steps.

If you wish to learn how to learn the full spectrum of meditation practices—beyond mindfulness—we invite you to learn more about our Integral meditation system through reading the articles available on this website, studying our books, and listening to and watching our webinars. If what we teach resonates with you, we welcome you to join us for the great adventure of depth meditation, and we can assist you move through all these seven stages to arrive at the shores of spiritual Mastery.

Dimensions of Meditation Revisited

By George A. Boyd ©2017

We can characterize several dimensions in meditation. These different perspectives on meditation are described below:

  1. Vertical ascent – This occurs when attention moves along the thread of consciousness and contemplates focal points. This is the channel selecting capacity of the mind. Classical Raja Yoga utilizes this type.
  2. Horizontal deepening – In this type, attention travels into the unconscious behind the lighted zone of the mind. This provides a conscious experience of the unconscious mind, mediated through practices such as Yoganidra and deep hypnosis.
  3. Depth of meditation experience – This perspective suggests that there are different strata of meditation; slowing down mental activity enables the meditator to access each successive layer. Brain entrainment advocates hold this viewpoint.
  4. Energetic component of meditation – This view underscores the felt sense of joy, bliss, ecstasy, and euphoria that accompanies traveling into deeper bands of the Great Continuum of Consciousness. Kundalini meditations and breathing exercises promote these primary energetic experiences.
  5. Phenomenology of meditation – This focuses on the content that arises at each layer of the mind, the apparent structures that substand conscious experience, the centers of identification and integration, and the conscious essences that perceive them. Vipassana, mindfulness, and Raja Yoga contemplation penetrate the content level of the mind. These same meditations enable prehension of the apparent structures that encapsulate consciousness, which we call vehicles of consciousness. Likewise, contemplation can focus attention on the identification and integration centers, such as the ego and the Self within the personality, and nuclei of identity of the Superconscious mind. Contemplation can also target the conscious essences, the attentional principle, the spirit, and the Soul. We use this perspective in our detailed study of the Great Continuum of Consciousness, the Mudrashram® Correspondence Course; this methodical exploration of the bands of the mind forms the foundation of our meditation courses.
  6. Affective component of meditation – This viewpoint highlights the ongoing exchange of love, encouragement, inspiration, support, and Grace that is conveyed between devotees and the Divine Being they worship. This devotion can be similarly directed to a spiritual Master. This type predominates in Bhakti and Nada Yoga traditions, and in highly devotional and charismatic sects of mainstream religious groups.
  7. Meditation expression – This looks at the outcome of mediation, and how it is used in the expression of the Soul as altruism, advocacy, creativity, or service to others. The Soul’s service comprises the gifts of the Soul that express through the personality and the Superconscious mind to empower, heal, uplift, initiate, engage in ministry, counsel, teach, or guide other beings—these gifts are channeled through the Soul’s faculties of love, wisdom, and power.

We encourage aspirants to become familiar with each of these dimensions of meditation, so they can understand and experience each of them. This will give the broadest facility with meditation practice, and will give insight into the rationale religious and spiritual groups use to justify the particular forms of meditation they select.

The Gentle Art of Making Things Happen or Not

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: Some people advocate we should attempt to change our life circumstances through using our will power and intention, and others say that we cannot change our fate and we should simply, radically accept who we are. How do you view this?

A: There are personal methods for change and acceptance; there are transpersonal ones. To understand these approaches, it will first be instructive to examine what they are.

Personal methods include:

  1. Goal setting (1st Ray) – This approach emphasizes that your Self, at the core of your personality, uses its faculty of volition to set and carry out goals. In this scenario, for example, you might decide that you need to take a course to augment your career, and you then sign up for an online class, and you study on a regular basis.
  2. Setting up the conditions to achieve something (2nd Ray) – This more intuitive method has you look at the context or environment in which you wish the action to take place, and set up the conditions so that you cannot fail to do it. This might involve you getting an accountability partner, whom you have to pay a fine, if you fail to do the action. Judges commonly use this approach. For example, if you have a first Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) conviction, if you drink while driving again, you lose your drivers license, you have to pay a large fine, and you will spend time in prison—if you must use your car to work and bring in money to support your family, these consequences may be sufficient to change your behavior.
  3. Problem solving (3rd Ray) – This frames the issues of your life and the things you want as problems that have a solution. This solution may have already been accomplished: certain people have done a system or program and it allowed them to achieve what you want or to overcome something that you consider a problem—you only have to copy what they did. In other cases, you may have to discover a way out through trial and error, and eventually stumble upon a successful resolution. For example, you may join a weight loss program that has already helped thousands of men and women lose weight.
  4. Going with the flow (4th Ray) – This view experiences that there is no Self, only the state of being, where life unfolds spontaneously in the moment. There is no doer, there is no Self, and there is no effort. Taoists call this “effortless action,” wu wei. The act of observing the situation creates the necessary adaption; no act of will is required in this perspective.
  5. Analysis and testing (5th Ray) – Scientists adopt this methodology. It begins with a hypothesis, which they test through an experiment. They may have to try different interventions until they arrive at a solution that works, and other researchers can replicate and validate your results. Analysis and testing is widely used to test the safety of medicines, consumer products, and clinical procedures. This approach typically requires significant funding and there may be regulatory hurdles that researchers must surmount before the product can reach the market.
  6. Asking for help – In this viewpoint, you may seek the advice, strength, protection, or guidance of someone who is stronger, more powerful, more experienced, or wiser than you. A child asks his father for advice. An employee solicits the guidance of a mentor, who can help her advance in the company, where she is working. A student queries his instructor on how to solve a problem that he doesn’t understand. An adherent of a religious group may seek counsel from the group’s minister, or she may pray and ask God to give her strength and wisdom to deal with a difficult situation in her life.
  7. Find a creative synthesis – In this systematic way of resolving a problem, you consider all of the elements that are needed to achieve the objective. This sees issues as whole systems, and designs interventions that take all factors into account, and provide dynamic, effective, efficient, and successful outcomes. For example, a businesswoman doing a product launch for a new cosmetic line pays attention to the details of manufacture, packaging, advertisement, placement with retailers, and customer support to provide a seamless experience for her employees, her vendors, and her customers.

Transpersonal methods operate beyond the zone of the personality: they channel through the personality or work on it from the standpoint of a detached witness. These include:

  1. Intentional creation – This occurs when your attentional principle anchors suggestion or affirmation to change behavior, belief, emotional reaction, or the conditions that operate in your life. You use a technique that works with your subconscious, unconscious, or Superconscious mind. [We teach these methods in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or the by-mail or online Accelerated Meditation Program.]
  2. Faith creation – This conative impulse arises from your spirit, which might act to reform your attitudes, your morals, and your character, and influence you to live a more loving and compassionate life.
  3. Soul creation – This awakens when you tap into the wave of the present time on the Akashic Ether, which New Age groups call the Eternal Now. At this junction point between your human life and your Soul, your Soul is able to release old patterns in your life and create something new. Methods like process meditation, contemplating the eternal now, and feeling emotions to their origin activate the Soul’s power of re-creation. [We teach a method to access this center in our intermediate courses.]
  4. Moral will overshadowing – Groups that activate the Moon Soul or Christ Child nucleus of identity activate this aspect of the higher will. This interfaces with the conscience, and may use different techniques for moral persuasion to induce you to live up to ideal religious norms for behavior and belief. It may use shame, guilt, or fear to enforce obedience; when these measures do not work, it may even resort to punishment or austerity to ensure compliance.
  5. Solar angelic overshadowing – Groups that activate the Mighty I AM Presence or Solar Angelic nucleus of identity open the verbal channel for this essence to “speak the Word” to manifest particular conditions in their lives and in the world. This can take the form of prophetic messages, declarations of creation (decrees), inspired oratory, or channeling messages from Ascended Masters. The personality experiences this as a Higher Self or Divinized Aspect of the Soul that speaks the Word with great power and authority that operates independently of its functions and capabilities.
  6. Transpersonal will overshadowing – This aspect of will, which typically begins to overshadow the personality during the Third Planetary Initiation, leads the personality to align with the Soul’s mission and purpose. It may guide the personality to have different types of life experiences, to learn about certain subjects, to undergo training to acquire select skills, or to become employed in specific careers to prepare to become the Soul’s instrument to carry out its purpose.
  7. Divine will overshadowing – This type of will appears in individuals who are Spiritual Masters and their advanced disciples. Here the Divine, through the intermediation of the Spiritual Master, actively overshadows the personality. It takes three forms: (1) Holy Yeah – also called Agya, this is a commandment to carry out a specific action, (2) Holy Nay – this stops an action and does not personality to carry out an action, or (3) Holy Wait – this postpones and action for a more appropriate time. Those under the aegis of the Divine Will report that this Great Force guides many aspects of their lives, though they retain liberty of functioning in some areas.

In some religious contexts, the Divine Will is believed to be synonymous with Fate. They construe that where you are born, who your parents and family are, and the fortunate or unfortunate circumstances of your life are preordained by some mysterious plan or Divine decree, and you are powerless to change what you are experiencing. You simply have to accept it that this is your lot in life and realize that nothing will improve—so you need to make the best of what you’ve got.

The going with the flow perspective also predicates that you must radically accept what is, and stop trying to resist the Tao. Those that adopt this perspective believe that this surrender to the flow or Way leads to peace and harmony.

These other viewpoints hold that your personal Self, or certain aspects of your spiritual nature, has the agency to create change in your life—and you don’t have to simply surrender to what is, but you can change what you experience in life.

We suggest you familiarize yourself with each of the personal methods that can initiate change or promote acceptance, and use those ones that are appropriate for your situation. So for example, if you are surfing, you might adopt the going with the flow approach. If you have a problem, you can utilize the problem solving approach. If you are aiming to achieve a specific objective, you might wish to employ the goal setting approach.

You will find some of these are easier for you to use; some are harder. By flexibly using these different approaches, however, you may find one that works for you, even if it is not your preferred method to promote change or spur achievement.

As you learn meditation and begin to advance on the spiritual Path, you may find that you begin to experience interface with different aspects of your spiritual nature, and they may start to overshadow your personality. As your spiritual evolution unfolds, you will progressively incarnate higher aspects of your transpersonal potential until you ultimately become a direct instrument of the Living God, an Initiate or Spiritual Master.

On Unlimited Spiritual Growth

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: What is unlimited spiritual growth? You use this term on your website, and I don’t understand it.

A: To understand this, you need to understand what essence inside of you evolves and moves towards its source.

One issue is that spiritual groups don’t use the same criteria to define what constitutes spiritual growth.

Another issue is that spiritual groups don’t transform the same spiritual essence, and so what you have is different groups will identify the true spiritual core inside of you as a selected nucleus of identity, the spirit, or an ensouling entity.

A nucleus of identity is aspect of you that is an integrating center of the Superconscious mind. This means you can identify with it, there is usually an aspect of will anchored in it, and it has some capacity to understand and retain spiritual teachings.

The spirit is a loving and devoted spiritual essence that many people will feel in their heart. It is the aspect that motivates us towards caring for others and doing selfless service, and it yearns to go back to its Source—it feels a separation from God.

The ensouling entity is the aspect of your spiritual nature that ultimately evolves, and it has the atom of the Divine Presence within it.

We list the different types of ensouling entities and the domains of the spirit in our article called The Great Continuum of Consciousness.

We also describe the different levels where people focus their attention in that article, so you should have some grasp of the different levels of this inner Continuum of Light to understand what we are talking about when we say that this group is anchored in the First Cosmic Initiation, or this group is anchored in the Supracosmic Sphere, and so on.

You should also familiarize yourself with the different types of nuclei of identity and where you encounter them.

Where Do Spiritual Groups Take You?

When you consider a spiritual group, one of the factors you can consider is upon what spiritual essence(s) does it have you focus your attention? Another thing we want to examine is what methods do they use to unfold that spiritual essence? And the third factor we want to check is what is the potential range of development for that essence?

If there is a limit on how far a spiritual essence can develop, then the Path can’t give you unlimited spiritual growth. Instead, you are going to specialize in one type of spiritual development that is limited to one band of the Continuum of Consciousness and the remainder of the Continuum remains unawakened.

So if you are looking for unlimited spiritual development, you need to ensure the system you are using doesn’t have a place where you can’t go any further. So let’s break this down.

We’ll start with groups that teach spiritual transformation in the Planetary Realm, and move up from there. You need to ask yourself, as we describe each type of spiritual development, is this unlimited spiritual growth? Here are some examples:

Some Psychic Realm groups have you identify with something they call the Star Seed. They teach you a method to unfold that Star Seed called the Merkaba method, and it moves this seed atom to the very top of the Psychic Realm, into the Jet of Divine Spirit at the top of it.

Jewish and Christian groups in the First Exoteric and Mesoteric Planetary Initiation look to the Holy Spirit to unfold the nucleus of identity at this level—which has been called the Christ Child, the Nephesh, or the Christ Consciousness. Some Christian monastic orders train their acolytes to use a mantra called the Jesus Prayer to unfold this nucleus of identity. This essence can only evolve to its origin in the First Esoteric Initiation.

The Church Universal and Triumphant and other I AM movement groups of the Second Planetary Initiation have you identify with a nucleus of identity called the Mighty I AM Presence, which dwells within a form that looks like an angel—this form has been called the Solar Angel. They use a method called a decree, which is like a mantra that unfolds the Mighty I AM presence and the form that encapsulates it. This essence originates in the Light at the very top of the Second Planetary Initiation, so that’s as far as this essence can develop.

Spiritual adepts from one of the nine orders of Yogi Preceptors, who dwell near the top of the First Cosmic Initiation, teach a wide variety of active methods that their followers can use to identify with and unfold the cosmic consciousness nucleus of identity. These teachers also have the ability to passively unfold this essence through sending the Light of Attunement, which is called Shaktipat. Cosmic consciousness originates at the top of the First Cosmic Initiation, so that’s as far as you can go with these methods.

Light Masters of the Second Cosmic Initiation have you identify with the nucleus of identity of the Second Cosmic Initiation, which we call the cosmic soul awareness. They also have you identify with the spirit on the inner stream of Light and Soul that starts in the Third Planetary Initiation and extends all the way to near the top of the Second Cosmic Initiation. They teach mantras to unfold the cosmic soul awareness and a way for the spirit to travel in the inner currents of this inner stream—we call these inner streams in which the spirit travels, the Nada—and ultimately open that channel to its origin where the Light Master dwells. The cosmic soul awareness comes from the top of the Second Cosmic Initiation, so that is the limit of development you can have from these methods.

Cosmic Masters of the Cosmic Hierarchy unfold the Astral Soul ensouling entity through Light Immersion. They can move it through all of the levels of the Cosmic Sphere, and ultimately liberate it in the Supreme Light from which it came forth—we call this Supreme Light, the Brahma Jyoti. But they don’t impact other ensouling entities at other bands of the Continuum.

Supracosmic Masters on one of the 64 active Paths of the Supracosmic Sphere unfold the Supracosmic seed atom—we classify this as a nucleus of identity—on their Path using a wide variety of methods. They teach active methods that their disciples use to unfold their Supracosmic seed atom; and passive methods, where the Supracosmic Master sends an attunement to unfold this essence. These Supracosmic seed atoms start on this track on a level that is directly above the beginning of the Cosmic Sphere and spans all the way to the top of that Path in the Supracosmic Sphere—that’s as far as you develop, one Path in the Supracosmic Sphere.

Transcendental Sphere Masters, or Sat Gurus, who have reached the highest stage on the First through Fifth Transcendental Paths, awaken the spirit and ensouling entity of their Path using meditation on the inner spiritual streams; some of these paths may also use other techniques. These methods unfold the ensouling entity on this path to the origin of the spirit.

So each of these programs of spiritual development has limits. But what does unlimited spiritual growth look like?

In distinction, Multiplane Masters of the Bridge Path, and the Sixth and Seventh Transcendental Paths unfold the ensouling entity concurrently with the spirit in the Subtle, Planetary, Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, and aligned Transcendental Path, liberating the ensouling entity and the spirit at every level of the Continuum.

There is no aspect of your spiritual destiny that remains unfulfilled. You remove the karmic veil of the unconscious mind at all levels of the Continuum. You ultimately liberate the spirit in all twelve domains. You ultimately unfold all thirteen ensouling entities to Mastery and Liberation. You can drop each nucleus of identity into its origin. You complete every aspect of spiritual work.

That is unlimited spiritual growth. That’s what Mudrashram® teaches you—how to complete the whole work. Not just a piece of it… one Path… one segment… one section. No, we teach you to complete the entire work, so nothing is left undone.

You can learn these transformational methods in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We welcome you to join us on this greatest of all journeys.