Bound or Free

Bound or Free: An Inquiry into Control

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: Am I deceiving myself that I have control over my life, when I really don’t? Is my will just an illusion? Is everything just unfolding on its own and I have only the false belief that I am doing anything at all?

A: To answer this question, you need to inquire what enables you to create change and what you cannot control.

Internal factors that you control include:

  1. Your personal liberty – you are free to make choices between alternatives using the volition of the Self
  2. Stored karma – you can use transformational spiritual practices to work out stored karma behind the Soul (Adi Karma), in the channels of the Nada (Sinchit Karma), and behind the seed atoms of your vehicles in the Superconscious Mind (the stored aspect of Kriyaman Karma)
  3. Your transpersonal liberty – your Soul is free to carry out its ministry and service using its transpersonal will; your attentional principle operates its intention freely; and your spirit expresses its wish without barriers

Internal factors you do not control include:

  1. Destiny (Pralabdha) Karma – these are psychological and constitutional factors that you cannot control through your will, intention, or wish
  2. Divine Will – this is the Eternal Force that animates the Soul and guides the process of spiritual development; it is fully manifest in spiritual Masters

External factors you can control include:

  1. Using the egoic octave of will, you can initiate individual units of behavior to operate on the environment to carry out the activities of daily life and to design and organize your environment
  2. Your zone of responsibility extends to your property and possessions; and to your relationships—your duty and commitments to other people and the society in which you live. You can choose to exercise this responsibility or to neglect or abandon it.

External factors you do not control include:

  1. Other people’s choices – while you can attempt to use negotiation, persuasion, or manipulation to attempt to make people do what you want, you do not control their ultimate choices
  2. The activity of Nature and the world around you – you do not control the weather, the movements of the earth or the sea, or the creatures that dwell in Nature
  3. The activity of other spiritual beings – you do not control the activities of other attentional principles, spirits, or Souls; angels, Masters, gods and goddesses, or the Divine—these beings operate independently from you.

Your challenge is to identify what you can control, and use it effectively to carry out your Soul’s purpose and make a positive contribution in the lives of others. We suggest that you study the conative principles within yourself—will, at both its personal and transpersonal octaves; the intention and suggestion your attentional principle generates; and the wish that expresses your spirit.

There are several states of conscious awareness that certain spiritual teachers point to as states of enlightenment. In these states it appears you have no self, and that things unfold of themselves, without a doer.

These states of awareness, where it appears that spontaneous action arises, include:

  1. The voidness of being – this highest center of the Metaconscious mind appears as a pool of peace, and action appears to effortlessly arise without choice
  2. The wave of the present time – this first nodal point of the Akashic Records Subplane of the Abstract Mind Plane is the nexus where the Soul’s thought pours into human life. Passive absorption into this center brings the awareness that there is no self or abiding identity, no desire, no meaning, and no one to make any change.
  3. Brahman – in the first Cosmic Initiation, at the pinnacle of the seventh chakra of the Cosmic Man or Woman, it appears that the entire Creation is God’s dream, and only God is real. Human life and its parade of actions are like a movie that plays spontaneously, with no actor.
  4. The Supracosmic seed atom on the Vipassana Buddhist Path – here is appears that everything arises out of the ground of Mind, and is an eternal flow in which the heart-mind experiences in the moment. Everything is transient, impermanent, ceaseless change. This ceaseless change is called Samsara; the consciousness that perceives it is Nirvana.

We point out that if you don’t focus your attention in these states, you will be aware of integration centers in the personality—the ego and the Self; and integration centers in the Superconscious mind—nuclei of identity and the ensouling entities. You will also become aware that volition arises from these integration centers, and that you can generate action and life change through your volition.

We suggest that these is a time when it is appropriate to repose in these flowing, passive states of being and non-action; for example, when you are in need of rest and wish to experience peace and reduce your stress. It is also important that you be able to operate out of the empowered states where your volition acts to promote change and accomplish your goals. The challenge for aspirants is to locate both these wellsprings of being and will, and to be able to function in both states as the situation requires.

Stages of Establishing a Disciplic Relationship with God

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Establishing a disciplic relationship is ultimately a direct connection with God mediated through a Master or Initiate. It appears to pass though several stages.

The first order of a disciple’s relationship with God is at the personal level. This is part of what we call the aspirant or seeker stage of spirituality.

When aspirants relate to God from the ego, the first sign is the establishment of faith in God. The believer, at this stage does not know God, and imagines what the Supreme Being might be like.

When aspirants begin to relate to God from the core of their personality, or the Self, they often receive an intuitive reception of guidance, revelation of the meaning of scriptures, and directives to act kindly, ethically, and compassionately towards others.

The second order of a disciple’s relationship with God we might call mystic communion with God. In this this stage, the disciple enters into an altered state of consciousness and travels into the Superconscious mind. Several markers typify this state.

When aspirants are able to unite their attention with their attentional principle and travel consciously onto the inner Planes, in many traditions, they are called a chela. As they become more proficient with this skill, they may behold the inner guide form of the Initiate who supervises them, and experience astral communion with their Master.

Once the chela has gained the ability to travel at will into the presence of the Soul, the supervising Initiate will commonly anchor the Light or Holy Spirit (Shakti) in the attentional principle. This attunement channels the Omnific Power and Grace of God through the chela.

In many Paths, the chela will be led to meditate on a nucleus of identity (Manasa Dhyan), and learn to transform it along its track to a universal stage of consciousness. Once disciples reach this stage of Union with Divine Life, or Christ Consciousness, the Holy Spirit (Shakti) may anoint them to begin ministering, teaching, and guiding others.

The third order of a disciple’s relationship with God is the enlightenment and empowerment stage. At this point, the disciple moves beyond universal consciousness and moves directly into the Presence of God. At this stage, the disciple becomes an Initiate.

The Initiate, who the Divine anoints, and who dwells in the Divine Presence, has been given many titles. The Initiate might be called an Adept, an Adept Master, a Yogi Preceptor, a Light Master, a Cosmic Master, a Supracosmic Master or Guru, or a Transcendental Master or Sat Guru.

In the Christian tradition, the Master is referred to as the Son of God, who is an intermediary between God and human beings.

The Initiate or Master who guides chelas and supervises their spiritual evolution is capable of leading them through all stages of the Path and ultimately enabling them to become an Initiate in their tradition.

In some traditions, some rare, select Initiates become Incarnations or Avatars, where God the Father expresses directly through them. This form of the Divine that empowers other Initiates is the ultimate source of the Light they send to others.

If you practice meditation under the tutelage of a God-inspired and Divinely-empowered Initiate, you will journey through the mystic stages of discipleship and ultimately become like your Master. The form of Mastery you may ultimately attain is contingent on who the Initiate is, who supervises your spiritual development.

Creating the Foundation for an Effective Meditation Practice

By George A. Boyd © 2014

Beginning meditators often struggle with having clear and meaningful meditation experiences. Instead of experiencing insight, they experience an inner fog. Instead of experiencing movement and a sense of progression, they process sensations, feelings, or thoughts, and they feel stuck. Instead of activating the essences of consciousness and doing inner work, they drift off into reveries.

Effective meditation occurs when seven factors are in place. These factors are listed below.

  1. Objective – You do each meditation to achieve a specific purpose or objective. You know why you are doing it, and practice the technique until you have completed your objective.
  2. Effect of the Technique – You recognize what the technique does: how it directs your attention, on which inner vehicle or spiritual essence the technique focuses your attention, and you notice a distinct response in your awareness and in the operation of your inner vehicles when you practice the technique.
  3. Accuracy of Practice – You know how to practice the technique so it produces its intended results, and when at what frequency to practice the technique to bring about optimal growth and integration of your meditational experience.
  4. Presence of Internal Obstacles or Blockages – You are able to identify the obstacles that stand in the way of you making the next step in your spiritual and personal growth. You have developed a plan to address this; you are getting guidance or coaching to help you overcome this obstacle.
  5. Inner Spiritual Assistance – You are invoking your Soul, the Masters of your lineage, and the Divine to assist you make spiritual progress and overcome your identified obstacles. As you advance on the Path, you are able to establish communion with the Inner Guide form of your Spiritual Master, and are able to commune with God directly.
  6. Energetic Assistance (Grace) – You are actively receiving the Light and Grace Waves of your lineage, and allowing this omnific force to unfold your spiritual potentials (initiation), to awaken your Higher Mind (illumination), to activate your spiritual heart (Divine Love suffusion), and empower your Soul’s gifts and abilities (spiritual empowerment).
  7. Regular Spiritual Practice – You are spending the time you need on a regular basis to actively unfold your Soul and clear the channels of the Nada. You are taking the time to contemplate from the Soul’s perspective and learn about its multi-dimensional consciousness. You are using methods to work on the issues that hold you back from making personal progress and achieving success. [If you are not practicing the Mudrashram® methods of Integral meditation, then you would focus on performing the practices of your Path.]

We recommend that you evaluate which of these areas you need to improve. As you make these changes, you will see the quality of your meditations improve, and the time you spend with your inner life will be more productive and rewarding.

If you are not clear about what your meditation technique is doing and where it is taking you, you may wish to consider getting a Meditation Technique Analysis Reading, which will clarify what use of your current techniques will yield.

Getting Down to Change

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: What interventions are successful to help people change?

A: Ultimately, people must take action to change at the personal level. While people can change their understanding of what is impacting their situation, alter their perception or mindset, modify their beliefs and attitudes, most personal change occurs when you take new action.

Let us use an example of someone who is trying to lose weight. She can read some articles and watch some videos on the Internet to gain greater understanding of how the mind works and what is contributing to her addictive behavior around sweets. She can alter her perception that she is doomed to be overweight her whole life and recognize that men and women, who were overweight just like her, lost as much or more weight than she wants to lose and kept it off.

She can adjust her attitude: she can stop regarding herself as a “fat slob that nobody loves,” and recognize she is a good, loveable person. She can have some compassion for her struggle to lose weight. She might change her belief that it is impossible for her to change, and instead believe that if other could people overcame obesity, so could she.

While all of these are helpful measures, taking action is the key to her actually losing the weight that she wants to lose is to take action. This might involve doing some exercise, modifying what she eats, reducing portion sizes, or substituting foods that are nutrient dense and low calorie for foods that become stored as fat.

Many of the interventions people offer as advice, support, help, or guidance—while they can create change at the level of perception, attitude, or belief—they might have no impact on someone’s behavior. Since you cannot get behind someone’s forehead and make choices for him or her, often the best you can do is to facilitate their behavior.

We can look at different methods for influencing others to enable them to change, and note how effective this is at actually getting them to take new action:

  1. Promoting intuitive insight – You could do a psychic reading for someone or do some type of psychological process that enables them to gain understanding of what motivates them, or what something means or signifies. At this level, you get insight into why you do something—or why you don’t do something that you believe you should do; or want to do, but don’t. You might also get ideas or inspirations about what you could do. The impressions you gain at this level, however, are vague: they must be concretized into a plan and action steps.
  2. Program or strategy – This broad-brush identification of the steps to achieve a goal, the issues that need to be resolved to succeed, the areas on which you need to focus can help you formulate goals and make some choices that will start the change process. Many coaches and professionals will present their programs at this level, with a training offer to learn specific skills to implement these strategies.
  3. Theory – Teachers adopt this approach when they present relevant research that sheds light on the areas in which you want to improve. At this level you can identify which methods yield the best probability for success, so you can employ effective measures, and not waste your time with strategies that don’t bear fruit. Theory generally proceeds training, as you need to understand the why—the rationale for doing certain practices—before you begin to learn how to do something.
  4. Training – This takes the form of in-person training or video presentation that shows you how to do something. Here you implement what you learn through doing it. Through regular practice, you turn the behavior you learn into a habit. With further practice you can innovate and improvise on that skill, and gain greater mastery and proficiency with the skill.
  5. Benchmarks – Benchmarks test your proficiency and mastery of what you have learned. Academic tests are one type of benchmark. These scales or evaluation criteria that measure your performance tell you how well you are doing relative to others in your comparison group. Knowing how well you are doing compared to others can spur you to improve your own performance. If the task appears to be impossible, however, it may paradoxically lower your motivation to continue—you might even give up if it seems you can never reach the high standards or lofty goal that is ahead of you.
  6. Guidelines – These give you frames for behavior: when to do it, when not to do it. When to use a method, when not to use a method. Guidelines seek to channel your behavior into the most productive, effective, and efficient pathways, and steer you away from ways that don’t work as well, may produce unexpected consequences, or may wind up harming yourself or others. Guidelines share practical wisdom with others, and may provide shortcuts to trail and error.
  7. Behavior – This is when you actually do something. You might have learned about what to do, but this is where you implement your learning; this is where you use the skills you’ve practiced. This is where you actually create the change in your life.

Coaching aims for behavior change: improved performance, better results, reaching benchmarks, achieving goals, and actualizing potential.

Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy focus on removing internal blocks or barriers that stand in the way of you taking constructive action. Counseling clarifies choices, and looks at the potential outcomes of following each alternative—action follows from resolute choice.

Not all action leads to success; in many cases, it leads to failure and frustration. But not taking any action leaves you where you are now: if you want to change, you must take new action.

Profiles of the Spiritual Dilettante

By George A. Boyd © 2017

The spiritual dilettante, also known as the lookie loo seeker, is an all too common pattern in aspirant spiritual circles. Some of the markers of these spiritual dabblers include:

  1. They have a fascination with Gurus and spiritual Masters, and they go to see them, or watch their videos on the Internet
  2. They read the books of these spiritual teachers, they get excited, and they want to be initiated.
  3. They get initiated, practice for two to three days, and then get distracted and stop practicing.
  4. They may repeat steps 1 to 3 for several spiritual traditions.
  5. They are not clear exactly why they are desperately seeking a spiritual Master, or what they are actually seeking in their multiple attempts at initiation.
  6. They may be driven unconsciously to enact this spiritual seeking pattern to escape deep shame, a sense of personal failure, or memories of abuse or trauma. They want to get out of waking awareness and stay out, so these painful memories won’t surface.
  7. They never complete the paths they start; they keep looking for the right Path or the true Guru.

As a result of following this pattern, spiritual dilettantes:

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with a variety of Paths, without a deep appreciation of their rich heritage and lack a thorough knowledge of any of them.
  • Have a track record of incompletion—they start many Paths, but they don’t finish any of them.
  • Have a strong proclivity to engage in spiritual gossip; they look for flaws, character weakness, or sins of their spiritual Master, but avoid personal introspection to weed out their own character weaknesses.
  • With their increasing failure to make any spiritual progress on any of these Paths, they may become critical, skeptical, and mistrustful of any spiritual Paths or any spiritual teacher. They may characterize all spiritual teachers as frauds, charlatans, or cult leaders, without even investigating the merits or deficiencies of that teacher or that Path, based on their own prior experience of frustration and failure with meditation.
  • May undergo a period of excitement when they anticipate getting initiated, and they tell their friends about their discovery. After getting initiated, however, they find flaws and deficiencies, make excuses for not practicing, and then abandon the Path and its practices.
  • May show multiple spiritual imbalances and symptoms of dissociation, detachment, and difficulty to make personal decisions, if they have practiced the techniques of the path long enough to produce inner transformation, before leaving for greener pastures.
  • May show patterns of anomie, nihilism, or despair, if they have multiple frustrations and failures in this area; some of them abandon their faith and become atheists.

We encourage those of you who might have been inadvertently following this pattern to consider the fowling questions:

  • What do you find fascinating about the spiritual teachers and paths to which you have been attracted?
  • Do you want to become like these teachers? Why?
  • What would it actually take for you to achieve what they have attained? How much meditation would you have to do to reach the stage they attained? What might you have to sacrifice or give up to reach this stage?
  • What would happen if you sustained your meditation and made progress upon this Path? How might that change your behavior? How might it alter your perception of your Self and the world? How might it affect your character?
  • What’s at the bottom of you patterns of seeking, getting initiated, and then, doing little or nothing with the Path into which you have been initiated?
  • What is it that you are actually seeking?
  • Might you be trying to escape or avoid something through these patterns? What would happen if you confronted these issues, and stopped running away from them, but concretely worked to resolve them?
  • What spiritual Path could you embrace that you would be willing to complete? What would happen if you completed this Path?

If you have been playing the frustrating and unsatisfying role of a spiritual dilettante, we encourage you to make a change. No worthwhile goal is achieved without commitment and follow-through in your personal life; the same is true for the spiritual life. We invite you to get to the bottom of these patterns and clarify what it is you truly want, and then select a Path that fulfills those needs.

For those of you are uncertain about what a particular meditation will do or what will be the outcome of following a particular spiritual Path, we offer a specialized spiritual counseling session called the Spiritual Teacher/Path Compatibility Reading that will identify what will be the likely scenario if you embark on that Path. If you are not clear about the potential consequence of using a particular meditation technique, we additionally offer a Meditation Technique Analysis Reading. We can also support you with spiritual coaching to help you identify a resonant Path and teaching that helps you fulfill your spiritual destiny.