The Six Levels of the Mind Beyond the Brain

By George A. Boyd ©2017

Our modern scientific worldview identifies the mind with the brain. There are, however, six additional orders of mind that dwell beyond this neural surface of cognition. These seven layers of the mind are shown below.

  1. In the waking state of awareness, it appears the mind is the activity of the brain. This is the empirical viewpoint that modern Science holds.
  2. In the next octave of cognition, you activate the astral brain. When this occurs, you become capable of lucid dreaming. Your imagination is enhanced. You are able to do astral travel and remote viewing. You can produce voluntary hypnotic phenomena through giving suggestions to your astral body. You can learn to perform psychic or impressional readings, which gather information not accessible through the physical senses. You become aware of other beings in their astral bodies and of the Astral Planes or worlds of dimension.
  3. At the next octave, you become aware of the lighted area of human consciousness embedded in the matrix of the unconscious mind. You become aware of distinct forms or vehicles of consciousness that have discrete functions that they carry out. You may begin to have experiences of the Kundalini awakening the etheric chakras. You may obtain glimpses of your Higher Self in peak experiences.
  4. At the next order of mind, you become aware that you are attention—a ball of mind-stuff—that observes the activity of the mind and the content of these vehicles of consciousness. You become aware of the thread of consciousness that allows your attention to travel through a series of focal points to deeper bands of the mind. You become capable of mindfulness and contemplation at this stage.
  5. When you move to the next level, you become aware of the Self, which integrates and coordinates the activity of all of the levels of your Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind. You discover your volition, which enables you to take charge of your life and create your personal destiny. This is the stage of personal empowerment.
  6. Once you awaken your Superconscious mind, you become aware of the vehicles of consciousness that your Soul has activated. You rise into the vast vista of you your Soul’s consciousness, which grants intuitive knowledge about the vehicles of consciousness you have opened and the bands of the Continuum in which they dwell. It also stirs the unconditional love of the Soul, and the love and devotion of your spirit. It animates the higher abilities of your Soul at each stage of the Superconscious mind that you have opened.
  7. When your mind fully awakens, you realize the essential nature of your Soul and your Illumined Mind becomes fully active. This grants wisdom, understanding, highest discernment, the ability to become aware of every level of the mind (mandalic reasoning), and bestows Gnosis—where the Soul realizes its own true nature.

You normally experience the mind as the brain when your attention dwells in the waking state of awareness. At this level, habit largely governs your functioning.

The astral mind operates during the states of sleep, hypnosis, anesthesia and intoxication, and astral projection. Most people experience this state through dreaming, but have little control over their experience.

You typically tap into the etheric mental helix during deep sleep, when your attention is drawn deep into the unconscious mind. The causal body operates in this state: it consolidates your daily experiences into long-term memory and sets into motion the regenerating and recharging processes of deep sleep. You may also tap into this matrix if you practice hatha yoga, martial arts, or breathing meditations, or if you do exercises to awaken your Kundalini.

The state of inner alertness or mindfulness occurs when you collect your attention and become present at the entrance to the thread of consciousness that travels through all vehicles of the mind. This is the gateway to meditation.

Centering techniques enable you to unite your attention with the Self. This activates the entire personality, and enables your Self to operate its vehicles of consciousness at full efficiency.

You reach into the Superconscious mind through uniting your attention with your intentional consciousness, which we call the attentional principle, through the practice of Raja Yoga. You can learn to raise the Kundalini through the higher vehicles of consciousness of the Superconscious mind and stir then into full activity.

Through the practice of intuitive meditation, Jnana Yoga, you gain discernment and Gnosis. When you achieve the state of Superconscious Illumination, which is called Samadhi, you fully activate your Illumined Mind, which teaches you about the mysteries of the Soul and about matter, energy, mind, and consciousness.

We introduce you to your vehicles of consciousness, traveling along the thread of consciousness, and activating the Self—levels three through five—in our beginning meditation class, the Introduction to Meditation Program. We teach you how to access and awaken levels four through seven in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

We encourage aspirants to familiarize themselves with these deeper layers of the mind beyond the physical brain. Meditation is the master key to unlock these other zones of the mind veiled to this surface mind of the cerebral cortex. We invite you to learn how to meditate with us, to transcend your brain, and experience these other six levels of the mind.


By George A. Boyd © 2017

We can identify different levels of decisions that people make. Some arise from the strata of the personality; some arise from the transpersonal levels of the mind. These seven orders of decisions are listed below.

  1. Emotional decisions
  2. Poorly considered decision
  3. Well-thought-out decisions
  4. Inspired decisions (transpersonal) – wisdom, intuition or a sense of purpose guides these decisions
  5. Higher order decisions – these arise from the Superconscious mind; they enact an aspect of one of the higher octaves of the will—this is usually a decision to operate a spiritual gift.
  6. Inspired decisions (Transcendental) – a decision taken to obey the order or commandment of your Spiritual Master (Agya)
  7. Core Decisions (made by the Soul) – these include decisions to serve in the Hierarchy or select Liberation, decision to travel the path to reach Liberation and Mastery, decision to reveal itself and awaken the personality from its sleep, or the decision to take initiation in a spiritual tradition.

Types one through three are personal decisions. We can characterize the three levels of personal decisions as follows:

You make emotional decisions out of passion and ignorance. These decisions arise under the influence of greed, lust, or anger; you may act on erroneous beliefs or conspiracy theories. These types of decisions come from your defensive ego and personal unconscious; they are primarily reactive. Demagogues and cult leaders prey on this this level of the mind, and use these emotions to drive decision making and behavior. Politicians and sales people also try to manipulate this zone of the mind to get your vote, get a donation, or make a sale.

Poorly considered decisions stem from only considering one or two factors, and not looking at the “big picture” of the multiple interacting factors inform better decisions. You might choose a pair of shoes based only on the design and how they look. Getting them home, you may find that they really are not comfortable and rub on the top of your foot and your ankles.

Well-thought-out decisions consider all relevant factors and determine the pros and cons of several options. You engage personal intuition to check in with the different facets of your Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind to ensure that you are not ignoring an important factor that impacts the outcome. You gather as much information as needed to be able to make a cogent decision, without considering extraneous or irrelevant data.

The challenge for the personality is to make fewer emotional decisions and poor decisions, and increase the frequency of well-thought-out decisions that yield successful outcomes.

Once the personality has reached a certain level of integration and self-control, it can begin to open the Antakarana bridge to begin to commune with the Superconscious mind and the Soul. As this bridge to the Soul is progressively built, the Soul begins to guide the personality to carry out its purpose and participate in the development of the Soul’s abilities. Usually by the Third Planetary Initiation, this link has been strengthened to the point where the Soul can begin to overshadow the personality and express its ministry and service in the world.

Types four through seven arise from the transpersonal zone of the mind.

Type four, inspired decision, comes from your Superconscious mind—it is the first order of transpersonal decisions. Reception of this type of inspiration is typical of the aspirant stage of spirituality. It might be conveyed to you through the inner voice of intuition, or the impress of the Holy Spirit. Alternately, you might receive this information through a structured psychic reading like a tarot card or astrology reading, or the from a channeled message or inspired discourse (satsang). Some of this material is vague and ambiguous; it sometimes founded upon spurious notions—decisions made from this level sometimes yield poor results.

The three highest forms of transpersonal decisions, we see in advanced disciples.

Type five, the election to use the powers of the Superconscious mind, or siddhis, often appears when the disciple has reached the Cosmic Sphere in their meditations. Most disciples activate selected powers for healing, spiritual guidance and ministry, or awakening the spiritual potentials of others.

Type six, overshadowing with guidance from the spiritual Master (Agya), typically occurs when the disciple has begun the Transcendental Sphere leg of his or her journey. The Supervising Initiate gives guidance to enable the disciple to carry out spiritual ministry, fulfill their Soul Purpose, or to engage in compassionate action to help others.

Type seven, the core decisions of the Soul, occur at key junctures on the Path that enable it to complete its purpose and fulfill its spiritual destiny.

Many sojourners on the Path discount the role of developing the personality to make effective and prudent decisions. Instead, they may come to rely upon a relatively underdeveloped intuitive faculty to guide them, seek the counsel of channeled entities, consult their astrologer or tarot card reader, or live in the moment and see where serendipity leads them.

As a result, they my defer or avoid important life decisions, or come under the spell of a charismatic cult leader, who is only too happy to make all of their life decisions for them. They dread failure, embarrassment, and having to explain why they are not successful—so instead, they remain in altered states of awareness, and never engage the difficult task of constructing a meaningful life, one decision at a time.

We suggest it is possible to use meditation to evaluate your outcomes and select better options for the future. The ability to introspect and honestly evaluate the results of your behavior will allow you to make positive changes in your life.

Those of you who have difficulties with making successful decisions in your life may wish to consider a structured program to help gain greater self-mastery: we would recommend our Life Coaching Program as a means to build a stronger foundation for a more fulfilling life.

The Permutations of Devotion

By George A. Boyd © 2020

This was written on Good Friday, 2020, at a time when the devotion of 2.07 billion Christians are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of his Passion.

Devotion is a pure quality of the spirit. This purest, unalloyed, sublime emotion, which the spirit fees towards God, is often expressed in increasingly distorted ways as you depart from the spirit’s loving heart.

  1. On the dense shores of Matter, devotion becomes perverted into the intense craving of greed, of lust, and of the desire for revenge and retribution. It shows up as the addict’s craving for food, for alcohol, and for drugs; and as the criminal’s driven pursuit of money through theft, robbery, and extortion.
  2. When these base passions and addictions have been worked through, devotion masquerades as anxiety and obsession. The over-solicitous parent, who tries to control every aspect of her daughter’s life; the young woman obsessed with trying to live up to perfect standards of beauty and performance—these draw upon this distortion of devotion. Romantic infatuation—the obsessive fascination and yearning of romantic love—also springs from this layer of devotion.
  3. When perfectionism, worry, and romantic obsession are put away, devotion appears as the drive for career and academic success and advancement. This characterizes the workaholic, whose work is the most important thing in his life; or the overly conscientious student, who dedicates himself to his studies to every waking hour.
  4. At the next layer, devotion becomes the quest for excellence and highest performance. The athlete, who dedicates her life to perfecting her skills as a runner; or the musician, who practices long hours to master the violin—evoke this type of devotion.
  5. The next aspect of devotion is personal idealization. The sports fan who idolizes his baseball team; or the music fan who follows his favorite band from concert to concert, and buys all of their songs—these evidence this type of devotion. The adulation of celebrities also taps this zone of devotion.
  6. Devotion next channels as dedication to a cause. The religious zealot, who attempts to proselytize people to join her religion; or the political activist, who attempts to persuade people to vote for her candidate and support him—these operate from this facet of devotion.
  7. Devotion is next typified by spiritual idealization. Here a devotee looks to a spiritual leader as superhuman, or a Divine Representative, who is portrayed as perfect, all knowing, and the embodiment of all that is good and holy. The devotee, who commits himself to spiritual advancement, and seeks to obey and please his spiritual leader, drinks from this deep well of devotion.
  8. Freed from clinging to any form, the spirit who realizes itself beyond the trammels of mind, knows itself to be of the same essence of God. Once this state of inner innocence has been achieved, the spirit becomes capable of returning to this primordial fire of pure devotion, and loving God in purity and truth.
  9. At the final stage of this journey of devotion, when the spirit re-unites with the Divine Beloved, devotion is submerged in the Oceanic tides of Infinite Love. Here, the devotee and the Divine become one, and there is no longer any separation.

As the fire of Divine Love purifies these layer over the spirit, you become increasingly capable of acting upon successively deeper expressions of devotion—until Divine Love removes the final gossamer veil, and reveals you as you have always existed, as pure spirit born form the immortal Light of God.

Contemplate these layers of devotion. Offer them all upon the inner crucible of your heart’s purest love, so you may emerge as the radiant butterfly from this cocoon of matter and mind that has entombed you through the Ages.

Arise, oh spiritual butterfly—and now, at long last, become free!

The process of learning to re-unite the spirit with God is called Nada Yoga. It trains you how to free your spirit from the trammels of matter, and how to travel through the inner channels of light and sound back to re-union with its Divine Beloved. We teach Nada Yoga in our intermediate mediation courses, the in person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

Aspects of Karma

As the world is swept by the collective karma of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that you become aware of the different aspects of karma, and how these aspects play out in your life and the lives of others. The use of seed thoughts, ideas upon which you can meditate and gain insight and wisdom, is one of the varieties of reflective meditation. As you understand how karma operates, you can begin to work with it to change your personal destiny through controlling your thoughts, words, and deeds; as you use a transformational method that transmutes and dissolves your stored karma in your unconscious mind, your Soul moves along its spiritual evolutionary track towards its source and you fulfill the Purpose and Plan for which your Soul was sent forth into Creation.

By George A. Boyd © 2003, updated 2020

Q: Is this pandemic we are experiencing at this time punishment for our collective greed and selfishness?

A: It is important to get beyond simplistic notions of karma and gain a more complete and comprehensive understanding of what karma is and how it operates.

In order to gain a fuller understanding of what karma is and what is its action, it is recommended that you do reflective meditation on the following 17 seed thoughts, which will elucidate the operation of karma.

  1. Transmutation of karma – karma is dissolved into pure light: the dissolution of karma is the result of the descent of the Spirit through the Grace Bestowing Power of the Divine, through transformational methods, and through living through destiny karma in your life.
  2. Balancing of karma – equalizing of positive and negative aspects of desire, balancing of aversion and attraction to create detachment (Vairagya) and equanimity.
  3. Creation of karma – formation of desire seeds that lay dormant until they ripen into manifestation in the unconscious mind.
  4. Manifestation of karma – the nidana chain, the sequence of cause and effect that leads to birth and death.
  5. Law of reward – good karma that leads to positive situations and life circumstances: wealth, beauty, health, success, fame, power, virtuous conduct, positive family life, and positive afterlife.
  6. Law of retribution – bad karma that leads to negative situations and life circumstances: poverty, deformity, illness, failure, rejection, victimization, crime and addiction, negative family life; and tormented afterlife.
  7. Law of cause and effect – each cause has an irrevocable change on the universe, the planet, the community, other individuals, other species, your personality, and your body.
  8. Law of change – no karmic influence is eternal, but is released in its time and its season, as executed by the Lords of Karma.
  9. Group karma of nations – each individual, born in a national grouping must share in the political and economic destiny of his/her nation.
  10. Karma of racial groups – each individual, as part of a racial group must share in the karma of that race.
  11. Karma of ancestral groups – each individual, as part of a lineage of ancestors, must share in the cultural, psychological, and genetic transmission of that lineage.
  12. Law of purification – meditation upon the light and sound current (Nada) dissolves the karmic impressions stored in these Nadamic channels and eventually leads to liberation from all karmic bondage for your spirit.
  13. Law of thought – thought is a creative force; as a man/woman thinks, so he/she becomes.
  14. Law of reaction – joy and misery are the emotional experience of karma; suffering and reward are experienced emotionally.
  15. Law of incarnation – karma is stored physically in the tissues of the body.
  16. Law of remembrance – every thought, word, and deed is indelibly recorded in the Akasha (etheric matrix).
  17. The four states of karma – active, fantasy, latent, and vacuum.

When you study the stored karma embedded in your unconscious mind, you find that karma dwells in four states:

Active karma operates on the physical level. It is behavioral; compulsive behavior and addiction mark its expression. It may also appear as chronic genetic and constitutional illness.

Fantasy karma operates on the astral level—while no overt behavior is present, you experience strong craving and your mind is obsessed with the object of desire. Unresolved life issues that dwell as latent karma may also be expressed by psychosomatic conversion, resulting in unexplained pains or acute inflammation, for which no medical cause can be identified.

Latent karma, which operates on the causal level, is marked by lack of behavior, fantasy or craving, but seed impressions (samskaras) continue to remain in the mind. Given the requisite stimuli, these can be reawakened into fantasy or active karma. Constitutional conditions, for example, that are present as latent karma, appear as unawakened genetic latencies.

The Vacuum state of karma is marked by the complete dissolution of karma and the expression of pure, effulgent virtue, grace and power by the Soul in the absence of karmic obscuration and impediment. You turn the other three types of karma into the vacuum state through transformational meditation, which draws down the Light of the Divine Spirit to dissolve, transmute, and integrate the karmic impressions that are stored in the unconscious mind.

Those of you who are interested in learning how to use a transformational method to transmute your karma and allow your Soul to evolve spiritually and your spirit to become free will learn techniques to do this in our intermediate mediation courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.