Levels of Meaning in Scripture

By George A. Boyd © 1993

Excepted from Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

When we examine the meaning of scriptures, we discover there are two major approaches to understand them: exoteric and esoteric methods. Exoteric methods include literal, analogical and symbolic strategies for understanding the scripture.

Literal – a one-to-one correspondence is presumed, where words describe actual historical events and people’s experience of them. Symbolic material is interpreted factually. For example, the image of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Bible (Revelations 6: 2-8) would be interpreted literally as four odd looking men riding on horseback.

Analogical or Metaphorical – the correspondence infers a deeper level of meaning, exemplified or personified by the person’s behavior on in the historical events. This same scripture may be metaphorically seen as representing Christ conquering by love and truth, followed by war, famine and death.

Symbolic or Metalogical – the correspondence is reduced to a cryptic code or pattern which can be uncovered and decoded by reason. The words or letters may be presumed to have specific hidden meanings, which are analyzed and evaluated separately. The words can be converted to numerical values, which are believed to refer to similar levels, or similar archetypes, within a spiritual cosmology. These may be correlated to other symbols that have similar meanings, such as astrological or mythic symbols.

Exoteric Methods are marked by an attempt to analyze, analogize, or penetrate the meaning from outside. Esoteric methods, by contrast, begin with a union with the scripture’s essence ideas, its core of truth, which is revealed or discovered within. Esoteric methods include revelatory, noetic, spiritual, and essential ways of knowing.

Revelatory – here the light of intuition reveals what the scripture means, and opens its multi-faceted purport. Revelation brings understanding of the scripture. This penetrating intuitive knowledge arises from the Superconscious mind, which a meditator may experience as an inner light or an inner voice. This type of knowing is also called Illumination.

Noetic – the attentional principle penetrates and enters into the essence idea of the scripture. The attention is fully focused on the idea, and as awareness opens to this band of the Great Continuum of Consciousness, different layers of meaning are uncovered. This type of knowing is called contemplation.

Spiritual – the spirit travels the path of the Nada to the level of the essence idea. This brings understanding to the spiritual heart. This type of knowing is called spiritual insight.

Essential – the ensouling entity unfolds along its Path and becomes one with the mystery revealed by the scripture. This brings about essential knowledge, awakens the faculty of wisdom. This type of knowing is called Unitive Wisdom, or Samadhic Knowledge.

Exoteric and Esoteric Approaches to Symbols

Literal interpretation interprets symbols as objects. This type of interpretation views the scriptures as actual fact; hence this interpretation is held to be infallible truth. Literal interpretation of scripture leads to fundamentalistic and authoritarian belief structures, marked by black and white thinking, an unwillingness to countenance any other interpretation of the passages, and an insistence that others must believe the way that they do.

Analogical methods often convey their truths by means of stories or metaphors. Wisdom tales, parables and fables are examples of the analogical method. The wisdom tale recounts the exploits and teachings of saints and sages. The parable uses common examples to make deeper truths clear. Fables commonly use animals or fairy tale characters to reveal insights. The meaning of the symbol is seen to be a simile or metaphor.

Symbolic or Metalogical methods attempt to uncover the hidden meaning in scriptures by analysis. These methods include using:

  • Anagrams – there are letters that stand for words. Christ could be made into an anagram, for example, of Courage, Hope, Inspiration, Saintliness and Truth.
  • Cryptographs – this method rearranges letters of words. The innocent term Santa, in Santa Claus, may be ominously rearranged to spell Satan, which may lead to other associations or correspondences.
  • Gematria – this method assigns numerical values to Hebrew letters, and then finding words that add up to the same amount. These are purported to refer to a similar level or archetype on the Tree of Life, or Kabala.
  • Correlation – this associates symbols to other symbols. For example, a symbol may be assumed to correspond to another symbol found in astrology or alchemy, to the purported meaning of a number in numerology, or to one of the tarot cards. This relates different ideas to pull out associated threads of meaning.
  • Linguistic analysis – this follows the changes of words over time as they migrate from one language to another, or come to mean different things in new cultural contexts. The word messiah, for example, referred to someone who was anointed by chrism oil by the Hebrew king. Later, it referred to a secular warrior king, who was expected to deliver the Jewish people from Roman bondage. Christians identified Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and point to how he fulfills Biblical prophecy of the Savior and Deliverer.
  • Hermeneutics – this examines the meanings of scripture by looking at different translations or previous interpretations by other scholars. The same text may be compared in different versions of the Bible, or its translations from Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic contrasted.

Esoteric methods often view symbols as a template, from which many other meanings can be gleaned. As a meditator contemplates a symbol, different associations and ideas may occur to him.

Alternately, symbols may be seen as markers of stages on the path. For example, those who enter the sixth Subplane of the Second Planetary Initiation see the vision of the Heavenly City or New Jerusalem.

Symbols as markers of stages on the path may be used to as a guide to the spirit, which opens the Path of the Nada to the level where that symbol dwells in the Plenum. They may also be used as markers of stages of Initiation for the Soul, which becomes One with the symbol in the state of Samadhi.

If we hope to penetrate beyond the outer veil of exoteric understanding, we must find the keys to unlock the Superconscious intuition, the attentional principle, the spirit and the Soul. Those who learn to meditate gain access to these esoteric methods of understanding the symbols of scripture. Jnana Yoga methods activate the intuitive or revelatory mind and awaken contemplative understanding. Nada Yoga stimulates spiritual insight. The transformational methods of Mantra Yoga and Guru Kripa Yoga bring about Unitive Wisdom.

We teach these esoteric methods in the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program, and invite our readers to learn them to enhance their ability to understand the scriptures of their faith.

The Gentle Art of Getting a Life

By George A. Boyd © 2022

Aspirants who learn to live in an altered state of consciousness in religious or spiritual cults often withdraw from their lives. For them to recover, they have to re-own their lives.

The embodied ego, which is an aspect of what we call Life Consciousness, consists of the following layers:

  1. Behavior – These are the actions you do.
  2. Assumed identity – These are the roles or functions you perform that drive your behavior.
  3. Motivation – These are the desires or dreams that underlie your behavior and drive you to inhabit the different roles you play in your life.
  4. Beliefs – These are the reasons you give about why you pursue your desires or dreams.
  5. Meaning and purpose – This is the core meta-motivation that animates your dreams and desires—this is the reason you tell yourself you are alive. [For some, this might be to take care of their family. For others, it might be to serve their country in the military. For others, it might be the expression of their creative gifts. For others, it might be to pursue a spiritual Path.]
  6. Decision – This is the choice to enact your dreams and pursue your worthy desires.
  7. Core identity – At this level, you discover the embodied ego, which is the actor in your life. Uniting your attention with this center grants the perception of where you are in your life right now.

Here are some examples of these life layers:

You normally do not perform random behavior, or act upon a whim: you perform actions for a reason. For example, you take out the trash, because you don’t want to attract insects or rodents. You brush your hair before going out of the house, because you want to present a good appearance when you leave your home.

You subsume a group of associated behavior under the rubric of a role you assume. The role, “I am a homeowner,” contains sets of related behavior. This might include cleaning, repair, and maintenance of your home; paying bills and taxes for your home; and selecting furniture, appliances, and design elements to furnish and beautify your home.

Something motivates you to want to own a home and take care of it. There are motivations that underlie each of your roles.

You tell yourself a story as to why you want to own a home: this is the layer of beliefs.

Underlying these stories you tell yourself as to why you are motivated to pursue the objectives you consider important, there is a core element of meta-motivation—the purpose why you are alive. [When people don’t discover this for themselves, political and religious leaders, spiritual cults, hate and terrorist groups are only to happy to tell you what your purpose is, so you can follow them and serve their agendas.]

Your life is founded upon the decisions and choices your make. This determines the direction your life takes. [When you own your choices, you are capable of being responsible and accountable.]

The core identity of the ego perceives the results your choices have made in your life, and judges whether you are successful and happy—you have achieved what you have desired—or you are a miserable failure, because you have not achieved what you want or been able to define and act upon what gives your life meaning. This core ego identity has been called your self-image.

The art of re-owing your life

When your attention is fixed in an altered state of consciousness, you dissociate from your life experience. Dissociation leads to:

  • Not feeling your feelings (emotional numbness or deadness)
  • A sense your life is not real (depersonalization)
  • A perception that the world is not real (derealization)
  • A loss of desire for personal objectives (demotivation)
  • A belief that your identity and your life no longer exist (ego death)

In order to restore normalized functioning, you need to bring your attention, awareness, and energy out of the altered state of consciousness and return them to the fully grounded state—what we call the waking state of awareness. Some ways you can do this are:

  • Bring your attention back to the waking state of consciousness and keep it there until your awareness returns to this state.
  • Visualize the energy that is fixing you in an altered state of consciousness is moving down a tube, and is becoming fixed in the center of the earth.
  • Do activities that activate the centers of the Conscious mind, such as walking and exercise; paying attention to your immediate sensory experience of the environment; relating to others as human beings, not a spiritual essence; solving problems that require analytical thinking; performing an inventory of your life’s goals and defining your purpose for being alive.

When you function in the Conscious mind, your ego’s integration re-emerges, and you regain the sense of having a unique human life. Getting your attention, awareness, and energy back to the ego and the Conscious mind can help you restore normalized functioning and again experience that you have a life.

These dissociative states are commonly experienced during Kundalini syndromes and after sustained periods of deep meditation. You will also find them in groups that admonish their followers to demonize their personality and their ego, casting them as illusory (Maya), as an agency of the evil world mind (the Matrix), or as the embodiment of evil (the carnal man, the man of sin, or the spawn of Satan)—and urge them to remain in an altered state of awareness.

We have written in greater depth on the consequences of remaining in altered states of awareness in our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing? Those who are struggling with the aftermath of being involved for an extended time in a religious cult—or other group that has kept you in a altered state of consciousness for a sustained period—may find our Cult Recovery Coaching Program helpful.

Adding Virtue

By George A. Boyd © 2022

I often quip when people ask me for advice, “I don’t add vice, I only add virtue.” This brings to mind the question, “How might you add virtue and overcome your bad habits and vices?”

There are twelve different ways people acquire virtue to improve their character and bring more kindness, thoughtfulness, caring, and love into their relationships with others:

  1. Journal method – You monitor your thoughts, words, and deeds to see if you have failed to observe a selected virtue and write down each instance where you failed to observe the virtue. For example, you might monitor chastity, humility, forgiveness, and compassion to see if you have done anything, said anything, or thought anything that is counter to these virtues. At the end of the day, you pray to God and/or your spiritual Master to confess your shortcomings and ask for help to overcome these vices.
  2. Spiritual Transformational method – You transform the karmic impressions that substand vices that arise from the karma stored in the Nadamic channels, through practicing Nada Yoga.
  3. Contemplation – In this method, you contemplate the pairs of opposites that make up the virtue vice duality. You choose to act on the virtue and stop doing the vice. This is a practice employed in Jnana Yoga.
  4. Work on the Shadow – In this method, you encounter vice as a “voice” or a “subpersonality” in your unconscious mind. You apply a method to get to the core of the vice and resolve it. Methods such as Voice Dialog work with the issue as a voice; Imagery therapies interface with it using visualization and dialog. Meditations we teach such as the Rainbow Technique, the Mandala Method, and Process Meditation enable you to get to the bottom of the issue and to discover why it continues to operate. These methods work with the issues that commonly make up Destiny Karma.
  5. Deconstructing the Vice – This method identifies each belief that makes up the vice and refutes each one. This collapses and deconstructs the vice, so it no longer operates. You then choose a new behavior to take the place of the vice, so you can practice a new, positive habit. Cognitive behavioral psychotherapists utilize this method to work with negative personality patterns that sabotage effective personal functioning.
  6. Confession and repentance – In this approach, you confess to another person and to God the exact nature of the vices you have done—Christians call these types of behavior, sin—and ask for forgiveness. Christian groups and addiction recovery programs make use of this method; in Catholicism, the parishioner will confess his or her sins to a priest.
  7. Transforming the Soul and its Vehicles of Consciousness – This method dissolves the karma that comes from the tracks behind the Soul or one of its vehicles of consciousness that contributes to the vice. Using a transformational mantra keyed to the Soul or receiving a Grace-Bestowing Attunement from an Initiate (Guru Kripa Yoga) removes the vices that are embedded in these strata of the mind.
  8. Elimination through Wisdom – Those who can operate on the Wisdom Plane consciously uproot the karmic seeds of vice and replace them with the seeds of virtue.
  9. Fiery Attunement Directed to Elements of the Unconscious Mind – Certain Adepts have the ability to direct the Divine Light to burn away the karma that underlies vice in the unconscious mind, and anchor the thought seeds of virtue in their place. During initiation into meditation, Master Teachers of the Transcendental Sphere awaken the spirit and ensouling entity upon their Path and awaken holy virtues to counter the negative tendencies of the unconscious mind at this level.
  10. Rebirth – This type occurs when you have a life-changing revelation or undergo a religious conversion that inspires you to identify with a spiritual essence and live from its platform. In conjunction with this experience, you disidentify with your former life and you abandon it. These rebirth experiences can radically change your behavior: you enthusiastically abandon your former “life of sin” and embrace love and holiness. The evangelical “born-again” Christians seek to catalyze this type of experience in their believers; monastic ceremonies with the giving of a “new name” also seek to instill this new state of identity and a new life for the renunciant.
  11. Speaking the Word – Certain Adepts are able to speak the Word to exorcise entities or eradicate negative karmic patterns that give rise to passions and vices. In the Bible, Jesus demonstrated this miraculous power.
  12. Completion of a Karmic Cycle – Upon completion of an issue that is part of Destiny Karma—which happens in the course of living your life—certain patterns of vice simply drop away. You no longer have any desire to engage in them. You have no motivation to do this behavior any more. Your craving and obsession is gone.

In Mudrashram®, we give specific techniques to eradicate vices—patterns of sinful or addictive behavior—to empower people to take responsibility for their behavior and make positive changes in their character and expand their Soul’s innate kernel of virtue. We teach methods for types 2, 3, 4, and 7 in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

We encourage you to honestly identify what your vices are, and embark upon the path to eradicate them and replace them with virtues. You need to identify which of these 12 methods will enable you to free yourself from vice’s thrall and allow your Soul’s innate love and goodness to be expressed in your life to touch the lives of others around you.

Those of you who are interested in this topic of developing virtue may enjoy our eBook on Amazon Kindle, A Primer on Spiritual Ethics and Character.

Concerning Psychic Realm Attunements

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: What attunements are bestowed in the Psychic Realm? Can you describe them?

A: When aspirants reach the presence of the angels on the Heavenly Realms Subplane of the Psychic Realm—who stand before the reflection of the Planetary Hierarchy on this Subplane—those who are being trained in Psychic Realm ministry may be anointed to send one or more of nine Rays. These include the Seven Rays, plus two additional Rays that appear to be alternate expressions of the Sixth and Seventh Rays. These nine Rays are briefly described below:

  1. 1st Ray (ruby red) – This attunement activates will and courage.
  2. 2nd Ray (royal blue) – This attunement awakens the Soul’s unconditional love and compassion.
  3. 3rd Ray (golden yellow) – This attunement turns on the Soul’s intuition and discernment.
  4. 4th Ray (emerald green) – This attunement brings about the state of inner peace and harmony, and aligns those receiving this attunement with the Earth Mother.
  5. 5th Ray (coral orange) – This attunement stimulates reason and scientific inquiry. It leads those receiving this attunement to want to metaphysical research topics more and gain more evidence about them.
  6. 6th Ray (rose) – This attunement conveys love and comfort to those who are emotionally troubled.
  7. 6th Ray alternate (purple) – This attunement aligns those receiving it with the Law of Attraction. It guides them to create new conditions in their life to bring about fulfillment of desires, to experience greater prosperity, loving relationship, and personal success.
  8. 7th Ray (violet) – This attunement purifies the mind and allows the attention to rise up into union with the Soul.
  9. 7th Ray alternate (indigo) – This attunement reveals the mysteries, sparks revelation and inner discovery.

Training and empowerment to make attunements in the Psychic Realm primarily occurs on three Subplanes:

  • The Healing Subplane – aspirants are trained to do remote, radiative healing
  • The Heavenly Realms Subplane – aspirants are trained to channel one or more of these nine Rays
  • The Pleiadean Vortex Subplane – aspirants are trained to channel Light and inspiration from their activated “Star Seed,” the seed atom of the form on this band of the Psychic Realm

We point out that this training in attunements that occurs on the Psychic Realm are a first introduction to Light Work. You learn higher orders of attunement in the Planetary Realm during:

  • The First Exoteric Initiation (invoking the Holy Spirit through prayer, expressing the Gifts of the Spirit)
  • The First Mesoteric Initiation (sending the Holy Spirit through intention, anchoring it in the receptacle of the Moon Soul and sending it to the core of human misery and pain—this is the octave of emotional healing)
  • The Second Initiation (using the powerful decrees of the Mighty I AM Presence to break up limiting and negative thought forms and to create new life conditions)
  • The Third Initiation (reception of the inspired thought streams from the Adept Masters of the Planetary Hierarchy and radiating these out to the world; overshadowing the personality and directing it to carry out the Soul’s Purpose)
  • The Fourth Initiation (radiation of the illumined knowledge of the Buddhi, which purifies the mental impressions—this is the octave of mental healing)

Making attunements is part of the meditation system called Agni Yoga. We introduce this meditation style in our intermediate meditation programs, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and in the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We encourage you to learn the attunements relevant to your Soul’s ministry at each level of the Planetary Realm.