Reflections on the Context of Consciousness

By George A. Boyd © 2022

Q: I was listening to a talk where they referenced Dr. Roger Penrose’s theory about how consciousness arises out of the subatomic quantum field, and the brain operates like a quantum computer. Is this the basis of consciousness? Is consciousness only an epiphenomenon, an emergent property of the brain?

A: People interpret consciousness at the level where they perceive it.

  1. If you regard someone to be the body, the physical organism, the actions, emotions, and sensations of that body you can observe or measure are the evidence of consciousness. The field of behavioral psychology holds this view.
  2. If you regard someone is a network or system of cells, consciousness is the firing of neurons that underlie the observable actions, emotions, and sensation. Physiological psychology explains behavior, affect, and sensation from this platform.
  3. If you regard someone is the atomic matrix, the electrical activity of the body and brain is consciousness. Technological innovations such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Electroencephalography (EEG), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) enable researchers to detect “brain waves” and the electrical activity of the living brain. Those who try to alter awareness using auditory and photic brain entrainment modalities tap this level.
  4. If you regard someone as a localized subatomic field within the universal subatomic field, you will look at consciousness as analogous as a quantum computer or a hologram. This is the perspective that Dr. Penrose and other physicists embrace.
  5. If you regard someone as an integrative node in the Information Aether, you witness consciousness as the dynamic acquisition of information (learning), information storage (memory), and manipulation of information (intelligence). Information that is no longer needed is jettisoned (forgetting). Cognitive psychology adopts this viewpoint.
  6. If you regard someone is a vortex on the Resonance Aether, you behold consciousness is the wave of the present time, through which you create, sustain, or transform the content of the mind. New Age, New Thought, and process meditation groups access this level.
  7. If you regard someone is the etheric body, you observe consciousness is directly linked to the life force. Movement of life energy in the fine mental channels (nadis) of the etheric body gives rise to thought and emotions; movement of life force in the somatic channels (meridians) governs physiological functions; and the integrative functions of the etheric body plexuses (chakras) coordinate and integrate behavior. Energy healers, Chinese medicine practitioners, and chiropractors work with this energy body and observe the linkage of consciousness and life force.
  8. If you regard someone as a magnetic center on the Desire Aether, where the Law of Attraction operates, you visualize that consciousness is the attentional principle. This essence can direct intention and thought to magnetize and manifest what you desire in your life. Spiritual coaches, metaphysical counselors, psychic teachers and channelers operate at this level.
  9. If you regard someone is the mental field or aura that encapsulates thought forms on the Thought Form Aether, you consider consciousness is the dynamic force that creates, sustains, and destroys thought forms—the attentional principle again appears as the agency that can directly interface with thought forms. Those who work at this level consider that each thought form embodies the desire seeds of karma. Humanistic and Transpersonal therapies that work with subpersonalities access this level.
  10. If you regard someone is the Self, you view consciousness is the expression of this core of the personality, which uses volition and intelligence to activate the faculties of the Metaconscious mind. These executive functions of the personality manage the issues of human life and create personal destiny. Humanistic and Existential therapies work at this level.
  11. If you regard someone is a Superconscious seed atom or nucleus of identity, consciousness appears as the activity of this essence through its form or vehicle of consciousness. Consciousness in this viewpoint is the embodiment and expression of an archetype. Transpersonal therapies that utilize the archetypes of the Superconscious mind, such as Jung’s Active Imagination and Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis interact with elements at this level.
  12. If you regard someone is the Soul, you envision consciousness resides innately in this essence. It is eternal and immortal (Sat), eternally conscious (Chit), and abides in bliss and power (Ananda). This consciousness is expressed through the faculties of the Soul’s essential vehicle, which in turn controls and operates the vehicles of the Superconscious mind (level 11) and connects with the Self (level 10). Planetary Adepts and Adept Masters view human beings in this perspective.
  13. If you regard someone is the spirit, you will see consciousness innately abides in this essence. Nadamic Masters and Sat Gurus of the Transcendental Sphere perceive consciousness at this level.
  14. If you view someone from our Integral meditation perspective, you observe consciousness inheres in the Soul (Pole One – level 12), the spirit (Pole Two – level 13), a nucleus of identity (Pole Three – level 11), the attentional principle (upper Pole Four – levels eight and nine), and the Self (lower Pole Four – level ten). This the way we view consciousness in Mudrashram®.

The relative awakening of individuals determines which of these perspectives they see. This limen of perspective only admits the content of the levels up to the stage of their spiritual development. Someone who adopts the subatomic perspective of level four can also view the content of levels one to three. However, the more subtle view of level five on the Information Aether, is outside their threshold of comprehension.

Using a transformational mantra keyed to the Soul transforms this veil, and those who practice this method can begin to comprehend those levels that are beyond his or her current threshold of conscious awareness. Those who open this veil over awareness to the Bridge Path can grasp all 14 levels.

Those who take our intermediate mediation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or the by-mail or online Accelerated Meditation Program learn a technique gradually part this veil and open up the perspectives of the grander vistas of consciousness. We invite those of you who wish to view these other levels learn how to catalyze your Soul’s unfoldment.

What Is the Self?

By George A. Boyd © 2019

Q: When I read Paramahansa Yogananda, he refers to Self Realization, which he describes as conscious God Realization. When I think of my human Self, it doesn’t seem very god-like. What is this Self of which Yogananda speaks? How is it different than my human Self?

A: The Self, as we describe it, is the core of personal identity: the integrating center of the entire personality that operates through the Metaconscious, Subconscious, and Conscious mind. There are, however, a variety of conceptions of what the Self might be:

  1. The “Self Object” – In Object Relations theory, you purportedly incorporate a summary idea that ties together the many different roles you play in life. This image changes as you have new experiences and add new roles in your life. For example, this “Self Object” changes when you graduate from school, when you become employed, when you get married, and when you become a parent. This concept of the Self appears to point to what we call the ego in its developmental aspect, the way your idea of who you are changes throughout your life—as you gain new skills, complete academic and vocational degrees and certificates, accrue more work experience, or achieve personal milestones.
  2. The Conscious Self – In the Upanishads, they speak of a mysterious essence: “The self is seated behind the two eyes… the size of a thumb… it is self-effulgent light… it is consciousness itself… and thou art that consciousness.” In this context, it appears that this scripture is describing what we call the attentional principle, which dwells at the pituitary center of the system of chakras of the Subconscious mind. This essence plays a key role in spiritual development and ministry—we train you how to unite with this essence in the Raja Yoga portion of our intermediate meditation courses.
  3. The Human Self – this is the core of the personality, which directs the entire personality through volition. Dr. Roberto Assagioli referred to this essence as “the Centered Self.” In Theosophy, it is referred to as “the Human Soul.” In Humanistic Psychology, they call it the “essential person.” [This is the way that we use the term, Self, in the Mudrashram® teachings.]
  4. The Glorified Self – When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the inner altar of the Moon Soul or Christ Child, you may be temporarily caught up into union with this nucleus of identity, and you experience this holy and loving essence as your genuine Self—your ego and Human Self, in this perspective, appear to be split off from God’s Purpose and Plan, and remain in the outer darkness of sin.
  5. The Integral Self – In Carl Jung’s later writings, he referred to the Self, which integrates the four quadrants of the mind. In this viewpoint, he appears to describe the Self in a way that describes the Soul and its four poles—which integrates the faculties of intuition, thinking, emotions, and sensations in a central figure in the mind. This central figure resembles the core of a mandala.
  6. The Divinized Self (Avatar) – In this conception, the human Self becomes fused with the Divine, and the individual in whom this occurs incarnates the Divine in their human life. Bhagavan Krishna, Lord Jesus Christ, and Avatar Meher Baba have been cited as examples of this supernal fusion in which God dwells among humanity.
  7. The Supreme Self – In many Yogi Preceptor traditions, particularly the Advaita and Vedanta schools of Jnana Yoga, they regard the union of cosmic consciousness and Brahman—in the seventh chakra of the Cosmic Man or Cosmic Woman—as bringing about Realization of the only real Self. Brahman in this view is the only Reality, the only True Self, and the entire Creation is an Illusion (Maya)—to the “realized Yogi,” only God is real. This is the standpoint that Yogananda takes, when he speaks of “Self Realization.”

When people use the word, “Self,” it is important for you to discern in what context they are using this term. Otherwise, it is easy to conflate one view with another.

We teach you how to navigate and explore each of the major vehicles of consciousness of the Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind up to the Self at the core of your personality in our introductory course, the Introduction to Meditation program. In our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program, we teach eight “centering techniques” that enable you to unite your attention with the Human Self.