Jnana Yoga Approaches of the First Cosmic Initiation

By George A. Boyd ©2015

Q: In the Advaita approach, they declare that the entire universe is illusion (Maya), and that only God (Brahman) is real. Where does spiritual evolution, as described in Mudrashram®, play a role in this perspective?

A: It doesn’t. Realizing that one is Brahman is primary and fundamental in the Jnana Yoga approaches of the First Cosmic Initiation. If we compare the models of development in the First Cosmic Initiation side-by-side, you will see the similarities and differences between them. The Advaita approach is subsumed under the Sudden Realization Model. This model, and the other six models of development of the First Cosmic Initiation, is described below.

  1. Progressive Uncovering of Realization Model – In the progressive development model of Samkhya Yoga, cosmic consciousness appears to pass through seven realizations that promote progressive enlightenment and final liberation of cosmic consciousness. These are:
    1. Union of attention and identification with cosmic consciousness (Tat Twam Asi)
    2. Cosmic consciousness pervades the entire physical universe, is Divine in nature, and is ultimately one with the Supreme Brahman (Aham Brahmasmi)
    3. Cosmic consciousness pervades the physical, astral, and causal universes and is merged in the Cosmic AUM (Adhyatma Brahman)
    4. Cosmic consciousness gains union with the Supreme Intelligence of the Divine Light at the top of the ideational universe (Prajnanam Brahman)
    5. Union of cosmic consciousness and Brahman, which brings the highest bliss (Satchitananda Brahman)
    6. Anointing of the cosmic consciousness as a Yogi Preceptor to help others gain union with Brahman
    7. Migration of cosmic consciousness to its origin (Kaivalyam), liberating it, and reawakening as the Astral Soul
  2. Vertical Ascent Model – As attention ascends up the thread of consciousness, it encounters the personal identification centers of the ego and the Self; the immortal essences of the attentional principle, spirit, and ensouling entity; and integration centers of the Superconscious mind (nuclei of identity). Attention contemplates the three immortal centers, and gains union and identification with them. Your attention is trained to focus on the ensouling entity at the cutting edge of spirituality, and gain union and identification with it. In this model, Brahman is encountered when the Astral Soul becomes the cutting edge of spirituality, and the Astral Soul ascends through the Cosmic Sphere to the level where Brahman dwells. One does not, in this model, become Brahman—the Astral Soul, and cosmic consciousness aligned with it, gain union with this ecstatic stage of union with Brahman, but then, transcend it.
  3. Sudden Realization Method – Through keeping attention fixed on Brahman, you come to realize that only Brahman is real, and your human life and the entire universe are illusory and dream-like (Maya). This model recognizes that when “ignorance” is dispelled, you realize that you are Brahman—and that any conceptions of individual identity, such as ego and Self; or subtle identity, such as spirit and Soul, are part of that illusion. This model posits that the way you transform into Brahman is through insight and realization. This model is common in the Vedanta and Advaita groups. By disidentifying with the other aspects of potential identification, you train yourself to believe that you are Brahman. This approach also seems to discount the spiritual evolutionary process, and does not highlight the development of any essence to become Brahman—rather, in this perspective, you are Brahman now, and you have always Brahman, so there is nothing to evolve—you only have to awaken to this Ultimate Reality.
  4. Ecstatic Union with Brahman Model – By using special breathing methods (Pranayama), Kundalini awakening, mudras, and ecstatic dancing, your attention unites with Brahman, and you experience Samadhi. This model emphasizes opening awareness to the seventh chakra (Sahashrara) of the Cosmic Man/Woman where Brahman can be known and experienced. In some versions of this model, Kundalini is seen as the engine that opens the cosmic chakras and leads cosmic consciousness to eternal union with Brahman (Nirbikalpa Samadhi).
  5. Mantramic Tunneling Model – Through using a mantra keyed to cosmic consciousness, this essence can progressively enter the presence of the gods and goddesses of the universal causal Subplane, and ultimately gain union with the Pure Consciousness of Brahman. Transcendental Meditation™ and mantra yoga traditions of the First Cosmic Initiation embrace this model.
  6. Devotional Model – Through invoking the gods and goddesses, and your Yogi Preceptor, you receive their Grace. This transforms your character, and moves your cosmic consciousness closer to Brahman, until you gain perfect union with Brahman through love. This method typifies the approach of the Bhakti Yoga lineages.
  7. Transformational Model – By using Kriya Yoga as a transformational method, the Divine Eye center moves into union with Brahman, and carries cosmic consciousness with it to this same state. The Light Immersion (Translation) that Cosmic Masters grant, and the Light Fire of the Agni Yoga traditions unfold the Astral Soul into this state of union with Brahman. These approaches begin by focusing on the Divine Eye center (Kriya Yoga) or the Astral Soul (Agni Yoga and Light Immersion attunements), and skip over development in the Subtle, Planetary, and Transplanetary bands of the Continuum.

In Mudrashram®, we focus attention on the immortal essences at the cutting edge of spirituality. In these other approaches, you focus your attention upon centers in the Cosmic Sphere—upon cosmic consciousness, the Divine Eye center, or the Astral Soul—or upon Brahman in the seventh chakra of the Cosmic Man/Woman in the First Cosmic Initiation. In Mudrashram®, only when you migrate to the Cosmic Sphere—when your cutting edge of spirituality becomes the Astral Soul—do you contemplate these centers.

While Advaita brings about bliss and Realization, it does so through four methods:

  • Dispassion – Losing all desire for worldly objects and aims
  • Detachment – Keeping your attention constantly absorbed in Brahman
  • Dissociation – Entering a state of consciousness where your personality and the world seem unreal
  • Disidentification – Training your attention to no longer identify with your ego, your Self, your spirit, your Soul, your Monad, or even cosmic consciousness—you instead re-identify with Brahman

If these four practices are sustained for long periods of time, they will reliably bring about identification with Brahman.

However, if we inspect the vehicles of consciousness and the spiritual essences—attentional principle, spirit, and Soul—of someone who has ostensibly realized Brahman, we discover there is no change in their spiritual evolutionary status. The Soul Spark, Soul, or Monad do not move forward, but remain in their current state. Some exponents of Vedanta and Advaita acknowledge the presence of cosmic consciousness—Vedanta, for example, calls this essence, the Atman—but suggest it only advances through insight and realization that any apparent separation between Atman and Brahman is illusory. This perceived separation of Atman and Brahman is construed as a result of ignorance, which vanishes upon the realization that you, in truth, are Brahman.

In Mudrashram®, we point out that Brahman is the form of God that you realize in the First Cosmic Initiation. While it is seen as the summit of spiritual attainment and realization in many Yogi Preceptor traditions, we note that it is only a way station upon the path in the upward ascent of the Astral Soul through the Cosmic Sphere—and there are further spiritual evolutionary potentials that you can develop in the higher Initiations of the Cosmic Sphere, and in Supracosmic and Transcendental Spheres beyond the highest levels of the Cosmic Sphere.

So collapsing everything into union and identification with Brahman will guarantee bliss, and will make you realize that the entire universe is illusion. We hope, however, in your quest to realize that the world is illusion and only God is real that you do not fall into delusion about your actual spiritual evolutionary status—or worse, that you assume you are a god-like being and ignore your humanity.

We also call your attention to note that while Brahman realization is an exalted state of consciousness, there are many stages beyond it, and you need not limit your spiritual development to this station on the Path. [Those who wish to know about the stages beyond Brahman will benefit from reading our article, “The Great Continuum of Consciousness.”]

Coming to the Doorway of Meditation

By George A. Boyd ©2016

Those who have never meditated before may find there is no apparent path for attention out of the brain—or may find themselves in an intermediate state. These pre-meditation states, and initial entrance to the state where one can meditate are briefly described below.

  1. Mind like concrete – You are only aware of your brain. There is no apparent path outside of this state of awareness.
  2. Mind like asphalt – you are aware of a background or surface behind the brain, which appears to be solid and darkened. There is no apparent path outside of this state of awareness.
  3. Mind like snail – You are aware intermittently of an inner point of light behind the two eyes, and a coiled, spiral or chamber-like structure that resembles that of a shell of a snail or nautilus. You do not see any apparent way to lift up into the light that appears there.
  4. Mind like styrofoam – You are aware that the light that you saw in the point between the eyebrows appears to be diffused and circulated in a cellular structure, but it has no apparent direction, and no path out of this matrix can be discerned.
  5. Mind like transparent tube – You become aware of the thread of consciousness for the first time. It is visible as a transparent tube filled with light, but when you try to enter it, you keep slipping out. Initially, you might find it difficult to stay in it, but with further practice, you can hold your attention in it steadily, and begin to travel in it.
  6. Mind like lotus flower – Your attention appears to collect in a ball of mind stuff. You experience being fully present. This is the state of mindfulness. The tube of light appears to connect with this lotus from the heart area below, and it appears to extend beyond the medulla center, tracking upward at about a 15-degree angle.
  7. Mind like flowing river – Your collected sphere of attention lifts up into this tube of light, and rests in a series of focal points in each successive form or vehicle of consciousness. This is the beginning of the state of meditation.

If you find yourself in states one to five, the pre-meditation states, there are several ways to transcend them and move to the place where you can begin to meditate. These methods include:

  1. Light Immersion – This occurs when a spiritual Master or advanced disciple sends the Light of Attunement to you, and you ride this current of Light and Fire into the state of mindfulness and meditation.
  2. The Hansa Breath – This is a meditation we teach that helps many meditators collect their attention into mindfulness and then, to begin following the thread of consciousness.
  3. Sustained chanting – Some people find that the resonance of their inner vehicles of consciousness through occurs during chanting lifts their awareness into these higher states of consciousness, and their attention is drawn upward through the vortex of energy that this method generates. Some people may have the same response to prayers that are repeated many times—for example, Catholics may repeat the “Our Father” or “Hail Mary” prayer, as their fingers move on a rosary, hundreds of times.
  4. Awakening of the Kundalini – People who experienced a spontaneous or induced awakening of their Kundalini Shakti may find that their attention is irresistibly drawn up into higher states of consciousness through this means. Similar experiences occur when people experience the Holy Spirit infilling the receptacle of the Christ Child nucleus of identity: this inner anointing may also lift the attention into union with this center.
  5. Sustained use of breathing techniques (Pranayama) – Some people find that rhythmic and deep breathing methods allow them to awaken their awareness into the state of the medulla lotus and arrive at the state where they can begin to meditate.
  6. Guided meditation, hypnosis, and movement meditation – Some people respond well to listening to a guided meditation or can readily go into a deeper state through meditation. For others, either specialized postures or movement [like those used in hatha yoga or martial arts] or deep relaxation exercises can ease them across this barrier into the medulla center.
  7. Transformational method – Use of a transformational mantra can actively dissolve this apparent veil that forms in the mind that keeps attention in the intermediate states, and allows attention to collect in its core essence as the sphere of mind stuff. Kriya Yoga, another transformational method, may have analogous effect. We teach you how to activate your transformational mantra in our intermediate courses.

The helix of the mind must release the impressions that have built up in the zone below where the lotus flower dwells in the medulla center, which is the seat of the ball of attention. The meditator can either open through this veil through methods one to six, or dissolve it entirely with a transformational method. We recommend beginning meditators learn these methods, so they can transcend these pre-meditation stages into the state of consciousness where meditation is possible.

Imagination in Spirituality

By George A. Boyd © 2016

We are taken with the claims of many New Age channelers, coaches, and metaphysical teachers and authors, who assert that one needs only to visualize something and intend that it will manifest magically and effortlessly through the operation of metaphysical laws. Some cite the Law of Attraction as the ground of their assertions, and each of these “helpers” has a slightly different take on how this principle operates, and what goes awry when it doesn’t seem to work.

The method of visualizing and intending is actually one of the ways we activate the faculty of the imagination. Can you visualize yourself levitating three feet off the ground? Can you imagine what it would be like to ride across the galaxy in a flying saucer? Can you see yourself having a paid for two million dollar house, a 46-foot yacht, a Lamborghini in your driveway, and ten million dollars in your bank account? Can you envision yourself having the perfect partner in your life—your Soul Mate?

We point out that simply to imagine that you have something is not the same as actually possessing it; to affirm that you are something is not the same as actually being it; and to picture that you are doing something is not the same as actually doing it. For example:

  • You might visualize there is a million dollars in your bank account, but until your bank statement comes back with those kind of figures in it, you don’t actually have a million dollars.
  • You might affirm that you are an employee who is highly competent, irreplaceable, and whom your employer values so highly that he will pay you over $100,000 a year, but until you actually are in a work environment where those things are possible, and you have the skills to merit that level of pay, you will dream on.
  • You might picture yourself taking your trip around the world and plan all of your stops, but until you pay for that trip, you aren’t going anywhere.

The Tenacity of Belief

In most of the formulations of manifestation, there is an imperative that you must “believe” strongly that “the Law of Attraction,” “your Higher Self,” “the Universe,” or “God” is ready to manifest whatever you desire. Let us look for moment at the permutations of belief in their practical outcomes.

  1. You believe strongly that something will happen. It doesn’t. This is an erroneous belief.
  2. You believe strongly that something will happen…for years. It never does. You continue to hold to the belief. This is delusion.
  3. You believe strongly that something will happen. It does. You attribute it to your Higher Power and feel that your conviction was justified. But was it due to the influence of your Higher Power or the operation of hidden, higher Laws? Was it due to your own sustained effort? Or was it just a coincidence? Just chance? This is an occurrence of unknown causation.
  4. You believe strongly that something will happen. It does. Every time you believe that something will happen, it always does. This suggests that you may have reliably tapped into the power of manifestation.

So the question you need to ask yourself, is what percentage of the time, when I do these “treatments,” “visualizations,” “prayers of faith,” “affirmations,” or “decrees,” do they actually work? Could you track it? Could you note the outcome?

For example:

  • On 2/13/14 at 8am, I did Law of Attraction exercise. Outcome? No change.
  • You would journal each exercise that you did and note the results. You could look at results for different time frames: same day, next day, next week, next month, next year, or next five years.
  • You would monitor the outcome, noting whether it did manifest or not.
  • You would examine the evidence for what may have actually caused the outcome, as opposed to what you might have attributed it. [For example, you did affirmations to get a good paying job. However, you put in many hours sending out résumés, getting job interviews, adding to your employable skills by taking classes, and networking with your former colleagues to get information about potential employers who were hiring. Which strategy was more effective in getting you the job? The affirmation or the job search?]

This testing of the claims of belief based on their actual outcome is a crucial tenant of science, and it forms the basis of rational thinking and reality testing. We abandon this to our peril.

People who are in various coaching, mastermind, self-help, metaphysical, and spiritual groups have powerful convictions that their hopes and wishes will be magically fulfilled. Do these beliefs actually manifest? For many of them, the answer is sadly, “no.”

I am reminded of the wise words of Kahuna Serge King: “results are the measure of your effectiveness.” So treat, affirm, visualize, have faith, and decree—but also take constructive action. Activate the Subconscious and Superconscious mind through these evocative methods, but also plan, schedule, and set goals to ensure you actually achieve what you envision.

A dream is an idea that you have clothed in your desires. You make dreams come true through action, not wishing, hoping, or fantasizing. Imagination can help your formulate exactly what you want, but will and intelligence help you transform that dream into reality.

The Problem of Diffuse Aspiration

By George A. Boyd © 2017

Many seekers go to a variety of spiritual teachers, learn a plethora of meditation techniques, and after years of following this pattern, have little or nothing to show for their efforts. Why is this? It is the problem of diffuse aspiration.

Diffuse aspiration occurs when you have not clearly identified a spiritual objective, you have not made a commitment to obtain that objective, and are not working regularly to achieve it. You don’t get results in any Path you encounter, because you don’t complete it. You are left with multiple false starts and incompletions, and a lot of confusion about the metaphysical truths that inform your life.

Consider the example of the student who takes classes of interest a la carte in college over a five-year period. Then compare the progress of the student who decides on a major, takes a full load, and takes all the classes required for the major.

The student who takes classes a la carte may accrue 40 to 60 units, but has no degree, and has no marketable skills. The student, who decides on a major, graduates and has marketable skills for a career or has built a foundation for further graduate education.

Diffuse aspiration takes a variety of forms:

  1. Spiritual window shoppers – These seekers go to innumerable lectures, have darshan of many saints and Gurus, buy lots of books that they never get around to reading, and can offer their opinion on many teachers—they are particularly adept at spiritual gossip. They rarely, if ever, actually take a class, receive initiation, or actually make a commitment to ethical rules and self-discipline required to actually progress on the spiritual path. [If they do take a class, they often do not finish it.]
  2. Spiritual syncretists – These seekers actually read the books they buy, but given that these books describe world views that are radically different, these seekers put this together in a complete intellectual mish mosh. They have archangels who hang out with Sat Gurus of the Transcendental Sphere, side by side with Ascended Masters of the Second Planetary Initiation and Yogi Preceptors of the First Cosmic Initiation, with a few extraterrestrials thrown in for good measure. If they are having a difficult life, this creative weaving together of unrelated material can move to the dark side, and generate elaborate, paranoid conspiracy theories.
  3. The “secret” collectors – These seekers get initiated into a variety of Paths so they can learn the secret techniques. They don’t actually practice the methods for more than a few weeks, but now they know… the secrets! At parties, they let it drop that they are “initiates” of [list of Gurus] and have learned the “secret mysteries.” Others are impressed. They don’t get many dates with this approach, however.
  4. The eternal flow-ers – These seekers get locked into the flow or Tao, and remain monitoring the present time—the stream of consciousness that arises in each moment. They do not use their will or intention, so they drift through life, from one misadventure to another. If they do serendipitously run into the circle around a spiritual teacher, they may become initiated, but their continual mindful monitoring of the flow of life makes it challenging for them to actually do the techniques—as they have practiced their stream of consciousness approach to life for so long, it is difficult to break out of this mode.
  5. The spiritual analysts – These seekers get caught up in the minutia of each word the spiritual teacher uses in books and lectures, and attempt to analyze their meaning. They torture themselves if they do not understand the exact meaning, and they are hopelessly confused when they are presented with alternate presentations of the same word, or the word used in other contexts. As a consequence, they never actually meditate, and hence make zero progress on whatever Path they embrace.
  6. The purists – These seekers hone in on the moral failings and faults of the Guru. They hold the Guru to the highest standards, and believe that the spiritual teacher must live up to the seeker’s values and expectations. They cannot allow the spiritual teacher to be a human being: to make mistakes, to experience human emotion, to laugh at jokes, to have human relationships, or to have regular interests like other people—the spiritual Master must be perfect in every way—a living god or goddess. If their teacher does not live up to their impossibly high expectations, they find an excuse to leave the Path. As a result, these seekers typically make good progress during the early stages of their spiritual journey under the tutelage of this spiritual teacher, but then they leave when they find that he or she is “not perfect.”
  7. The mysterious and powerful – These seekers aim to gain powers to control their experience and make others respect them. They are attracted to hypnosis, techniques that enable them to control their body and mind, and to ostensibly demonstrate miraculous powers over Nature. If perverted, these individuals can become charlatans and cult leaders, who attempt to control the lives of others. If misguided, they can dabble with powerful techniques that result in disabling Kundalini syndromes or outright madness. If they continue their pursuit of the mysterious and arcane, they may become magicians, occultists, or cabbalists—making no actual spiritual progress, but becoming experts of “secret doctrines” and “the words of power.”

To avoid wasting your time on your spiritual quest, it is important to understand some basic ground rules.

  1. To learn something, you have to actually study it—and remember, integrate, and use what you learn.
  2. You need to understand ideas in the context or territory in which they are embedded. The word “Soul” has a different meaning when it is viewed in the Planetary Realm of the Continuum, in the Cosmic, on a Supracosmic Path, or on a particular Transcendental Path.
  3. The objective of spiritual development is not to learn secret techniques; it is to develop your spiritual essence to completion in any Path that you begin.
  4. There is a time to “be” and to “flow;” there is a time to use volition and intention to actually guide the direction of your life and to make steady progress on your chosen spiritual Path. You need to be able to function in both modes. You need to know when each mode is appropriate.
  5. To understand abstract and subtle spiritual ideas, you cannot penetrate them with reason. You need to begin to use your intellect and intuition to enable you to grasp the ideas conveyed in the spiritual languaging of books, discourses, and scriptures.
  6. Realize that if your standards are extremely high, no one will be able to live up to them. While many spiritual teachers have mastered the art of entering into—and in some cases, living in—an altered state of consciousness, so you can see the mirror of Divinity within their spiritual essences, they don’t stop being human beings. Have some compassion and understanding for your spiritual teacher—he or she is a human being just like you—and also has needs, issues, and aspirations.
  7. It is important to understand that spiritual progress is founded upon the bedrock of service and compassion for the suffering and struggles of others. If you gain spiritual powers, how will these help someone else? How will they relieve the misery and travail of someone? Does the secret knowledge you gain actually help someone make progress in his or her life, overcome a problem, or travel further on the spiritual Path? While hypnosis can be used therapeutically, using it to control or enslave others is a strategy of the Dark Forces, not of those who dwell in the Light. It is important to look at your motivations as to why you want to gain powers. Instead, consider the question, “what can I learn and do that will help and uplift others and assuage their misery, overcome their ignorance, and assist them to actualize their personal and spiritual potentials?”

If you want to make progress in life, or on the spiritual Path, you have to know what it is you want, and then pursue it until you achieve it. When you are presented with a spiritual system, you need to ask, “does this meditation system get me to my goal or not?”

You need to be clear and ask yourself, “What is the goal of my aspiration?” Do I want to go to heaven after I die? Do I want to become an Ascended Master? Do I want to become a Yogi Preceptor? Do I want to become a Cosmic Master? Do I want to reach the spiritual summit of a Supracosmic Path and gain the same state of consciousness as a particular Guru? Do I want to reach the highest Plane on a Transcendental Path and merge my spirit in its origin? Do I want to obtain Multiplane Mastery?

Once you are clear you know what you want, look for someone who teaches you how to attain that goal. When I was in my seeking period, I decided I wanted that I wanted to find a Sat Guru, someone who could guide my spirit to its origin on the Second Transcendental Path. I specifically looked for a Sat Guru.

My third teacher, Sant Darshan Singh, was a teacher who could deliver on this. I studied with him and finished this objective. [If you want to learn about my spiritual journey, read the article, “My Spiritual Journey.”]

Once you decide on the Path, take initiation. Practice the techniques and work with the teacher until you reach your objective. Do not settle for anything less.

Turn your diffuse aspiration into laser-targeted clarity about what you are striving to do, how you do it, and what you will need to do to actually accomplish your goal. You will then—as the character John Luc Picard of “Star Trek: the Next Generation” used to say—“make it so.”