Gradations of Subtle Vision

By George A. Boyd © 2019

Q: Does inner seeing progress over time? Are there markers of that progress?

A: We can characterize four major stages of subtle vision: Initial awakening, noumenal vision, essence vision, and trans-noetic vision.

Initial vision dawns with the first opening of astral sight. Five markers are commonly evident:

  1. Flashes of light, first white, then colors
  2. Kaleidoscopic patterns of light, “psychedelic” images
  3. Shapes, including random geometric forms and a cascade of images—these present as two dimensional images
  4. Forms, beginning with the ability to see a vehicle of consciousness, indicates the surfacing of three dimensional sight
  5. Movement, which first appears as awareness of movement within your inner vehicles, and culminates with discernment of the content arising in the present time—the capacity for mindfulness and monitoring the content of vehicles of consciousness at different levels of the mind (Vipassana) becomes possible at this level of subtle sight. Also associated with this level of vision is to sense your “observing mind,” or attention.

Noumenal vision is the ability to see beings on the Astral Plane. Three typical markers emerge during this stage.

  1. Beholding the astral form of others, with the recognition this is a conscious being. At this level, many people may get their first vision of a ghost or extraterrestrial. These astral forms move, and you sense a definite presence inhabiting the form.
  2. Telepathic contacts, where you see the astral form of others, but they also talk to you. Aspirants report two major types of telepathic contact: (1) become aware of speech as a thought force—e.g., you hear their thoughts—and (2) you see the lips of their astral body move, as in normal physical speech. In addition to ghosts or extraterrestrials, aspirants begin to commune with guides, angels, and Ascended Masters at this stage.
  3. Astral panorama, where you become aware of scenery of the astral dimensional environment surrounding a being’s astral form. Many New Age artists, who purportedly portray scenes from the Astral Planes, demonstrate this type of noumenal vision.

Essence vision is the capacity to envision the essences of consciousness. Six typical abilities develop at this stage. Development of these abilities permits you to minister to these essences and interact with them.

  1. The ability to see seed atoms in vehicles of consciousness and the thread of consciousness connecting them.
  2. The ability to view the spiritual heart in others.
  3. The ability to recognize the attentional principle.
  4. The ability to discern a nucleus of identity.
  5. The ability to behold the ensouling entity.
  6. The ability to become aware of the Divine Spirit, and minister the Light consciously.

Trans-noetic vision is the capability to “read” the contents of the Continuum of Light. We call this expansion of the ability of your attentional principle, Metavision. Nine progressively subtle varieties are typical.

  1. The ability to clearly differentiate the colors, energy, and qualities of the Seven Rays.
  2. The ability to visualize the forms of the archetypes and symbols embedded in both the awakened and unawakened levels of the mind.
  3. The ability to locate the seed of calling at the edge of Liberation.
  4. The ability to contemplate the content of a nodal point, of a Nadamic tone, or seed atom.
  5. The ability to make out the energy patterns of a mantra and to perceive the “little wheels” on the tracks through the unconscious mind
  6. The ability to envision the Divine vortices that are at the origins of Subplanes, Planes, and entire Divisions of the Great Continuum of Consciousness.
  7. The ability to observe the ensouling entities and forms of angels and gods and goddesses, and their reflections on different Planes. This faculty also allows you to distinguish the ensouling entities of Masters and their reflections on the Planes in which they manifest forms of ministry.
  8. The ability to clearly perceive the Divine, and the Divine activation of lineage holders and Initiates at each level of the Continuum.
  9. The ability to directly encounter the Voidness or Unmanifest form of the Divine beyond Creation.

As you meditate more and spend more time in the state of Light Immersion and communion with the Masters of your lineage, this inner capacity for subtle seeing improves for most aspirants over time. While the subtlest types of trans-noetic vision will not immediately dawn when the faculty of subtle vision first appears in you, you can expect over time that you will begin to become capable of finer and finer visual discernment.

Those of you who wish to gain greater facility with inner visioning will benefit from taking the Vision Workshop, which is available on our Public Webinar platform. [Click on the Public tab on this page, and sign up for Public membership.]

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.

What Is An Ensouling Entity?

By George A. Boyd © 2019

Q: In your writings, you talk about an ensouling entity. What is that?

A: When we examine the four poles of being, the ensouling entity dwells on the first pole of being. There are 13 of these ensouling entities—these are the master integration centers in the Superconscious mind for different segments of the Great Continuum of Consciousness. These include:

Ensouling Entity Number

What We Call the Ensouling Entity

Where It Operates


Spark (Jivan Atma)

Subtle Realm


Soul (Atma), also called Higher Self,
or Transpersonal Self

Planetary Realm



Transplanetary Realm


Soul (Hansa Atma)

Cosmic Realm


Soul (Binda Atma)

Supracosmic Realm


of the Bridge Path

portion of the Bridge Path


ensouling entity

Transcendental Path


ensouling entity

Transcendental Path


ensouling entity

Transcendental Path


ensouling entity

Transcendental Path


ensouling entity

Transcendental Path


ensouling entity

Transcendental Path


ensouling entity (Satchitananda)

Transcendental Path

The ensouling entity is the Divine Atom that ties together the activity of the awakened vehicles of consciousness in that band of the Continuum of Consciousness, links with the development of the spirit through that level, and is the focus of the attentional principle that brings about enlightenment and Gnosis for that segment of the Continuum.

In many spiritual traditions, they teach you to focus your attention on the third pole, and identify with a nucleus of identity. In some of these traditions, they may not be aware that there is the overshadowing ensouling entity; and some of them may also not be aware of the spirit.

As a consequence, you see these groups identifying with a nucleus of identity, and using transformational methods to unfold it. When spiritual practice is done in this way, you will often see that a selected nucleus of identity is moved off of the axis of being, and aspirants’ attention is fixed in this integration center of the Superconscious mind. This strategy for spiritual development brings about imbalances.

In our Integral meditation program, we teach you meditations to awaken your spiritual essences on all four poles of being. We teach you how to do this in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation, and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. This strategy unfolds all four poles in synchrony, so you do not generate imbalances.


On Alchemy

By George A. Boyd © 1992

While with the knowledge of modern physics, it is quite possible to change lead into gold, this process will do little, if anything, to transform a human being inwardly: to create a golden, virtuous character, to produce a mind that has wisdom, to awaken the nuggets of genius and illumination, to unfold the treasures of the Soul and spirit.

The alchemy that we seek is an internal one, one that does not require cyclotrons, but instead requires the reception of a subtler form of energy that arises from the very funs of Being. These particular types of alchemy are described below.

  1. Physical – The transformation of one element into another—or into an isotopic variation—by increasing or decreasing the proton or neutron ratios within individual atoms
  2. Astral – The transformation of the subtle form with which you identify yourself
  3. Causal – The dissolution by burning upon the inner fire of karmic issues, transforming ignorance into wisdom
  4. Buddhic – Removing the veil of nescience that covers the Soul, granting discrimination (viveka) of the highest degree
  5. Atmic – The transformation of the Soul into its evolutionary potentials through the process of initiation
  6. Spiritual – The opening of the channels of the Nada and purifying the inner vehicles
  7. Transcendental – The ability of the anointed and empowered Adept, who by channeling the Light-Fire of Spirit, brings about the internal alchemy of types 2 through 6 in the aspirants and disciples to whom he or she ministers.

We are each called to be alchemists, but this does not require the reading of arcane texts, the construction of an elaborate chemical apparatus, the boiling of strange colored solids and liquids, and the bubbling of ethereal elixirs in subliming glass.

The homunculus we seek to create will never know a womb of glass: its abode is the human heart. The real homunculus or new man, the real philosopher’s stone is none other than the Soul enlightened and illumined by the Divine Spirit. And by this inner fire, the gross and unconscious karmic elements that adhere to the inner vehicles are heated, dissolved, vaporized, and transformed into their essence—a new virtue, a new ability, a new intuitive truth revealed to the Soul.

Alchemy does not happen only once in the Soul. It is an ongoing event. It happens again and again, until the hidden Purpose that the Divine has hidden in the Soul is fulfilled and fully manifested. So if you understand what alchemy truly is, you can learn how to become an inner alchemist—by learning the art of transformational meditation and discovering how to receive the Light that illumines, transforms, purifies, and frees.

Those of you who wish the keys to this inner alchemy can learn how in our intermediate classes, our in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and our by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.