Concerning Right Livelihood

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: Do you have any guidance about right livelihood? Can the Masters shed any light on this pillar of Buddhist Dharma?

A: There are two major themes in this precept, as we might interpret it for modern life. When the Buddha was alive, 563 BCE to 482 BCE, there were many fewer professions in the world, so we have to take this into account when we interpret this moral rule.

The first theme has to do with not tapping professions that utilize the activities of the Lower Astral Plane, which enslave people through addiction, or attempt to control others through bullying, intimidation, deception, or distorting the truth.

The second theme has to do with the Law of Non-Injury, which says we must not create suffering for any living beings through what we do in our profession.

When we examine the Lower Astral Plane, there are ten major Subplanes:

  1. On the first Subplane, you encounter the archetypes of Wiccan spirituality.
  2. On the second Subplane, you learn about ritual magic and protections against dark forces.
  3. On the third Subplane, you come upon the Chemical Snare—the abode of drug addiction.
  4. On the fourth Subplane, you stumble upon the Sexual Snare—the realm of sexual addiction and fascination.
  5. On the fifth Subplane, you find the Criminal Snare—where people threaten, intimidate, extort, blackmail, injure, and kill others to make money.
  6. On the sixth Subplane, you discover the Political Snare of Power and Corruption—where people use political office to enrich themselves and their families at the expense of the people of a town, a county, a state, or a nation.
  7. On the seventh Subplane, you uncover the Spiritual Snare, which uses manipulation and abuse to lock people into spiritual slavery to a religion or cult.
  8. On the eighth Subplane, you become aware of the Hermit, who meditates to become free from the snares of the third through seventh Subplanes through dispassion and wisdom.
  9. On the ninth Subplane, you behold the degrees of the five Occult Initiations and the Occult Hierarchy that trains initiates in the Occult Teachings and using the Occult Powers—these beings hold those in the Lower Astral Plane and the other bands of the Middle Subtle Realm in their thrall.
  10. On the tenth Subplane, you move beyond the abode of the Dark Lord who oversees the entire Lower Astral Plane, and move across the bridge to the Light of Liberation from the Lower Astral.

As you examine each Subplane, we can break these down into professions or moneymaking activities that invoke dark elements of the Lower Astral Plane and that may also violate the rule of non-injury. This is not an exhaustive list: it samples from these realms activities that draw upon the hypnotic forces of the Lower Astral Plane.

Wiccan Spirituality

  • Using “spells” that harm others; doing “fortune telling” that deceives others to extract money from them and make them dependent on the reader
  • Disseminating herbal oils, potions, or tinctures meant to poison others or injure them
  • Disseminating herbal oils, potions, or tinctures that allow predators to take sexual advantage of others (e.g., date rape drugs), or to anesthetize them so they can be robbed

Ritual Magic

  • Using talismans or objects of sympathetic magic (e.g., a voodoo doll) to cause harm to others
  • Giving teachings that train others to harm others using the Magical Arts

Chemical Snare

  • Disseminating or selling drugs or alcohol to others with the aim to intoxicate them and addict them, so they will become dependent upon the drug and continue to want to purchase it
  • Manufacturing and distributing drugs to those who are addicted with an aim to keep them addicted; drug dealers [this excludes legitimate medical use of these substances for treatment under the supervision of a medical professional]
  • Bartending and selling alcohol

Sexual Snare

  • Distributing pornography with the aim to feed the sexual addiction of others
  • Sex working (prostitution) and sexual bondage workers
  • Using sexuality to force one’s will on others; rape and sexual slavery
  • Pedophilia; sexual abuse of children, the elderly, or dependent adults
  • Distributing sexual enhancement or sexual enjoyment aids as a means of serving others’ addiction to sexuality

Criminal Snare

  • Using deception and misinformation to sell dangerous and substandard products to make money
  • Engaging in extortion, blackmail, or intimidation to gain money or to control others through fear
  • Bullying, threatening, or frightening others to silence them or control them with the threat of physical violence or with a weapon
  • Participating in theft and robbery
  • Adopting schemes to cheat on taxes; utilizing elaborate methods to hide funds from taxation
  • Murdering others for a living [this excludes the actions of soldiers carrying out the legitimate defense of their homeland against invasion or insurrection]
  • Forming syndicates or gangs to engage in sales of illegal drugs, weapons, sexual and work slaves (human trafficking), body parts of endangered species, and counterfeit products

Political Power Snare

  • Accepting bribes and kickbacks to grant favorable treatment to those who petition the government
  • Disseminating propaganda and lies to manipulate the beliefs and behavior of citizens
  • Granting backdoor deals to grant favorable treatment, outside the legal track of procurement
  • Lobbying to maintain illegal or criminal corporate practices
  • Mounting legal suits to intimidate others and destroy them
  • Using government funds to enrich themselves and their families
  • Employing lies and trickery to defeat political opponents, and destroy their reputation

Spiritual Snare

  • Keeping people locked in a hypnotic state, so they can be readily manipulated
  • Creating a false sense of urgency through scenarios of doomsday and catastrophe, to force people to donate money to the leader and obey his or her commands
  • Frightening people through images of hell, demonic attack or possession to enhance their faith in their leader
  • Engaging in practices of spiritual possession and giving powerful suggestion while believers are in hypnotic trance to do the leader’s bidding
  • Offering schemes of indulgences (e.g., forgiveness of sins or salvation for monetary donations)
  • Abusing followers, calling it chastisement; seducing followers, telling them it will bring them closer to God
  • Lying to people in the name of religion to control them and govern every aspect of their lives

Hermit Subplane

There are no professions or activities that tap this level—this represents the withdrawal and renunciation from the other harmful activities of the Lower Astral Subplanes below this station on the Path.

Occult Initiations

  • Using hypnosis to control people against their will
  • Employing seduction and sexual magic to make people buy products and follow the initiate’s bidding
  • Using powerful symbols to mystify, confuse, and distract people
  • Summoning the nation’s resources to maintain authoritarian control over every aspect of life; acting as a tyrant or dictator
  • Leading others in the projects of Occult Adepts to gather groups of people to carry them out; using media to persuade people to follow this movement that the thought stream of an Occult Adept inspires

Bridge to Liberation from the Lower Astral Plane

There are no professions or activities that tap this level—this represents the withdrawal and renunciation from the magnetic maelstrom of fascination of the Lower Astral Plane

Not Injuring Others through Your Profession

As you extract your Soul Spark from the bondage of the Lower Astral Plane, your first task is to stop doing the activities that draw upon the levels of dark realm. This means:

  1. Notice you are engaging in that activity
  2. Identify an alternate means you could earn a living
  3. Study or train to move into that new profession
  4. Gain employment into that new profession
  5. Stop doing that activity that draws upon the Lower Astral and earning money from it

As you continue to evolve spiritually, and your compassion for the suffering of others grows, you may adopt new values that do not allow you to participate in the harming of others. Examples of this change include:

  • Not eating flesh foods; adopting a vegan diet; no longer buying animal products or working in establishments that sell animal foods
  • Not using sales tactics that manipulate others to buy your products or services
  • Not supporting industries that disseminate insecticides and chemical poisons; instead, eating organic foods; farming using sustainable, biodynamic, and organic farming methods
  • Finding ways to live more frugally and less wastefully
  • Supporting renewable energy and finding ways to wean yourself off of dependence on fossil and nuclear fuels
  • Training and gaining employment in helping professions that heal, uplift, and empower people, such as: psychotherapist, coach, counselor, teacher, healing arts practitioner, yoga instructor, meditation teacher, or minister
    As part of your necessary need to provide livelihood for yourself and your family, some of you have engaged in these activities of the Lower Astral Plane. We encourage you to extract yourself from these activities and transition to ways of earning your livelihood that do not enslave, harm, or manipulate others. This may not happen overnight, but set yourself on the Path of getting out of these activities and professions that harm others, and ultimately, become a channel for the Love and Light of God through your profession.

Making Improvements in Your Life

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: I feel stuck in my life and I don’t feel like I’m making progress. How do I get unstuck?

A: You need to give your attention to activities that shift your health, relationships, work and finances; and that empower you. Most people waste their time doing things that do not move them forward, so they feel that they are spinning their wheels. Let’s look at some of these things you can do that can create movement:

Health – Regular exercise; regulation of your diet; doing deep, full breathing; and doing hatha yoga for stress release and flexibility will help improve your health

Relationships – Enhancing your communication; and when necessary, obtaining psychotherapy or couples counseling to clear the issues you are bringing into the relationship can help clear interpersonal conflicts you are having

Career and Finances – Learning to set goals and to achieve them; establishing habits that upgrade your productivity and effectiveness; developing the abilities to be assertive, to negotiate, and persuade others underpin greater success in your career—and as you are more successful in your career, this is often reflected in increased income

Education – Gaining greater proficiency in study skills; reflecting on ideas to distill their meaning; and actively using knowledge you acquire facilitates you becoming a better student

Values and character – Examining your values through introspection; practicing loving-kindness meditation; active listening and empathic reflection; identifying values you want to implement in your life will assist you in refining your character

Wisdom and insight – Doing Reflective Meditation, Vipassana, and dialoging with your Soul can support your acquisition of wisdom and insight.

Consciousness and Spirituality – Awakening your attentional principle, spirit, and Soul; discovering the many dimensions of the mind through contemplation; and transforming your personal and spiritual potentials through mediation can augment this area of your life

The things that enable you to make these shifts in these and other important areas of your life are:

  1. Visualize what you want to achieve
  2. Believe these changes are possible
  3. Learn how you can make these changes
  4. Set a goal to achieve this and break this goal down into a series of achievable steps
  5. Choose to begin enacting this goal and begin working on the first step
  6. Continue this process until you are able to achieve what you visualize

As you shift your focus to constructive activity instead of time-wasting activity, you will find that your life will begin to change for the better. This will encourage you to continue this positive movement.

Those of you who wish to improve in the areas of wisdom and insight, and consciousness and spirituality will benefit from learning to meditate. We teach many of these insightive and transformation skills you need to begin generating movement in these areas in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

Those of you who wish support in making these life changes will find benefit from our Life Coaching Program, which trains you step-by-step into how to get back into control in your life and implement the changes you want.

Moving from Blind Belief to Wisdom

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: What locks people into blind faith? How do they move out of this mindset into a more realistic perspective?

A: You have to first understand how people come to believe in fantasy and conspiracy theories.

Reality is based on facts and evidence.

Facts are objects that can be weighed and measured. These are verified events for which there is a record.

Evidence is a statement or documentation that truthfully and accurately attests to facts and events.

Conjecture extrapolates from facts and evidence to explore inference and speculation.

Inference examines what can be reasonably deduced after examining evidence.

Speculation examines what if scenarios, and imagines possible outcomes that might occur if certain actions took place, or alternate explanations for the evidence that is presented. [When speculation becomes untethered from reality, it moves over the threshold into fantasy.]

Fantasy steps outside evidence, and asks you to believe what you are told without examining or questioning it. Fantasy appears as allegation and innuendo.

Allegation is based on what you heard, read, or watched on visual media from someone you believe is a convincing or trustworthy source, but there is no verifiable evidence to substantiate it. [Many conspiracy theories operate at this level; blind faith is also anchored at this level.]

Innuendo imputes evil intentions and clandestine illegal or corrupt behavior to others, often citing spurious or uncorroborated sources.

Manipulation is based on a purposeful intention to distort and deceive. At this level, someone is disseminating false information with an aim to spread allegations and innuendo to defeat an opponent or competitor; or to convince others of the superiority of their candidate, product or service. [Unfortunately, many political communications utilize manipulation to help their candidate to win, as do companies that seek to keep a dangerous or toxic product on the market.]

It appears that those that embrace blind faith believe allegation and innuendo. They are motivated to believe these things because it taps into their desires, fears, and anger. Those who are afraid… those who are made to feel outrage… those that are desperate to achieve their desires… alas, can be easily manipulated.

Q: How do people get out of this blind faith mindset?

A: This appears to be a process of discovering flaws with the beliefs they hold, searching for the truth, and discovering wisdom. There appears to be seven major steps in rising above blind belief:

Blind Belief Phase

  1. Blind faith believes without questioning because you trust the source of the information you believe.
  2. Dawning of first awareness occurs when you believe what you hear, read, or view, but you note that some aspects of the message don’t make sense. At first, you ignore these doubts, hoping there will be an explanation of the discrepancy at a later time or as you learn more.

Quest for the Truth Phase

  1. Questioning arises when there are a sufficient number of discrepancies to warrant re-examining your belief. You begin to question the facts of the message and scrutinize your doubts.
  2. Research studies the sources of the information that are presented, and checks each one to see if it is verifiable and accurate.

Wisdom Phase

  1. The step of Implications surface when you look at what might happen if the contentions of the source of your belief actually played out in reality, and whether the predications or expectations of this belief have come true. [Wild speculation and allegations have a way of not coming to pass.]
  2. The step of Intention considers what impression the communicator is trying to make, and how he or she is trying to influence your beliefs and values.
  3. The step of Motivation inquires why the speaker is attempting to make these impressions and to impact your beliefs and values—what he or she is getting from communicating this message. [This is the level you discover whether the source of the communication is attempting to manipulate you.]

Because people who hold the same beliefs surround those who are locked into a blind faith mindset, there is nothing to spark questioning of the belief—so they simply remain in that mindset, and the light of wisdom never illumines the truth. Moreover, those that attempt to point out the falsity of their beliefs are regarded as emissaries of evil, sent to dissuade them of their truth—as those who might attempt to change their belief have been painted with the dark brush of innuendo.

So it is not easy to for people to break out of the perceptual filter of blind belief, but it is possible. If you understand the steps of how you can become locked into blind faith perspectives and study the beliefs that hold them in place, you can dismantle them and get free of their hypnotic thrall.

Those of you who have had your rationality and your life taken over by involvement in a religious or political cult may find that our Cult Recovery Coaching Program will help you find your way out of this manipulative programming and reclaim your own life, and independent thinking and choosing again. We stand ready to support you regain your freedom again.

Formulating Questions for Journaling

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: I seem to get the same material when I am journaling and inquiring—asking questions to my Higher Self? I keep exploring these same issues, like I am continually re-hashing the same stuff.

A: It depends on what question you ask. Different questions evoke discrete responses from the Subconscious and the Subconscious mind. For example, if you ask:

How do you feel? You’ll dredge up the emotional issues you have been dealing with in your life. [This question is often used as a segue into psychotherapy—it focuses you on your poignant emotional issues and concerns.]

What do you really want? You’ll tap the core of your desires that motivate you. [This is a good one to use if you are experiencing boredom and ennui with key areas in your life—your relationship, the people in your social network, your classes in school, your career, or your spiritual or religious organization.]

What fears hold you back? You’ll examine the obstacles fear puts up to block your success. [If you have not been moving forward on your dreams and aspirations because of fear, this is a beneficial question to ask.]

What doubts don’t allow you to move forward? You’ll look into how lack of belief in your Self, or a deficit of faith and hope influence your ability to achieve your dreams. [This helps you confront your inner critic and begin to dismantle it.]

What are your core fears? You’ll probe into the root of your egoic complex that clings to survival and runs away from danger and death. [You’ll want to use this one when you seek to make a spiritual breakthrough, to leap across the great chasm and allow your spiritual life to be awakened in you.]

What action can you take to move forward? You’ll employ this question to identify steps you can take that will free you from inertia and feeling stuck. [This is helpful when you are dealing with procrastination and feelings of not knowing what to do to create movement.]

What’s the next step? You’ll make use of this one when you want to know where you are going in your life in a particular area. It lays out a step-by-step plan for you to reach the goal or purpose for this area of your life. [Those of you who are unaware of the purpose for engaging in a particular endeavor will find this sheds light on your what to do next to actualize that aspect of your nature. We use a structured exercise to gather this guidance from your Higher Self in our intermediate meditation classes.]

What do You require of me, Oh Lord? You’ll utilize this question when you want to know the Divine Will for your life. [We discuss the elements of what the Divine Will is in our article, “The personal octave of the Divine Will,” which is in our Library, and also in our book, A Mudrashram® Reader: Understanding Integral Meditation.]

How may I serve? This reveals your Soul’s gifts that it can express in you, the wisdom and intuitive knowledge that it wishes to share, and the love and compassion that it feels that it wants to do bring out. [This frees the deeper life within you to express in your life.]

How do I make progress on the Path? This clarifies what are your next steps spiritually. [We assist aspirants to answer this question with our Soul Purpose Reading, which reveals the highlights of the Path ahead.]

What is my purpose? This requests your Soul to reveal the facets of its Purpose that it is implementing in your life. [You begin this inquiry when you have established a partnership with your Soul to enable it to express in your life.]

How do I fulfill my dreams [or overcome this challenge to reaching my dreams]? This question guides you to the steps to achieve actualization—making your dreams come true. [You would bring out this question when you are already clear about your personal zone of operation and your Soul’s zone of expression, and you seek to chart a course to personal fulfillment.]

Alternate Ways of Finding Answers to Your Questions

When asking questions does not yield fruitful or actionable responses, here are some alternatives you can use:

Practicing the Presence – In this method, you place your attention into the inner presence within you that declares, “I am God.” You listen for any guidance that it may give you. You would adopt this method if you do not know what question to ask to overcome an obstacle or move forward in your life.

The feet of the Master – In this approach, you sit at the feet of your inner spiritual Guide, and listen to what he or she tells you. You would draw upon this method when you cannot get constructive, actionable material during your dialogs with your Soul or in responses to your prayers.

The Light upon the altar – In this technique, you contemplate the Light of the Holy Spirit anchored in your Moon Soul, or the Shakti that broods upon your cosmic consciousness. This alternative comes into play when you cannot contact the Guide within, or your attempts to get guidance from the Soul or in response to prayer is not fruitful.

Journaling Specific Areas in Your Life

You also can journal to look into your goals for each of the areas of your life. Areas you can explore in your process include:

  • Your health
  • Your home and environment
  • Your emotional issues
  • Your relationships
  • Your education
  • Your career
  • Your finances
  • Your creativity
  • Your moral values
  • Your engagement with your community
  • Your learning about other cultures and travel
  • Your recovery from addiction or trauma
  • Your quest for meaning and understanding
  • Your spiritual journey
  • Your personal dreams for your life

Journaling is like a crowbar that pries open the inner depths of the mind. It lets you uncover your truths. We encourage you to journal with the appropriate questions upon relevant topics to reap the full benefits of this practice.

Our meditation students who are taking or have completed one of our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program, are eligible to obtain The Mudrashram® Home Study Workbook, which gives you the information and resources to prepare a personal and spiritual journal. We recommend that you obtain this book, if you gravitate to doing a journal as a way of gaining insight and clarifying what decisions to make.