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Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies




Catalyzing Spiritual Breakthrough:
External vs. Internal Methods


Excerpted from Methadone: A Drug Counselor's Guide

By George A. Boyd © 1990

Spiritual Breakthrough is a fundamental insight into altered states of consciousness, culminating in a glimpse of the Higher Self, or Soul. Spiritual breakthrough has been sought for centuries using a variety of external methods. It is my contention that internal methods are a superior path to lasting spiritual growth.

External Methods for Spiritual Breakthrough

External methods include:

Self Denial - fasting, celibacy, physical austerity, purifying the body

Ritual - performing ceremonies or sacramental rites

Sexuality - prolonged sexual intercourse such as practiced in Tantric Sexual Yoga

Nutrition - special diets, herbal and vitamin supplements

Alcohol and drugs - intoxicants, psychotropics and psychedelics

"Electronic meditation" or psychotronics - brain wave entrainment or biofeedback technology

Hypnosis - heterosuggestion by a hypnotherapist, and audible or subliminal taped messages; cultic or political indoctrination by group suggestion; advertising and television

Music and dance - sound and movement powerfully affects the subconscious mind

External methods have many positive qualities. They can readily produce altered states of consciousness, temporarily enhance human performance and sensory enjoyment. Their major drawback is that they produce dependence on an external source of stimulation.

External methods can produce negative effects, as well. For example:

Prolonged fasting, excessive vitamin intake or tampering with nutrition by special diets can each compromise the health of the body.

Alcohol and drugs produce temporary intoxication and altered states of mood and awareness, but they can create strong states of psychological and physiological addiction, cause negative personality and character changes, and contribute to many other psychosocial problems affecting the individual, the family, and the community.

Psychotronics can rapidly affect brain wave states and produce profound states of relaxation and trance, but can also lower susceptibility to epileptic seizure or exacerbate psychotic conditions.

Continued hypnotic suggestion by external means can weaken the will power and decision making ability. This makes a person more outer-directed, dependent on others for guidance and direction, and thus more readily manipulated for other's ends.

Music and its lyrics can strongly influence the subconscious mind; the cultic groups that assemble around modern musicians testify to its powerful hypnotic effect.

Internal Methods

The internal methods for achieving spiritual breakthrough are prayer, meditation, and auric reception. These methods do not require an external source to produce an altering of consciousness, but rely on internal controls and receptivity to inner sources of energy and inspiration.

Prayer is an invocation and supplication of the Divine by the human heart and spirit.

Meditation includes a variety of inner techniques that engage the attention, the spirit, and the energy of the mind (kundalini shakti) to directly alter awareness.

Auric reception is an inner receptivity to the forces of Spirit, (variously called the descent of the Holy Spirit, Shaktipat, or Light Immersion) that heals, instructs, and transforms the body, mind and spirit from within.

Like the external methods, there are both positive and negative repercussions of using these internal technologies of consciousness.

Prayer can invoke the forces of hope, inspiration, comfort and healing from the Funs of Creation, and liberate miraculous, life-changing powers from the Superconscious Mind.

But prayer can also produce over-dependence upon the Divine or human representative of the Divine (Master, Guru, Teacher), weakening the ability to make independent efforts. It can also be misused as a subtle means of attempting to force one's will or desires upon another.

Meditation can enhance creativity, improve intuition, strengthen will power and concentration, facilitate insight, reduce stress, and bring about attunement with the Transpersonal Self and communion with the Divine.

Misunderstood and misused, however, meditation can foster false beliefs (delusions), bring about dissociative breaks with consensual reality and from one's emotionality, and lead one more deeply into neurotic fixations and psychotic disintegration.

Auric reception can be an uplifting, exalting and transformative experience, deeply comforting and nurturing to the Soul.

But receptivity, if not used with discretion and caution, can be an open doorway to less than benign spiritual influences. Practices such as channeling, mediumship and possession states as are seen in certain religious groups can precipitate terrifying experiences with an invasive and hostile other invading one's psychic space.

To fully appreciate this internal technology of meditation, prayer and auric reception, it is important to receive expert instruction. You should understand the purpose for using a technique of meditation, its expected effects, how to use it properly, how long to use the technique, and how to terminate the altered state of consciousness after practice.

You should also learn to recognize the warning signs of overstimulation, delusional thinking, the emergence of over-dependence, and excessive self-absorption as guidelines to temporarily cease or modify your meditation routines.

Over-dependence on the charismatic representatives of the Divine—Gurus, Masters, meditation teachers—should also be eschewed.

Critical thinking, independent thought and evaluation, and getting in touch with your own intuitive sense of truth should not be supplanted by instant enlightenment schemes or unquestionable doctrinal explanations of the all and everything, and of the here and hereafter. Advice that is nectar to another may be poison to you, and to blindly believe anything because of authority or testimonial is an open doorway leading to trouble.

Genuine inner progress leading to mastery does take time, attention, concentrated and purposeful effort, and many hours of practice. Perhaps the seduction of the external methods is that they seem to offer an instant and reliable, albeit temporary, means of altering consciousness.

Inner mastery, however, is a gradual accretion of insights leading to the stable growth of wisdom, compassion, and understanding. It involves a rigorous training of the mind, the attention, the spirit, and the will to progressively integrate the unconscious and Superconscious realms. This in turn leads to a re-integration of the entire personality around a new nucleus, the Soul, effecting a true spiritual psychosynthesis.

For many individuals, external methods have been undeniably catalytic in opening them to the potentials of their consciousness. But in the long run, internal methods produce lasting results and lead to an inner mastery that requires no external medium to produce it.

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