Dealing with Criticism

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: I have someone who says they want to help me, but they continually criticize me and find fault with what I do. What is motivating this criticism?

A: Criticism is the first step on the helping spectrum. These steps of this spectrum are briefly described below:

  1. Destructive criticism – This attempts to undermine someone’s credibility, reputation, and self-confidence. This aims to hurt or demean the other person, even destroy them. It is from experiencing this negative, egoic platform of destructive criticism from parents, siblings, relatives, romantic partners, bullying schoolmates, teachers, bosses, or misguided clergy that originally wounds someone, and leads them to heal themselves. Those who undergo this healing process successfully often feel an urge to help others, who are experiencing similar abuse and trauma, to also heal.
  2. Neutral criticism – This identifies flaws, errors, or omissions, or someone’s attempts to exaggerate, lie, or deceive. Style editors, media fact checkers, or movie reviewers, for example, offer this level of critique. They do not offer suggestions to improve; they just point out the errors.
  3. Constructive criticism – This identifies flaws, error, or omissions as in step two, but offers suggestions at improvement. In group therapy, this sharing of constructive criticism is called feedback. Sports coaches, drama coaches, teachers, and trainers offer feedback to their students to help them improve their performance.
  4. Advisement or consulting – The consultant listens to their client’s concerns, and then offers them potential solutions. This ability to visualize a potential solution is founded upon the consultant’s knowledge, experience, or expertise working on similar problems.
  5. Counselor – A professional counselor listens to someone’s painful emotions and problems, and empathizes with their experience. The counselor allows the client to be heard and known. The counselor assists the client to identify viable options for solutions, explores their pros and cons, and then allows the client to make a congruent choice. The focus of a counselor is on the client’s present time concerns.
  6. Psychotherapist or Hypnotherapist – Like a counselor, a professional psychotherapist listens to someone’s painful emotions and problems, and empathizes with their experience. The psychotherapist will use a variety of evocative methods to help the client explore these painful emotions, work out the underlying issue, and find a way to integrate the insight so the client can live with greater serenity. A hypnotherapist aims to accomplish similar objectives, but does so through working directly with the Subconscious mind. A psychotherapist aims to assist the client to deal with lingering issues from the past.
  7. Life coach or transformational coach – A coach looks to the client’s potential to actualize his or her dreams for a better future. The coach supports and facilitates the client’s movement towards making that vision real—of actually doing, being, and having what he or she desires. A transformative coach is future oriented, and seeks to help the client move past obstacles to reach his or her goals.
  8. Meditation teacher – A meditation teacher trains students to meditate, to gain insight, transformation, and enlightenment. A meditation teacher shows students how to transcend their personality and touch the Eternal.
  9. Thaumaturge – Highly advanced meditation teachers are anointed with the Divine Fire and Light, and can make attunements to purify, heal, comfort, enlighten, and transform their spiritual evolutionary potentials. A Thaumaturge has the ability to work on the structure of mind and consciousness to facilitate spiritual development.
  10. Avatar – This most highly advanced spiritual Initiate is able to work with humanity at the collective level though sending forth tides of Omnific Spiritual Grace and Love, and progressively uplifts all humanity.

When we review these stages on the spectrum, we find:

Level one on this spectrum is the profile of someone fully established in the ego. Someone operating at this level needs to win at all costs, and dominate and control others. If others are injured in obtaining desires, it is not this person’s concerns.

Levels two and three are based on comparison to established criteria. This uses the analytical ability of reason; the standards of conscience; and the problem solving skills of the intellect. In level three, there is the added element of caring about the person receiving the criticism, so they can improve their performance.

Level four is founded on the ability to intuitively grasp the reasons for the problem the client presents, and to frame an elegant solution that solves the problem and allows the client to move to the next level of productivity and prosperity.

Levels five through seven are personal helping modalities. These work to empower the Self to resolve issues and move forward to attain desired goals.

Levels eight through ten are transpersonal helping modalities. They work with the three immortal principles within others—the attentional principle, the spirit, and the Soul—to enable the meditation student to work on the issues of the personality, and to actualize spiritual potentials.

Negative criticism can arise from a variety of motivations. For example:

  • Dissatisfaction with a product or service that the helper offers
  • Jealousy that the helper is successful and gifted
  • Narcissism, needing to be superior or better than the helper
  • Anger and resentment at not succeeding, not being chosen, or not getting the good things in life

When criticism is shared as feedback, the helper can learn to provide a better service or deliver a better product.

We suggest that the element of caring—love and compassion—is at the root of the motivation to help others. The greatest love, which the Avatar and Thaumaturge express, is the deepest level of this caring for others—even beyond personal caring, or unconditional positive regard, as Carl Rogers called it—but it is suffused with the Divine Love that fills and enfolds all life, and drives personal growth and spiritual evolution.

The Pitfalls of Revelatory Logic

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: How is it that people can believe such crazy things? Some conspiracy theories are completely bonkers!

A: To understand this, you need to understand the different orders of logic:

  1. Sensory logic – Also called empirical logic, this holds that for objects to exist in the physical universe, they must be able to be weighed, measured, and detected by multiple observers. This employs filters to rule out optical illusion or observer bias.
  2. Inferential logic – This extrapolates from observable evidence to tease out motivation, intention, or events that occurred. In a trial, a woman is found dead in her home. The fingerprints of the defendant in the trial have been found on the murder weapon, which was abandoned in the yard where the murder occurred. While no one observed the defendant kill the woman, it can be inferred that the defendant likely pulled the trigger. Additional evidence would be needed to confirm this initial inference to prove the defendant committed the murder beyond the shadow of a doubt, and alternative conjectures about what may have happened refuted.
  3. Mathematical logic – This is based on mathematical proofs. An analogous method of proof used in philosophy examines logic to determine accurate and fallacious reasoning.
  4. Algorithmic logic – This type of logic is at the heart of computer programming. It gives instructions to a computer or device with a central processing unit to carry out. What the computer carries out is contingent on what is written in the computer coding language.
  5. Intuitive logic – This type of reasoning can be found in the “intuitive sciences” like astrology, numerology, and tarot. This begins with a symbolic array, which the reader interprets to explore what they mean. Which cards are drawn in the tarot determine what the reader will interpret; where the cards fall in the array colors their meaning, as does the relationship with other cards. Here, each symbolic element in the array (e.g., number as symbol in Numerology, tarot card, Enneagram type, planet and the house it dwells in) can be interpreted individually, in the context in which it dwells, as well as in relationship to the other elements in the array.
  6. Revelatory logic – This type of reasoning holds an idea as an infallible truth, and then looks to justify it. This infallible truth can be based on the beliefs in the authority and veracity of the source, a purported supernatural or Divine origin of the idea, or outright superstitious or magical thinking. This type of logic weaves together illogical ideas, fantasies, and distortion of facts into an incoherent system, which believers tenaciously defend as true.
  7. Core discernment logic – We refer to this type of logic as mandalic reasoning. This is based on discernment of the nature of the Soul, and describing the Path that leads to union with that essence through the levels of the mind. Those who act as guides in meditation use this type of logic to conduct meditation students to unite their attention with their Soul. This type of discernment can also direct meditators to unite with their spirit, a personal identification center (ego or Self), or a nucleus of identity.

The first four types of logic are the foundation of our modern technological civilization. They form a bulwark against irrationality, and work to check inherent bias and perversions of reasoning.

Outside of this, we have the questionable logic of metaphysicians, sundry true believers, and Gurus. These exist outside the parameters of the ordered world mind; those who operate within its structured boundaries of the world mind cannot verify the wild claims of those who wander off into the far country of the mind.

We can characterize seven major varieties of revelatory reasoning:

  1. Psychotic – These individuals listen to voices that emerge from their unconscious mind that torment them and tease them, and tell them to do all manner of irrational things.
  2. Paranoid – They develop elaborate defensive systems to protect their ego, and project their unacceptable impulses on others. They listen to the voices of their mental defenses that desperately shield them from the truth.
  3. Game, fantasy, and novel identification – They identify with characters in movies and television, in novels, horror and science fiction sagas. They live immersed in the themes and drama of these fictional sources, and never seem to embrace their own life. It is much more satisfying to some to be Flash Gordon or Spiderman—or other heroic, superhuman or fantasy figure—than to dwell in the boredom, loneliness, and despair of their own unsuccessful and unfulfilling lives.
  4. Political cults – They identify as members of a political party, and live their lives to support, defend, and even worship their political hero. Their political heroes, alas, are often not the invincible and mighty saviors of their values and way of life they convey through rousing speeches. Many political “saviors” have turned out to be demagogues, dictators, or authoritarian leaders, who exploit the undying loyalty of their true believers to enrich themselves and remain in power.
  5. Psychic cults – Those who join these groups receive channeled messages from sundry spiritual beings—angels, Ascended Masters, extraterrestrials, and assorted other entities—who foretell of a future where people live in a multi-dimensional world, where they operate as godlike beings who can create whatever they wish through intention, and they are unlimited by time and space.
  6. Judeo-Christian religious cults – These base their authority upon what they believe is infallible scripture, which they proclaim is the very “Word of God.” They look to God, the Messiah or Savior, or saints to save them from the sinful world and rescue them from hell after death. They often recount apocalyptic visions of the future of the Last Judgment, tumultuous Last Times, or a Rapture of faithful believers into heaven with the Lord. In addition to evangelical and charismatic Christian and Jewish groups that found their religious beliefs upon a literal interpretation of their scripture, these same patterns may be seen to play out in certain Islamic sects.
  7. Other religious cults – These groups assemble around a spiritual leader who possesses great charisma, and provides “answers” to the seeker. The leader comes to control every aspect of believer’s lives and literally reprograms their minds to accept every word of the leader’s teaching as unerring truth.

Revelatory reasoning has several characteristics:

  1. It believes things that cannot be verified in consensual reality; followers believe impossible and fantastic things.
  2. It uses internalized, subjective criteria for truth, which are often powerfully defended and tenaciously held.
  3. Attempts to question core beliefs of revelatory reasoning elicit rationalization and projection to protect these sacrosanct truths.
  4. Believers who embrace revelatory reasoning often live their lives in an alternate reality frame—they are no longer human beings, but star beings, born again believers, or are eternally in union with bliss consciousness.
  5. It accepts a fluidity of meaning and truth—in the perspective of revelatory reasoning, things mean what believers say they mean; truth is whatever they affirm it is.
  6. It utilizes superstitious thinking; believers look for signs and omens.
  7. It may look to external sources for validation and direction, and not trust their own voice of reason and conscience.

We suggest that revelatory sources of information should be regarded as unproven hypotheses or speculation until you can verify them. It is important to examine your motivation for wanting to believe the claims of revelatory reasoning. It is also valuable to ascertain from what level of the mind these compelling ideas arise.

We go into greater depth into the mindset and beliefs of cultic groups in our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing? We recommend to those who are interested in exploring this phenomenon further to acquire this book.

Concerning Spiritual Evolution and Destiny Karma

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: How is it that people who accelerate their spiritual progress through some type of transformational technique will still experience issues in their life?

A: For the standpoint of the Planetary Adept, who transcends each of the potential lives in the Subtle and Planetary Realm, there are the archetypes of these lives, which span from just beyond the gateway of the Superconscious mind in the Subtle Realm to the Flame of Compassion at the top of the Fourth Planetary Initiation.

Each of these lives is comprised of seven layers:

  1. Physical body – This is the vehicle of expression for the issues of life.
  2. Ego – This is the personal identification center that experiences being embedded in that life.
  3. Life narrative – This is the layer of life experience that dwells on the temporal mnemonic band of the mind that parallels the ego’s experience of its unique life.
  4. Deep life issues – These are the emotionalized issues within the personal unconscious that make up destiny karma—these are the unfulfilled or unresolved issues of human life.
  5. Torus of Life Purpose – This is a mirror of those unfulfilled aspects that operate from the Subconscious mind. From this vantage point, you can witness the activity of these life issues playing out though your causal body (craving and volition), your astral body (fantasy and desire), and your system of chakras (movement of life force driving emotion and behavior).
  6. Petal on the Lotus of Lives – Each nodal point, from the Outer Worlds below the beginning of the Path in the Subtle Realm, and each nodal point upon the Path in the Subtle and Planetary Realms up to the highest nodal point of the Fourth Planetary Initiation has one petal on the Lotus of Lives in which one potential life is mirrored.
  7. Thread connecting this life to the overshadowing ensouling entity – When the ensouling entity incarnates, it connects with this life through a life force link. The life that is generated and the body that expresses it are in direct correspondence to the station of the Soul at the time of birth.

For example, a woman’s Soul Spark dwells on the third nodal point of the Subtle Mental Subplane of the Subtle Realm. Her Soul Spark animates that petal of the Lotus of Lives that corresponds to that nodal point, and the destiny karma apportioned to that life would be written on the Torus of Life Purpose; this will also appear in the fourth quadrant of the casual body.

As the Soul Spark evolves, it will maintain its life force connection to that life in which it was incarnate, even though it aligns with a new potential life petal at each new nodal point that it opens. This is why you will see each successive life anchored in a higher life petal, and a new destiny pattern is established in each new incarnation.

So our woman’s Soul Spark, who incarnated in the Petal of the Life Lotus at the third nodal point of the Subtle Mental Subplane—as her Soul Spark evolves during this life and the inter-life period after the death of that body—will anchor her next life in the petal of the Lotus of Life corresponding to her new station on the Path. This might be, for example, the eleventh nodal point of the Subtle Mental Realm, when she next incarnates.

Sometimes, as her ensouling entity incarnates on this next higher life plateau, she will incarnate in the body of the opposite gender—so “she” will become a “he” in this next life. We speculate that those who don’t easily make this transition from female to male—or vice versa—may deal with gender identity issues as part of their destiny karma in their new life.

This process continues until the Soul has gone beyond the Flame of Compassion at the top of the Fourth Planetary Initiation, at which point an individual enters the Kingdom of the Soul. At this stage of spiritual evolution, the individual is said to be “Not Returning” to the wheel of physical incarnation. When the Soul merges into the Nirvanic Flame, it is reborn as the Monad.

In the form the Monad animates, this Lotus of Lives is reflected at its feet center (pedal chakra). There is a central Jet of Spirit in this center, surrounded by a crystal clear circle—this corresponds to the Soul Plane—and one Life Petal appears for each nodal point below the top of the Fourth Planetary Initiation.

So if you accelerate the rate of your spiritual evolution, while your Soul and its vehicles move to a new nodal point. The karma embedded in the Life Petal at the nodal point in which it operated continues to operate until it is completed—until each issue has been fully experienced and worked out.

Q: What happens if someone doesn’t unfold his or her Soul Spark or Soul, but instead, unfolds a spiritual essence in the Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental Sphere?

A: The destiny karma will continue to play out on the Life Petal on the Lotus of Life. If the individual leads a good, “dharmic life,” in which he or she doesn’t create heinous sins and darken consciousness, the Soul Spark or Soul will continue to evolve gradually. Every eleven or twelve years, individuals typically work through the karma between one nodal point and the next one.

What we see in individuals polarized in the Higher Octaves of Being is that they will enact a new agenda in their lives based on what path they embrace. So in addition to destiny karmic issues, which will remain the same, we see that this higher octave spiritual essence will express elements of its experience through its personality.

For example, individuals who identify with cosmic consciousness and actively unfold this essence might begin practicing hatha yoga, learning from books of Yoga Philosophy, studying Hindu scriptures, and enacting worship and lifestyle rituals in their life. They will bring these elements into expression in their personality, while the underlying destiny karma issues will remain the same.

This is why you find a profound split in the ego’s experience of life and the destiny karma with which it must struggle, and the higher, more ecstatic experience of someone communing with cosmic consciousness—or other Higher Octave spiritual essence.

We might note that those who do their spiritual work at these Higher Octaves often seek to disidentify with the ego and permanently transcend it though remaining in an altered state of consciousness. However, these issues remain, and must be resolved, regardless of whatever state of identity the individual embraces.

Those who are interested in studying more about what happens when individuals work outside of the cutting edge of spirituality and adopt identification outside their native ensoulment and personality embodiment might enjoy reading our book, Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing? Those wishing to avoid the consequences of imbalanced spiritual development may wish to learn more about the Mudrashram® system of Integral meditation, and learn how to effect transformation at your cutting edge of spirituality in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and the online Accelerated Meditation Program.

Reflections on Spiritual Powers

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: Can you also articulate the pathway by which a person manifests a situation or circumstance in physical reality? For example, Sai Baba was reputed to be able to manifest vibhuti and gold rings, objects of jewelry. Is there a specific process by which this is done?

Or if a meditation student is trying to manifest a certain thing, is there a way to start in the higher planes and add strength and density as it descends finally to the physical?

A: The powers that Sai Baba manifested are in the Siddhi Yantras [1] of the Vishnu 3 Path. Other so-called miraculous powers of the Yogis of the First Cosmic Initiation and high initiates on Supracosmic Paths are the operation of the Siddhi Yantras. We explore what are the Siddhis and where you access them in the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation.

Please note that these powers are under the control of the ensouling entity, and unless they are released by your ensouling entity, you will not have access to them. Whether your ego pleads, you anchor suggestion, you do chants and mantras, you visualize and intend—unless the Soul releases that power, they won’t manifest.

The ego craves powers. The ensouling entity only activates those powers which are germane to its ministry, so the ego is out of luck.

Rather than seek powers, seek to know the Will of God and how you may be of service. Work on meditation mastery and readying yourself to be an instrument of the Light.

Q: Thanks for explaining. I’m not seeking powers, I’m seeking understanding, to make sense of my own experience of why things happen and how. Sai Baba is just an example of a process I don’t understand. I want to understand how all the pieces fit together and interrelate.

A: Reflect on the existing abilities you have in the Superconscious mind. Select one.

Notice:

  • (a) What environmental cue triggers it to operate?
  • (b) What you do to activate it? [For example., do you give suggestion? Do you ask the power to come forward?]
  • (c) what is the posture of your Souls’ permission that allows you to use this power?

You don’t have to go to great heights to find this… draw this power from the Abstract Mind Plane or Psychic Realm to understand how powers work. It’s really not that different than your personal will activating your talents of your Metaconscious mind—it’s just a higher octave of the will at work, an octave controlled by your ensouling entity.

We discuss more about supernatural powers in an article, “Siddhis: The Anatomy of Miracles” from which we will excerpt to give you greater understanding of this phenomenon.

Siddhis: The Anatomy of Miracles

By George A. Boyd ©2004

This article will give a brief exposition about how miracles operate from the inner Planes. For miracles to manifest, the ensouling entity must gain union with the vortex of the spiritual power, which we term the Siddhi Yantra. There are three types of union through which the Soul interfaces with the Siddhi Yantra: (1) Noetic Union, (2) Psychological Union, and (3) Direct Union.

In Noetic Union, the Soul remains detached from the spiritual power, but can choose to activate it. In this case, the Soul’s Will is anchored in the vortex of the power, and it controls how and when the power will be manifest. Here, the Soul interfaces from the power from the Soul Plane, and either permits or denies access to the power.

The Soul can allow the power to operate either through the Superconscious mind via attunement with the attentional principle; through the Subconscious mind during trance, when attention is in the astral body; or as a gift, where the ability is anchored through the Self into the physical brain.

In Psychological Union, one of the Soul’s inner vehicles is attuned to the power. Through this inner vehicle, the Soul gains intuitive understanding of how the power operates, and anchors intelligence into the vortex of this power. In this alignment, the Soul operates from the Buddhic Plane, interfacing with the power through its Illumined Mind.

Intelligence functions to focalize that power onto certain Planes; it acts as a filter to modify the energy of the Will and direct it selectively. This type of alignment is commonly used when you are using the power to work out an issue in the unconscious mind in your karmic matrix, or when you are accessing the power through an evocative technique such as reflective meditation, Agni Yoga, or process meditation.[We teach these meditations in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.]

In Direct Union, one of the Soul’s inner vehicles is attuned with the power through an octave of the will anchored in that vehicle and the vortex of power. Direct Union access to spiritual powers typically occurs when a nucleus of identity is unfolded out of alignment with the Soul’s axis of being. In this alignment, the power is encountered on the Causal or Mental Plane.

When you use the power in this scenario, you experience the ability to activate the power though your conscious wishes. This type of power is normally controlled by the Soul’s Will and guided by the Soul’s Intelligence; in balanced spiritual development, Noetic and Psychological Union precede and overshadow Direct Union to ensure the power is used appropriately and judiciously. If you split off a nucleus of identity from the Soul, however, you become identified with that nucleus of identity and directly access the power from the Plane on which it dwells, outside of your Soul’s control and guidance…

How Miracles Occur

The miracles that demonstrate powers over matter—such as levitation, materialization of objects from the ether, walking on water, flying, manifesting more than one body, and other superhuman feats described in the world’s scriptures—appear to arise from the interface between the Soul and the Subatomic matrix.

The miracles that demonstrate power over life—such as miraculous healing, rejuvenation, restoring sight or hearing, or resurrection of a dead body—appear to arise from the Soul’s abilities on the Lifetronic Ether.

Activation of either the Astral or the Imaginal Matrix can produce the fulfillment of prayers and dreams—and bring about the seemingly miraculous personal “transformations” to which the followers of sundry self-help, holistic healing, New Age, spiritualist, and religious sects attest and attribute to their belief system and practices.

Miracles over matter and life appear to be more common in those spiritual groups that activate a nucleus of identity, identify with it, and move it out of alignment with the axis of being, as there are more references to miracles in the scriptures and oral traditions of these groups. These groups typically produce the Direct Union type of alignment, which places fewer barriers or filters upon the activation of a spiritual power, as it is not overshadowed by the Soul’s will or modified by intelligence.

These types of miracles that arise from Direct Union initiate an impulse that activates the Subatomic or Lifetronic Matrix directly. The “miracle worker” of Direct Union sets up a resonance pattern, magnetizes a result through intention or visualization, and his results are immediately manifested in matter.

The miraculous powers of Direct Union can be awakened through using bija mantras that unfold nuclei of identity, through invocation of gods and goddesses that bestow powers, and through deep concentration that awakens nuclei of identity in the higher octaves of being in which these powers are imbedded. These levels of the mind are beyond or above the Soul’s station on the path, so the Soul’s will does not control these powers and its wisdom cannot modify or channel their use.

To control these powers, the ensouling must evolve to the stage on the Path where the power is embedded. Without bringing the Siddhi Yantra under the aegis of the Soul’s will, these powers may produce unintended consequences that can create entrapment for the “miracle worker.” We suggest it is better to focus on the spiritual evolution of the ensouling entity, and the powers that arise in its wake will be used for service and ministry to other living beings, in alignment with the Soul’s purpose, and guided by wisdom.


[1] A siddhi is a supernormal power that arises from the Superconscious mind. These siddhis operate from an inner vortex which we call a Siddhi Yantra. This vortex appears like a triangle, in which one of the higher octaves of volition either suspends or directs the use of that power. This power can be directed through either the spirit or the attentional principle; it can operate through suggestion from an inner center in the Subconscious or Superconscious mind; or it can be anchored in the personality, which allows you to voluntarily “ask” that the power be manifested. In certain cases, the ensouling entity or nucleus of identity that controls it can manifest it directly from the vortex where this power dwells.

[2] The ethers are finer levels of vibration that enable you to access aspects of Creation that exist beyond the confines of the physical universe. Beyond the substrate of the physical universe, the subatomic field, clairvoyants describe a series of finer strata that they describe as the informational ether, the resonance ether, the lifetronic or life force ether, the desire ether, the imaginal or the thought form ether, and recount yet higher levels of vibration beyond these. Through viewing these levels, clairvoyants can observe these subtle phenomena and report on what they see. Through advanced spiritual methods, meditators can access these levels using their higher octaves of volition—this appears to explain the extraordinary powers that some individuals are able to manifest.


Reflections on Character

By George A. Boyd © 2020

Q: What is character? How do you improve your character?

A: Character is a series of traits and habits that condition the expression of your personality in your interpersonal relationships that are in alignment with your values.

A trait is a quality you can ascribe to a person based on their demonstrating it on a regular basis. For example, John always treats you with kindness when you are with him.

A habit is behavior that you practice for a sustained period that becomes automatic. The behavior of kind actions becomes a regular part of you when you practice this for several months.

A value is something you adopt as part of your conscience to guide your behavior. Values are expected and idealized behavior: they are standards that you hold yourself to live up to.

There are different schemas for what are valuable character traits. For example, here are some traits that are commonly mentioned when people refer to positive character attributes they see in others:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Decency
  • Truthfulness
  • Respect for other people
  • Caring and kindness
  • Compassion

The organization, Character Counts, lists six core character traits on their website, https://www.charactercounts.org:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Caring
  • Citizenship

Associated with each of these core character traits in the Character Counts schema are a series of related descriptors that expand upon these central factors. We suggest that you refer to their material for a better understanding of these six dimensions of character.

In many religious and philosophical traditions, there are a series of commandments or observances that adherents of that group are expected to adopt. For example, in the Jewish and Christian faith, they admonish their followers to live up to the tenets of the Ten Commandments. In Yoga traditions, yogic students are asked to observe Yama and Niyama.

My friend, Swami Baba Nataraja, disseminates the following guidelines for ethical behavior to his students:

“Baba believes that spiritual life truly begins when seekers adopt and live ethical guidelines. He encourages others to follow the same high standards to which he holds himself, the Shaivite restraints—the moral principles of Yama and Niyama. Here is a list of those moral principles:”

Yama

  1. Be non-violent in thought and action
  2. Do not steal or covet
  3. Discipline desire
  4. Relinquish lust and greed
  5. Restrain arrogance and anger
  6. Refrain from lying and betraying promises and confidences
  7. Avoid injustice and drunkenness
  8. Forsake wrongdoing and shun evil company

Niyama

  1. Be pure in body, mind, and speech
  2. Love your fellow man
  3. Seek contentment and serenity in life
  4. Cultivate devotion through daily worship and meditation
  5. Be steadfast in hardship and forbearing with people
  6. Tithe and give creatively without thought of reward
  7. Study with an open mind the scriptures and books of wisdom
  8. Perform occasional penance, tapas, and sacrifice

Swami Baba Nataraja

Ways to Improve Character

You can improve character through the following active personal measures:

  1. Learning about positive character traits and deciding to incorporate them
  2. Doing a moral inventory to identify where you have character deficits and identify the alternate positive behavior you wish to practice
  3. Monitor your daily activity and notice when you fail to live up to a moral ideal; reflect at the end of your day what you could have done instead to express that more positive quality
  4. Meditate on your negative character traits and find the core virtue that is hidden in them; choose to express that core virtue instead
  5. Deconstruct the beliefs that hold negative character traits in place, and replace them with new affirmations that allow you to express more positive traits
  6. Find a role model who demonstrates positive character traits and emulate them
  7. Identify the ideal expression of your Self that you want to be. Place your attention in that state of this “future Self.” Solicit guidance from your future Self as to what specifically needs to be changed to shape each facet of character into the nobler expression that you are capable of expressing in this idealized state.

You can also develop positive character traits and express your innate spiritual virtues through the following passive spiritual measures:

  1. Renounce negative behavior and speech; make a sacred vow to live up to spiritual principles
  2. Contemplate the light of wisdom and review your behavior; through insight and realization, you will abandon negative speech and behavior
  3. Use discernment to identify behavior that arises from the ego; choose instead to allow your spirit, your active nucleus of identity, or your ensouling entity to dictate your behavior
  4. Dissolve the karmic precursors of negative behavior and attitudes through using transformational meditation techniques like transformational mantra, Kriya Yoga, and Nada Yoga
  5. Do process meditation to end phenomenon on negative attitudes and beliefs; re-create a more positive expression of the Soul in human life
  6. Invoke God, your spiritual Master, and the Holy Spirit to reform your character and allow the holy virtues to express in you
  7. Practice austerity such as fasting, voluntary silence, and continuous repetition of mantras to discipline the body and mind to reduce rebellion against the expression of the Soul’s love and virtue

If you have vitiated your character through associating with people with negative character traits, have been subjected to abuse or trauma growing up or through involvement with cultic groups, or you have become entangled in an addiction, it is possible to rehabilitate your character and reform yourself. It is important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people and to implement elements from both active and passive measures to begin to improve your character.

We offer coaching programs to assist with your rehabilitation that will concomitantly help you improve your character: Dysfunctional Family Recovery, Cult Recovery, and Addiction Recovery. We invite you to explore these programs to see if they will provide the support you need to overcome these hindrances from your past, which will allow you to move confidently towards a more positive future.