By George A. Boyd ©2023
Q: Some enlightened beings have said that identification with the content of the mind is the root of all suffering, and learning to detach from this content and observe it dispassionately is the key to becoming enlightened. What is your view on this?
A: We recognize twelve stages of attentional identification and witnessing. These twelve states are:
- Attention is identified with the content of the mind
- Attention witnesses the content of the mind
- Attention witnesses and objective labels the content of the mind, and recognizes with this content is
- Attention uncovers the origin of an element of the content of the mind
- Attention transcends the origin of the content of the mind, and reposes in Voidness and peace
- Attention discovers the attentional principle and gains union with it
- Attention discovers the spirit and gains union with it
- Attention discovers the ensouling entity and gains union with it
- Attention discovers the origin of the spirit
- Attention discovers the origin of the ensouling entity
- Attention discovers the Soul of the Bridge Path
- Attention discovers Satchitananda
Moving off identification with the contents of the mind can be achieved through different modalities:
- Basic mindfulness and watching the breath leads attention to stage two, where it can become aware of the content of the mind at different levels.
- The practice of Vipassana brings attention to stage three.
- Process meditation works at stage four.
- The Zen practice of gaining union with the voidness of consciousness, or being, leads attention to stage five.
- In Mudrashram®, we introduce aspirants to stages six, seven, and eight in a practice we call the awakening meditation. This meditation is part of one of our intermediate courses, the Accelerated Meditation Program.
- In the process of unfolding the ensouling entity and opening the channels of the Nada through the transformational methods of the Mudrashram® system of Integral meditation, the disciple discovers the origin of the spirit (stage nine) and discovers the origin of the ensouling entity (stage ten).
- In the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation, we show our students the Soul of the Bridge Path (stage eleven) and Satchitananda (stage twelve).
Many meditations that are designed to break identification with the content of the mind do not lead attention beyond stage five, in which attention dwells in union with the Voidness of Consciousness. In some groups, this is regarded as a state of enlightenment; in truth, this is only a very rudimentary stage of meditation.
Associating attention with the three immortal principles—attentional principle, spirit, and ensouling entity—and learning to methods to activate and utilize these essences, empowers the meditator to perform inner work.
In Mudrashram®, we recognize ten aspects of inner work; you learn these ten aspects in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. You can read about these ten aspects that make up our Integral meditation training here.
We encourage aspirants to become familiar with all twelve types of attentional identification and witnessing. As you become proficient in detaching from attentional identification, you can reach the level where you can do inner work and transform your life and spiritual essences.