What Is Illumination?

By George A. Boyd ©2023

Q: Spiritual groups talk about Illumination. What is Illumination?

A: When we examine the activation of the intuitive thread, the Antakarana, we note several different levels of heightened intelligence and intuition along this cord that connects the brain with the Soul:

  1. Intellectual brilliance – This is quick application of intellectual problem solving strategies. This operates in the Metaconscious mind.
  2. Creative association – This finds novel associations between ideas, and alternate perspectives for viewing phenomena. This is used in art, creative writing, and invention. This level operates in the Abstract Mind Plane.
  3. Intuitive sciences – This uses an symbolic array like Tarot cards or astrology to tease out meaning and insight in a structured Psychic Reading. This level draws from the Psychic Realm.
  4. Revelation – This seeks to interpret the symbolic and archetypal material in scriptures and Mystery School teachings. This level can be found in the First Exoteric, Mesoteric, and Esoteric Planetary Initiations.
  5. Synthesis – This ties together mental functions to create a big picture, which allows comprehensive understanding. This level is activated in the Third Planetary Initiation.
  6. Illumined insight – This is the downpour of knowledge of the Illumined Mind or Buddhi. When this dawns on the mind in the state of Samadhi, the inner teacher within awakens. Those taking the Fourth Planetary Initiation directly awaken their Illumined Mind.
  7. Jnana Shakti – This Ray of Light Fire awakens the intuitive stream (Antakarana) and reveals the insights embedded along this thread. Those who have activated their Monad and have been empowered at this level can send this Ray to awaken the Antakarana.

Illumination occurs when there is activation of the Buddhi at level six. Masters and their advanced disciples have the ability to activate Jnana Shakti to stimulate the innate Illumination that dwells within the Soul.

We train people to access their intuitive thread in the Jnana Yoga section of our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

Contemplation for Discernment

By George A. Boyd ©2023

Two of the key tasks for disciples are (a) to develop the ability to see inner spiritual essence and recognize them, and (b) to know their own spiritual nature exactly. For this clear seeing and exact knowledge, they can extrapolate from their own axis of being to recognize these same centers in others. Once they can do this, they can act as a spiritual guide.

Contemplation of twelve different elements of spirituality expands the capacity of inner seeing and recognition, and permits disciples to clearly discern these elements in themselves and others:

  1. The ensouling entity on its own Plane
  2. Chakras of the ensouling entity’s essential form
  3. Seed atoms and chakras of the Superconscious mind’s vehicles of consciousness—in certain of these forms, one can view the nucleus of identity within them
  4. The Self at the nucleus of the personality
  5. Seed atoms and chakras of the Metaconscious and Subconscious mind’s vehicles of consciousness
  6. The ego in its seven aspects
  7. Seed atoms and chakras of the Conscious mind’s vehicles of consciousness
  8. Contemplation of the spirit in each of the twelve Domains
  9. Contemplation of a spiritual guide form
  10. Contemplation of an angel
  11. Contemplation of the spiritual essences and vehicles of consciousness of a Master
  12. Contemplation of the Universal Consciousness of the Divine on different Plane

We encourage you to use this contemplative template to study your own nature. Those who have completed one of our intermediate meditation classes—the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program—will benefit from using the Mudrashram® Correspondence Course to help you with this study.

Aim for exact knowledge and clarity for each of the octaves of being: Personal—comprising the Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind; and the Subtle, Planetary, Transplanetary, Cosmic, and your aligned Supracosmic and Transcendental Paths that make up your Superconscious mind. You can view a basic map of these levels of the mind in the article, “The Great Continuum of Consciousness,” which can be viewed on our Open Stacks page.

Meditation on the Seven Levels Described in Theosophy

By George A. Boyd © 2023

Q: In Theosophy, they describe seven levels of being. How do you experience these levels?

A: You can start with doing a quick process:

Body – What am I experiencing now in my body?

Energy – What is my state of energy and vitality now?

Emotions – What are the feelings, memories, and beliefs I’m experiencing now?

Attention – What is my attention focused on right now?

Self and Will – What am I choosing to create in my life right now?

Illumined Mind – What guidance do you have for me right now?

Soul – What is my experience of the totality of my potential and actualization now?

Notice what comes up for you as you query each level.

Next, notice what activities tap into these levels. Through specific activities, you can open to these levels. For example:

Body – movement, exercise, nourishing meals

Energy – breathing, hatha yoga, martial arts

Emotions – journaling, sharing my thoughts and feelings, communication, vulnerability

Attention – mindfulness, meditation; attentional union with Self, spirit, and Soul

Self and will – goal setting, planning, clarifying and acting on values

Illumined mind – receiving guidance, dialogue with your Higher Self, communing with your guides and angels

Soul – Abiding in peace, joy, and bliss; experience of oneness

Next, notice what feelings come up as you focus on each level:

Body – This is what my body feels like right now.

Energy – This is the energy I feel right now.

Emotions – These are the emotions I feel right now.

Attention – This is the feeling of being focused, centered, and fully present.

Self and will – This is the feeling of being the Self and having the capacity to create my future.

Illumined mind – This is the feeling of rapture and peace I feel as I tap into my Illumined mind.

Soul – This is the bliss and joy I feel when I am in touch with the Soul.

You can key into these levels through monitoring your experience, noticing the activities that connect you with each level, and dropping into the feeling state of each level.

Meditations that help you tap into each level are:

Body – Movement meditation †

Energy – Breathing meditation †, Kundalini †

Emotions – Process meditation †, Emotional Vipassana †

Attention – Mindfulness †, Raja Yoga †

Self and will – Centering meditations †

Illumined Mind – Jnana Yoga †

Soul – Raja Yoga †, Mantra Yoga †, and Kundalini Yoga †

[† These are techniques we teach in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.]

We encourage you to become familiar with all of these levels in yourself, so you can translate Theosophical theory into experience, action, and a felt sense that will allow you to recognize it.

Why People Might Not Be Aware of Their Soul Purpose

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: Why am I having problems knowing my Soul Purpose?

A: Genuine knowledge of your Soul Purpose only truly comes when you experience a re-integration around the Soul. There are seven steps to this maturation process:

  1. You are only aware of the ego
  2. You are aware of the ego, plus you interact with elements of your lower unconscious or Shadow
  3. You are aware of the ego, plus you experience that your conscience criticizes and corrects your ego’s behavior, words, and beliefs—this appears to be the stage where the inner critic emerges
  4. You activate the Self, which begins to overrule the ego’s octave of desire-driven behavioral will and instead implements a goal-directed behavioral plan
  5. You are aware of the Self, plus you begin to interact with archetypal elements of the middle unconscious—the zone of your unrealized personal potential—and the higher unconscious, where you interface and dialog with elements of the Superconscious mind
  6. You experience inner awakening of your immortal spiritual principles—the attentional principle, the spirit, and your ensouling entity
  7. You connect with the Soul, and it begins to direct the Self and the ego to carry out its Soul Purpose

You can begin to accurately discern your Soul Purpose at levels 6 and 7:

At levels 1 to 4, there is no awareness of Soul Purpose.

At level 5, revelation and intuition intimate elements of your Soul Purpose, but you may not understand the cryptic or symbolic communication that arises from this level. As a result, you may experience distortion of what your Soul is trying to show you.

At level 6, when you awaken your attentional principle and spirit, you can begin to commune with the Soul and get its direct guidance. Jnana Yoga methods like Reflective and Receptive Meditation allow you to directly connect with the Soul and receive guidance from it.

Level 7 typically dawns when the Soul ascends to its Crown of Purpose, which for many people, occurs when their Soul takes the Third Planetary Initiation. At this level, the Soul enacts its purpose through your personality, and is actively guiding you about what you need to do.

A Transpersonal psychotherapy, Psychosynthesis, has methods to progressively lead people from level 2 to 5 through a gradual integration process. This ultimately results in a re-integration around the Soul.

In Mudrashram®, we teach Centering Methods to activate levels 4 and 5, and the Rainbow Technique to work with elements of the unconscious mind. For level 6, we train you in the Awakening Meditation coupled with Mantra Yoga, Nada Yoga, and Raja Yoga to activate your immortal spiritual principles. We give you a transformational mantra to bring your Soul to the level of the crown of purpose, which enables your Soul to begin to directly your personality and carry out its Soul Purpose—and move beyond into yet higher octaves of spiritual development.

We teach these methods in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

Entering the World of Ideas

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: If I get an idea about what I might do, does this come from the Soul?

A: Ideas arise in a band of the Subtle Realm called the Manomayakosa. These sparks of inspiration interface with the Metaconscious mind.

  • This idea can stimulate the Intellect, where we call it a concept.
  • It can provide a picture of a potential solution in the Concrete Mind, where we call it a visualized outcome or goal picture.
  • It can activate the Conscience, where we call it a precept.
  • It can inspire a potential personification for the Persona, where it suggests roles, dialog, and humor, as you might express in role-play, drama, or comedy.
  • It can stir the Desire Body to commit to a cause, to take action, or to do battle.

An idea most commonly appears at the level of the Intellect, where it appears as a conceptual representation of an object, a quality, or a category. Ideas are linked together to create models that elegantly describe a subject matter, as a conceptual framework.

The dimension of quality for an idea has several layers:

  1. Intensity – This is the relative energy of an idea from mild to compelling. The energy for design for a new lamp would not be as intense as someone framing the need to vote for one’s candidate as something that will save the country.
  2. Emotion – Ideas range from non-emotionalized or strongly emotionalized. A design for a butter dish would have little or no emotion associated with it, where as a political candidate cast as the country’s savior would be powerfully emotionalized.
  3. Desire – Ideas that becomes representations of desires are called dreams. You might have an idea of what it would be like when you graduate… when you take a vacation… when you retire… and this motivates you to want to achieve this goal image. Desire-laden ideas are typically highly energetic and strongly emotionalized.
  4. Fantasy – This is the symbolic or imaginal significance of an idea. This is the fantasy you weave or the story you tell yourself of what it will be like when you realize your dream. This fantasy component becomes more energetic and emotionalized, the more closely you identify with the outcome. Fantasizing about getting your first job as a chemist, when this is strongly connected with the way you visualize yourself in the future, is experienced more intensely than weaving a fantasy about visiting Disney World—a fantasy connected with your identity and how you see yourself in the future is more compelling than having a fun time.
  5. Reception – This layer taps how you received the idea, and whether you received the idea in a way that you could remember it. The idea can spontaneously pop into your mind through inspiration. You might encounter it through other people’s communication, in conversation, in a speech or lecture. The idea might be conveyed to you through different channels—reading, audio, or video. This layer is relevant to whether the idea makes an impression on your mind and you retain it. If you learn best through listening, you might not remember the idea if it is presented as a written article.
  6. Context – Each idea is received in a particular context that helps you understand its meaning. Ideas can be presented in an environmental, social, cultural, or religious context. For example, the word “love” has many different meanings: when you are clear in which context this idea nests, you can understand the intended meaning of the person who communicated it to you.
  7. Appropriateness – An idea must be relevant and germane to your goals and dreams, or you will reject it. At this layer, you make judgments about whether an idea is realistic or unrealistic; whether it is proven through testing and evidence or it is merely a fantasy; or whether it is doable or unattainable.

The Soul can send you an idea, but it is hard to tease out the origin of where you receive an idea. If you are unsure of the origin of the idea, you might try using Receptive Meditation, where you receive information from the Soul while you are in its presence. This lets you clearly discern that you are getting this communication from the Soul.

We teach Receptive Meditation in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We teach a form of this meditation in our Introduction to Meditation Program that does not require you to enter a deep state of meditational absorption.

We encourage you to train yourself to identify where particular ideas arise, and to notice the qualities with which these ideas are imbued.