By George A. Boyd © 2020
Q: Why are my meditations hazy and indistinct. I don’t see anything clearly. Is there a way I can enhance my inner vision?
A: First you must consider the reasons why your meditations are not clear. One of the reasons for this is that your awareness remains engaged with levels where you are not having pure spiritual experience. Let’s look at these seven levels:
- Physical body awareness – At this level you are aware of the physical body sensations correlated to higher spiritual experience. For example, you might feel pressure in your chest when your attentional principle ascends through the First Planetary Initiation. You might also feel this physical body correlation if your spirit on the Second Transcendental Path ascended to the top of the Causal Plane—here you would feel the pressure in your forehead above the top of your nose. [Aspirants and disciples whose awareness operates in this level correlate spiritual experience to an anatomical reference in the body.]
- Energetic awareness – At this level you are aware of the flow of life force through the vortices of the chakras, circulating through the channels running through your etheric body (meridians), or super fine channels (nadis) that channel mental activity. If you practice hatha yoga, perform martial arts practices, or do intensive breathing exercises (Pranayama), you may become aware of the movement of the life force through these inner channels. Those who have been initiated into Kundalini may also feel this energy rising through the central channel (Sushumna) through the chakras up into the brain.
- Emotional awareness – At this level, you become aware of your emotions. They may personify as “entities,” “thought forms,” or “subpersonalities.” You become highly aware of your own feelings and the feelings of other people (empathy). A flood of feelings and memories arise within you unbidden: at this level it feels like you are in perpetual process. Spirituality here expresses as qualities of goodness and love—you feel your spiritual nature embodies the higher emotions such as unconditional love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, joy, and grace. You may become very conscientious or scrupulous when you are operating at this level, and you may obsess about eliminating your darker passions such as lust, greed, anger, jealousy, envy, craving, and egotism.
- Thinking awareness – At this level, you are immersed in your thoughts. You are aware of the power of your volition, and you may feel that you can accomplish anything upon which you set your mind. Your meditations are a waterfall of thinking that will not let up.
- Impressions awareness – At this level, you become aware of a voidness of consciousness that is in the background of all your mental activity; in front of it are golden and black impressions that look like copper or iron filings. These correspond to your karma contained in your unconscious mind. You become aware that each karmic impression has an associated physical, energetic, emotional, and mental expression. You witness these impressions stirring into motion as physical sensations, flow of energy, emotions and desires, and thoughts and fantasies. You watch them arise and pass away.
- Pure spiritual awareness – When you break through to this level, you are able to exist and operate freely as your attentional principle and your spirit. You actually dwell in the spiritual Planes, and you witness the content of these numinous realms with crystal clarity. You have full recall of your spiritual experiences. The senses of your astral body, your attention, your attentional principle, and your spirit function without obstruction. You experience this state after death and in the experience of Samadhi. Those meditators who can break through into Samadhi can access this higher order experience.
- Illumined awareness – At this level, you realize your ensouling entity, and your Illumined Mind begins to operate fully—your intuition and discernment function at their full capacity. At this level, you can teach and guide others through the spiritual Planes.
Your challenge is to disengage your attention and awareness from levels one through five and rise into level six. Methods that have been developed to ostensibly help aspirants and disciples achieve this trans-noetic state include:
- Vipassana – This is the practice of present time monitoring of physical sensations (1-physical), monitoring the breath (2-energetic), on feelings (3-emotions), on active mental activity (4a-thinking), the activity of the ego (4b-identity), and the voidness of consciousness (5-impressions). You pay attention to what arises in the present time at each of these levels, and continue paying attention until you break through into a higher state of awareness. Transcending all five of these strata of the mind purportedly yields immersion in unbroken union with the attentional principle or the spirit.
- Use of silent mantra – Ostensibly, selecting a mantra that awakens awareness and enables your attention to tunnel through these strata of the mind can lead to immersion in the trans-luminal state. The “thought bubble mantra” method that Transcendental Meditation™ teachers advocate, for example, is purported to produce this effect; the actual experience of practitioners suggests that most TM-ers do not practice this method with the requisite tenacity and focus to actually experience this breakthrough. Most report going into a deeply relaxed state in which they let go of stress. Many groups recommend long periods of mental repetition of mantras to breakthrough into ecstatic, clear states of mind—like TM, most aspirants and disciples drone on with their monotonous mantra repetition, but only rarely experience states of transcendence and immersion in worlds of supernal wonder.
- Chanting – Those groups that embrace chanting proclaim that one-pointed chanting with devotion and love for God and Guru will transport you into spiritual worlds of light and beauty. A few devotees have used this method to enter truly sublime and blissful states of consciousness, but most do not reach these levels of inner clarity—even though they chant all night.
- Concentration – If you use the time-honored method of focusing your attention, allowing your awareness to fully open, and letting your attention to fully merge with the object of meditation, this can lead to awakening as the attentional principle or the spirit. Many aspirants and disciples find this Raja Yoga approach difficult, however, as their attention readily wanders, and they cannot sustain this process to gain complete union and identification with their attentional principle and spirit.
- Self-analysis – This method uses self-observation and discernment to isolate the attentional principle and the spirit—and in some traditions, this is applied to a selected nucleus of identity or an ensouling entity. The “Who am I?” process that Ramana Maharshi popularized is an example of this method. Those who have a powerful intellect may be able to use this approach to enter the trans-noetic zone—many seekers, however, have a difficulty understanding and recognizing what is the attentional principle, what is the spirit, what is the Atman, what is the heart mind, or other targets for realization of this inquiry process that different groups select.
- Absorption (Laya) – This method suggests that if you will drop your attention into inner sensory or energetic streams for a long enough period, you will gain fusion with your attentional principle or your spirit. Among the channels of absorption different spiritual groups use include inner sight (Jyoti), inner sound (Shabda), the combined current of taste and smell (Amrita), or the breath (Prana). The obstacles that aspirants and disciples encounter when they attempt this method include (a) getting blocked at some inner location so they cannot travel beyond this inner barrier, (b) the attention slipping out of absorption in the inner channel, and (c) fascination with inner content that keeps attention hovering at a selected level of awareness.
- Kundalini and Attunement (Shakti) – This approach holds that if you intensify your Kundalini sufficiently, it will carry your attention and awareness to profound levels of the Continuum. Those who have been Divinely empowered, moreover, can send the Light to lift attention and awareness into deep stages of absorption in the Superconscious mind. The risk of the Kundalini method is that if this energy is not correctly awakened, it can lead to Kundalini syndromes that make normal personality functioning difficult. The Attunement method is contingent upon the aspirant or disciple’s ability to sustain inner alertness and focus—here the wandering mind can interrupt the guided meditation that the Initiate bestows.
Each of these methods promoted to transcend into trans-noetic consciousness has their drawbacks; some aspirants and disciples do not make the breakthroughs with any of these methods. We encourage you to persist, nevertheless, and with sufficient dedicated practice, you too will have your breakthrough into the crystal clear level six awareness.
We train you in many of these methods that lead to trans-noetic breakthrough in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation, and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.