Types of Meditation

By George A. Boyd © 2009

There are many types of meditation. Seekers are often not aware that there are so many ways to meditate. They might have learned only one type of meditation, and were told by the teacher that initiated them that this is the “only true way to meditate.” They might have learned a single mantra, to watch their breath, or to contemplate an inner image. But they are not aware that each type of meditation directs awareness differently. For example, here are 35 different ways that people meditate:

  1. Concentration (focusing attention on an inner focal point)
  2. Fine Concentration (finely focusing attention to become minutely aware of the content of a vehicle)
  3. Contemplation (awareness of content after focusing the attention on a point)
  4. Mindfulness (awareness of content in the present time, mental monitoring of content as it arises)
  5. Absorption (in breath, sensory or energetic streams (passive) – no control over depth of immersion
  6. Following breath (active) so that one deepens into awareness to a specified level, then emerges
  7. Absorption in sensory or energetic stream using concentration (active) so that the depth of immersion in this stream is controlled
  8. Mental suggestion (suggestion with the attention; repeating a mantra with the attention)
  9. Mental listening (asking a question, listening for the answer)
  10. Mental striking or knocking (directing the attention to strike a certain center or inner door); or rotation (directing the attention to turn an inner wheel)
  11. Mental scanning (content) noticing all of the content of the awakened portion of a vehicle
  12. Mental scanning (structure) noticing the structure of the vehicle itself as form, shape, dimensions
  13. Mental scanning (background) noticing the content of the unawakened portion of the mind in which the vehicle is embedded
  14. Mental scanning (origin) noticing where the vehicle originates out of Spirit
  15. Attentional principle creation, visual (visualization)
  16. Attentional principle creation, auditory (giving a voice to an entity)
  17. Attentional principle creation, thaumaturgic (sending light or thought to an inner vehicle or to a mantra)
  18. Vocal utterance (structured, aloud) – used in chanting or singing
  19. Vocal utterance (structured, whispered) – used in prayer and mantra repetition
  20. Vocal utterance (unstructured, aloud) – used in intoning, making a sound from an inner vehicle
  21. Vocal utterance (unstructured, whispered) – used in making the breath audible
  22. Vocal attentional click – used to “push off” in direct projection
  23. Movement (structured) – used in sacred dance or martial arts
  24. Movement (unstructured) – free movement used in contact improvisation and movement meditation
  25. Movement (structured, subtle) – movement of astral body using suggestion: parts of astral body, movement of the whole astral body to a spatial or dimensional location; movement of the whole astral body in time
  26. Movement (unstructured, subtle) – movement of the astral body as generated by random sounds, falling, sudden shock, or use of anesthetic stimulant or psychedelic drugs
  27. Volitional command – directing movement or operation of the body or inner vehicle
  28. Volitional suspension – turning off the operation of the body or inner vehicle
  29. Repose in Being or Voidness (Nirvanic dwelling) holding the attention in inner voidness
  30. Dialog – inner dialog with a subpersonality, major integrating center (ego, Self) or spiritual essence (attentional principle, spirit, or Soul)
  31. Communion – inner dialog with a spiritual Guide, with the Holy Spirit, an angel, or the Divine
  32. Inspiration or channeling (active) – receiving telepathic information from a guide, the Holy Spirit, an angel, the Divine, capturing it by writing or speaking
  33. Inspiration or channeling (passive) – receiving telepathic communication from a guide, the Holy Spirit, an angel, or the Divine, and simply remembering it
  34. Being present as the fullness of Being (darshan) – revealing your inmost, eternal nature
  35. Grace-Bestowing – radiating Light or Shakti from the presence of Being (Shaktipat)

We suggest that seekers will benefit from becoming familiar with each of these other types of meditation and their uses. No more than you would use only a hammer to do a variety of household repair tasks, neither should you have only one or two meditation “tools” at your disposal to carry out inner work. It would be superior to have a wide variety of tools to permit you to do exactly what you need to do for personal and spiritual development— this is what you learn in the Mudrashram® system of Integral meditation.

In the Introduction to Meditation Program, you learn techniques 1, 3, 4, 6, 9. 29, and 30.

In the Accelerated Meditation Program, you learn techniques 1, 3, 4,6,7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 29, and 30.

In the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation, you learn techniques 1, 2, 3, 10, 12, 12, 13, 15, 15, 19, 21, and 31.

Breaking Identification with the Content of the Mind

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:

  1. Attention is identified with the content of the mind
  2. Attention witnesses the content of the mind
  3. Attention witnesses and objective labels the content of the mind, and recognizes with this content is
  4. Attention uncovers the origin of an element of the content of the mind
  5. Attention transcends the origin of the content of the mind, and reposes in Voidness and peace
  6. Attention discovers the attentional principle and gains union with it
  7. Attention discovers the spirit and gains union with it
  8. Attention discovers the ensouling entity and gains union with it
  9. Attention discovers the origin of the spirit
  10. Attention discovers the origin of the ensouling entity
  11. Attention discovers the Soul of the Bridge Path
  12. 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.

Seven Patterns of Attentional Interface with the Ensouling Entity

By George A. Boyd ©2008

Excerpted from The Advanced Practice of Meditation

By placing the attention upon a particular spiritual essence the attentional principle, an ensouling entity, the spirit of one of the 12 domains, or a nucleus of identity, the meditator moves from association to union and finally to identification.

Identification with the attentional principle or an ensouling entity, spiritual essence, or a nucleus of identity leads to different perceptions of the inner and outer world (cosmos), path, and apparent purpose.

In different spiritual traditions, the attention is trained to associate with a targeted ensouling entity, nucleus of identity, or spirit on the Great Continuum of Consciousness. Depending on the spiritual teachings and philosophy of this group, the justification for doing the particular spiritual practices that they use is to accomplish (a) specific aim(s). These objectives of their meditation system may include:

  1. Union of attention with ensouling entity bring Gnosis and Realization (the Truth)
  2. Awareness of the ensouling entity upon a path of Light (the Way)
  3. Becoming aware of the gradations of the Path, discerning stages and landmarks (the Path)
  4. Becoming aware of the lighted zone awakened by the light and the zone of unconscious, marking the unawakened portion of the Path and its ultimate goal (the Purpose)
  5. Becoming aware of the vehicles of consciousness upon the path and the particular intelligences, abilities and virtues these vehicles of consciousness contain within them (the Plan)
  6. Becoming aware of the path of the spirit (Nada), the location of the spirit upon the Path, and the Nadamic tone associated with the ensouling entity’s station on the path (the Love)
  7. Expressing the gifts and powers of the Soul, by awakening the full potentials of the mind through the Kundalini Shakti (the Life)

Attentional Interface

When a meditation system targets an ensouling as its object of meditation, they may use alternate tracks to associate the attention with this ensouling entity. These seven patterns of attentional interface with the ensouling entity are shown below:

  1. Liberation of the ensouling entity
  2. Spiritual evolution of the ensouling entity to a place of Mastery and Empowerment
  3. Union of the attention with the ensouling entity and enjoying the peace and bliss of that state
  4. Developing the powers and abilities of the soul with an aim to gain mastery over the mind and body, and ultimately Supreme Nature and consciousness
  5. Discernment of the true nature of the Soul above elements that veil or obscure its realization, such as “Illusion,” “the mind,” the “ego,” or “karma”
  6. Opening the path of the Nada: advancing the spirit along this track to its ultimate union with the Divine in its source
  7. Awakening the power of the Kundalini Shakti to fix the attention in union with the ensouling entity; and receiving Shaktipat to advance the ensouling entity upon its Path.

Initiates and advanced disciples may select dominant patterns of relating to the ensouling entity. For example, Jesus’ statement, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” emphasizes the second, first, and seventh attentional tracks. The advanced disciple undergoing the Fourth Planetary Initiation, who becomes “the Way and the Path,” utilizes the second and third attentional tracks.

We encourage aspirants and disciples with each of these patterns of attentional interface with their ensouling entity. This will allow them to have the greatest attentional flexibility; and will permit them to adopt the appropriate stance to perform the variety of techniques that make up an Integral meditation system.

Those wishing to learn the techniques of our Integral meditation system may wish to take our in-person intermediate course, the Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation—we are starting a new virtual class on January 19, 2023—or the by-mail and online version of this intermediate class, the Accelerated Meditation Program. Please contact us if you wish to join one of these classes; you may wish to schedule a spiritual discovery session to see if either of these classes match your meditation objectives.

Eight Meditation Themes

By George A. Boyd © 2022

Q: People meditate, but they don’t appear to have a similar experience. Can you shed some light on why this might happen?

A: Depending on what pathway you are focusing your attention, it evokes different content from the Higher Mind. Here are eight major meditation themes you might encounter:

  1. Direction – In this theme, you receive guidance for action. This comes from the Soul communicating its purpose to the personality. In advanced disciples and Initiates, they may receive the impress of the Divine Will (Agya). This is associated with the First Ray, which taps into the Will Stream.
  2. Visualization – In this type, you obtain an image or seed thought upon which you contemplate. This might appear as an image that will help you focus your attention on a spiritual essence—attentional principle, spirit, nucleus of identity, or ensouling entity. Sometimes, this might employ revealing a mystery that veils a spiritual essence. This Second Ray meditation theme draws from the Intuitive Wisdom Stream.
  3. The Wellspring of Love – This type opens into the virtue, unconditional love, and compassion of the Soul. It is associated with Agni Yoga, which sends healing attunements, and Nada Yoga, in which the spirit travels back upon the tracks of the Nada and unites with the Divine Beloved through love. Loving kindness meditation and meditations that enhance virtue and improve character also access this pathway. This alternative Second Ray meditation draws from the Love Stream.
  4. Inspired Discourse – This explains spiritual ideas to promote insight and understanding. It may also act as a voice over in guided meditation, which leads attention into union with a selected spiritual essence. This Third Ray pathway channels the Vocal Stream.
  5. Experience – This views the present time unfolding of life at different levels, and becomes fully aware of the content of the mind, wherever attention is focused. Mindfulness and Vipassana enters this track, and allows you to be aware of your present time experience; Raja Yoga moves attention along this inner corridor through the levels of the mind and lets you become aware of the content at each focal point. This Fourth Ray immersion in experience leads your attention upon the Thread of Consciousness.
  6. Analysis – This carefully studies spiritual forms or vehicles of consciousness to reveal their structure and function. It identifies the major landmarks and content of the Continuum of Consciousness through the four bands of the mind. The Mudrashram® Correspondence Course utilizes this approach. This Fifth Ray path of study contemplates Form and Structure.
  7. Invocation – This calls upon a spiritual being—an angel, a spiritual guide, a god or goddess, or a form of the Divine—to fulfill a fervent desire, to ensure success in an endeavor, or to receive Grace, Blessings, or Divine Comfort. This Sixth Ray aspiration activates the Thread of Faith.
  8. Synthesis – This ties together disparate insights or revelations to create comprehensive understanding: it constructs a global picture that places each idea or insight into an ordered context. This Seventh Ray perspective draws upon the Intuitive Thread (Antakarana).

These eight different meditation approaches evoke different aspects of the Higher Mind. Different systems of philosophy and meditation emphasize one of these pathways:

  1. The Will Stream is prominent among Karma Yogis, who seek to know the Divine Will and enact it.
  2. The Intuitive Wisdom Stream uses evocative images, spiritual ideas (seed thoughts), metaphors, parables, and stories to spark meditation and inspire contemplation. Many religions and spiritual groups embed parables and stories in their scriptures and their commentaries to provide guidance and inspiration.
  3. The Love Stream taps the healing love of the Divine to awaken the heart. Nada Yogis immerse their spirit into the river of the inner light and sound, and travel back to their Divine Beloved. Agni Yogis taps this everlasting fount of love to minister the Light to others. This immersion in Light awakens the love and devotion of the spiritual heart.
  4. The Vocal Stream gives rise to satsang or preaching. It directly communicates spiritual revelations to teach and guide others.
  5. The Thread of Consciousness is the native track of the attention, and enables the meditator to experience each level of the mind directly. Vipassana and Raja Yoga practitioners interiorize along this pathway.
  6. Contemplation of Form and Structure enables exact knowledge of the forms through which the immortal essences of consciousness—attentional principle, spirit, and ensouling entity—operate. It facilitates the construction of maps of consciousness for each of the levels of the mind. This enhances discernment: it helps you know exactly where you are in meditation.
  7. Awakening the Thread of Faith allows you to remember and commune with selected spiritual beings. Most established religions emphasize this pathway, and adopt some form of prayer and worship to connect with the spiritual source that they invoke. Bhakti Yoga practitioners commonly adopt this approach to worship God and dedicate their lives to serve the Divine.
  8. Contemplation of the Intuitive Thread leads to Enlightenment and Gnosis. The Soul reveals its essential nature and accesses the layers of insights and discoveries it has experienced along its inner journey of spiritual evolution. Jnana Yogis gravitate to this track.

We recommend that aspirants and disciples learn to access each of these eight themes. They can use these pathways to:

  • Get direction
  • Receive ideas for contemplation
  • Become immersed in healing love
  • Tap into spoken words of guidance
  • Directly experience the levels of the mind
  • Study the levels of the mind and the Continuum of Consciousness
  • Call upon the Divine for succor and support
  • Achieve a complete understanding of their station on the Path and realize their Soul

We teach ways to access approaches (2), (3), (5), (6), and (8) in our intermediate meditation courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We introduce you to approach (1) and go deeper into approach (8) in our Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation. We invite you to study with us to learn to connect with these different meditation themes.

Extensions of Mindfulness

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: In the Introduction to Meditation program, you frame mindfulness as tool for monitoring the contents of consciousness arising in the present time. Does mindfulness have other uses?

A: Mindfulness begins with the collection of attention, so it is present and inwardly alert. Then it can be focused on the content arising in the present time from the different levels of the Conscious mind. This monitoring of present time experience can be performed at any of the focal points of the Conscious mind. For example:

  • Waking state of consciousness (Body scan)
  • Movement center (Walking meditations)
  • Sensorium (Heightened awareness of sensory experience—sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch)
  • Deep body awareness (releasing sensations of pain or physical discomfort)
  • Feeling center (working with emotions arising in the present time—used in psychotherapy)
  • Mental center (observing thoughts in the present time)
  • Ego (observing the different roles of the ego organized under discrete “I am” statements)
  • Preconscious (observing the content of the Subconscious mind that enters conscious awareness)

A deeper function of mindfulness comes into play when attention is applied to not simply monitor the content that arises in the present time, but to actually process the content. Here attention notes the content, releases it, and moves to a deeper layer of the mind. It sinks down into a deeper stratum of the mind that lies just behind the content that arises at the surface.

This processing function of mindfulness has been called Vipassana. This uncovering through process can be performed on different types of mental experience. For example:

  • You can uncover the core of physical pain in the body and release it.
  • You can move through an emotional issue that is locked in the body and work it out.
  • You can sink to the core of confusion and find clarity.
  • You can encounter a block or obstacle in the mind that keeps you from going deeper meditation and you can break through it.
  • You can interface with a subpersonality in your unconscious mind and transform or dissolve it.
  • You can travel across an entire segment of your unconscious mind and reach the Light of Liberation beyond it.
  • You can trace a karmic impression in your causal body to find the karmic seed at its origin.

We train students in both functions of mindfulness in our meditation classes.

  • You learn the monitoring functions of mindfulness in the Introduction to Meditation program.
  • We introduce the processing function in our intermediate meditation courses—the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. In our intermediate courses, you learn the technique of Physical Vipassana, where you are able to sink deeper into the body to ultimately have a breakthrough experience and lift up into the voidness of consciousness of the state of being; you also learn to interface with a subpersonality using the Rainbow Technique.
  • In the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation, you learn to travel across the unconscious mind to the other side using the Yoganidra method.

Mindfulness in its monitoring and processing aspects is a powerful tool for meditation. We suggest it will be beneficial for you to learn how to perform these different applications of mindfulness.