How Christians Get Caught Up in Conspiracy Theories

By George A. Boyd ©2023

Q: How do conspiracy theories influence Christians, which warp the core tenets of their faith?

A: To understand this, it’s important to review the 49 steps of the Christian believer from the birth of faith to the attainment of sainthood:

Level One – Faith [Activation of the cord of faith, which connects the ego with the Divine]

  1. Belief in God and Jesus [the awakening of faith]
  2. Praying to God and Jesus [invocation]
  3. Engaging in dialog with God and Jesus [praying and receiving a response to prayer as personal guidance and direction]
  4. Asking for God’s help in times of crisis or great personal suffering or adversity [supplication]
  5. Receiving God’s comfort and peace via the Holy Spirit in response to the prayer of supplication
  6. Receiving a gift of the Holy Spirit in response to prayer or as a spontaneous act of Grace
  7. Demonstrating or using the gift of the Holy Spirit with believers in your congregation; Pentecostal and Charismatic sects appear to operate at this level

Level Two – Spiritual Warrior [Construction of the citadel of belief and identification as a Christian believer]

  1. Listening to sermons and learning about the Christian faith
  2. Studying the Bible, committing scriptures to memory
  3. Witnessing and proselytizing to other to convert them to the Christian faith
  4. Aligning with clergy-sanctioned political and social causes and advocating for them
  5. Becoming obsessed with religious and political agendas; at this level you are especially susceptible to believe in conspiracy theories
  6. Giving tithes and donations to support your Church’s mission; you might also be led to financially support the agendas of political and religious groups that align with the political and social causes for which you have advocated
  7. Teaching or preaching to others what you have learned from scriptural study and the theological training you have had; this is the standard preparation for ministry based on theological study [Theology is one of the disciplines found in the Temple of Science; some schools of Theology also expose the minister-in-training to the principles of Philosophy.]

Level Three – Quest for power, money, and love [Activation of the Universal Mind]

  1. Claiming the promises of scriptures via faith and affirmation
  2. Giving donations and tithes with the aim to activate the Divine Law of Prosperity
  3. Demonstrating Divine Prosperity through purchasing expensive cars, homes, clothing, or jewelry
  4. Giving charity; donating to causes you deem worthy out of your financial surplus
  5. Treating the Universal Mind directly using affirmations to manifest your desires; Science of Mind practitioners and ministers operate at this level
  6. Working with the matrix of subconscious beliefs that hinder manifestation of your desires—many life, relationship, and business coaches operate at this level to move you to the next step in your life, your romantic satisfaction, or to enhance your career and finances
  7. Experience of union with the Universal Mind; activation of the inner genius of the Master Mind

Level Four – Revelation and Visionary Experience [Psychic Realm Awakening]

  1. Visions of utopian or doomsday scenarios; apocalyptic visions of the end of the world and the second coming of Christ
  2. Immersion in interpreting the meaning of scriptures, symbols, archetypes, and myths; this is the level of hermeneutics; those who engage in translating scriptures and religious texts from their original languages also operate at this level
  3. Channeling angels and spirits verbally to give prophecy and revelation
  4. Communion with angels and guides in trance states and receiving teaching and revelations from them
  5. Channeling communications from angels and spirits through spontaneous writing [automatic writing]
  6. Beholding visions of spirits; perceiving angels and demons in the aura of others
  7. Exorcising or casting out demons that you perceive in the aura of others through prayer or ritual; those who conduct exorcisms operate at this level

Level Five – The Dawning of Wisdom [opening to the Wisdom Plane]

  1. Reception of practical guidance to live righteously
  2. Working on changing bad habits and reforming character
  3. Working with addictions and recovering from compulsive patterns of behavior—many 12-step groups operate at this level
  4. Mentoring and guiding others to improve their character, recover from addictions, and cope with the challenges of life; pastoral counselors and addiction counselors operate from this level
  5. Doing forgiveness work and reuniting with the unconditional love of the Soul—A Course in Miracles operates at this level
  6. Gaining understanding of what motivates you and others; connecting with your Soul’s inner wisdom
  7. Communion with the Light of Wisdom and listening to the still, small voice in the silence; the spiritual communion of the Quakers taps this level

Level Six – Born Again – Living the Gospel and having direct communion with the Holy Spirit

  1. Experience of direct attentional union with the Moon Soul or Christ Child nucleus of identity; feeling born again as a child of God
  2. Direct communion with the Holy Spirit as it dwells in the inner altar at the heart of the Moon Soul or Christ Child
  3. Experience of the Divine Will as direction and guidance conveyed directly to the attentional principle
  4. Reception of the genuine calling of spiritual vocation to serve the Church as a minister, teacher, prophet, healer, or evangelist; this is the level at which you experience authentic spiritual vocation
  5. Experience of ministering the Holy Spirit as your attentional principle; this is the attunement of spiritual ministry
  6. Experience of the robes of righteousness—guiding your human life through wisdom and the moral will; this level also opens the Revelatory Mind or Mind of Christ, which brings new insights into the scriptures
  7. Experience of the heart of gold, the golden nugget of love and virtue at the core of the Moon Soul or Christ Child

Level Seven – Holiness [embodying love and virtue through ascension of the Moon Soul or Christ Child]

  1. Experience of the Jet of Divine Spirit upon the Mountain of God; entering the Presence of the Form of God that expresses in human life and history
  2. Entering the gates of death while alive; doing life review in the Presence of the Great Judge and the Lords of Karma
  3. Beholding the strata of Hell; witnessing the behavior of others that led them to perdition
  4. Beholding the strata of Purgatory; working off core life issues and developing heart wisdom
  5. Beholding the strata of Heaven
  6. Beholding the worlds of the angels
  7. Assumption into the form of the Saint; embodying the ability to directly send the Holy Spirit to the Moon Soul or Christ Child in others

Below level five, believers are subject to the manipulation of those who seek to shape Christian’s beliefs through arousing their emotions. Some manipulate believers to enrich themselves; some do it to gain political power; some do it to use believers to fulfill their desires.

We see the ready adoption of conspiracy theories—and the mobilizing of believers to support repressive laws and policies that aim to subjugate those who believe differently—as a direct result of these influence attempts.

Until the Christian has advanced in his or her spiritual growth to level five, where wisdom can guide him or her, there is the ongoing risk that conspiracy theories can waylay the believer. Those who disseminate untruths, distortions of the facts, and warped interpretations of the scriptures are only too willing to influence those who follow them and listen to their perverted messages.

We note that at steps 11 and 12 on the ladder of Christian growth, the believer is especially vulnerable to the influence of those who promote conspiracy theories. Without discernment and wisdom, and the ability to use critical thinking, moreover, believers are highly susceptible to these attempts at covert influence and outright manipulation.

Those who have political agendas, who seek to enrich themselves, and who suffer from narcissistic and megalomaniac delusions are only too happy to shape the beliefs, values, and behavior of the Christian believer. One must tread the perilous journey of faith with vigilance and caution, as the Path is strewn with dangers and pitfalls that can ambush the believer on the inner passage to holiness and assumption into sainthood.

Have You Become a Buddha Yet?

By George A. Boyd ©2022

The Buddhist scriptures describe the characteristic of an enlightened Buddha as one who has overcome the following ten fetters [via Wikipedia]:

  1. belief in a self (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi)
  2. doubt or uncertainty, especially about the Buddha’s awakeness and nine supermundane consciousnesses (vicikicchā)
  3. attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa)
  4. sensual desire (kāmacchando)
  5. ill will (vyāpādo or byāpādo)
  6. lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)
  7. lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)
  8. conceit (māna) — some writers translate this as arrogance
  9. restlessness (uddhacca)
  10. ignorance (avijjā)
  11. Now, let’s have you evaluate how far you have progressed towards full Buddhahood. Rate yourself 0 to 10—where 0 indicates you have made no progress with this fetter and 10 indicates you have overcome it completely:

    __ belief in a self (Self illusion)

    __ doubt or uncertainty

    __ attachment to rites and rituals

    __ sensual desire

    __ ill will

    __ lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth

    __ lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm

    __ conceit or arrogance

    __ restlessness

    __ ignorance

    Commentary

    From our vantage point in Mudrashram® on the Bridge Path, we view the Buddhist Path as a track that leads through the Supracosmic Sphere. From our perspective, we view these ten characteristics as follows:

    In Mudrashram®, we point to the Self as the nucleus of the personality at the core of the Metaconscious mind. Apparently, this reference to self-illusion appears in systems where identification is transferred to a Supracosmic seed atom. This essence detaches from identification with ego, Self, Soul, Monad, and Astral Soul as it moves along its track, and any sense of self is dissolved when this Supracosmic seed atom becomes merged in its origin.

    It also appears that overcoming doubt or uncertainty first appears as faith in the Buddha; at the culmination of the journey, it is faith and conviction that one has reached the same state of consciousness as the Buddha at the end of the journey.

    Attachment to rites and rituals, historically marks the emergence of Buddhism as a separate and distinct religion apart from Hinduism. Hinduism, in the time of the historical Buddha, was known for its elaborate rituals for invocation of the gods and goddesses and in worship ceremonies. Buddhism, in contrast, relied upon meditation without rituals to draw close to the Source.

    The pure monk, after completing his or her sadhana, roots out sensual desire, or lust for sexual enjoyment.

    Ill will is overcome through the cultivation of compassion and loving-kindness.

    Lust for birth in form and rebirth in a heavenly realm appear to be transcended when one reaches the Supreme Abode where Buddhas dwell at the highest stage of a Supracosmic Path.

    Conceit or arrogance appears to be the surfacing of what we call spiritual egotism. Ostensibly, this also is overcome when the seed atom merges with the Light from which it originated.

    Restlessness appears to be related to the existence of desire at the level of the body and the impressions that exist within the layers of the mind. Desire is the motivating force, which at the level of the human Self, drives achievement and progress towards identified objectives or goals. It is unclear whether the full overcoming of restlessness would lead to a complete cessation of motivation for any material activity.

    Ignorance is overcome with the activation and full development of the Buddhi or Illumined mind. This development of the Buddhi exhibits the following characteristics: discernment, prudence, wisdom, equanimity, clear seeing of the elements of the mind and consciousness, identification of stages of the Path, and Gnosis of the spiritual essence in which it is anchored. In a Buddhist system, this spiritual essence for which Gnosis is achieved would likely be the Supracosmic Soul, for those individuals whose Supracosmic Soul dwells on a Buddhist Path; for those that don’t have the Supracosmic Soul present, it would be achieved when one merges the Supracosmic seed atom into its origin and one experiences the primordial Void that exists beyond the origin of the Supracosmic seed atom.

    It appears that one would need to become identified with a Supracosmic seed atom on a Buddhist Path to experience the overcoming of several of these fetters. In systems like Mudrashram®, that do not destroy the sense of the ego and the Self, would have difficulty with overcoming the Self-illusion. We also would have a problem with the cessation of restlessness, as we recognize the importance of desire at the personal level as fueling goal achievement and motivation for personal growth; and spiritual aspiration for growth and development at the transpersonal level.

    Rooting out issues such sensual desire, ill will, and arrogance appear to depend on the ability to remove these impressions entirely from the inmost mind (nijmanas) and the causal body through whatever transformational modality one utilizes in their tradition. We note that for many aspirants and disciples, when these elements are embedded in the personal unconscious—also called the Shadow or physical etheric matrix in our writings—would have much difficulty rooting out these patterns.

    The achievement of Samadhi through the opening of the Buddhic capsule appears to counter ignorance; attaining this state is possible, but requires much initial effort to awaken this multidimensional stage of illumination. We would suggest that this does not spontaneously occur when one reaches some designated completion marker on the Path—such as Brahman in the First Cosmic Initiation, completion of a Supracosmic Path, or realization of Satchitananda after liberation of an ensouling entity—but appears to require genuine activation of the Illumined mind.

    The attainment of Param Moksha Desh, which we have analogized to Buddhahood in the Mudrashram® system, does not appear to be identical to the characteristics described in Buddhist philosophy. In Mudrashram®, Buddhahood is seen as a stage in spiritual development that marks the dissolution of all karma in the Superconscious mind throughout the Subtle, Planetary, Transplanetary, and Cosmic Bands of the Continuum; on one’s native Supracosmic Path; and all eight Transcendental Paths—this results in the liberation of the spirit and ensouling entity in each of these realms, and the dropping of vehicles of consciousness not directly related to one’s ministry and service.

    Buddhist philosophy appears to describe Buddhahood as a state achieved when one completes a particular Buddhist Path; this does not require the dissolution of karma in Subtle, Planetary, Transplanetary, Cosmic, native Supracosmic, or Transcendental levels, as we cultivate in Mudrashram®.

    This would suggest that those who follow the Mudrashram® Way might not score highly on the Buddha scale, but we achieve something different in the completion of our journey than is espoused in Buddhism.

The Gentle Meandering Away from Truth

By George A. Boyd ©2023

In conspiracy theories, there is a detachment from consensual reality and absorption in deeper strata of belief and perception. These deeper levels of mental processing are subject to distortion and delusional belief.

The challenge for those attempting to navigate the illusions of the collective mind to determine reality and truth encounter seven major mental postures. These are:

  1. Recognition of objects in the environment and correctly labeling them, measuring them, and verifying their existence; this establishes facts and consensual reality.
  2. Speculation about causation and motivation using deduction and inference; researchers, journalists, investigators, and psychologists tap this level.
  3. Believing in things other people have told you or communicated to you without verifying the information you have received is correct; this is the first level subject to the distortion of conspiracy theories and others lying to you and exploiting you.
  4. Believing revelations and interpretations you receive from your own contemplation or that you receive from psychic readers or religious clergy; this level is subject to the distortion that comes from you overvaluing ideas or misinterpretation of the content you uncover or that is communicated to you; those who disseminate conspiracy theories often draw from these sources.
  5. Believing in signs, omens, and coincidences for guidance; the issue here is that you are not certain which of these presentations are genuinely guidance from your Soul and which are simply random signals; those that present distorted information from levels three and four with conviction and enthusiasm can readily persuade those who operate in this frame of inner guidance to adopt their beliefs.
  6. Receiving guidance from a spiritual entity other than your own Soul through channeling or automatic writing; the quality of this guidance you receive depends on whom you are channeling—you can receive very valuable and reliable information from this source, or you can obtain spurious and useless information. Some look for Gurus at this level to provide answers and show them how to realize their true nature.
  7. Gaining union with your Soul and having it reveal its true nature; this is union with your inner source of wisdom and discernment; this is the touchstone of inner truth and realization.

Not all of these postures of mental processing lead you down rabbit holes:

Postures one and seven form the bedrock of reality and truth. You can verify consensual reality through your senses and reason; you can gain conscious union with your Soul and tap into its direct intuitive stream.

Posture two, if performed with careful safeguards in place against bias can be a valuable tool to arrive at valid conclusions and correct inferences—without validation, however, these can lead astray well-meaning detectives, researchers, and clinicians.

The zone that generates delusion and the strange beliefs of conspiracy theories spans postures three to six.

Posture three is the most common entry point for those who embrace conspiracy theories: because they cannot or do not verify the information they receive, they unwittingly adopt false beliefs.

Posture four is often the source of many of the distorted beliefs that underpin conspiracy theories: someone has had a revelation… someone has attempted to read meaning into a cryptic scriptural passage or an arcane, symbolic manuscript… someone has interpreted an event in an ominous or apocalyptic way. Those that operate at this level still think, although their thinking process may be corrupted.

Posture five begins to operate when someone has set aside thinking and analysis, and instead embraces intuition as their source of truth. This is a highly experiential, serendipitous frame of mind that seeks to discover truth. Divinatory arts like tarot, angel cards, and I Ching tap into this intuitive matrix. This posture leads to a mindset that views the unitive nature of the universe, the connections between all things, and a sense that there is a deeper reality behind the observable physical universe. At this level, one “creates” through intention and visualization; events occur synchronistically.

Posture six typically dawns when someone seeks guidance from a wise and highly evolved spiritual being: this often takes the form of a search for a spiritual mentor or Guru. If someone selects an ethical, genuinely realized teacher for this stage of their aspirant journey, they can receive teachings that help them advance both in their personal life and their spiritual development.

Choosing wrongly can lead to involvement with spiritual cults and enslavement and abuse at the hands of authoritarian and paranoid spiritual leaders. Some alternately draw their information and inspiration from guides they encounter in the inner Planes; like flesh and blood Gurus, these sources can be legitimately helpful or they can lead people into greater delusion.

It is possible to avoid slipping into the traps of postures three to six:

In Mudrashram®, in our intermediate classes—the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program—we teach our students how to tune into posture seven to directly know and commune with their essential nature and skip over the pitfalls of postures three to six.

You can have greater success with posture two, if you learn critical thinking and obtain an education that emphasizes careful intellectual inquiry and analysis.

We encourage you to identify in what ways you operate in each of seven postures, and to progressively learn to uncover and eliminate the false beliefs you may have adopted in listening to the siren voices of the Astral and the misinformation coming from those who seek to exploit you and manipulate you for their own agendas.

Moving from Atheism to Sainthood

Stages of Religious Development: Moving from Atheism to Sainthood

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: How do people transform from having no belief in God—they are atheists—to becoming saints?

A: There appears to be a 12-step progression from atheism to sainthood. We can briefly describe these stages as follows:

  1. Atheism – you have no belief in God, you believe that only the body and brain are real and that believing in God is a delusion
  2. Agnostic – you are open to the idea that God may exist, but whatever God might be is outside of your experience
  3. Awakening of faith – You first begin to believe in God; you remember a Higher Power and pray to it
  4. Initial doctrinal programming – you are taught what to believe about God and what God requires of you; this varies for each sect and faith tradition
  5. Evangelical fervor – you are told to spread the message of faith to convert others to see the truth, as you know it; you attempt to proselytize others
  6. Quest for political power – you are part of an effort to bring your group’s beliefs to influence policy and law, and to elect those who believe as you do to rule over your community, your county, your state, and your nation
  7. Compassionate advocacy for those who are suffering – you get into touch with feelings of love and compassion, and you do volunteer service, charity, or active advocacy for an aspect of human or animal suffering
  8. Moral reformation – you work on yourself to improve your character and begin to live holy virtues in your life
  9. Mystic experience – you begin to commune with guides, angels, the Holy Spirit, or the Divine, as you know it in your religious tradition, through entering into altered states of consciousness
  10. Transformation – you experience the Light transform the spiritual essence with which those in your religious tradition identify; you awaken new abilities, intuitive knowledge and understanding, and enhance your love, compassion, and virtue
  11. Vision and revelation – as you move closer to the Divine that you know in your tradition, you have a series of visions and revelations; sometimes these experiences will give clear guidance that orients you and bestows wisdom—but in other cases, they will give you distorted information and lead you to fanaticism and madness
  12. Assumption into Grace – as you continue the transformational process, you will move into the Presence of God as the Divine is known in your tradition, and you will be anointed to minister, teach, counsel, and/or guide others

Before the awakening of faith, there is nothing to give people any certainty that God exists. There are a variety of things that can awaken faith:

  • Listening to a religious message conveyed through preaching, sermons, religious writing, or satsang
  • Spontaneous awakening through Grace
  • A traumatic or emotionally painful experience that makes you ask for help
  • Reawakening of childhood religious beliefs that you had abandoned
  • A decision made based on philosophical analysis and a search for meaning
  • An encounter with a saint that changes your beliefs and behavior
  • Focusing attention on the Superconscious mind through active meditation or passive means such as ingestion of psychedelic drugs that produces a peak experience in which you experience God, and this awakens belief in you

The initial programming you receive after faith awakens in you conditions what direction your religious life will take. This may lead you to an external focus of expression, where you:

  • Evangelize others
  • Engage in political advocacy
  • Pursue social justice and advocacy for some group that is suffering
  • Seek moral reformation—to improve your character and to act towards others in a kinder and more loving way

In other cases, this initial programming you receive after your initial awakening of faith may lead you to an internal quest. This may inspire you to seek out:

  • Mystic experiences
  • Transformation
  • Visions and revelations
  • Ascension into heavenly realms and into the Presence of the Divine

Apollonian faith traditions emphasize directing you to external expression; Dionysian faith traditions encourage internal experiences of mysticism and transformation that ultimately lead to establishing the spiritual essence developed in their spiritual tradition in the Presence of the Divine.

Commonly, Western religious traditions anchored in the First Exoteric Initiation emphasize this external expression; in contrast, Eastern religious traditions anchored in the First Cosmic Initiation, and selected Supracosmic or Transcendental Paths cultivate this internal expression—you also find an emphasis on this internal expression in the New Age groups that operate in the Psychic Realm.

Leaders of religious and religiously influenced political groups, who regularly tap into the band of vision and revelation, may disseminate misinformation, conspiracy theories, and other forms of distorted messaging. Followers of these misguided leaders amplify this message through spreading it to others, and advocating on behalf of the leader to influence social, corporate, and political decision-making to enact the group’s agendas. Hate mongers, racists, and religious fanatics tap into this band of distorted revelation and turn it into speech and behavior that targets those whom these groups persecute or blame for the troubles in the world.

Those who typically come to Mudrashram® are those who seek mystic and transformational experiences, and who want to make their conscious ascension to Liberation and spiritual Mastery. Those who have been dyed in the color of distorted revelation, however, do not do well pursuing our teachings and using our practices.

Those who have learned these distorted beliefs must unlearn them; they must be willing to move from conviction about these beliefs to a willingness to release them and learn a set of truths founded upon the Soul’s authentic discovery and direct experience beyond the filter of conspiracy theories and flawed conjecture.

Those who achieve sainthood must (1) experience the awakening of faith, (2) select an internal development method that promotes mystic experience, (3) generate transformation of their spiritual essence, (4) discourage distorted revelation, and (5) progressively transform the spiritual essence cultivated in that religious tradition into the Presence of the Divine, where it can be Divinely anointed and empowered to minister the Light to others.

Unfortunately, many are waylaid on this inner journey through fascination with visions and revelations, and are led astray. To embrace genuine spirituality, they must jettison their false beliefs and simply observe what is there in their heart, their mind, and their Soul. Once they can verify and replicate the steps of their progressive inner discovery, they can begin to construct an accurate mapping of the Path and identify those elements within their heart and mind that are stable, reliable, and sound.

Those who are searching for mystic experiences and transformation may learn the inner methods to produce them in our intermediate meditation courses. These intermediate meditation classes are the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. Those who wish to prepare themselves to perform the more advanced meditations of our intermediate programs may benefit from first taking the Introduction to Meditation Program.

Levels of Meaning in Scripture

By George A. Boyd © 1993

Excepted from Religions, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

When we examine the meaning of scriptures, we discover there are two major approaches to understand them: exoteric and esoteric methods. Exoteric methods include literal, analogical and symbolic strategies for understanding the scripture.

Literal – a one-to-one correspondence is presumed, where words describe actual historical events and people’s experience of them. Symbolic material is interpreted factually. For example, the image of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Bible (Revelations 6: 2-8) would be interpreted literally as four odd looking men riding on horseback.

Analogical or Metaphorical – the correspondence infers a deeper level of meaning, exemplified or personified by the person’s behavior on in the historical events. This same scripture may be metaphorically seen as representing Christ conquering by love and truth, followed by war, famine and death.

Symbolic or Metalogical – the correspondence is reduced to a cryptic code or pattern which can be uncovered and decoded by reason. The words or letters may be presumed to have specific hidden meanings, which are analyzed and evaluated separately. The words can be converted to numerical values, which are believed to refer to similar levels, or similar archetypes, within a spiritual cosmology. These may be correlated to other symbols that have similar meanings, such as astrological or mythic symbols.

Exoteric Methods are marked by an attempt to analyze, analogize, or penetrate the meaning from outside. Esoteric methods, by contrast, begin with a union with the scripture’s essence ideas, its core of truth, which is revealed or discovered within. Esoteric methods include revelatory, noetic, spiritual, and essential ways of knowing.

Revelatory – here the light of intuition reveals what the scripture means, and opens its multi-faceted purport. Revelation brings understanding of the scripture. This penetrating intuitive knowledge arises from the Superconscious mind, which a meditator may experience as an inner light or an inner voice. This type of knowing is also called Illumination.

Noetic – the attentional principle penetrates and enters into the essence idea of the scripture. The attention is fully focused on the idea, and as awareness opens to this band of the Great Continuum of Consciousness, different layers of meaning are uncovered. This type of knowing is called contemplation.

Spiritual – the spirit travels the path of the Nada to the level of the essence idea. This brings understanding to the spiritual heart. This type of knowing is called spiritual insight.

Essential – the ensouling entity unfolds along its Path and becomes one with the mystery revealed by the scripture. This brings about essential knowledge, awakens the faculty of wisdom. This type of knowing is called Unitive Wisdom, or Samadhic Knowledge.

Exoteric and Esoteric Approaches to Symbols

Literal interpretation interprets symbols as objects. This type of interpretation views the scriptures as actual fact; hence this interpretation is held to be infallible truth. Literal interpretation of scripture leads to fundamentalistic and authoritarian belief structures, marked by black and white thinking, an unwillingness to countenance any other interpretation of the passages, and an insistence that others must believe the way that they do.

Analogical methods often convey their truths by means of stories or metaphors. Wisdom tales, parables and fables are examples of the analogical method. The wisdom tale recounts the exploits and teachings of saints and sages. The parable uses common examples to make deeper truths clear. Fables commonly use animals or fairy tale characters to reveal insights. The meaning of the symbol is seen to be a simile or metaphor.

Symbolic or Metalogical methods attempt to uncover the hidden meaning in scriptures by analysis. These methods include using:

  • Anagrams – there are letters that stand for words. Christ could be made into an anagram, for example, of Courage, Hope, Inspiration, Saintliness and Truth.
  • Cryptographs – this method rearranges letters of words. The innocent term Santa, in Santa Claus, may be ominously rearranged to spell Satan, which may lead to other associations or correspondences.
  • Gematria – this method assigns numerical values to Hebrew letters, and then finding words that add up to the same amount. These are purported to refer to a similar level or archetype on the Tree of Life, or Kabala.
  • Correlation – this associates symbols to other symbols. For example, a symbol may be assumed to correspond to another symbol found in astrology or alchemy, to the purported meaning of a number in numerology, or to one of the tarot cards. This relates different ideas to pull out associated threads of meaning.
  • Linguistic analysis – this follows the changes of words over time as they migrate from one language to another, or come to mean different things in new cultural contexts. The word messiah, for example, referred to someone who was anointed by chrism oil by the Hebrew king. Later, it referred to a secular warrior king, who was expected to deliver the Jewish people from Roman bondage. Christians identified Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and point to how he fulfills Biblical prophecy of the Savior and Deliverer.
  • Hermeneutics – this examines the meanings of scripture by looking at different translations or previous interpretations by other scholars. The same text may be compared in different versions of the Bible, or its translations from Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic contrasted.

Esoteric methods often view symbols as a template, from which many other meanings can be gleaned. As a meditator contemplates a symbol, different associations and ideas may occur to him.

Alternately, symbols may be seen as markers of stages on the path. For example, those who enter the sixth Subplane of the Second Planetary Initiation see the vision of the Heavenly City or New Jerusalem.

Symbols as markers of stages on the path may be used to as a guide to the spirit, which opens the Path of the Nada to the level where that symbol dwells in the Plenum. They may also be used as markers of stages of Initiation for the Soul, which becomes One with the symbol in the state of Samadhi.

If we hope to penetrate beyond the outer veil of exoteric understanding, we must find the keys to unlock the Superconscious intuition, the attentional principle, the spirit and the Soul. Those who learn to meditate gain access to these esoteric methods of understanding the symbols of scripture. Jnana Yoga methods activate the intuitive or revelatory mind and awaken contemplative understanding. Nada Yoga stimulates spiritual insight. The transformational methods of Mantra Yoga and Guru Kripa Yoga bring about Unitive Wisdom.

We teach these esoteric methods in the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program, and invite our readers to learn them to enhance their ability to understand the scriptures of their faith.