Reflections on Judgment

By George A. Boyd © 2019

Q: The Bible says, “thou shalt not judge.” Can you shed some light on judgment?

A: It is important to understand the levels of judgment and when each is appropriate. There are seven major types of judgment:

  1. Critical judgment – This finds fault with others based on your internal standards of conscience. When your conscience is vitiated, this type of judgment may give rise to egotism, prejudice, jealousy, envy, arrogance, pathological narcissism, and fanaticism.
  2. Decision-making judgment – This looks at the pros and cons of different options and decides which one is best. This type of judgment attempts to guide you to make the optimal decision that will bring you the best results. Professional counselors facilitate you to use this type of judgment.
  3. Juridical judgment – This makes decisions about guilt or innocence and sentencing based on a review of prior case law, the evidence in the case, the accused person’s prior criminal history, and the assessment of his or her probability of committing additional offenses or fleeing if released to the community. This type of judgment establishes the rule of law. Judges make these types of decisions. Attorneys argue for the conviction or defense of the accused. Legislators at the state and national level generate new laws. Law enforcement places those who violate the law and are apprehended into custody.
  4. Righteous judgment – This examines the consequences of action—how your actions and speech will impact others and your self. When you use this type of judgment, you attempt to choose actions that are appropriate, prudent, circumspect, efficient, causing the least amount of harm—and ideally, actions that are kind, compassionate, and wise. This type of judgment dawns in those who practice the precepts of religion. If this type of judgment is applied for long periods of time, it develops good character and saintly virtues.
  5. Spiritual discernment – This enables you to intuit the different layers of your Superconscious mind through the brain center of your Soul’s essential vehicle, and to realize your Soul’s true nature. Employing this type of judgment ultimately leads to enlightenment. This type of judgment blossoms in advanced aspirants and disciples.
  6. Higher order spiritual discernment – This enables you to discern a nucleus of identity, ensouling entity, or spirit of the Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental bands of the Continuum, and to identify with it. Those that reach the Mahatma stage on the Bridge Path gain access to the interpenetrating awareness, which enables them to discern the spiritual development of others at every level of the Continuum. This type of judgment awakens in advanced disciples.
  7. Ministerial judgment – This type of judgment reveals the essential nature of each individual, whom the Master selects to receive spiritual ministry. It discerns what types of attunements are appropriate for aspirants and disciples at their current stage of spiritual development. Initiates utilize this form of judgment.

Scripture condemns critical judgment, when it makes comparisons of others to spurious values. These comparisons to the inner standards of conscience include:

  1. Your “egoic standing” – These are judgments you make about your status and how well you are doing compared to others. When you are doing well, this type of critical judgment allows you to feel superior to others. You might, for example, consider yourself to be wealthier, more intelligent, more beautiful or handsome, physically stronger, or more sophisticated or cultured than others.
  2. The criteria of prejudice – In this perspective, you compare others to negative stereotypes you learn about them—you presume that each member of this targeted group has these same negative characteristics. This type of critical judgment breeds hatred and intolerance; it breeds acts of discrimination, injustice, and violence.
  3. The criteria of jealousy – Through this filter, you consider that another person is a rival for the affections of someone you desire. It leads you to perceive only the negative characteristics of your rival, and you may attempt to sabotage the other person’s efforts to have a relationship with the one you desire.
  4. The criteria of envy – Through this lens, you feel you are inferior to others because they are wealthier, more beautiful or handsome, have a partner who loves them, are more famous or have greater adulation from others—and you want these things for yourself. Envy drives you to adopt a variety of defense mechanisms, including viewing what others have as flawed or defective (sour grapes); justifying your own station in life as virtuous; adopting passive aggressive stances in your relationships with these people; or finding ways to criticize or “bad mouth” them to others.
  5. The criteria of arrogance – When you regard others from this standpoint, you not only feel you are superior, but you also feel justified to bully, harm, or destroy others’ person, property, or reputation—especially when you believe they are competing with you for something you want. Arrogance may lead you to justify criminal or violent acts against those who you don’t like, or who oppose you.
  6. The criteria of narcissistic entitlement – When you adopt this attitude, anyone who doesn’t love you, obey your every wish, agree with your every decision, or remain perpetually loyal to you—you suspect them of being a traitor, you immediately belittle them, and jettison from the circle of those who currently entertain your favor. Mental health professionals refer to this behavior, when it is pronounced, as pathological narcissism.
  7. The criteria of demonic rage – Those who demonstrate this radical stance so strongly believe in their political or religious ideology that they hold—that if others do not follow their belief system, they are judged to be evil, and can be persecuted, tortured, or killed. This type of critical judgment underlies the mindset of the political or religious fanatic, the hate group follower, or the terrorist.

When you are able to activate your higher wisdom faculty that operates righteous judgment, you will begin to uproot these types of critical judgment. You will replace these negative character traits of critical judgment with:

  • Humility
  • Gratitude
  • Caring for others
  • Considering what is for others’ highest good
  • Kindness and helpfulness
  • Acceptance of others’ diversity and difference
  • Tolerances of differences of belief and opinion
  • Understanding
  • Forgiveness
  • Mercy

When you deconstruct your negative, critical judgment mindsets, you replace it with virtues. You begin to rehabilitate your character and purify your conscience. The scripture you cite admonishes you to work form the platform of righteous judgment, so you can engage in this ongoing project of character transformation, thereby turning your vice into virtue, your ignorance into wisdom.

To facilitate this healing of your conscience and rehabilitation of your character, you may wish to contemplate each of the virtues listed above, and identify how you might express these virtues in your relationships with others. The meditation of the pairs of opposites in our intermediate courses—the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program—will help you develop these virtues.

It is important to understand that this scripture is not asking you to abandon discernment, to not administer the law if you are a judge, or refrain from making optimal personal choices—it is asking you to root out the negative aspects of critical judgment and replace them with wisdom and virtue.

You also need to be clear that not all forms of judgment are negative: it is the negative attitudes of critical judgment that you must remove.

Validating Spiritual Experiences

By George A. Boyd ©2017

Q: How do I verify my experiences are genuine? For example: If I see Jesus in my meditation, how do I really know that was Him? If I’m told I should do something, how do I know if it’s something I should carry out? If I receive a vision or revelation, how do I know if the knowledge I received was accurate?

A: During certain stages of spiritual development, it is sometimes hard to ascertain what is true and what is not in your inner experiences. Your task is to find something to validate your experiences.

Spiritual experiences tend to fit into one of six frameworks

  • Astral (Imaginative)
  • Causal (Karmic)
  • Visionary (Revelatory)
  • Purposive (Divine Plan)
  • Mastery (Divine Command and Empowerment)
  • Lineage Founding (Dispensation)

Each of these “containers” of spiritual experiences operates outside the empirical framework of factual evidence based on your senses and reason. So you cannot validate these experiences the way you validate a physical object, a logical problem, or the accuracy of your recollection. We will explore in this article methods to validate these experiences using the faculty of discernment.

First, let’s examine what your experiences are in these different frameworks, plus the foundation state of consensus and foundation reality in which you function in your waking state of consciousness.

  1. Physical evidence (facts) – You note an object is present in the environment using your senses. Its behavior is logically consistent, and it obeys the known laws of the physical universe. This is the consensus reality that you experience in the waking state of awareness.
  2. Astral Imaginative (fantasy) – You construct a scenario in astral matter where you picture that your dreams and desires are fulfilled. You create something new that improves and transforms your current condition. What you visualize may or may not be realized in your life—your “dreams” may not necessarily come true, despite your efforts to manifest them.
  3. Causal Karmic (passion) – You enact certain patterns from your unconscious mind. You feel driven to perform certain actions. Craving, obsession, overwhelming desire and drive to achieve or have something may guide your actions in this state. This passionate behavior may feel like it operates outside of your voluntary and rational channels—you feel you have to do it.
  4. Visionary Revelatory (revelation) – You enter a state of meditation or hypnosis and you see spiritual beings, archetypes, or forms of the Divine. These numinous beings may tell you “mysterious and wonderful” things. You may be told that you are a special, chosen one, or an emissary or prophet of God. You may be guided to carry out a religious or spiritual project, such as writing a scripture or holy book, doing charitable work on behalf of those who are needy or suffering, founding a religious organization, building a temple, or bringing forward a new religious teaching.
  5. Divine Purpose and Plan (Spiritual Destiny) – In this state, you discover your unique spiritual destiny and service. You see the spiritual work you are to do mirrored in the archetypes in your unconscious mind, and you gain insight into what you are meant to accomplish. You enact the steps to carry out this plan, which might involve education and training, skill acquisition, or career development that ultimately enables you to live your Soul’s purpose.
  6. Divine Command and Empowerment (Mastery) – This state brings direct knowledge of the Will of God. This is the station of an Initiate, who ministers from an Office in the Hierarchy or as a lineage holder of a Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental Path. Here you serve the Divine and humanity through Light Immersion, guiding, and teaching.
  7. Dispensation (Establishment of a Lineage) – This aegis of the Divine appoints select individuals to found new lineages, to colonize and seed new aspects of the Continuum of Consciousness, and to act as Avatars or Divine Incarnations.

The spiritual teachings of the New Thought and New Age groups typically tap into the layer we call the Astral Imaginative. Followers of these groups are taught to “create” their experience. They are told that they have to do is visualize and intend, and they will manifest what they desire through the Laws of Mind or the Law of Attraction.

Other individuals appear to be passion-driven. They are motivated from within, for example, to go to designated places in the world, to embrace specific careers, to marry a particular person, to study selected subjects in school, or to join a certain spiritual group. This powerful motivation arises from passion or strong desire. This can impel great achievement; its dark side can lead people into addiction, criminality, and patterns of self-destruction.

Spiritual revelatory experiences are commonly seen in the First and Second Planetary Initiations, in the teachings of Yogi Preceptors of the First Cosmic Initiation, on Supracosmic Paths, and during the opening of the channels of the Nada in the Transcendental Sphere. In this state, meditators go into states of trance or deep absorption, where they are shown something or told something. A spiritual being or guide may tell them that they have reached a certain spiritual state, or they get the impression that God or the spiritual Master wants them to do something. These visions are poignant, powerful, and moving—those who enter these states feel compelled to share what they have seen or heard with others, or to carry out what “God is telling them to do.”

These revelations are commonly disorganized, chaotic, and lack any theme or consistency; material received in successive meditations may be contradictory. [For an example of this revelations received at this level, look at the book of “The Revelations of St. John the Divine” in the Bible.]

Aspirants undergoing this stage of spiritual development experience the most confusion, as there is nothing to tie together these mysterious communications and mystic disclosures. This forces many of those who function at this level to “live in the moment” and try to gather what meaning and insight that they can from this visionary cascade.

Those undergoing the 3rd and 4th Planetary Initiations commonly get in touch with their crown of purpose or the overarching vision of the Great Plan of their spiritual destiny. This brings clarity and understanding of a coherent framework that ties all spiritual experience together. This brings integration and aligns the personality with the Soul’s purpose and spiritual destiny.

The last two stages—Divine Command and Empowerment and Dispensation—are in the purview of those rare individuals who become Initiates. These beings directly move into the Presence of the Divine and operate as Masters under the Divine Will.

In those stages before the Divine Purpose and Plan—stages two to four—you often do not have a way to validate the veracity of what you are experiencing. You visualize creating something and believe your dreams will come true. Powerful passions move you, but you don’t know if you’re doing the right thing. You have visions of inner worlds; voices tell you things about yourself, the world, the future, your spiritual attainment, and what spiritual worlds are like—but you have no way to verify if what you are experiencing is real.

If you are in this situation, there are three things you can do that will help.

  1. Recognize the stage you are experiencing. Are you creating something? (Stage two) Do your gut level feelings and passions powerfully move you to do something? (Stage three) Are you having visions and voices in your meditation? (Stage four)
  2. Establish criteria to evaluate your experiences. For stage two, do your metaphysical treatments or processes yield results—did you get what you intend or desire? For stage three, when you achieve what you seek, do you experience a sense of completion and release? For stage four, you can use, for example, historical or philosophical criteria.
    • An example of using a historical criterion, if you receive a vision telling you that in a past life, you were traveling in a flying saucer with particle beam weapons in the time of the great war described in the Bhagavad Gita. At 3,500 BCE, humanity was still in the Bronze Age. You conclude that it is unlikely that there would be flying saucers at that time, or particle beam weapons, so you determine your revelation was likely fanciful.
    • An example of using philosophical reasoning is when your visions and voices are telling you that you have now become the savior of mankind. You could examine what is the actual state in which the great Masters dwell in the Hierarchy, and notice if your Soul has reached this state. If you haven’t, your intimation of your greatness is likely delusional. [If you were nurturing delusions of your greatness, perfection, and grandeur, you would deconstruct each of them through this means.]
  3. For anything you cannot examine using your testing criteria, place it in abeyance in the category of unconfirmed hypotheses. Until you know something is true, you don’t automatically believe it because Lazarus [a popular entity channeled in New Age circles] said it was true, an angel you saw in a vision told you it is true, or a beautiful, Christ-like guide you think resembles Jesus affirms it is true.

To guide your actions, align with your Self and your Soul, and check in to see if you are acting on that which is correct, appropriate, and honors your integrity, and not on suggestions that come from these revelatory sources.

Until you reach the stage of knowing your Soul Purpose and what is the Great Work that you were sent to do, you may be led down a lot of dead ends and chase a lot of mirages. If you can put discernment in place, however—recognizing what you are experiencing, establishing criteria to determine its veracity, and holding in abeyance what you can not now verify—you will save yourself a lot of grief, confusion, and consternation, and avoid wasting your valuable time.