The Six Levels of the Mind Beyond the Brain

By George A. Boyd ©2017

Our modern scientific worldview identifies the mind with the brain. There are, however, six additional orders of mind that dwell beyond this neural surface of cognition. These seven layers of the mind are shown below.

  1. In the waking state of awareness, it appears the mind is the activity of the brain. This is the empirical viewpoint that modern Science holds.
  2. In the next octave of cognition, you activate the astral brain. When this occurs, you become capable of lucid dreaming. Your imagination is enhanced. You are able to do astral travel and remote viewing. You can produce voluntary hypnotic phenomena through giving suggestions to your astral body. You can learn to perform psychic or impressional readings, which gather information not accessible through the physical senses. You become aware of other beings in their astral bodies and of the Astral Planes or worlds of dimension.
  3. At the next octave, you become aware of the lighted area of human consciousness embedded in the matrix of the unconscious mind. You become aware of distinct forms or vehicles of consciousness that have discrete functions that they carry out. You may begin to have experiences of the Kundalini awakening the etheric chakras. You may obtain glimpses of your Higher Self in peak experiences.
  4. At the next order of mind, you become aware that you are attention—a ball of mind-stuff—that observes the activity of the mind and the content of these vehicles of consciousness. You become aware of the thread of consciousness that allows your attention to travel through a series of focal points to deeper bands of the mind. You become capable of mindfulness and contemplation at this stage.
  5. When you move to the next level, you become aware of the Self, which integrates and coordinates the activity of all of the levels of your Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind. You discover your volition, which enables you to take charge of your life and create your personal destiny. This is the stage of personal empowerment.
  6. Once you awaken your Superconscious mind, you become aware of the vehicles of consciousness that your Soul has activated. You rise into the vast vista of you your Soul’s consciousness, which grants intuitive knowledge about the vehicles of consciousness you have opened and the bands of the Continuum in which they dwell. It also stirs the unconditional love of the Soul, and the love and devotion of your spirit. It animates the higher abilities of your Soul at each stage of the Superconscious mind that you have opened.
  7. When your mind fully awakens, you realize the essential nature of your Soul and your Illumined Mind becomes fully active. This grants wisdom, understanding, highest discernment, the ability to become aware of every level of the mind (mandalic reasoning), and bestows Gnosis—where the Soul realizes its own true nature.

You normally experience the mind as the brain when your attention dwells in the waking state of awareness. At this level, habit largely governs your functioning.

The astral mind operates during the states of sleep, hypnosis, anesthesia and intoxication, and astral projection. Most people experience this state through dreaming, but have little control over their experience.

You typically tap into the etheric mental helix during deep sleep, when your attention is drawn deep into the unconscious mind. The causal body operates in this state: it consolidates your daily experiences into long-term memory and sets into motion the regenerating and recharging processes of deep sleep. You may also tap into this matrix if you practice hatha yoga, martial arts, or breathing meditations, or if you do exercises to awaken your Kundalini.

The state of inner alertness or mindfulness occurs when you collect your attention and become present at the entrance to the thread of consciousness that travels through all vehicles of the mind. This is the gateway to meditation.

Centering techniques enable you to unite your attention with the Self. This activates the entire personality, and enables your Self to operate its vehicles of consciousness at full efficiency.

You reach into the Superconscious mind through uniting your attention with your intentional consciousness, which we call the attentional principle, through the practice of Raja Yoga. You can learn to raise the Kundalini through the higher vehicles of consciousness of the Superconscious mind and stir then into full activity.

Through the practice of intuitive meditation, Jnana Yoga, you gain discernment and Gnosis. When you achieve the state of Superconscious Illumination, which is called Samadhi, you fully activate your Illumined Mind, which teaches you about the mysteries of the Soul and about matter, energy, mind, and consciousness.

We introduce you to your vehicles of consciousness, traveling along the thread of consciousness, and activating the Self—levels three through five—in our beginning meditation class, the Introduction to Meditation Program. We teach you how to access and awaken levels four through seven in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

We encourage aspirants to familiarize themselves with these deeper layers of the mind beyond the physical brain. Meditation is the master key to unlock these other zones of the mind veiled to this surface mind of the cerebral cortex. We invite you to learn how to meditate with us, to transcend your brain, and experience these other six levels of the mind.

Operating on All of Your Cylinders

By George A. Boyd © 2019

Q: What does the expression, to operate on all cylinders, mean?

A: We can draw an analogy between the awareness and functioning of human beings and the operation of a 12-cylinder car, like a Jaguar. These inner shifts in awareness and functioning appear to take 12 postures:

  1. Only senses function – You are aware of your body and the world around you. You dwell in the world of consensual reality at your waking state of awareness.
  2. Senses interface with memory – You activate the faculty of imagination. You are able to tell stories and express your creative ideas.
  3. Ego activation – Your desires are highlighted. The world revolves around you. You may wish to present the best impression of yourself to others, which may engage your defenses and lying to not show others any weakness or vulnerability.
  4. Mindfulness – You are able to collect your attention and observe the contents of awareness. You become aware of what is arising in the present time.
  5. Attentional travel – You are able to shift your attention and examine the focal points within your mind, and consciously shift perspective.
  6. Third eye opening – You awaken as the attentional principle, and you are able to use intention and suggestion to work on your life issues.
  7. Conscious life direction – You awaken the Self, which directs your entire personality through volition. You take charge of the direction of your life.
  8. Awakening of the heart – You become aware of your spirit. You awaken your inner wellsprings of love and devotion.
  9. Archetypal identification – You awaken a nucleus of identity and identity with it. You express the native virtue, abilities, and intuitive knowledge that this essence holds.
  10. Enlightenment – You become aware of the Soul and identify with it. You experience enlightenment and Gnosis.
  11. Higher octave awakening – You awaken an ensouling entity, spirit, or nucleus of identity in the Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental bands of the Continuum. You identify with the essence and express it.
  12. Satchitananda – You awaken as the Infinite Consciousness, and behold each of these other octaves within you.

Those that meditate open the possibility to activate cylinders four to twelve; those that don’t awaken their witnessing faculty, commonly are delimited to operating only with their first three cylinders. We teach you how to awaken cylinders four through ten in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We introduce you to cylinders eleven and twelve in the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation.

Through awakening your awareness and learning how to do inner work, you can activate each of your human and spiritual potentials, and begin functioning on all of your cylinders. If you are interested in learning how to do this, we can teach you how.

Evolution of Inner Work

By George A. Boyd © 2019

The ability to do sustained inner work on yourself requires that you first reach union with one of the immortal principles of consciousness within you—the attentional principle, the spirit, and the Soul. You learn this aspect of inner work in meditation.

While psychotherapeutic and hypnotic work requires your ability to isolate your attention and focus it, it does not require that you gain union with one of your immortal principles. The deeper integrative work of psychotherapy leads you to gain union with the Self and to activate its abilities—but excluding transpersonal psychotherapy modalities, activating your immortal essences is not required for these types of psychological intervention.

Inner work typically addresses physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems. The deeper component required to do inner work may also require absorption and focusing of your attention, and experiencing union and identification with one or more of your immortal essences.

This ability to do inner work appears to progress through eleven stages.

  1. Fully embodied egoic stage – You experience physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems, but you have no apparent means of resolving them. You may seek help at this stage, but it may be difficult initially for you to benefit from psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, or meditation, because you may have difficulties focusing your attention on your subjective experiences.
  2. Relaxation stage – You are able to release tension in your muscles. You may have some success letting go of pain in your body. You learn to relax. You may take up stress reduction modalities like Hatha Yoga or Tai Chi.

This ability to relax may take the edge off of your emotional issues, and may make your mental problems seem more manageable. After some practice of relaxation and stress release, you may be able to collect your attention and become established in the state of mindfulness.

  1. Cascade of thinking stage – You are able to process your physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems using sustained attention to the selected levels of the Conscious mind where you can become aware of them arising in the present time.

These practices of monitoring the sensations, feelings, and thoughts arising in the present time are called Vipassana—Physical Vipassana monitors the sensations arising within your body awareness center; Emotional Vipassana, the emotions bubbling up in your feeling center; and Mental Vipassana, the thoughts surfacing in your mental center.

You are able to benefit from psychotherapy and hypnosis at this level. You may, however, experience difficulty moving beyond the cascade of body sensations, feelings, and thinking at this level, so you are unable to penetrate more deeply into the levels of your mind beyond these centers of the Conscious mind.

  1. Initial contemplation stage – You are able to move beyond the initial processing of your physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems at these levels of your Conscious mind. You are able to consciously direct your attention along the thread of consciousness.

At this stage, you are able to focus your attention at discrete focal points and contemplate the contents arising. At this stage, you have your first experiences of meditative absorption. You are able to enter more profound states of hypnotic trance and clearer insight in psychotherapy at this stage.

  1. Inner awakening stage – As your attention continues to travel along the thread of consciousness, you encounter one of your immortal essences—your attentional principle, your spirit, or your Soul. After gaining union with this essence through repeated meditation sittings, you may eventually come to recognize this essence clearly and identify with it.

At this stage, you come to recognize your physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems arise within the strata of the mind—but you discover that who you are, is separate from this content. You cease to identify yourself with illness, emotional complexes, and your problems—you have them, but you are not your physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems.

  1. Transformational stage – At this level, you begin to travel through the inner Planes as your attentional principle; open the channels of the Nada as your spirit; and unfold your Soul through transformational meditation. You may learn a variety of techniques to work on your physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems as your awakened spiritual essence.
  2. Illumination stage – At this level, you begin to activate your Illumined Mind. You experience a downpour of intuitive knowledge, which enables you to get to the core of your mental problems. You gain understanding, insight, and wisdom.
  3. Compassion stage – At this level, you acutely feel your own suffering and the suffering of others. You are empowered to send the Comforter to heal deep emotional pain and resolve emotional issues.
  4. Healing stage – At this level you have the ability to send the Light of Healing, which helps dissolve physical symptoms.
  5. Inner Guide stage – At this level, you gain the ability to lead the attention along the thread of consciousness to unite with the attention principle or the spirit, and to assist these essences travel along their pathways.
  6. Thaumaturge stage – At this level, you are able send attunements to unfold the Soul, and move it from nodal point to nodal point to Mastery and Liberation.

True meditation emerges at stage four. The ability to move your attention and contemplate is prerequisite to inner awakening.

You awaken your spiritual essences at stage five. This level marks the point where you shift from becoming identified with physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems—and realize you are a conscious spiritual essence.

Conscious inner work becomes possible at stage six. At this point in your inner journey, you discover can work on your physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems without relying upon others to guide you in working with them. You gain the ability to initiate process meditation to work on your emotional issues, to modify limiting and dysfunctional beliefs through affirmation, and to use autohypnosis to promote healthy behavioral change.

Stage six also marks the beginning of transcendence meditation, where you start to transform and awaken the powers of the Soul. When you embark on this deepest level of work, you actively accelerate your spiritual evolutionary potentials and ascend to Mastery and Liberation.

In stages seven through eleven, you become empowered to give attunements that resolve your physical symptoms, emotional issues, and mental problems; facilitate attentional absorption and awakening of your immortal essences; and support inner work and transformation.

We teach stage four in our introductory meditation class, the Introduction to Meditation Program. We review the technique of attentional movement and contemplation in our intermediate meditation classes‐the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and our by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program—and additionally teach you core stage five and six methods.

Access to stages seven though eleven of inner work, which enable you to utilize the higher levels of attunements, inner guidance—and ultimately, Thaumaturgy—occur as a result of transformational meditation. Transformation activates all of the dormant powers of your Soul and progressively leads you to spiritual Mastery.

Going Off the Deep End into Cultism

By George A. Boyd © 2019

Q: You include several techniques for working on the personality in your intermediate meditation courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. How can I be sure I’m not fundamentally altering my personality, like what happens in cults?

A: We can characterize seven major levels of work on the personality, together with the methods that are used to access each layer. These are briefly described below.

  1. Your actual experience – this is your moment-to-moment experience in the present time—what we call the zone of the Conscious mind. Mindfulness, being present and observing your mental activity objectively, taps this level. The deeper form of mindfulness, Vipassana, in which you actively process and release the material arising in the present time, also operates at this level.
  2. Your story about your experience – this is your ego’s attempt to show itself to others in a favorable and positive light. At this level, you seek to appear logical, right, and acceptable in the eyes of others; you may present yourself to them as successful, competent, and expert, even though you are not. This is the layer in which you encounter your defense mechanisms. Psychodynamic therapies interface with your ego at this level, accessing both your owned personal narrative and your disowned “shadow.”
  3. Your emotional reactions – This includes your emotional “conclusions” about what your experience means. This influences your self-image. This layer is the emotional truth that you feel beneath the false impressions you convey to the world through shaping your appearance, what you disclose to others, and what you tell others about yourself. Humanistic therapies tap this level.
  4. The network of beliefs associated with your emotions – This makes up your essential “programming” that colors your mindset. This is the perceptual set through which you view the world and what seems possible to you. You can change this programming through autohypnosis and affirmation. Cognitive behavioral therapy works with the limiting, self-sabotaging, and misery-creating beliefs you harbor at this level, and attempts to reconstruct them. As you uproot this conditioning that separates you from your Soul, you can begin to align your personality with your authentic Self and connect with your Soul’s creative expression and purpose.
  5. Changing selected beliefs to conform to a doctrine or philosophy – Cults and mind-control groups use this method to control your personality and to make it obey a set of moral or ideological principles. This might take the form of living up to ideal behavioral standards, obeying the commands of the group leader, or conforming every aspect of your life to a prescribed lifestyle. You may be indoctrinated to hold beliefs acceptable to the doctrine of the group. You may be “brainwashed” to re-identify with a new sense of personal identity. You may be manipulated to give up your personal life entirely and live only to carry out the leader’s agenda and the group’s mission.
  6. Spiritual detachment – At this level, you enter an altered state of consciousness in which you re-identify with a spiritual essence—nucleus of identity, spirit, or ensouling entity—and regard your personality as unreal or dream-like. Here, you detach from your life entirely and pursue spiritual development. In some groups, receiving a new spiritual name, taking monastic vows, or abandoning personal ambitions and dedicating your life to spiritual practice accompany this new state of identification.
  7. Dissolution of your personality – In some spiritual traditions, you may be trained in practices that actually turn off the personality and interfere with its ability to function. The aim of these practices is to dissolve the ego and personality so that you ultimately realize your Oneness with the Divine.

Cults co-opt many of the methods used at layers one through four—such as focusing on issues, hypnosis, affirmation, and shaping beliefs—to establish you in a new state of identity. They indoctrinate you in their belief systems and philosophy with an aim to control you. They may have you remain in a trance-like altered state of consciousness to have you separate and disidentify with your personality.

In Mudrashram®, we teach methods in our intermediate meditation courses to allow you to interface with levels one, two, and four. We show you these methods to enable you to connect with your authentic Self and your Soul, to express and actualize your unique gifts.

Once you adopt modalities that move you into zones five through seven, you enter the territory where you begin artificially controlling the personality to follow another’s agenda. This occurs in cults and spiritual groups where you learn your personality is flawed, evil, or an illusion; you are urged to conform to an ideal lifestyle or live in an altered state of consciousness.

If you steer clear of shaping your personality according to religious doctrines and other people’s values, you will avoid going off the deep end into cultism and fanaticism. Honor what is actually within you and work with this. If you complete this inner process, your personality will become an instrument of your own Soul—not a slave to someone else who controls you.

If you are exiting a cultic group and you are trying to make sense of what happened to you—and you want a structured way to approach this—you may wish to consider signing up for our Cult Recovery Program.