By George A. Boyd © 2017
Most people have heard of mindfulness, but they are not aware there are deeper stages of meditation. Mindfulness is the first step on the ladder of meditation. Here are the seven steps of meditation:
- Mindfulness – In the first step of meditation, you collect your attention and learn to be present. Once you are present, you can begin to monitor your experience in the present time, or apply your focused concentration to the task at hand.
- Contemplation – In this step, you move your attention along the thread of consciousness, and contemplate the content arising at deeper layers of your mind. We teach this practice in our beginning meditation course, The Introduction to Meditation Program, and in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation, or the by-mail or online Accelerated Meditation Program.
- Awakening – As you progress in contemplation, you reach the stage where you can unite your attention with the three immortal principles of consciousness: your witnessing consciousness (attentional principle), your loving spiritual heart (spirit), and your blissful, wise, and compassionate Higher Self (Soul). In the awakening process, you first encounter this immortal essence within you; then you unite your attention with it; and finally, you become one with it and identify with it. We teach you how to awaken your immortal essences in our intermediate classes.
- Transformation – You learn how to unfold your spiritual potentials through transformation. You learn how to travel in full consciousness as your attentional principle and view all of the levels of your Soul’s consciousness, which we call the Superconscious mind. You learn how to free your spirit and enable it to travel back to its Origin on the inner streams of light and sound. You learn how to move your Soul from its current position on the Great Continuum of Consciousness to a new, higher state of development. You learn how to do this in our intermediate courses.
- Realization – As a result of transformation, your Soul’s unfoldment allows you to understand something new. You begin to have profound insights. You gain new abilities. Your love and compassion expands to embrace a wider circle. Your experience in meditation brings these gifts to you. You learn to deepen this process of gaining understanding and insight, expanding the circle of your love, and discovering your Soul’s abilities in the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation.
- Ministry – As you continue to unfold your spiritual potentials, you begin to be able to minister the Light of Spirit, You learn how to express your ministry through spiritual healing, counseling, teaching, guiding, doing intuitive readings, and ultimately, awakening the spiritual potentials of others. We train others in spiritual ministry in our advanced webinars and our teacher training programs.
- Mastery – When you complete your journey of development, you arrive into the Presence of the Divine, where you are anointed and empowered to help others move through these other six steps.
If you wish to learn how to learn the full spectrum of meditation practices—beyond mindfulness—we invite you to learn more about our Integral meditation system through reading the articles available on this website, studying our books, and listening to and watching our webinars. If what we teach resonates with you, we welcome you to join us for the great adventure of depth meditation, and we can assist you move through all these seven stages to arrive at the shores of spiritual Mastery.
By George A. Boyd © 2017
Q: Why should I learn to meditate? How will it help me?
A: There are many benefits to meditation. Here is a list that we compiled in 2001:
Excerpted from “Meditation for Therapists Workbook, Third Edition” © 2001
As the effects of meditation range from mild to profound based on the depth of relative absorption, so do the benefits that meditators report. These benefits include:
- Improved ability to relax the body and relieve stress
- Enhanced clarity and mental concentration
- Deeper insight and self-knowledge, culminating in Enlightenment
- Stronger will power and greater ability to control behavior and habits
- Development of intuitive and psychic gifts
- Richer, more vivid dream life and sounder sleep
- Direct experience of the spirit and the Soul
- Higher frequency of peak performance and flow state experiences
- Spontaneous correction of character weakness and cultivation of virtue
- More enjoyment of life, beauty, and sexual pleasure
- Revelation of the Great Mysteries
- Mystic experiences with angels, spiritual guides, and God
- Unfolding the Soul into higher spiritual realms
- Channeling healing energy and the Divine Light to minister to others
- Feeling greater love for Nature, humanity, and God
- Increased altruism, promotion of the urge to help or serve others
- Better appreciation of religious teachings, living essential truths and values
Some people are content with their lives as they are, and have no desire to improve their inner life or experience their full human and spiritual potential. So for these people, meditation is probably not something they would consider doing.
For others of you, maybe as you read this list, you find yourself saying to yourself as you look at one or more of these benefits, “yeah, that is something I want, and I’d like to learn how to do that.”
And for you few of you, you want to have everything on this list—and more!
If you want to do just a few things on this list, we can develop a custom program for you to address that particular issue. This is called a meditation consultation. We can do one to as many sessions as you need to help you achieve this goal you desire.
If your aims are more practical—you just want to learn to live with less stress, have better concentration, and greater focus and clarity in your life—you may wish to take the Foundations of Practical Meditation, which our certified instructors can teach you.
If you’ve never meditated before, and you don’t have a clue as to how to do the most basic rudiments of meditation, you may want to start with the Introduction to Meditation program. You can take this one on-line—as a self-study program at your own pace, or you can augment it with group or individual coaching—or you can take this class in-person with one of our certified instructors.
If you have meditated before and you found yourself saying, “yes!” to most or all of these benefits as something you want, you will find the tools you need in our in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or the by-mail or online Accelerated Meditation Program.
Q: Why should I learn meditation from Mudrashram®? Can’t I just take a class at my Yoga studio? Or practice the techniques I learn on the Internet?
A: Each meditation has a distinct effect on your mind. It focuses your attention on a different level of awareness on the Great Continuum of Consciousness. It produces different outcomes.
Many people learn very rudimentary meditations in Yoga classes and on the Internet. They learn mindfulness, which is collecting your attention, becoming present, and monitoring the content arising in the present time. They learn to watch their breath. They learn to chant AUM and other mantras, and temporarily lift their awareness into euphoric altered states of consciousness.
But they don’t understand the context of the meditation that they are doing.
- They often don’t know why they are doing it, other than it releases stress and makes them feel more peaceful.
- They don’t understand where each meditation takes them. They have no sense about what are the levels in the mind.
- They don’t understand what the meditation they are doing is designed to do, and whether it is appropriate for the aims that they want to achieve.
- They meditate and go into passive trance states, which are restful, but do nothing to affect their personal growth or spiritual development.
- Worse, they may learn and practice powerful transformational techniques that produce spiritual imbalances that can affect their ability to function personally, or even generate Kundalini syndromes.
You need to know what you are doing. You need to be properly trained in meditation. For example:
- You need to now why you are doing a meditation, and what effect it has on you.
- You need to know where that meditation will take your attention and how it will affect your awareness.
- You need to know the purpose of each meditation, when it is appropriate to use it, and when it is not.
- You need to make each meditation count for something—your meditations should not just put you in a trance state—but you should do something useful and practical with each meditation. You should accomplish a specific meditation objective in each meditation session.
- And because you are not just doing one thing with meditation, you need a different meditation tool to accomplish each meditation objective. So you are going to use a different meditation tool to relax your body and release stress than you will use to tune into your Soul’s intuition.
Mudrashram® teaches each of these things. It gives you multiple techniques, because you will need meditation for different purposes. It’s like getting a toolbox to help you gain all of the benefits of meditation.
We welcome you to look at our programs. They are complete trainings. They are one of the best investments you can make for your health, your career, your personal destiny, and spiritual development.
- For your health, you will learn stress reduction.
- For your career, you will gain the ability to powerfully focus your mind and intention to achieve your goals.
- For your personal destiny, you will gain to connect with the Self and your will power to manifest your core life goals.
- For your spiritual development, you will learn how to transform and actualize your spiritual potentials, tap into your Soul’s intuition, discover your Soul’s purpose, and rise to Liberation and Mastery.
Explore our website. Read the articles and watch the free videos in our Library. Obtain our books that appeal to you. Take webinars on topics of your interest. And when you’re ready to begin meditation, sign up for one of our classes.
It’s truly one of the best things you could ever do for yourself!
By George A. Boyd ©2017
The current cultural fascination with mindfulness does not understand cultivating mindfulness as a preparation for the deeper work of depth meditation. This article will briefly explain the differences between the two, how mindfulness is achieved, the levels of preparing for mindfulness and the levels of depth meditation, and how enlightenment states of mind that some teachers highlight do not produce transformation of the spiritual evolutionary potentials that permit you to ascend to Mastery and Liberation.
Differences between Mindfulness and Depth Meditation
You achieve initial mindfulness when your attention collects into a sphere (e.g., concentrates), and you become conscious and present. This state is the precursor to depth meditation.
Depth meditation involves moving your collected attention along the thread of consciousness to contemplate focal points within the vehicles of consciousness that operate at different layers of your mind. Depth meditation enables you to focus your attention upon discrete objects of meditation and become aware of them. These objects of meditation include:
- Personal identification centers – your ego, and your Self at the nucleus of your personality
- Identification centers of the Superconscious mind – your nuclei of identity
- The immortal essences of consciousness – your attentional principle, your spirit, and your Soul
- The form of a spiritual Master you encounter in the Superconscious mind – the radiant Guide form
- The Universal Consciousness – the Divine, God, or the Universal Self
Aspirants need to understand that achieving mindfulness is the necessary foundation for depth meditation, but does not produce the actual movement of attention that marks the process of depth meditation.
The present time monitoring that aspirants learn through mindfulness practice allows them to become aware of the content of the level of the mind where their attention is focused, but does not emphasize selecting an alternate focal point for attentional monitoring.
Depth meditation enables the identification of discrete focal points in different vehicles of consciousness, whereas mindfulness only notes content as it is arising, without any context or recognition of the level of the mind from which the content is arising.
Mindfulness has a special strength in that it allows you to process through mental content and transcend it, but it does not emphasize processing material from layers of the unconscious at other bands of the mind—so while you may process through the issue at the level of the waking state of awareness, you might not remove the impressions for this issue at deeper strata of the mind.
Seven Methods to Achieve Mindfulness
There are seven major ways to achieve mindfulness. We suggest there is not one way to achieve the state of initial mindfulness—based on observing the perceptual substratum of attention across the Seven Rays—but several different pathways.
Those aspirants who are having difficulties collecting their attention and becoming present should try each of these seven methods to discover which ones enable them to reach the initial state of mindfulness. These seven methods are shown below.
- Direct concentration of the attention using intention (Tratakam)
- Absorption in the breath using a full inhalation
- Discerning the centers (chakras) below the waking state of awareness, and shifting awareness until it is focused in the medulla center
- Using body scan, and processing through the issues held in the body to disengage attention from the issues and free it to rise into the state of mindfulness
- Using a mantra coordinated with a quick sniff breath to collect attention (the Hansa Breath)
- Absorbing attention in sensory currents through Laya techniques for the visual track (Jyoti Laya), the auditory track (Shabda Laya), and the combined gustatory and olfactory track (Amrita Laya)
- Absorption of attention through movement or postures, such as Hatha Yoga or martial arts poses
We teach methods one through six in our meditation classes. We encourage you to become familiar with all seven methods for achieving mindfulness.
The Spectrum – from Mindlessness to Full God Consciousness
The stages of achieving mindfulness and its subsequent progression into depth meditation are shown below.
Stage zero to eight marks the progression from mindlessness (also called ignorance or Avidya) to initial mindfulness.
Stage nine through sixteen comprises the journey of attention along the thread of consciousness in depth meditation.
- Stage 0 – (Mindlessness) Here you act out unconscious passions of lust, rage, attachment, greed, ignorance, or arrogance without awareness that you are doing this.
- Stage 1 – You become aware that you are acting out of unconscious patterns.
- Stage 2 – You place your attention on the issue and make initial contact, and may recognize it (e.g., this is my anger), but you do not enter into its stream of impressions.
- Stage 3 – You place your attention on the issue and you begin to become aware of its thought impressions arising in the present time.
- Stage 4 – You place your attention on the issue and you begin to uncover its core beliefs and justifications.
- Stage 5 – You place your attention on the issue and you begin to become aware of its core desire and craving.
- Stage 6 – Your attention transcends the issue and becomes focused at the point between the eyebrows.
- Stage 7 – (Concentration) Your attention collects into a sphere.
- Stage 8 – (Initial mindfulness) You become conscious and present at the medulla center in the waking state of awareness.
- Stage 9 – (Initial meditation) You move your collected attention along the thread of consciousness, contemplate selected focal points of the Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind, and notice the content arising from that level.
- Stage 10 – (Purusa Dhyan) Your attention focuses upon the attentional principle and activates it: you awaken as the attentional principle.
- Stage 11 – (Surat Dhyan) Your attention focuses upon your spirit and activates it: you awaken as the spirit.
- Stage 12 – (Manasa Dhyan) Your attention focuses upon the vehicles of consciousness in your Superconscious mind and the nuclei of identity embedded in them, and activates these centers: you awaken the abilities, knowledge, wisdom, and altruistic emotions anchored at these levels.
- Stage 13 – (Enlightened mind) Your attention focuses upon the wave of the present time on the Akashic Aether; you become aware of your Soul’s thoughts and intention arising in the present time, generating a dynamic vortex of creation.
- Stage 14 – (Adi Atma Dhyan) Your attention focuses upon the Soul and activates it: you awaken the Divine Atom within the Soul and experience Gnosis.
- Stage 15 – (Guru Dhyan) Your attention focuses on the guide form of the Master that supervises your spiritual development and you receive guidance and instruction from him or her.
- Stage 16 – (Bhagwan Dhyan) – Your guide leads your attention into the presence of the Divine and you gain conscious union (Samadhi) with the Universal Self.
In addition to training students in different methods to establish initial mindfulness (stage 8), we teach a methodical practice of contemplating each major focal point in the Conscious, Subconscious, and Metaconscious mind (stage 9, Initial Meditation) in our Introduction to Meditation class, which is designed for those who have never meditated before.
We reveal the methods for awakening the three immortal essences—the attentional principle (stage 10), the spirit (stage 11), and the Soul (stage 14)—in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.
We show you how to contemplate your Superconscious identity centers, called nuclei of identity (stage 12); to commune with the spiritual guide (stage 15); and to travel into the Presence of God (stage 16) in the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation.
Achieving mindfulness is like stepping into the ocean of the mind at the shore, but depth meditation shows you how to cross that ocean. We invite you to progress beyond the preparatory technique of collecting your attention and establishing conscious presence—mindfulness—to the mastery of the practice of depth meditation, which you can learn in Mudrashram®.
From Enlightenment to Initiation
There are several popular teachers who train aspirants to move from initial mindfulness to the two stages of “enlightened consciousness,” the wave of the present time (stage 13) and union with the Soul, with conscious awareness of the Divine Atom within you (stage 14). These practices activate the abilities of the Superconscious mind; tap the Soul’s intuitional stream; unites your attention with the Soul’s unconditional love and compassion; and absorbs your attention in the bliss of the Soul—but they do not move the Soul closer to the Source.
Enlightenment means that you unite with the Soul inside of you and gain access to its knowledge, compassion, and abilities. But you do not move the Soul; it remains where it is.
Initiation means you move the Soul along its track through each nodal point of the Way until it reaches Mastery and Liberation. This adds new abilities to the Soul’s repertoire; expands its sphere of intuitive knowledge, wisdom, and love; and deepens its bliss.
Initiation can be experienced actively or passively.
Active Initiation occurs when you use a transformational method to draw down the Light of Spirit to unfold the Soul. [We teach this method of a transformational mantra keyed to your Soul in our intermediate courses.]
Passive Initiation occurs when you receive attunement from an Initiate (e.g., a spiritual Master), who actively unfolds your spiritual potentials. [We give these attunements in our bi-monthly Light Sittings, which our intermediate and advanced students are eligible to attend.]
We acknowledge that many aspirants do not feel ready for the work of depth meditation, immersion in the enlightened states of mind, or core transformation. But when you do feel ready to move beyond the practice of mindfulness to these deeper levels of spiritual work, Mudrashram® is here to assist you.
By George A. Boyd ©2016
Those who have never meditated before may find there is no apparent path for attention out of the brain—or may find themselves in an intermediate state. These pre-meditation states, and initial entrance to the state where one can meditate are briefly described below.
- Mind like concrete – You are only aware of your brain. There is no apparent path outside of this state of awareness.
- Mind like asphalt – you are aware of a background or surface behind the brain, which appears to be solid and darkened. There is no apparent path outside of this state of awareness.
- Mind like snail – You are aware intermittently of an inner point of light behind the two eyes, and a coiled, spiral or chamber-like structure that resembles that of a shell of a snail or nautilus. You do not see any apparent way to lift up into the light that appears there.
- Mind like styrofoam – You are aware that the light that you saw in the point between the eyebrows appears to be diffused and circulated in a cellular structure, but it has no apparent direction, and no path out of this matrix can be discerned.
- Mind like transparent tube – You become aware of the thread of consciousness for the first time. It is visible as a transparent tube filled with light, but when you try to enter it, you keep slipping out. Initially, you might find it difficult to stay in it, but with further practice, you can hold your attention in it steadily, and begin to travel in it.
- Mind like lotus flower – Your attention appears to collect in a ball of mind stuff. You experience being fully present. This is the state of mindfulness. The tube of light appears to connect with this lotus from the heart area below, and it appears to extend beyond the medulla center, tracking upward at about a 15-degree angle.
- Mind like flowing river – Your collected sphere of attention lifts up into this tube of light, and rests in a series of focal points in each successive form or vehicle of consciousness. This is the beginning of the state of meditation.
If you find yourself in states one to five, the pre-meditation states, there are several ways to transcend them and move to the place where you can begin to meditate. These methods include:
- Light Immersion – This occurs when a spiritual Master or advanced disciple sends the Light of Attunement to you, and you ride this current of Light and Fire into the state of mindfulness and meditation.
- The Hansa Breath – This is a meditation we teach that helps many meditators collect their attention into mindfulness and then, to begin following the thread of consciousness.
- Sustained chanting – Some people find that the resonance of their inner vehicles of consciousness through occurs during chanting lifts their awareness into these higher states of consciousness, and their attention is drawn upward through the vortex of energy that this method generates. Some people may have the same response to prayers that are repeated many times—for example, Catholics may repeat the “Our Father” or “Hail Mary” prayer, as their fingers move on a rosary, hundreds of times.
- Awakening of the Kundalini – People who experienced a spontaneous or induced awakening of their Kundalini Shakti may find that their attention is irresistibly drawn up into higher states of consciousness through this means. Similar experiences occur when people experience the Holy Spirit infilling the receptacle of the Christ Child nucleus of identity: this inner anointing may also lift the attention into union with this center.
- Sustained use of breathing techniques (Pranayama) – Some people find that rhythmic and deep breathing methods allow them to awaken their awareness into the state of the medulla lotus and arrive at the state where they can begin to meditate.
- Guided meditation, hypnosis, and movement meditation – Some people respond well to listening to a guided meditation or can readily go into a deeper state through meditation. For others, either specialized postures or movement [like those used in hatha yoga or martial arts] or deep relaxation exercises can ease them across this barrier into the medulla center.
- Transformational method – Use of a transformational mantra can actively dissolve this apparent veil that forms in the mind that keeps attention in the intermediate states, and allows attention to collect in its core essence as the sphere of mind stuff. Kriya Yoga, another transformational method, may have analogous effect. We teach you how to activate your transformational mantra in our intermediate courses.
The helix of the mind must release the impressions that have built up in the zone below where the lotus flower dwells in the medulla center, which is the seat of the ball of attention. The meditator can either open through this veil through methods one to six, or dissolve it entirely with a transformational method. We recommend beginning meditators learn these methods, so they can transcend these pre-meditation stages into the state of consciousness where meditation is possible.