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.