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.

Finding Core Motivation

By George A. Boyd © 2022

Q: I find that I seem to have lost my passion. How do I motivate myself?

A: It is important for you to find your core motivation. There are several levels of motivation that drive people. These include:

  1. Addiction and compulsion – these patterns of craving and obsession well up out of the unconscious mind. Those under the spell of these powerful mental forces often feel they are not in control of their behavior, when these patterns stir into activity.
  2. Manipulation – other people activate emotional patterns of rage, fear, and horror in people, and then, tell them what to do. People that are manipulated in this fashion can be programmed what to buy, who to vote for, who to love and who to hate. Those under the thrall of conspiracy theories, hate groups, and religious and political cults act under this motivation that misinformation, lies, and the malicious persuasion of others instills in them.
  3. Excitement and passion – This arises when you sense there is an opportunity to attain your desires and to realize your dreams. Many salespeople promise that their product or service will fulfill these desires, and it produces hope and optimism. When these dreams are not fulfilled, however, your passion may give rise to apathy and your excitement to depression.
  4. Inspiration and revelation – Those who have opened portals into the Psychic Realm may receive inspiration and revelation from a spiritual guide. Some feel motivated to embark on the spiritual path and bring out their Soul’s potentials listening to these messages—unfortunately, these messages can also convey false information, which can lead to delusions.
  5. Holy guidance – those who commune with the Holy Spirit and are able to listen to its whispering within the altar of the heart in the Moon Soul can be guided to carry out activities of charity, compassion, and service—but, this moral octave of volition can be shaped and conditioned through sermons of clergy with devious agendas, who can effectively take control of people’s lives to serve a religious group or its leader.
  6. Soul Purpose – those who can connect directly with the Soul can intuit the activities that carry forward the Soul’s Purpose, and they carry them out. Unlike levels (2) through (5), this form of guidance is mental, not emotional, and is task and goal oriented. When this form of motivation becomes the dominant force in your life, your transpersonal will of the Soul starts to overshadow your personal will, and guides you to carry out actions that develop your skills, that give you the necessary experience, and enable your Soul to express its purpose in your human life.
  7. Divine Will – Those who ascend to the heights of spiritual Mastery at different octaves of the Great Continuum of Consciousness receive the anointing of the Divine, and are directly shown the spiritual service and ministry they must carry out. When advanced disciples surrender to their spiritual Master and receive his or her direction (Agya), the Master conveys the Divine Will to them.

Many people experience the emotional roller coaster of levels (2) through (5). When the tranquil guidance of the Soul’s Purpose at level (6) begins to operate, it may feel strange at first, because it doesn’t stir your emotions and passions. The challenge of aspirants and disciples is to cut through these emotionalized layers of the mind and to contact the clear mental and intuitive streams coming from the Soul.

Greater serenity and a clear sense of direction is the by-product of following the Soul’s guidance. While you will still continue to react emotionally to the events of your life and in your social and community environment, and the struggles and lessons that arise when you follow your Soul’s direction, you will have a greater willingness to face these issues and obstacles and press to overcome them.

Those who are dealing with the addictions and compulsive drives of level (1) will need to find the necessary support and guidance to help them recover from these destructive patterns. Some may find our Addiction Recovery Coaching Program can help them understand, sublimate, and uproot these negative mental tendencies.

Methods of Jnana Yoga, which we teach in our intermediate meditation classes—the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program—teach you how to tune into your Soul’s guidance.

Much of the turmoil that you experience in your life comes from tapping these emotionalized layers of motivation—with their inevitable highs and lows… ups and downs… wins and losses. When the still, small voice within can cut through this mental cacophony, you can begin to find your way amidst a thousand siren voices that seek to lead you away from what you were born to do.

Preaching and Satsang

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: What is the difference between preaching and satsang?

A: Preaching is communicated from the Moon Soul nucleus of identity. Satsang comes from the attentional principle, the spirit, or the ensouling entity.

The spectrum of preaching spans a range of communication: from material contaminated with human paranoia and ignorance to the channeling of the Holy Spirit and the Divine directly. We can sketch out seven levels of preaching:

  1. Dissemination of conspiracy theories and superstition – at this level, material from the preacher’s unconscious mind contaminates the message.
  2. Conversion message – the message attempts to instill fear, guilt, shame, or self-loathing to make someone become a member of a religious group. This messaging may point out sinful or adharmic behavior, describe its dire consequences, and then offer faith, prayer, or some type of contemplative practice as a solution. Those who play an evangelistic or “soul winner” role in an organization use this type of preaching.
  3. Practical advisement – in this aspect of preaching, the message communicates keys to success, prosperity, and happiness. The strategies advocated in this type of preaching include using scriptures to claim what people desire “by faith,” employing affirmations, or performing tithing to bring about personal rewards. New Thought ministers and those who preach the “prosperity gospel” adopt this approach. Pastoral counselors who utilize scriptural passages to give solutions to the problems of life also tap this dimension of preaching.
  4. Moral guidance – in this level of preaching, the message attempts to instill moral values and character change through metaphors, parables, stories, or testimonials. The homily of the Catholic priest and the testimonial of one who has been saved in Evangelical churches draw on this type of preaching.
  5. Exhortation – this type of preaching exhorts people to take urgent action. Some preaching makes use of this type of message to raise funds. Some clergy may exhort their parishioners to vote for a political candidate that shares the religious institution’s values.
  6. Revelation – This type of preaching explains the layers of meaning of scriptures. It may attempt to interpret the symbols and archetypes found in prophetic and mystical passages of scripture. It may attempt to use analytical strategies like Gematria or analysis of historical word meanings to tease out meaning from religious texts. Those who play a teaching role in the religious organization commonly exercise this communication style.
  7. Transmission of the gifts of the Spirit – In the core of the Moon Soul, where the Holy Spirit comes to dwell, in response to the believer’s fervent invocation and prayer, the Living Flame speaks directly through the individual. This can take the form of inspired preaching, prophecy, speaking in an unknown tongue (glossolalia), and anathema.
  • In inspired preaching, the Holy Spirit speaks through the individual, who takes no thought as to what he or she will say—it is revealed in the moment; the preacher gives voice to what the Spirit whispers within.
  • In prophecy, the Divine Spirit reveals what is to be in the future.
  • In glossolalia, the Spirit bestows a mantramic language upon the believer, which enables the believer to enter into union with the Holy Spirit in the core of the Moon Soul.
  • In anathema, the Divine commandment executes the karmic law.

Those who wish to study more about religious conversion and the dynamics underlying religion may value from reading our book, Religion, Cults, and Terrorism: What the Heck Are We Doing?

Stages of Experience of Transformation

By George A. Boyd ©2021

Q: I have been doing a transformational technique, a mantra given me by my Guru. I’m not sure it is working. How can I tell whether I’m making progress or not?

A: The way we measure progress of a transformational technique is whether it moves a spiritual essence towards its source. Depending on the transformational technique you have received, it might move a nucleus of identity or an ensouling entity.

Your experience of opening to the next stable point along the Path of this spiritual essence may take a variety of forms:

  1. Muscle relaxation – one of the first things you may feel is your muscles let go of their tension.
  2. Emotional release – when this stage dawns, as your muscles release, you will also discharge emotions that were repressed into the unconscious mind. You may process and release old patterns of reacting.
  3. Revelation – when you open to this stage, you may receive intuitive guidance or revelation when your spiritual essence moves to a new nodal point.
  4. Kinesthesia – at this stage, you distinctly feel that something inside of you is moving. This leads you to surmise something is happening, but you can’t verify what is occurring.
  5. Downpour – when your meditation progresses to this stage, you will actually feel the downpour of the Spirit, which burns away your karma behind your spiritual essence and moves this essence to a successive nodal point. This is the level at which you are first able to verify whether transformation is taking place or not.
  6. Beholding the Light – when you reach this stage, you will behold the Light with your attentional principle. You will witness the Light burning karma and unfolding your spiritual essence as it occurs. At this level, you can confirm transformation is taking place.
  7. Sending the Light – at this deepest level, you are able to send an attunement and actively unfold the spiritual essence of your Path. This is called the Power of Translation. At this level, you can consciously generate transformation, so you know that it is taking place, because your attunement causes it.

As your meditation experience progresses through stages one to three—generating physical, emotional, or cognitive change—you cannot be certain your transformational method is genuinely moving your spiritual essence along its track, or whether these are just by-products of the relaxed, alert state of awareness native to meditation.

Stage four marks the level when you feel something is happening at a level deeper than your personality, but you can’t verify it.

Stages five through seven are where you actually can verify your transformational technique is working to move your spiritual essence along its track—you feel it, see it, and ultimately, are able to produce it.

In Mudrashram®, we include Raja Yoga meditation in our program, which enables you to go within to levels where you can feel and see the Light of the Spirit unfolding your spiritual evolutionary potentials. You learn these techniques in our intermediate meditation courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

In this same class, we teach a transformational mantra that unfolds your ensouling entity at the cutting edge of spirituality. We call this mantra, the Alayic Divine Name or the Quintessence Mantra.

We encourage you to commune with your spiritual essence while you are doing your transformational method. This will enable you to reach stages five and six, where you can feel and see transformation taking place in real time.