Personal and Spiritual Cognitive Strategies

By George A. Boyd © 2021

Q: What cognitive strategies would help me make progress in my personal life? Which cognitive strategies are helpful in spiritual development?

A: Personal cognitive strategies are primarily functions of the intellect. Spiritual cognitive strategies are functions of the intuition and Illumined mind in the Superconscious mind.

Personal cognitive strategies include:

  1. Goal setting – This visualizes a clear goal image. It determines a plan to achieve it. Then, you execute that plan.
  2. Empathic listening – This operates when you listen to the words of other people and sense their meaning; this can take the form of internal dialog with subpersonalities to understand your psychological issues.
  3. Project management – This identifies the steps of multiple activities and scheduling them so they are coordinated, and the end product is delivered on time and within the allotted budget. This can be applied to organizing homework assignments in school, caring for children and family and coordinating each family member’s schedule, and to achieve work objectives.
  4. Creative listening – This receives ideas from the Subconscious and Metaconscious mind and organizes them in a “presentation envelope”—for example, as music, poetry, an essay, a screenplay, or a marketing proposal.
  5. Analysis and testing – This subjects hypotheses to rigorous testing and uses specific criteria to determine whether the findings are valid. This is the primary approach of scientific research.
  6. Introspection – This searches your conscience and notices how you have deviated from your standards and moral values. It looks for solutions to improve your behavior and reform your character.
  7. Synthesis – This ties together the contribution of multiple factors in a system to enable you to visualize the whole, and to understand the relative influence of each factor with that system. It identifies key factors within the system that can be “perturbed,” to bring about necessary, desired changes.

There are also spiritual cognitive strategies drawn from Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Intuition; Raja Yoga; and other invocational techniques. These include:

  1. Yoganidra – This examines the track of one level of the unconscious mind and identifies each issue within it. You then apply methods to work with each issue that you find there.
  2. Contemplation – This focuses attention on a particular object of meditation. You allow your awareness to open until you are able to become aware of the content that surrounds and arises from your object of meditation.
  3. Studying Interrelationships – This studies individual elements in an array and notes their interrelationships with other elements in that array. This cognitive strategy plays a role in Pathwork and the intuitive sciences. In Pathwork, you might adopt this strategy in working with an Enneagram, or studying the Tree of Life (Kabala). In intuitive sciences, this is used in doing an astrology reading, a tarot card reading, or in numerology.
  4. Becoming Mystery – This enables you to penetrate beyond words to become one with the object of meditation. This state of fusion has been called Gnosis, Samadhi, and Oneness.
  5. Finding the origin – This strategy uses a technique to trace a trace an issue to its origin. Examples of techniques that help you achieve this aim include sustained attention to an issue as a felt sense in the body and opening into it (Vipassana); asking repetitive questions to the unconscious mind (Process Meditation); identifying progressive layers of the issue down to its core (Mandalic Reasoning, the Mandala Method); and dialoguing with the issue and finding its core (Rainbow Method).
  6. Remembrance and Invocation – In this strategy, you bring your attentional principle or spirit into “center”—this may be the nucleus of identity or the ensouling entity in your spiritual tradition upon which you meditate—and from this location, you invoke the Grace and Guidance of the Divine or the Masters of your tradition. This inner listening—to the voice of the Soul, the Holy Spirit, an angel, or a guide—is called Receptive Meditation.
  7. Dimensional expansion – This progressively opens the mind to encompass a broader experience of the object of meditation. These dimensions include:
    • 0 – the point where attention focuses (focal point)
    • 1 – the thread of consciousness that connects focal points
    • 2 – the field of perceptual content contained within each focal point
    • 3 – The space containing the focal point, which appears as a form or inner body, which we call a vehicle of consciousness
    • 4 – The present time experience at that focal point, where you notice what arises in that level of the mind in each moment
    • 5 – Integration center; this is the aspect of the mind that contains and operates that facet of the mind. In the Conscious mind, ego is the integrating center; in the Metaconscious mind, the Self is the nexus; and in the Superconscious mind, the Soul ties together the functioning of the vehicles in this zone of the mind.
    • 6 – Inner witness; this is the essence of consciousness and intention, which we call the attentional principle. It witnesses each of these dimensional states and can use intention to open the origami-like folds of the mind to expand awareness into these larger perceptual and experiential frames.

Depending on your dominant Personality and Soul Rays, and your training and experience with these different personal and spiritual strategies, you may find that certain of these approaches are easier for you to utilize. These personal and spiritual strategies that are almost like second nature to you are your strengths.

The challenge for the aspirant and disciple is to learn to use these non-dominant strategies when required. This ability to switch Rays and dimensional perspectives empowers you to understand what you currently cannot grasp; to solve problems employing new methods that you do not currently apply; and to find ways to surmount your obstacles through an alternate approach.

See if you can learn to use each of these personal and spiritual cognitive strategies to enhance your ability to function in your life and to receive insight and guidance from your spiritual pole. For those of you who would like to learn several of these evocative spiritual cognitive strategies, we teach them in our intermediate meditation courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.

Reflections on Dualism

Given the intractable nature of modern politics in many countries, I thought this article would shed some light on alternate ways to deal with conflict. To be able move beyond impasse and arrive at a higher synthesis is an important skill that each of us can employ in our relationships and career.

By George A. Boyd © 2009

The natural polarities you perceive in your mind construct an inner dualism. This dualistic gestalt portrays a lighted zone of integrated, conscious functioning, and a darkened zone of chaotic, desire-driven urges that arise in the unconscious mind. There are several different perspectives that people hold about this interplay between light and darkness.

  1. Light wars against darkness; darkness seeks to destroy the Light. Darkness is the enemy of the Light.
  2. Light and darkness alternate over time in a never-ending cycle.
  3. Light and darkness are relative to the Infinite. Light grows as the Soul moves closer to the Source and darkness recedes; the further you are away from the Source, the greater the darkness that is in you.
  4. Light and darkness are complementary: each is required for the other to exist. The light contains an aspect of the dark; the dark contains an aspect of the light. They are the dual faces of Nature, yin and yang.
  5. Light and darkness are thesis and antithesis in an eternal dialog. Synthesis transcends this tension of opposites, and combines and unites the apparent contradictions.
  6. Light is the fullness of holy virtues that the darkness veils, and expresses as negative passions such as egotism, ignorance, attachment, envy, jealousy, greed, anger, and lust. The Light, sent forth as the Holy Spirit, transforms these dark passions into holy virtues.
  7. Darkness is the raw material that the Light must be transform and shape. This inchoate matter of the mind must be “saved,” “redeemed,” or transmuted and refined through the Power of the Light.

The propensity to demonize another arises when you see darkness is a force that you must battle against. Demonization gives rise to prejudice, bigotry, racism, intolerance of differences, and intractable argument. Over time, this can degenerate into cruelty, violence, and war.

While it is a natural response to approach that which you perceive as evil from this reactive, defensive, eye-for-an-eye stance, it may be beneficial to switch perspectives and view this emergence from the unconscious mind of another in another way. For example, where outright warfare is not required for collective protection, it may be judicious to see if a synthesis can be found between the polar perspectives of the two parties.

Alternately, it might be helpful to see the potential of what the opposing side can be if the issues creating the conflict can be resolved. Diplomacy, constructive dialog, and mediation seek to find this common ground that can back down this conflict from the brink of violence and war.

Psychotherapists apply this principle to work with the internal conflicts within their clients’ psyche. Through therapeutic exploration of issues, they stop the inner arguments within the mind and the forces that formerly in opposition and tension now work together towards a common purpose.

Aspirants and disciples will find they can diffuse the dualistic, polarized, and antagonistic perspectives within them through active contemplation and reflection. This will enable them to defuse the ego’s reactive propensity to anger, condemnation, and revenge when it encounters opposition or frustration of its desires. The ability to change perspectives, to see the problem in a new light, may help to change these antagonistic beliefs and belligerent behavior. This can lead to constructive resolution of issues and frustrations without escalating to hatred, violence, and war.

Faculties of the Soul’s Intuitive Knowledge

By George A. Boyd ©2018

In our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program, we teach about the seven chords of Jnana Yoga, the octaves at which the Soul uses its innate intelligence and intuition. You can read about these seven chords of Jnana Yoga in our Library [you can get a free library membership here—if there are particular areas that interest you, please let us know on this page where you sign up for the Library.]

This intuitive thread, which has been called the Antakarana, stretches from the physical brain to the Soul. With each meditation, insight, and revelation, you activate this thread and build the Soul’s knowledge and wisdom.

At the core of this thread there are seven essential aspects of the Soul’s intuitive wisdom. These include:

  1. Discernment – This enables your Soul to recognize its own nature and differentiate its essential nature from its vehicles of consciousness and the phenomena of the inner Planes. At the culmination of discernment, you gain Soul Realization, or Gnosis. This faculty has also been called Viveka, or spiritual discrimination.
  2. Mandalic reasoning – This faculty is anchored in the brain center of the Soul’s essential vehicle. It resembles a series of concentric circles (some perceive this center like concentric spheres) that mirror each stage of the Soul’s development—from the first nodal point of the Subtle Realm to your current state of spiritual evolution. Through mandalic reasoning, you can tap into the knowledge you have gained at each nodal point of the Path; you can also locate archetypes on different Planes that correspond with one another—this is the basis of the esoteric dictum, “As above, so below.”
  3. Multi-dimensional knowledge – This allows you to plumb the energetic thread that connects each of your vehicles of consciousness, and to access the knowledge of each of those vehicles. This operates through the seed atom of each vehicle of consciousness; it permits you to plumb the content corresponding to any nodal point in any vehicle of consciousness. This inner coordinate system allows you to locate specific content in any vehicle and to bring it up. This has been referred to holographic knowledge.
  4. Depth intuitive knowing – This enables you to know the identity state contained within each vehicle of consciousness, to declare it (e.g., the I AM declaration of Jesus in the Bible, “I am the bright and morning star”), and to empathically enter the experience of others. It is this faculty of intuitive connection that enables you to take the perspective of the Soul when you do healing, psychic readings, coaching, depth counseling or psychotherapy, or ministry.
  5. Connections with the intellect – This expresses in seven ways; most people utilize one or more of these connections with the Soul’s illumined mind to receive and communicate the information they gather:
    1. Visual-symbolic – This resembles a cascade of images or symbols that enter awareness in meditation. You need to reflect on each of these images to glean additional information about it.
    2. Verbal intuitive – This inspired verbal guidance and inspiration speaks through you and you hear yourself speaking it. This has been called satsang, channeling, or prophecy—depending whether the source of the information comes from, respectively, your own Soul, another spiritual entity, or the Divine Spirit.
    3. Silent thought reception – Here you receive guidance and direction through silent intuition. You hear the thoughts directed to you in your mind. This mode of transmission of guidance and information has been called telepathy. You commonly access this connection through asking questions to your Soul—we refer to this as the “tell me circuit.”
    4. Visual thought reception – In this connection type, when you ask the Soul a question, it moves your attention within you to the level where you can directly experience the essence about which you are curious. So, for example, if you wanted to know what is the form of the Divine at the top of the Abstract Mind Plane, your Soul would guide your attention to the level of the Continuum where you actually would behold that Being. We refer to this as the “show me” circuit.
    5. Behavioral guidance – Through this connection, you receive plans for sequences of action, blueprints for building something, or guidance for new behavior you have never practiced before. For example, this connection is activated in those who have a calling to build temples. We call this the “praxis circuit.”
    6. Creative inspiration – This is a downpour of poetry, artistic images, or literary or dramatic dialog that you capture through your particular artistic gift. You sense that your Soul is expressing through you, and you put it down, for example, through writing it, painting it, recording it, or sculpting it.
    7. Systemic view – This gives you the big picture of a system. We call this synthetic form of perception global intuitive perception. It enables you to view how all parts fit together into an integrated whole.
  6. Integration – This alchemical process enables you to change elements of your unconscious mind into an aspect of consciousness that you can utilize. You access integration through a series of evocative techniques drawn from meditation, psychotherapy, and hypnosis. When this aspect is operating, you typically will be encountering and interacting with an element of your unconscious mind, and progressively changing it until it can be re-integrated into consciousness. This form of intelligence has been called synthesis or integrative reasoning.
  7. Jnana Shakti – This is the innate energy of the Soul’s illumined mind that operates each of these six essential aspects of intuitive wisdom. This aspect is awakened during the sitting we give for Jnana Yoga in the Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and in the introductory session of the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation.

Each of the seven chords of the Soul’s intelligence and intuitive wisdom can be accessed through evocative questioning and attentional focusing techniques. You can learn about these methods in our intermediate and advanced meditation courses.

We encourage you to study the activity of each of these faculties of your Soul’s intuitive wisdom, and to learn methods to enhance their operation. This will enable to allow your Soul’s innate genius to flower and to have full expression in your life.