By George A. Boyd © 2019
Q: Is genuine Illumination possible through religion? Or is additional spiritual training required?
A: Religion generally conveys two aspects of spiritual development, Indoctrination and Theology. To reach Illumination, most individuals go through the stage of Mysticism before they can achieve Illumination.
In Indoctrination, you are taught beliefs and values that your parents and clergy ask you accept without questioning. They introduce you to moral rules, which you expected to follow—when asked about these rules, you are told that these have the authority of the scriptures, so you are simply to obey them to please the Divine. You may be asked to attend religious ceremonies, perform specific prayers, or participate in certain religious rites, but you are not given any reasons why you must do these things.
In Theology, you study the scriptures of a faith, the history of a religion, and read the writings of its learned and holy saints and teachers. You may be asked to think about what you have read and come to any understanding of what these scriptures mean, and how you can interpret the teachings of this faith for the current time. Many who study Theology go on to a role of ministry or teaching within the religion.
In Mysticism, you consciously experience the spiritual agencies that operate through that religious tradition. You may have dreams, visions, or revelations that angels, saints, and even the founder of a faith communicate to you deep truths. You typically enter an altered state of consciousness through prayer or meditation and commune with these spiritual agencies.
In Illumination, the Soul travels through the band of the Continuum where the archetypes of the Religion dwell, and your Soul has an intuitive prehension of core truths.
In your family and in your religious organization, you are indoctrinated. In religious studies, you are taught to gain conceptual knowledge about the faith.
In mysticism, you actually go within to visit the levels of the Great Continuum where the religion dwells. You do not simply follow tradition and re-enact time-honored ceremonies, but you learn something new, you discover something, something is revealed or shown to you.
In Illumination, the synthesis of your Soul’s learning and realization is impressed upon your higher mind, which has been called the Illumined mind, Buddhi, or Bodhi. In this state, you maintain a continuity of consciousness for all that you have experienced in the inner worlds, and you are able to communicate that through your intuitive thought stream, through speech as teaching or satsang, or as inspired writing.
It is good to gain an intellectual understanding of your faith, but to gain the greatest value, it is important to have a direct experience of the truths that your religion has anchored in the Plenum as great ideas or archetypes. To do this, you need the tools of meditation.
In our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation or they by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program, we teach you the specific skills that enable you to have mystical experiences, to tap into your Soul’s native Illumination, and to transform the Soul.
Spiritual transformation allows your Soul to progressively deepen its penetration into the mysteries of religion, uncovering them where these dwell on the Great Continuum of Consciousness. If you want something more profound than the intellectual understanding of theology, or scholarly study about religion, we invite you to learn the tools from us to enable you to have these more satisfying spiritual experiences that can only come from entering the realm of mysticism and Illumination.