Moving from Atheism to Sainthood

Stages of Religious Development: Moving from Atheism to Sainthood

By George A. Boyd ©2022

Q: How do people transform from having no belief in God—they are atheists—to becoming saints?

A: There appears to be a 12-step progression from atheism to sainthood. We can briefly describe these stages as follows:

  1. Atheism – you have no belief in God, you believe that only the body and brain are real and that believing in God is a delusion
  2. Agnostic – you are open to the idea that God may exist, but whatever God might be is outside of your experience
  3. Awakening of faith – You first begin to believe in God; you remember a Higher Power and pray to it
  4. Initial doctrinal programming – you are taught what to believe about God and what God requires of you; this varies for each sect and faith tradition
  5. Evangelical fervor – you are told to spread the message of faith to convert others to see the truth, as you know it; you attempt to proselytize others
  6. Quest for political power – you are part of an effort to bring your group’s beliefs to influence policy and law, and to elect those who believe as you do to rule over your community, your county, your state, and your nation
  7. Compassionate advocacy for those who are suffering – you get into touch with feelings of love and compassion, and you do volunteer service, charity, or active advocacy for an aspect of human or animal suffering
  8. Moral reformation – you work on yourself to improve your character and begin to live holy virtues in your life
  9. Mystic experience – you begin to commune with guides, angels, the Holy Spirit, or the Divine, as you know it in your religious tradition, through entering into altered states of consciousness
  10. Transformation – you experience the Light transform the spiritual essence with which those in your religious tradition identify; you awaken new abilities, intuitive knowledge and understanding, and enhance your love, compassion, and virtue
  11. Vision and revelation – as you move closer to the Divine that you know in your tradition, you have a series of visions and revelations; sometimes these experiences will give clear guidance that orients you and bestows wisdom—but in other cases, they will give you distorted information and lead you to fanaticism and madness
  12. Assumption into Grace – as you continue the transformational process, you will move into the Presence of God as the Divine is known in your tradition, and you will be anointed to minister, teach, counsel, and/or guide others

Before the awakening of faith, there is nothing to give people any certainty that God exists. There are a variety of things that can awaken faith:

  • Listening to a religious message conveyed through preaching, sermons, religious writing, or satsang
  • Spontaneous awakening through Grace
  • A traumatic or emotionally painful experience that makes you ask for help
  • Reawakening of childhood religious beliefs that you had abandoned
  • A decision made based on philosophical analysis and a search for meaning
  • An encounter with a saint that changes your beliefs and behavior
  • Focusing attention on the Superconscious mind through active meditation or passive means such as ingestion of psychedelic drugs that produces a peak experience in which you experience God, and this awakens belief in you

The initial programming you receive after faith awakens in you conditions what direction your religious life will take. This may lead you to an external focus of expression, where you:

  • Evangelize others
  • Engage in political advocacy
  • Pursue social justice and advocacy for some group that is suffering
  • Seek moral reformation—to improve your character and to act towards others in a kinder and more loving way

In other cases, this initial programming you receive after your initial awakening of faith may lead you to an internal quest. This may inspire you to seek out:

  • Mystic experiences
  • Transformation
  • Visions and revelations
  • Ascension into heavenly realms and into the Presence of the Divine

Apollonian faith traditions emphasize directing you to external expression; Dionysian faith traditions encourage internal experiences of mysticism and transformation that ultimately lead to establishing the spiritual essence developed in their spiritual tradition in the Presence of the Divine.

Commonly, Western religious traditions anchored in the First Exoteric Initiation emphasize this external expression; in contrast, Eastern religious traditions anchored in the First Cosmic Initiation, and selected Supracosmic or Transcendental Paths cultivate this internal expression—you also find an emphasis on this internal expression in the New Age groups that operate in the Psychic Realm.

Leaders of religious and religiously influenced political groups, who regularly tap into the band of vision and revelation, may disseminate misinformation, conspiracy theories, and other forms of distorted messaging. Followers of these misguided leaders amplify this message through spreading it to others, and advocating on behalf of the leader to influence social, corporate, and political decision-making to enact the group’s agendas. Hate mongers, racists, and religious fanatics tap into this band of distorted revelation and turn it into speech and behavior that targets those whom these groups persecute or blame for the troubles in the world.

Those who typically come to Mudrashram® are those who seek mystic and transformational experiences, and who want to make their conscious ascension to Liberation and spiritual Mastery. Those who have been dyed in the color of distorted revelation, however, do not do well pursuing our teachings and using our practices.

Those who have learned these distorted beliefs must unlearn them; they must be willing to move from conviction about these beliefs to a willingness to release them and learn a set of truths founded upon the Soul’s authentic discovery and direct experience beyond the filter of conspiracy theories and flawed conjecture.

Those who achieve sainthood must (1) experience the awakening of faith, (2) select an internal development method that promotes mystic experience, (3) generate transformation of their spiritual essence, (4) discourage distorted revelation, and (5) progressively transform the spiritual essence cultivated in that religious tradition into the Presence of the Divine, where it can be Divinely anointed and empowered to minister the Light to others.

Unfortunately, many are waylaid on this inner journey through fascination with visions and revelations, and are led astray. To embrace genuine spirituality, they must jettison their false beliefs and simply observe what is there in their heart, their mind, and their Soul. Once they can verify and replicate the steps of their progressive inner discovery, they can begin to construct an accurate mapping of the Path and identify those elements within their heart and mind that are stable, reliable, and sound.

Those who are searching for mystic experiences and transformation may learn the inner methods to produce them in our intermediate meditation courses. These intermediate meditation classes are the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. Those who wish to prepare themselves to perform the more advanced meditations of our intermediate programs may benefit from first taking the Introduction to Meditation Program.

The Fulcrum of Transformation

By George A. Boyd ©2018

Q: What transformation changes the ground perception of the way people see the world?

A: This is transformation that actually moves the Soul from one nodal point to another, and expands the Soul’s consciousness as a result.

You can locate the level at which this happens through examining the different types of transformation that you experience. For example, you experience:

  1. Physical transformation – you watch matter change from one form to another. You heat ice and it becomes water; heat it further and it becomes steam.
  2. Emotional transformation – You change your beliefs, your attitudes, and your emotions: this translates into behavior change.
  3. Life transformation – You find a way to attain your dreams through overcoming obstacles and/or doing something in a new way, and this allows you to do, be, and have what you have wanted.
  4. Perceptual transformation – You move your attention from its ground state and you look at the world and your life from a new perspective in which things you feel were not possible become possible.
  5. Cognitive transformation – You turn information and insights into a finished product: e.g., a report, an article, a book, a speech, a recording, a video, or a webinar, which you can share with others.
  6. Identity transformation – You experience yourself as the Soul and experience enlightenment; you merge with a nucleus of identity and experience rebirth. In this type of transformation, you realize that you are something greater than the ego.
  7. Spiritual essence transformation – You use a transformational technique that burns up the karmic accretions in your unconscious mind and allows your ensouling entity and your spirit to move closer to its Source. You spiritually evolve; you make conscious spiritual progress.

While both identity and spiritual essence transformation radically change the way you see the world, only spiritual essence transformation actually changes your state of intuitive knowledge, your capacity for love, and bestows new abilities. In identity transformation, you realize a higher essence within you, beyond the ego. In spiritual essence transformation, you unfold that essence and activate its dormant potentials.

We teach you how to achieve identity and spiritual essence transformation in our intermediate courses, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We encourage you to find examples of each type of transformation, so you can truly grasp what drives this core process of change—in the environment and within you.

The Seven Steps of Meditation

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.