By George A. Boyd ©2017
We can characterize several dimensions in meditation. These different perspectives on meditation are described below:
- Vertical ascent – This occurs when attention moves along the thread of consciousness and contemplates focal points. This is the channel selecting capacity of the mind. Classical Raja Yoga utilizes this type.
- Horizontal deepening – In this type, attention travels into the unconscious behind the lighted zone of the mind. This provides a conscious experience of the unconscious mind, mediated through practices such as Yoganidra and deep hypnosis.
- Depth of meditation experience – This perspective suggests that there are different strata of meditation; slowing down mental activity enables the meditator to access each successive layer. Brain entrainment advocates hold this viewpoint.
- Energetic component of meditation – This view underscores the felt sense of joy, bliss, ecstasy, and euphoria that accompanies traveling into deeper bands of the Great Continuum of Consciousness. Kundalini meditations and breathing exercises promote these primary energetic experiences.
- Phenomenology of meditation – This focuses on the content that arises at each layer of the mind, the apparent structures that substand conscious experience, the centers of identification and integration, and the conscious essences that perceive them. Vipassana, mindfulness, and Raja Yoga contemplation penetrate the content level of the mind. These same meditations enable prehension of the apparent structures that encapsulate consciousness, which we call vehicles of consciousness. Likewise, contemplation can focus attention on the identification and integration centers, such as the ego and the Self within the personality, and nuclei of identity of the Superconscious mind. Contemplation can also target the conscious essences, the attentional principle, the spirit, and the Soul. We use this perspective in our detailed study of the Great Continuum of Consciousness, the Mudrashram® Correspondence Course; this methodical exploration of the bands of the mind forms the foundation of our meditation courses.
- Affective component of meditation – This viewpoint highlights the ongoing exchange of love, encouragement, inspiration, support, and Grace that is conveyed between devotees and the Divine Being they worship. This devotion can be similarly directed to a spiritual Master. This type predominates in Bhakti and Nada Yoga traditions, and in highly devotional and charismatic sects of mainstream religious groups.
- Meditation expression – This looks at the outcome of mediation, and how it is used in the expression of the Soul as altruism, advocacy, creativity, or service to others. The Soul’s service comprises the gifts of the Soul that express through the personality and the Superconscious mind to empower, heal, uplift, initiate, engage in ministry, counsel, teach, or guide other beings—these gifts are channeled through the Soul’s faculties of love, wisdom, and power.
We encourage aspirants to become familiar with each of these dimensions of meditation, so they can understand and experience each of them. This will give the broadest facility with meditation practice, and will give insight into the rationale religious and spiritual groups use to justify the particular forms of meditation they select.