Physical, Psychic and Mystical Perception


We can distinguish psychic from spiritual perception in this way: psychic perceptions do not interpret themselves, but spiritual perceptions do. We must seek and question the meaning of a psychic perception, just as we do with any normal sense perception. But in spiritual or intuitive perception, the meaning is given directly, being inherent in the experience.  In the spiritual we may see, hear, or sense something—or more properly expressed, become something, because we apprehend that which is part of our being.  If the spiritual experience is genuine, we do not need to ask, “What does this mean?”  The question does not arise because true spiritual experience takes place in a world of pure meaning, and in this world perceptions contain their own validation, their own seals of authenticity.  Validation is inherent in and inseparable from the experience.  Instead of having to intellectually explain the experience, the experience itself is the explanation and the meaning.  Likewise, in the case of “intuition” which means “direct knowledge,” we find that intuition is the answer, not the question.  Mental or intellectual questioning arises in relation to phenomena, but intuition is the matrix of light that contains the answers. 

Psychic and spiritual or mystical experience may sometimes be combined. For instance, we can have a vision, in the sense of a picture or image of something correspondent with the material world, and we can hear a voice with words that take objective form in our mind. These psychic experiences may be factual, or illusory, or some blend of the two. But the soul of a true mystical experience is real, while the form it may take in words or images is only relatively so, and is never fully adequate to express the spiritual which is formless. Spiritual experience may take a form in the mind or in expression through images or words. We normally give spiritual experience a psychical body either consciously or unconsciously, but these formal expressions are symbols, and are always a relatively limited embodiment and not the reality itself.

Is light form or formless? Even physically considered, it is energy and relatively formless. But “light” is a word adopted by both physical scientists and metaphysicians. We can use the word to point to something physical, psychic, and spiritual, because light is on spiritual as well as material levels. But here we make an intellectual distinction, which though it has some real validity, fails to reflect the continuum of things. We can say that psychic perception relates to form and that spiritual perception relates to formlessness, and this is more or less correct. Yet form and spirit remain a continuum, and our perceptions evolve in the fluid middle ground between material and spiritual material between the finite and the infinite.

For simplicity, I’ve divided the spiritual and personal levels.  But in reality, things are not so sharply divided, and we should blend them because that’s more realistic.  In this way we find that in objective seeing or hearing there can be a spiritual component.  Everywhere, the spiritual transparency is laid over the personal one.  So in every experience, physical-psychic-spiritual, we’re presented with a unified field.  The physical and psychic (emotional-intellectual) components of any experiences may be rightly questioned.  We can examine them and assess them.  But if there is a spiritual component, if our experience has a soul, then that is the self-validating part.  The body of our experience, the form it takes in our sense or psyche (shape, color, words)—these are the external or relative part, the part that intellect can address.  But the spiritual part is transcendent to the intellect and phenomenal perceptions.

10 thoughts on “Physical, Psychic and Mystical Perception”

  1. Good post! I suppose you could say that psychic impressions are interpreted through our intellectual and reasoning components. It seems to be more of a physical process than a spiritual one.

    1. Yes, I think the psychic is interpreted–it might be through some combination of the emotions, the mind, and the brain. And of course, everything we are aware of while in a body must include the brain, so in that sense there is a physical component.

    1. That’s true. I believe your comment comes under the universal law of correspondence. I believe that’s the mystical principle which states that what manifests in the physical world also appears in the spiritual realm and visa-versa. The spiritual realm is said to be the nonphysical mirror of the physical environment which is created by our thought.

      “as within, so without.”

      Metaphysics can be so complicated. Their are so many reasonable and potentially valid philosophies worthy of consideration. I’ve that many of them are very similar.

    2. Yes, we give some type of form to spiritual things. It takes on a body, so to speak, at a psychological and physical level. Words or symbols may be part of that body. I think some insight may occur by intuitively seeing that the form we give it is not the reality itself which is to say each of our embodiments has limitations. Some bodies are perhaps quite good vehicles for the essence, while some are woefully inadequate and may mislead us.

  2. I like that Tibetan Buddhist practice lays great stress on the illusory nature of the visualizations of both self as well as the deity. All is seen as the same essence as space/emptiness. Maybe this saves us from idolatry and puts the onus for transformation back upon ourselves-which is were deities ultimately reside. A firm grasp of profound emptiness is said to be the greatest insight. Great post and fascinating discussion. Thanks.

    1. Yes, everything phenomenal is illusion, or relatively so–the big “Maya” word that covers it all. And yet, that word “relative” is important. It’s because Deity is not only above and behind but it is also through and reflected/refracted in all things. So all things have some spiritual luminosity shining through, and some things, as we perceive, more than others. So there is the idolatry of a plastic Jesus or stone Buddha or a new sports car. 🙂 And there are subtler conceptual idols as in scientism and intellectual theologies. Things seem to me to have different distances from divinity so that love of sunlight and children’s faces is better than love a plastic Jesus or sports car. 🙂

  3. I enjoyed the post and the thread of discussion, and don’t really know enough to participate, but am wondering if ‘conscience’ falls into the nature of a spiritual experience? I suppose it would be whether it was derived from internal or external sources, but to me the external would be a matter of training not intuition.

    1. Marie, sounds like your on the right track to me.

      I think conscience might often be a vague response to our deeper inner soul-sense of the right way to go. And, as I think you suggest, “conscience” could also be external and more superficial. This latter conscience we inherit from our social matrix, and it might contain a mix of the collective higher conscience plus other things (the mass-mind being what it is) of doubtful quality.

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