Tag Archives: psychic perceptions

Physical, Psychic and Mystical Perception

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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.

The Esoteric Landscape, a Difficult Journey

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Let us consider the world of the “esoteric” or “spiritual science”—these suggests a wide diversity of things such as psychic phenomena, the supernatural, mysticism, meditation, tarot card reading, kabalistic obscurity, crystal balls, reincarnation, astral bodies, auras and chakaras, Eastern thought, metaphysics, and the occult. For some, the language may also call to mind witches and wizards, seances, a yogi in a mountain cave, magical charms, mysterious rites, and perhaps even some UFOs thrown in. And for some, the esoteric terms even associate with cults, satanic worship, or some TV show on the latest strange, weird, or bizarre phenomena. We might say that, the human scene, being what it is, people inevitably acquire a superficial picture; a caricature of whatever realities esoteric language is intended to point to. And among many people, a term like “esoteric” or “occult” conjures emotions most strange, while in this maze of language and concepts–usually but vaguely and poorly defined–wander the metaphysically oriented people of the world.

All this is not to belittle the truth underlying the language, but rather to help us realize more clearly the difficulties of discerning that truth. It helps to realize that excellent things are rare, and that for every true teacher, there are a thousand pretentious gurus. For every true psychic, there are a thousand pseudopsychics. For every prophetic visionary, thousands of false prophets walk the earth. And for every truly enlightened individual, there are thousands spiritual charlatans. And the matter is further complicated by the fact that we rarely have just obviously “false” communications but a cryptic blend of the true, and half-true, of false, and a partly false. There are a thousands of shades of partly true offered us from every direction.

And everywhere we find systems, gimmicks, offerings of pretty packages, of effortless cures and quick enlightenments, and even metaphysical versions of get-rich-quick schemes. And for every purely wrought axiom of wisdom, there are a thousand clichés and inferior versions.

It may also help us to realize that, at one extreme, everything becomes counterfeited and debased. Everything has false and glamorous versions. Everything has illusory and shadowy counterparts. So, on the surface, everywhere is scattered fool’s gold.

At the other extreme, in deeper spaces, is the clear gold light of wisdom. But between the extremes is a world of grays where things gradually shade toward the light. This is the world where our discrimination and insight are constantly tested. This is the world where we must learn to think and see ever more clearly. We live along a twilight path of human understanding, a world mixed of dark and light. Yet, along the way, we may more optimistically recall that shadows suggest the light that cast them.

Take heart then that the Powers that be thought so well of us as to lay upon our path such difficult circumstances. Our own powers are equal to the challenge, if not today, then surely tomorrow, and we have an infinity of tomorrows.

Let us bring out of the dense fabric of human thought some clear ideas, set them upon a pedestal, elevated, striking, luminous—suitable objects for reflection. The light of them is beautiful and, in one way, simple, yielding to us by interior radiance that vision of clarity we so deeply need for the difficult journey.