Psychic Powers and "The Mind's Eye"
Dec 31, 1994 09:17 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker
Psychic Powers and "The Mind's Eye" -- by Eldon Tucker
We are told, as beginners on the Path, to shut down
the psychic and instead develop "the mind's eye." What
does this mean? How do we practice this in our lives?
First we need to define the term "psychic." Like many
terms, it can mean different things to different people.
"Psychic" refers to extensions of the physical senses,
to extra-sensory perception, to seeing and interacting
with physical things from afar, or with things in the
astral light or other planes of existence. In terms of
our seven principles or basic ingredients of
consciousness, it refers to an extension of the sixth
principle, of the astral or Linga-Sharira. It does not
refer to the power to make things happen (Prana), to
fashion things (Kama), to understand (Manas), to relate
to (Buddhi), or to exist (Atma). This basic ingredient
of consciousness, that of sense perception, is essential
to participating in the activities of life on any plane
of existence; it is essential to being a fully-manifest
being on a particular plane.
Consider Zen Buddhism. In Zazen, we practice
alertness, mindfulness, a dynamic type of consciousness.
This is the opposite of the passivity necessary for
psychic development. Meditation is done with the eyes
open, where the outer world is taken into the practice.
We are aware of what is happening about us, but do not
pay it lasting, persistent attention; someone shouts, we
hear it, then we let go and it is forgotten.
Psychic impressions are not cultivated, they are
ignored. If they intrude upon meditation, they are
ignored like an unwelcome guest at the door. No special
attention is given them; nothing is done to exercise,
develop, or encourage their appearance in our lives. We
are at a far deeper, a far more serious task, but not
something somber, serious, and heavy-hearted. The
approach to the spiritual is dynamic, inspired, with a
sense of wonder and magic that we once felt as little
children, and profoundly enriching.
The training is to focus our full consciousness upon
our experience of life here on this world, on physical
plane Globe-D existence. We practice the awakening of
our higher faculties *of consciousness* through our
existing personal self. The goal is to unify our
spiritual natures with the outer selves, to bring to
consciousness and give self-expression to the deeper
aspects of ourselves. This is the opposite of seeking
the ability to disconnect from outer life, practicing
tuning out the world, deadening reaction to others,
going into trances, and trying to astral project or get
out of the Globe-D self.
We learn to shut down the senses, or rather to quiet
them, but not totally shut them off. They are
intrinsically mayavic, delusive, misleading, and we must
disassociate from them, but at the same time put them
under our control. This control comes from being seated
in our spiritual-intellectual nature, with it connected
to and expressive through the senses. The lack of a
controlling connection between the inner and outer man
is what we try to overcome. We work to unify the higher
faculties with the waking consciousness, rather than
escape the outer world to 'vacation' elsewhere.
Say we have some psychic faculties, some paranormal
senses or experiences. What should we do about them? The
general rule, which is what the theosophical answer to
the question would be is: downgrade the importance of
them in our lives, come to feel them as unimportant and
remove any sense of ego-gratification from having and
using them, and even do things to grossen our physical
nature if they play too dominate a role in our lives.
To downplay the role of psychic abilities in our
lives, we can avoid activities or practices that
cultivate them. Passivity of mind should be avoided. If
we have extremely intrusive psychic experiences, we
might need to do things like eat meat, if we're
vegetarians, to grossen our physical natures, and to
intentionally not remember dreams.
Granted, there are special karmic circumstances where
a few individuals may have psychic abilities that need
to be put to use in their lives, but these are
exceptions to the general rule and not what is good for
people in general.
The senses that we have are different that in the
distant past. And they will change in the future. What
senses we have is a part of the evolutionary setup of
life in the Human Kingdom, and what we have now is what
is appropriate to our human experience at this time.
Other senses, or extensions of the existing senses are
dormant at this time.
The search for the spiritual is really in a different
direction than the psychic. There is an entirely
different set of experiences awaiting us in life,
completely independent of things like reading auras,
seeing thought-forms, or astral projection. The barriers
we naturally find in our personality to psychic senses
are part of the Guardian Wall, a protective barrier put
up for us to foster our spiritual evolution. Like an
infant in a playpen, wanting to get out, we may not
always understand that it's for our own good!
Our senses are basically reined in to the physical
world so that we won't be preoccupied with them, but
devote our energies to developing wisdom, compassion,
insight, and even higher aspects of our natures.
Extension of our senses beyond the physical world do not
bring us higher consciousness.
A dog, if able to see things in the astral light, is
no closer to understanding calculus, to having a
developed Manas. We are after the development of higher
faculties of experiencing life. There is an element of
escapism in the desire to go to other planes. It is the
same as in the science fiction literature. In science
fiction, we want to go to other worlds with bigger and
more powerful spaceships. Somehow, the going to these
other places make us more "evolved". In the metaphysical
realm, the same escapism is found in the desire to go to
other planes, with bigger and stronger magical powers.
But this does not make us any more evolved; we are still
the same people, with the same limited ability to
experience life, just doing different things than
before. What we need is an inner transformation to make
Sense perceptions are different than the higher
faculties; they are different than wisdom or knowing
things. We seek to *really* learn from our Inner
Teachers, to awaken the "mind's eye." What is it? It is
a poetic metaphor for the ability to know that
corresponds to the sense of sight, as opposed to the
normal learning by what would correspond to a sense of
touch. We can have a different kind of "personal
experience," wherein we learn by experience things by
gazing upon them from afar, rather than by going to them
and "touching" them in some outward situation.
Just as there are faculties of consciousness that
sets us apart from the animals, there are yet others
that set the gods apart from us. These faculties have
nothing to do with what you can see, touch, taste, hear,
or smell; they are entirely different ways of
experiencing things. Just as an animal might not
appreciate the complex, subtle distinctions in an
intellectual debate, we might not appreciate the
complex, subtle distinctions in terms of some yet
unawakened faculties within us.
The whole approach to the spiritual, then, is *to
look for something different within*. It is not bigger
or better of what we already are, although that too is
important. It is rather the discovery of the truly
unknown and the making it a living part of our lives!
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