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Re: Psychic powers

Sep 03, 1995 09:29 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker


>>We've been told that the T.S. was not intended as a training ground for
>>occultists. While it is true that it might be possible to offer some form
>>of training to new people regarding the cultivation of their psychical
>>abilities, is this a good thing? Are there really people qualified to give
>>this training? The emphasis of theosophical groups has been to offer a
>>different kind of training, related to the spiritual.

>Ah, yes, this is *precisely* what I was talking about. Theosophy seems
>full of this sort of fanatical urge to *rank* everything. The spiritual is
>"higher", then, is it?

In one sense, I'd agree that there is no "higher" and "lower", that are
parts of our nature are equally valuable, as inseparable as the ingredients
of a cake, once baked, where we cannot separate out the flour from the
shortening. In this sense, reading a book, working out at the gym, and
offering a warm shoulder for a friend to cry on are all equally valuable,
with no activity "higher" than any other.

In another sense, we speak of study at a university as a form of "higher
learning," because we continue to work on things that may not have a practical
bearning upon earning a living in the outer world.

A third sense, closer to what you may object to, is the ordering of the seven
(or ten) principles, the descriptions of them as being evolved in serial
order over great periods of evolution. (That is, first a physical body,
then external sense perception, life energies leading to physical motion,
desires to do things, thoughts, and yet higher faculties of manifesting our
consciousness.) In this model, the senses, including what we would call the
psychical senses, vary in intensity. Perhaps in Atlantean times they were
far more advanced and powerful than they are now. Spirituality and rising
about the burden of a sense of separate self is where our *new* progress is
at. Paranormal senses are nice to have, just as Olympic-class athletic powers
are nice, but they are considered side issues. Whether they are side issues
or key points of development depend upon one's worldview, and the differing
worldviews are build upon a number of assumptions. Before we could discuss
the relative merits of the differing worldviews, we have to review their
key assumptions.

>Higher than "psychism" which is "lower"? In people's
>*minds* there exist these nice neat "levels" and distinctions ... but dare I
>suggest that the actual reality is that life & the universe is simply one
>enormous *continuum*.

There is really, I'd suggest, a dual manner of viewing our natures. One is
in terms of a stream of consciousness, which could be considered a continuum.
The other is in terms of a series of centers of consciousness, where there is
a definite sense of "higher" and "lower" centers, along with higher and lower
planes, states of evolution, etc.

>That the *mind* introduces delusions ever bit as potent
>as those attributed to "psychism" by giving into its predilection to slice
>everything into nice discrete layers and levels

The mind, I'd agree, is far more capable of creating delusion than the external
senses. But on the other hand, it is when we "explore with the mind" that we
more swiftly approach the truth, rather than "exploring with the senses,"
even be they superphysical.

.. that also forms the root
>assumptions necessary to say that one *person* is "higher" or "lower" than

A flower in the field is as noble as the greatest Saint. But in another sense,
we'd go to a professor of mathematics to learn about mathematics, and not to
a cab driver.

And, IMO anyway, *here* is what we've been *told* the TS is intended
>to do:
> 1. To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without
>distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
> 2. To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and
> 3. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in

These are the objects of the Adyar T.S. The Pasadena T.S. and ULT have their
own variations on the general theme. The idea is to provide an open place for
learning and study of Theosophy. It does not discount Theosophy to only be
a concatenation of the collective opinions of the present T.S. membership.

>The first *two* of these compose the vast majority of TS activity, and
>can be accomplished by reading & meditating and slowly but surely following the
>"spiritual" path. The third has been (IMO) quite ignored, because it is *far*
>riskier. It holds the implication of not just studying the "ancient wisdom" and
>learning what to call all sorts of levels of postulated awareness ... but of
>actively seeking to break new ground ... of *discovery*. It is damn
>uncomfortable, sloppy business. Is there possibly delusion? Certainly. Is there
>danger involved? Of course ... as in almost all scientific discovery.

A deep study of Theosophy is not comparative religion, nor is it the practice
of a fraternal order. The deep study comes from a self-actualized process that
transforms the inner and outer man, a process that reaches from the external
senses to the inner spirit, and changes him throughout. It is something that
is engaged through a study of the central "Jewels" or core concepts, but this
is but one of many approaches to the spiritual. This approach is never claimed
to be exclusive.

It is possible to delve into the occult and paranormal, and become a
psychic explorer. That is an individual decision, one that is dangerous as
you say. Because of the dangers involved, I'd suspect, the theosophical groups
tend to discourage the approach. (I'm not speaking as a spokesman for any
group, just from my impressions of the groups.) We're left, in the final
to seek out our own paths, our own approaches, and must brave them despite the
criticism we may arose in those who disapprove.

>You may be comfortable pursuing "higher" thought, but please do not say
that that
>version of theosophy is the only one that was intended. If numbers of people
>are beginning to find themselves born with a sensory apparatus that permits
>them to see a vibratory range outside of the current human norm, is this not
>something operating according to an unexplained law of nature? Is it not a
>power latent in man? Is not what I was suggesting *fully* in line with the 3rd
>Object of the TS? Especially when I am suggesting that the phenomena not only
>be "investigated", but integrated into the powerful service ethic implicit in
>the First Object?

They can follow that path. I'd just hope that any risks involved are pointed
out to them, and they do so with as much advice and information as possible.
On the other hand, others of us should be allowed the same freedom to advocate
other approaches. It's not an "either or" situation, where your approach can
be respectfully be considered at the expense of rejecting the others.

>>Are these abilities a useful tool for service? Take psychometry, where
>>someone is able to sense what has happened in the past by touching an
>>object that was at the sceen. Would these people make better policemen?
>>Should some be expert witnesses at O.J. Simpson's trial?
> For what its worth, working with a partner I helped the police in
>western Montana catch a rapist/murderer a few years ago. And this is perhaps
>one of the *least* of the posibilities for service inherent in abilities. I
>might add that I'll never do such work again ... it necessitated entering, for
>a moment, fully into the subjective nature of the psyche that committed those
>crimes ... and I was horrified and ill for two weeks afterward - 'twas a wee
>bit *too* much brotherhood for me (-:).

Again, an individual choice. Someone may train for years to learn to walk on
water. Another may work for years with troubled teenagers attempting to heal
them psychologically. Is one more useful with his time than the other? I'd say
that we should leave everyone to their individual choices, and not pass
(nor pass counter-judgement upon those we perceive as judging us). We can
present what
we find noble, valuable, and useful to others in a general sense, and not attack
anyone in the process.

>>Because of the unreliable nature of clarivoyance for investigating
>>invisible worlds, we would likely not be inclined to take at face
>>value the visions of new investigators.
>This, with all due respect, is an avoidance, not a reason not to
>explore. Are there uncertainties? Of course there are, enormous ones. could not
>the same objection be raised to virtually *any* new arena or technique of

When we present what we've found, as long as we are accurate in describing
how we
came up with it, there is no harm. The problem only arises when someone presents
what they see in visions as something different, like when a theosophical writer
might present a psychical perception as being something from "The Secret
like being something from an intellectual study of a book, when it was
really from
another source.

>Is the *conscious mind* any *better* of a tool for investigating
>invisible worlds? Imagine Freud and Jung as they were beginning their work.
>They were most certainly investigating "invisible" things ... the subtle
>essence of the subjective human psyche ... and they used the rational mind to
>accomplish this ... were they often deluded? Most assuredly. Did their
>subjective complexes often get in the way? *Enormously* (as the criticism of
>their work over the years has amply demonstrated). Did they often go off on
>wild goose chases, follow ideas down dead-end streets? You bet. Should they
>have, because of this *not pursued their investigations*?

We're completely free to think up new systems of thought, and offer them to
This is different, though, from being accurate and truthful presenters of some
Mystery Tradition that has been taught us.

>Should they have stopped before they began because of the "unreliable" nature
>of their investigations, because many people would refuse to take "at face
>value" the conclusions of their uncertain and stumbling investigations?

>And yet no one has any problem discussing Jung in Theosophical circles.
>He could listen to people's *dreams*, and draw conclusions about the operations
>of the invisible human psyche from them (introducing the double distortion of
>the patient turning a dream into words ... which can never fully be done ...
>and the distortion that comes when those words are understood within the
>context of Jung's own psyche) without being accused of "psychism" or avoided
>because of the inherently "subjective" nature of his studies ... but take
>someone that *sees* what Jung could only hear about second hand and suddenly we
>should ignore everything coming from *that* investigative tool because there is
>a possibility that the seer might not be completely clear?

Jung put everything in a psycho-centric context. In that context, he attempts
to describe everything. He has a large following, even among theosophists.
I'd find him too limited, because of this bias, and would tend to disagree with
some of his ideas. The ideas are useful, though, for some people in the west
to understand and give meaning to their lives, so I would not, though, see any
value in trying to discredit him.

>>The whole approach of clarivoyance is to "go there and see it", which
>>still involves the senses, of this or some other plane. It is entirely
>>a different faculty of knowing than is available to us, that of
>>direct insight, a spiritual-intellectual faculty (of buddhi-manas, as
>>contrasted with prana-linga-sharira).

>And please tell me, having *not experienced clairvoyance* how you speak
>with such certainty about this. Upon what basis do you say that it is an
>"entirely different faculty". Did a *book* say so?

Perhaps we have a difference in terminology here. Direct insight or knowing
something is certainly different than sense perception, of whatever plane.
This does not need an "authoritative book." I would reject the notion that
consciousness is merely sense perception on higher planes as an exoteric
blind. You seem to be taking the line of argument I've most often seen in the
Adyar T.S., where someone uses their paranormal experiences as an authority
for what they say. I'd say that reason, logic, and philosophy are the proper
grounds for considering how things work. Your experiences might count as
some "raw data" for consideration by others, and we should consider it; your
ideas and conclusions about what it mean, though, are open to interpretation.

>I have met and spoken with
>a number of people who possessed abilities to varying degrees. With some, it
>did seem to be quite partial. With others, I have seen "clairvoyance" so
>thoroughly integrated into a faculty that you might call "buddhi-manas" that
>their clairvoyance was simply remarkable ... they were seeing, simultaneously,
>effect *and* cause when they looked at a person's auric field.

Certainly the aura would reflect what goes on in someone's consciousness.
I'd suggest that seeing the aura is not the same thing as spiritual insight.

>is not *a* thing that can just be neatly pidgeon-holed into "oh that's just
>prana-linga-sharira" ... there are (as far as I've been able to discover) a
>whole host of different forms of clairvoyance ...


>and in practice, it doesn't
>*disappear* when "buddhi-manas" becomes operative (any more, I might add, than
>the physical eyes suddenly go blind), it *deepens immeasurably into something
>even more remarkable*.

We may or may not be aware in our senses on a plane when we function deep within
our natures. I'd agree that the senses don't automatically shut down when we
exercise our spiritual natures.

>"Direct insight" and clairvoyance are *not* mutually
>exclusive phenomena, and in fact are fully capable of not only cooperation, but

No two parts of our nature are mutually exclusive, since every part acts (or
should act) in total accord, in total harmony and cooperation.

>When you speak as though they are two "entirely different things",
>and even further, as though clairvoyance is *a* single thing, you demonstrate
>clearly that you really have no understanding of clairvoyance as anything other
>than a concept.

Agreed that "clairvoyance" refers to many different things. In a short
we may use one meaning, and when the discussion goes into more detail, we then
explore the differences in meanings. I would disagree with any suggestion that
someone with psychic experiences therefore has a special claim to understanding
them, a special right to speak with authority their ideas and opinions about
it means. I've heard the same argument made throughout politics. One person
may claim
that they have exclusive insight into racial persecution since their
ancestors were
slaves, another may say that being a woman, they have a special knowledge of
bearing (even if they've never had a child in this lifetime), etc.

The argument that you have to do something in order to know about it quickly
down when you deal with experiences beyond what we can have. (Like when we
talk about
subatomic physics.) It further falls apart if you accept the idea which I would
suggest that there is a second way of "knowing by experience," where we
things through a way of knowing that corresponds to the sense of sight, as
to the ordinary way of understanding by experience in a manner corresponding to
the sense of touch.

>Yet you speak with a tone that implies you know exactly what it
>is and where it fits neatly into spiritual development (which is obviously at a
>"lower" level than the "direct insight" that you pursue). This is *exactly* the
>attitude I was trying to suggest was perceived as extremely demeaning to those
>who *were* born with such abilities.

There is no intent to demean anyone. Perhaps another manner or tone of writing
would be better. On the other hand, whenever someone writes about something that
is inconsistent with another's worldview, it will be considered challenging, if
not an affront to them personally, and perceived as an attack when none is
Our fundamentalist visitor probably felt attacked when we responded with various
theosophical ideas, because the ideas were challenging to key assumptions
about life
that he considered went without question.

>I have reached an age and have become
>comfortable enough with it personally that its worth it to bitch about this
>attitude, in the hopes that it might alter things, but there are many who
>wouldn't bother ... they just wouldn't come to a second TS meeting ... and I
>know at least three people personally that this describes.

It's not as much an attitude as a different approach to life that is being
The pros and cons of the different approaches need to be discussed respectfully,
without any putting down of people, nor with any of us feeling under attach when
other views are expoused.

> Is it not rather bizarre that Theosophy, that actually helped introduce
>the concept of clairvoyance as a operative human ability to the modern western
>world, seems to want to avoid any of the difficulties inherent in the actual
>practice of it in favor of reading and "studying" what dead people wrote about
>it ... that the TS, of all places, as often as not unconsciously *ejects* those
>who possess in fact what the original Theosophists introduced conceptually to

There is no problem once we admit to there being different philosophies being
presented under "Theosophy." Your approach is most at home with the Adyar
although it might be considered somewhat revisionist. Mine is most at home with
the Point Loma tradition. I would suggest that it is possible for good-natured
presentations of the differing approachs without any of us getting at each
other's throats.


-- Eldon

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