A Discussion of Psychic Powers and How to Develop Them by Don DeGracia, 1993 contact the a
A Discussion of Psychic Powers and How to Develop Them
by Don DeGracia, 1993
contact the author by CompuServe
e-mail at 71331,3517 if you have
comments or questions.
Note: this was originally an e-mail conversation.
I've decided to release it as a text file into
cyberspace with the hopes that people interested
in occult and psychic phenomena can come to appreciate
that there is a very real practicality to understanding
the nature of psychic abilities, and as well, maybe the
pointers given below can help clear up questions or
confusion that beginners into occultism may have.
Questioner: < something which you haven't mentioned is that
scientists quite often mistake their models as being reality>
I think this is an even more general problem than just scientists taking
their models too literally. This is a problem with our culture as a whole.
On the whole, our society has a feeble grasp of the nature of the mind,
on the relationship between thought and mind, and on the nature of symbolic
What's going on generally speaking is a process of "projection". People
imagine images in their mind, and then they project an emotional blanket
around these images, emotions such as belief, seriousness, literalness.
They substitute mental images for reality and fail to realize they have
done so. This is a very common delusion in our culture; a person's life
experience is one thing, but how they view their life, or more precisely,
how they project emotions onto the images in their mind of their experience,
is another. I send you that Manly Hall quote a while back where he said
something to the effect that a man can spend his life telling us about the
forces of Nature or great mathematical truths, yet have poor health, wayward
children, a bad marriage, etc. These are the consequences of not clearly
delineating in one's own mind the difference between one's actual experience
and one's mental images of that experience.
The mind is like an echo, or a mirror, nested within our actual experience
of being. Again, it's common in our culture that people give greater
priority to the echo, or reflection than they do to the real thing.
Since this aberrant mental behavior is so wide-spread in our society,
it no surprise scientists do it too.
At any rate, the point is, people don't recognize the difference between
experience and mental images that are but an echo of experience. This
relates directly to what you said:
See, our mental images are objective things, just like a rock or a planet.
In the broadest sense, there is no such thing as subjective reality. What
we call "subjectivity" is a vague reference to thought and emotion. Our
thoughts and our emotions are just as real, often *more* real than the
objects of the physical world. When you say < subjective reality and
objective reality need to be clearly delineated> what you are really
saying is that people have to learn to distinguish between the images in
their mind, the emotions they associate with these images, and their literal
experience as a creature in the physical world. The mental image is one
thing (technically speaking, its a thing called a "thought-form" and I
will henceforth use this term), the emotional overtones or content of the
thought-form are an altogether separate thing, and the source - often ones
direct and literal experience (again, thought is an echo of experience) -
that generates the thought-form and associated emotions is a third thing.
All three of these things are objective realities. It's actually a matter
of etiquette, or psychological hygiene, to know how to distinguish each of
these three things and treat each accordingly.
The second part of your statement < because what i communicate about my
subjectivereality may not translate into another person's subjective reality>
... This isn't any inherent problem in the sense of a limit to subjectivity.
This is a result of the fact that people do not understand the workings of
their own psychology. It is perfectly possible, and as a matter of fact, is
the natural and healthy state of psychological creatures such as
ourselves, that you could perfectly transfer your "subjective reality"
to my mind.
Here, follow this logic: Again, Dear reader, try to conceive of thoughts
and emotions as objective things. Think of thoughts as objects that exist
in a space that is invisible to our physical senses, and do likewise with
emotion. Think of each, thought and emotion, as something like sound waves
rippling through a space that you cannot see, hear, taste, touch or smell.
Imagine there are two spaces: one for thought and one for emotion. Now,
the process of you thinking a thought or feeling an emotion (i.e. you
being "subjective") is a process of sending or emitting ripple patterns
into these spaces. Now, our mind and our emotions are both generators and
detectors of these ripple patterns. Though these ripple patterns in the
emotional and mental spaces are invisible to our physical senses, they
are not invisible to our mind or our emotions.
It is perfectly possible that I could detect to 100% identity the mental
and emotional ripples you emit. Again, this doesn't happen in our society
because our society as a whole is completely unaware of the processes I am
describing to you. See, this gets down to social values and the ideas that
fill people's minds. Our society as a whole believes in a number of things,
which means they create an image in this mental space and blanket it with
ripples from the emotional space, and these are images about such things
as ego, mind, privacy, subjectivity, personal identity. All of these imgaes,
these thought-forms, form a cloud around the person's mind. All of these
thought-forms serve as resistors or filters over the detection capabilities
of the mind. They selectively filter out incoming mental and emotional
resonances. Again, its actually a matter of etiquette when it comes right
down to it. Its *polite* for me to suspend my own generation of thought and
emotion and put my mind on 100% detection when you speak so I can as fully
as possible resonate with the thought-forms and emotions you are generating
towards me. However, this "etiquette" is not shared on a society wide level,
and people only see and hear each other through the cloud of thoughts and
emotions emitting out of them. Thus, more often than not, the person being
communicated to only sees his/her own mental resonances instead of seeing
the mental/emotional resonances being emitted by the 2nd person. Or more
precisely, the person being communicated to sees the reaction of their
own thoughts and emotions in response to the thoughts and emotions the
2nd person is sending. Constructive or destructive interference as the
case may be.
Its all very much like radio reception.
And this whole discussion so far has really been an address of this:
Questioner < We have other sense that are not physical but these are
completely ignored by science - I'm *really* interested in this.>
Well, bub, you just got the basic lecture, the first course in nonphysical
perception. All that stuff above, about the mind and emotions being
detectors and emitter of waves that exist in spaces that are not physical
is the basic ideas behind human nonphysical perception.
Let me elaborate on this some more. There are basically two levels of
nonphysical perception that you have to clearly delineate. These two
levels are intimately interrelated, but the distinction is important.
Now, the axiom is that there are things that we can perceive but we
cannot use the physical senses to perceive these things. Thus, I call
these things "nonphysical". Thus, the basic axiom is "there are nonphysical
things that humans can perceive". At this point, Dear reader, just go
with it, pretend you believe what I am saying at least. Ultimately, these
ideas must stand or fall on their own merit. These ideas are completely
testable, and there is no belief, faith, or any crap like that going on
here. If, after giving it an *honest* effort, you come to the conclusion
that you can't perceive nonphysical things, and that all Don's talk is
bullshit, well, then that's the way it'll be. But I doubt it will come
to that. If you are open minded and follow my advice, you'll learn how
to "see" (actually "sense") nonphysical things just as well as you sense
physical things. I say this because I've tested these ideas, and they
are real, and I'm not alone in this, I've only followed the instructions
laid out by others and found that they were correct.
So, axiom one: there are nonphysical things that are perceivable.
Now, think of this: the physical things we sense with our physical senses
exist in a space, a world, with its own logic and laws. Its the same with
nonphysical things. They exist in their own worlds, their own spaces.
Traditionally, occultists call these nonphysical spaces "planes", and
since I respect occult tradition, I will also call these nonphysical
worlds "planes". So we've already discussed the mental and emotional
spaces. Occultists call these spaces the "astral plane" (emotion) and
the "mental plane" (thought). So, not only are there nonphysical things,
but there are nonphysical worlds actually - the planes.
So, here's the two levels that its important to recognize when you are
learning to use your nonphysical senses. 1. How the nonphysical worlds
appear to us when we are awake and conscious in the physical world, and
2. how the nonphysical worlds appear when our physical senses are shut
off, either by trance, sleep or death.
Its really important to make this distinction otherwise you'll be
completely baffled by all that's being discussed here, and either
get really confused and frustrated in your attempts to learn nonphysical
perception, or you will just give up and think its all bullshit. Both
of these options can be easily avoided by recognizing these two levels
of nonphysical perception.
Now, the first level: how nonphysical things appear when we are awake and
conscious in the physical world. This means our physical sense are turned
on and operating at full power. When our physical sense are on, they exert
a tremendous damping effect on the nonphysical stimuli that is bombarding
our nonphysical senses. It takes a tremendous effort and tremendous skill
to actually perceive directly the nonphysical planes while your physical
sense are on. This type of perception is called "clairvoyance", and there
are methods to achieve it- yoga - but these are very difficult and
require a long time to perfect, and then, there are still no guarantees
There is, however, one method to at least get a minor glimpse of a
*direct* perception of the nonphysical planes when the physical senses
are on, and that is by using hallucinogenic drugs. When you hallucinate,
you are literally seeing into the nonphysical planes. These drugs stimulate
a minor degree of clairvoyance. You can believe this or not as you will,
but I challenge you to come up with a more *practical* and *comprehensive*
theory of the nature of these so-called "hallucinations" if you don't
like my ideas.
At any rate, that's all a bit of a tangent as this point. I want to
elaborate on this first level of nonphysical perception: how nonphysical
things appear when we are awake and conscious in the physical world.
Generally speaking, this level is quite mundane. No wild color shows,
no disembodied spirits, no freakish Escher landscapes (which is what the
planes *really* look like!). None of this. When your physical senses are
on, you have basically three detectors into the planes: your emotions,
mind and third factor completely unrecognized by our culture called
"buddhi". The closest thing in our society to the idea of "buddhi"
is "intuition" or "creativity" or "will". All three of these facets
of human psychology are the result of the operation of the buddhic
faculty. However, because of the poor mental and moral climate of
this society, our perceptive faculty for buddhi is severely atrophied.
You can however, exercise this faculty and get it to operate much
above the average, and very low, level that it commonly operates in
people in this society.
So, we've basically already covered this level of nonphysical perception.
Your emotions and mind (and buddhi) are sensory systems that both emit
and detect vibrations on the respective planes. What happens when you
come to appreciate these facts is that:
1. you quite making the mistake of failing to recognize the difference
between image and reality,
2. you learn to resolve the meaning you emit and that your receive from
others into its three components: emotion, mind and buddhi. Incidentally,
you see little of buddhi emitted by people in this society. Unfortunately,
this means you have to learn to see it in your self, and then, once you
do, you are confronted with the situation that you cannot really
resonate with anybody on this level to any great extent, unless you
have the fortunate karma to be in contact with someone that operates
in the buddhic space.
3. You learn to understand and communicate with people much more fully,
4, You learn to manage you mind and emotions much more fully.
This is psychological hygiene. You have a clean mind, and clean
emotions, which means you no longer allow your mind to become cluttered
up with uncontrolled thought-forms and their associated emotions. This
state also facilitates greatly self-awareness.
5. And for the scientifically inclined, you come intimately in contact
with the laws and principles of the emotional, mental and spiritual
planes as these planes project themselves through the awake human being
in the physical world. Because that's what's going on in this first level
of nonphysical perception: what we can sense of the other planes while
here awake in the physical world is but a projection, a mere
infinitesimal cross section of what's really going on in these planes.
This is a result of the limits of 4-d space time. Stated simply as I can,
the physical world is just too small in a spacial and temporal sense to
let in anything but the merest sliver of what's really going on out in
these planes. Its kind of like trying to pour the ocean into a tea cup.
You just can't.
But still, even from this first level, even though you don't contact fully
the other planes, I don't think the above list of advantages is trivial.
In the end it will just make you a human being. And you will come to
appreciate that the mental and moral climate of this culture creates
sub-human beings, people in which 95% of their potential to experience
life is wasted or ignored.
So, nuff about the first level. Onto some quick comments about the
second level of nonphysical perception.
Here we are talking about the case in which your physical senses are
turned way down or turned off as in sleep, trance and death.
A case when the sense are turned down is when you are ill. Some ill
people report hallucinations, and delusions, and these are both an
effect of greater than usual nonphysical stimuli entering their
And when you sleep, you dream. Dreaming is a shift of focus of your
consciousness from the physical plane to the astral plane (in most
cases of ordinary people, dreaming is a shift of consciousness to
the astral plane, but you are not inherently confined to the astral
plane during sleep however). Again, you can argue all you want with
this hypothesis, but until you've explored the limits of what you can
do in your dreams, then I don't want to hear any stupid academic crap.
For one thing, you can learn to be lucid in your dreams. This means you
carry your rational faculties into your dreams for a sustained amount
of time. If you learn to do this you will experience many things that
will help convince you of the validity of seeing dreaming as a process
of being in the planes. Being lucid in your dreams is also called "astral
projection' or "out-of-body experiences". The name doesn't matter
thought, its the actual experience itself that matters. Call it "Sam"
for all I care.
I've learned to do this and you wouldn't believe the things that can be
done out there! It's absolutely incredible. I think though, what
impresses me the most about being lucid in a dream is when I just
stand (or float sometimes) there and look around and am completely
conscious of the fact that my physical body is home in bed, but here I
am standing here - somewhere - I'm really not sure where at all - but
I'm definitely somewhere and its *not* the physical world, but I'm real
and the things around me are real. Its an exhilarating, if not baffling,
feeling, just standing there being so conscious of it.
Which leads me to say this. In spite of all this theory I'm laying out
about the planes, and in spite of all my experience with altered states
of consciousness, I'm still weary to preach the concept of the planes as
if its cold hard fact. The real fact is that I've *experienced*- no
imagination, no belief - actually *experienced* all these things,
these altered states of consciousness. And the theory of the planes
explains more fully and comprehensively the nature of my experiences
better than any other framework. But, and this is an important but, my
experiences have been so complex that no words or ideas I posit can fit my
experiences. Often I have no words to describe things I perceive in altered
states of consciousness. So, this theory of the planes, though it's very
utilitarian in terms of getting a handle on these altered states, is by
no means the final word. Still, its the best available presently.
So, there you have it. An introduction to nonphysical perception. Like
I said, please read all this as skeptically as you wish. However, don't
close your mind to the possibility. Its funny because all the occult
books I've read about this stuff say the same thing; try it, test it,
and if your not satisfied, we'll give you a complete refund. None of
these books try to convince you of these truths, all they do is point
to a direction. That's it. They point and say, "hey, I've been there,
you can be there too if you want to. You don't have to believe what
I say, you can go see for yourself".
In this regard, Dear reader, all this stuff I've described is indeed
a form of science, or at least the potential exists for it to become a
science. These are not just random haphazard events. These are common
events, invested with their own logic and coherence (though its a logic
much different from the physical world) that everyone has the potential to
experience. Again, its the moral and mental climate of our present society
that suppresses, or actually, subconsciously represses, these facets of
our being. But people like you and I, who question, and who are not mere
sheep to just accept blindly, these are the vistas at the end of all our
struggling and frustration. Its really worth the effort if you put it in.
And, believe it or not, far out as all this sounds, its only the tip of
the iceberg! There's just so much more to what's going on here in reality
than the mass mind of our culture embraces. As you grow into these ideas,
and this broader, more expanded reality, you will shed, or leave behind,
the little nightmare of our culture, and, even though your physical
presence is irrevocably bound up with the karma of this society, you
will see it in such a broad and new light that it will all become
fun and good, or whatever the hell you want it to be.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank