Rosicrucian Writings Online


The
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
 
WHAT IS PSYCHIC POWER?
 
By THE IMPERATOR
[H. Spencer Lewis]

 
[From The Rosicrucian Digest March 1934]
 
 
IT MAY SEEM strange to discuss such a subject as this in such a magazine whose readers are very largely students of psychic principles and the laws relating thereto. But I sometimes wonder whether those students who are becoming highly evolved through their diligent and sincere studies and who are making some progress in their journey along the Path ever stop long enough in their search for new knowledge to meditate and ponder over the very nature of the fundamental principles which were revealed to them in any of their simple experiments and exercises.
 
Students of any one of the Paths that leads to psychic unfoldment and spiritual development are very apt to speak of spiritual powers, psychic powers, and divine powers, with too little concern as to the real meaning of these terms and with too little analytical interest in the magnificent principles involved. I have seen artists developing in art schools and under special teachers and attaining a high degree of efficiency in the awakening and quickening of natural talents, but I have realized through my conversations with them that they had given little thought to a careful study of the abilities which they were actually developing through their practices and studies and their inner unfoldment. The same is true of musicians and writers and those who are dealing with the objective expressions of the emotional side of life.
 
We listen to an advanced student on the Path describe with proper modesty and conservatism the things he has been able to accomplish as a result of his studies and exercises. Take, for instance, his experience relating to the giving of absent treatments. The results of his work may appear to the casual person as miracles. To the mystics and to the students on the Path they are not miracles but magnificent manifestations of Divine power and Divine law. The adept tells us that he has momentarily concentrated upon the individual he wishes to contact, has sent forth thoughts of healing and creative nature, and has visualized the curative process that should immediately enter into the body of the patient, and at once knows that he has given the unfortunate person a truly psychic treatment that will produce certain definite results as surely as the sun rises and sets in accordance with Divine and Cosmic laws. We agree that what is accomplished by this adept is accomplished through psychic power. But what is this psychic power? With what can we compare it and how can we analyze it?
 
Viewing the matter from the mental aspect of the neophyte or the uninitiated, it would seem that the adept, in giving one of his marvelous treatments, is doing little more than any other person might do in attempting to send "good thoughts" to the one who is ill. It would seem that the mother or father or some loved one in the family of the patient would naturally send the same sort of thoughts, the same sort of visualized impressions to the patient and that, therefore, if the secret of the treatment process consisted only of wilfully directing one's concentrated thoughts toward another in a constructive manner or with a constructive attitude, all of the patient's well-wishers and loved ones would become potential healers immediately and the patient would be overwhelmed with treatments and would surely become well and normal in a very short time.
 
We must realize that the deep concern of a mother for her ailing child or the grave interest of the father for the unfortunate son or the prayers of the parents and the good thoughts of close friends are essentially similar to the thoughts and visualized ideas that the efficient adept sends forth to his patient in giving him a powerful and mighty psychic treatment. But why is it that the treatment from the efficient adept and the good thoughts and prayers of loved ones untrained in these principles do not produce the same results? What is there about the work of the adept that is more efficient and more effective? Why is it that the adept proceeds with his treatment with such sureness and with such absolute confidence? What has he learned that gives him such assurance that his brief mental contact with the patient will produce certain definite reactions?
 
If we attempt to answer these questions by saying that the mystic is applying some psychic power that the others are unacquainted with and that it is this psychic power that produces the very efficient results in the one case and not in the other, we are not answering our original question at all, but merely resorting to terms and terminology and making the matter even more complex.
 
In the first place, if we are to assume that the results produced are due to some psychic power transmitted by one individual to another we must admit that this psychic power is resident in all human beings of a normal type and is available to all human beings alike. If we speak of it as a Divine power that is universal and always creative and always useful in the doing of good deeds, we still have left unanswered the question as to why this psychic power or Divine power does not manifest when loved ones, in a prayerful and deeply devoted attitude seek to aid the one who is ill.
 
If psychic power is truly a Divine power or essence of some invisible kind that is resident in all of us and available to all of us, then certainly a Divine attitude of mind and a holy purpose in our hearts should enable each and every one of us, as human beings, to exert or direct that Divine power efficiently. Certainly there is no closer Divine and human contact between two persons or any more Divine attunement between two individuals than that which exists when a mother or father, in prayerful attitude, kneels at the side of one who is ill, especially a child or dearly beloved one.
 
I am not unmindful of the fact that some of the most remarkable cures have been made under such circumstances. There probably is no more inspiring and soothing, helpful, and constructive thought power in the world than that which is transmitted by loving parents to a child or by one who is deeply devoted to another. But there are sufficient evidences to warrant us in realizing that in a large majority of the cases the mystic who has been well-trained in his strange art can, as a stranger to the one who is ill, render quickly more efficient service and more effective treatments than those which are rendered by the closest of kin. Therefore, granting that the so-called psychic power is a Divine power that is resident within all of us and is available to all, we still have the problem of discovering what this power is and why it works more efficiently in the hands of the trained mystic than anyone else.
 
I think the better way to understand this power is to compare it in a simple way to other abilities which most of us humans possess to some degree. Let us take, for example, the ability to play or produce music. If we have an instrument such as a piano we may find many individuals who can sit before this piano without any training and produce harmonious chords or simple melodies by a method that is known as "playing by ear." The result may be pleasing and in many cases is seemingly very excellent, but the results cannot equal those produced by the trained musician who knows precisely what he is doing when he groups certain notes beneath his fingers in composing a chord or selects certain notes in each octave to strike in certain alternate positions to produce a melody. To the untrained ear his results may not be greatly different from those produced by the long experienced player who is guided only by his ear, but if the result of the playing is to produce efficiently and correctly some definite result, the trained musician has the advantage.
 
From a careful examination of the results of working with the so-called psychic power, not only in the giving of treatments, but in the production of other definite results, it becomes very apparent that the mystic is using the unknown creative power of the universe in an intelligent and understanding manner, whereas others who occasionally secure certain results are proceeding in their efforts more or less blindly and without the proper understanding.
 
In the same way in which we see that this Divine psychic power is ever available, we can see that music, as sound produced by vibrations, is always available in a piano or other musical instrument. But it takes intelligence to control and make manifest that sound in such a manner as to produce certain definite results. The keys of the piano may be struck at random and sound produced, but it would not be music. The keys may be struck or played by one guided by his ear alone or with only a very meager knowledge of music and the result will be more or less pleasant; but, nevertheless, it would not be perfect music or an efficient demonstration of the possibilities of the musical instrument. Thus it is with the trained and developed mystic. He must study and prepare himself for the proper and understanding control and direction of the energy that is always available. The trained musician learns not only how to play upon the instrument correctly and get the utmost out of the possibilities that are in the instrument, but through his study and development in the field of music he lifts up his own consciousness to a higher attunement with the principles of music and thereby makes himself receptive to inspiration and Cosmic direction in applying his musical knowledge.
 
Analyzing the masterful work of the greatest musicians we find a complex relationship of many fundamental principles. First, there is the piano, for instance, with all of the combinations arranged so that a multiplicity of units of vibrations may be played upon it and many groups of notes produced in any manner that will cause the vibrations to produce pleasing and inspiring tones. Then there is the musician with his duality of functioning. First, there is the one half of him which has been objectively trained to understand and interpret the principles of music. Along with this training, through practice, he has made his objective abilities capable of quickly responding to the themes within his consciousness and correctly manipulating keys of the piano so as to produce through them the themes which are in his objective mind. All of this has required long study and much practice. But then there is the second half of him which is attuned with the Cosmic and with the fundamental laws of Cosmic harmony and universal music. This half, through the development of the spiritual and Divine side of his consciousness, is capable of receiving and being aware of the inspiring musical themes that are transmitted to him by and through the psychic consciousness. These in turn are transferred to the objective consciousness where they are seized upon by his musical understanding and training and reproduced in proper manner upon the keyboard.
 
So we see we have in this combination of conditions first the Cosmic or inner awareness of music; secondly, the objective translation of it into musical themes; and thirdly, the training and practice for mental reaction to this translation whereby the fingers automatically respond to the impulse created in the objective mind. The entire result of this combination of conditions is a beautiful piece of music produced by sound vibrations and interpreting an inaudible theme that has arisen in the psychic consciousness.
 
The efficient mystic who is using psychic powers of any kind or the universal powers of Divine essence to produce certain beneficial conditions is just like the musician at the keyboard. When he is asked to give a treatment to some person absent or in his immediate presence he must first feel the inspiration of the contact and be inspired to administer the correct impulse. Then his training and practice enable him to translate that impulse into the right procedure so that the efficient forces and powers available to him may be properly used and applied to the treatment of the patient or to produce whatever results he seeks to produce.
 
We see, therefore, that the secret of psychic power lies in knowledge and practice. There was a time when the work of magicians was looked upon as a highly secret work because it was commonly believed that the professional magician had some secret knowledge or some secret powers or possessed some secret influence exclusively which he could use and which others could not use. Today we understand that the only secret power which these magicians possess is the uncommon knowledge of certain fundamental laws and through this knowledge of the laws he is able to use such powers as anyone and everyone possesses and may use but which the average person does not use because he does not know how to use them.
 
To acquire such knowledge and to prepare oneself for the application of it means careful study, careful training, and careful practice. The teacher cannot give to the pupil any specific powers which he can use blindly or indifferently and the teacher cannot give to the pupil the efficiency and expertness necessary to properly apply the power that is available. The teacher can only reveal the laws and principles to the student and guide him carefully in the process of practicing those laws until he becomes not only familiar with them but efficient in the use of them. To study the laws without practice is equivalent to attempting to study music and merely reading every technical book on the subject and yet never sitting before any kind of musical instrument and attempting to apply the principles and practice them. It is possible to study the laws of harmony in music and to become intellectually familiar with every fundamental principle back of the creation of harmony, but the most expert in such knowledge would not be a creator nor a producer of harmony until he used some musical instrument of some kind whereby the principles he had been studying could be applied in a practical manner and certain definite results produced.
 
Reading books on the demonstration and theories of Divine and psychic power and reading and studying the lives of the great mystics and philosophers and becoming intellectually familiar with the fundamental laws of nature will not make an adept or even a highly developed neophyte. The study must be carefully graded so that it tends toward one objective; namely, the application of that knowledge. Along with each new phase of study must be a certain amount of practice. Each new law and principle must be tested and applied and demonstrated. This is the only way in which efficiency and confidence in the knowledge can be created. This is why the better students and the most correctly trained and developed adepts have studied and worked under eminent teachers and masters and have associated themselves with a definite organization and school devoted to the perfection of such knowledge and practices. Then the student, the adept, the Master, can correctly and confidently proceed with his knowledge in a definite manner and produce the unusual results that we have been considering.
 
We see, therefore, that psychic power is not a thing in and of itself that is efficient and demonstrable, but is dependent upon direction and control to make manifest its possibilities. He is the greatest demonstrator of psychic power who is the best trained and best practitioner of its principles. The Rosicrucians have always possessed certain knowledge regarding the use and application of psychic power that is not commonly understood. That is why the Rosicrucian system of metaphysical, spiritual, and psychic development has always been the superior or the ne plus ultra in these fields of human research and investigation.
   

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