The powers of consciousness, or siddhis, range from what are called the lesser siddhis to what are termed the greater siddhis. The lesser siddhis include such psychic abilities as clairvoyance (inner seeing), clairaudience (inner hearing), clairsentience (inner feeling), as well as clairgnosis (inner knowing), as in knowing something, but not knowing how you know it. The first three, clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience, are refinements of the physical senses.
As psychic powers unfold, they often tend to present themselves in one of these three forms, or in combination. Thus one might begin to see things in the mind’s eye that can’t be physically seen. These visual impressions manifest as a subtle sense of seeing something that cannot be seen physically (i.e., auras, guides, etc.). In scientific studies involving remote viewing, this siddhi is most often used.
Studies show that persons can, under the right conditions (i.e. mental relaxation), accurately report visual impressions of objects or locations hundreds of miles away with no previous knowledge of them. The reception of such visual information must presumably come from some other source than that of physical sight since the viewers were nowhere near the locations they described.
Many yogis/yoginis, saints and mystics have reported that they could often see their disciples in distant locations when it was called for. In one account, the yogi Neem Karoli Baba suddenly asked for large amounts of food to be brought to him. Those present report that he consumed a mind-boggling amount of food before going into samadhi (yogic meditation). When the yogi came out of meditation, his disciples asked him what had happened. He reported that he had suddenly seen one of his disciples dying in the desert. The last desire of the dying man was to eat. Baba said that the student had reached a level of attainment where there was no further need to reincarnate. But with the desire for food on his mind, he would have been brought back into the wheel of birth and death merely through the power of this one unfulfilled desire! Baba had taken upon himself the task of fulfilling the man’s last wish for food, and using his yogic powers, he transmuted the desire.
When psychic information is received auditorially, the person is called clairaudient. Such persons have subtle impressions of hearing sounds and/or voices. The inner realms of consciousness are filled with sounds and music that are incredibly beautiful. It has been suggested by some that many of the great composers actually heard the music of these realms and that this music of the spheres greatly influenced their compositions.
Some individuals feel things at a very subtle level and these persons are called clairsentients. There is often a fine line between a clairsentient and an empath. Empaths have highly developed sensitivities and often feel other people’s feelings, especially those around them. Clairsentients may also be empathic, but in addition, they receive psychic impressions in the form of subtle feelings, which are often physical
Clairgnosis is one of the more fascinating siddhis. When you have a hunch about something, but have no idea how you might know such a thing, this is clairgnosis. (That is, if your hunch turns out to be true. If it turns out to be false, we call that delusion.) Some have suggested that clairgnosis is an attribute of pure consciousness which is omniscient and omnipresent. As one rises higher up the ladder of consciousness, one’s own personal awareness takes on some of these qualities and episodes of clairgnosis increase.
The lesser siddhis also include such things as healing abilities and limited powers of prophecy. This class of yogic powers also includes the ability for awareness to become very small or very large, in other words, not confined by the limitations of the body.
The greater siddhis include such things as levitation (in which the body floats or hovers in air). Again this siddhi is not confined to Indian yogis or yoginis as some believe. There are well-documented sightings of St. Francis of Assisi, for one, hovering in the air. St. Francis exhibited other siddhis as well.
The greater siddhis also include such remarkable abilities such as teleportation (like the Abbott I mentioned earlier) and bi-location (being in two places at once). There are other abilities that fall under this category, but they are too numerous to list here.
Siddhis or yogic powers are attained as a natural consequence of spiritual development. There is, however, a very real dilemma with the siddhis. If not tempered with wisdom, the premature attainment of yogic powers can lead to karmic entanglements.
Generally speaking, the siddhis are looked upon, by most people, as being more magical and exotic than practical. Part of this is due, no doubt, to a pervasive misunderstanding about their place among other human abilities, such as the ability to reason and to make language, both of which we take for granted.
The siddhis are inherent human abilities, but they only show up when consciousness has reached a certain level of development. When this level has been attained, the siddhis or yogic powers, spontaneously appear. They are like fruits on a tree.
Although one may have an apple tree in one’s yard, only when it has reached a certain level of maturity and development is it capable of manifesting the fruits of its nature. This is also true of the powers of consciousness. We all possess them, in potential, but not all of us will demonstrate them in actuality.
As one looks at the various internal alchemies of the world, they all have their own version of the siddhis and views on how to attain them. Traditionally, this knowledge has been kept secret, and only those admitted to these esoteric schools or spiritual lineages have been given access to the technology of self-evolution.
Personally, I believe that knowledge of the siddhis is a human birthright, and this technology for the acceleration of self-evolution should be made as widely available as possible.
As I said earlier, the siddhis are a natural expression of human evolution. They unfold as a consequence of spiritual growth and they are, I believe, one of our next evolutionary benchmarks. The greater siddhis (such as levitation, bi-location and teleportation) rarely manifest except in the advanced stages of spiritual development. The lesser siddhis, however, can develop quite quickly. The development of these lesser siddhis, has a generally enhancing effect on creativity and intelligence. And, for this reason alone, they are well worth exploring.
Recently, there have been reports from around the world about some children possessing extraordinary powers. These children are not undergoing years of rigorous yogic training. They are, in fact, spontaneously demonstrating the siddhis. This points to the fact, I believe, that the siddhis are a natural part of human evolution, albeit unusual.
In closing, I would like to address a couple of ideas in regards to the siddhis. The first is what I call the myth of happiness. The delusion here is that by developing yogic powers we will be happy. In point of fact, these powers have very little to do with happiness. They are simply expressions of consciousness and its inherent abilities, like, for instance, the ability to speak.
Talking does not, necessarily produce happiness. It can just as easily produce conflict. It’s what we say to ourselves and to each other that determines whether it is a contribution or a distraction to our happiness. The same is true for the siddhis or yogic powers. It’s what we do with them that counts. If you think that your problems will magically disappear as a result of cultivating the powers of consciousness you will be sorely disappointed. But if your consciousness gets stronger, you certainly have the possibility of making better and more creative choices for yourself. This is, I believe, one of the major benefits for cultivating the powers of consciousness.
The second point concerns spiritual enlightenment. Attaining yogic powers does not necessarily mean that one is enlightened, or even spiritually mature. It simply means that these powers are manifesting due to either cultivation or spontaneous unfoldment.
Don’t, in other words, be mesmerized by those who demonstrate such powers, and don’t delude yourself when they start showing up in you.
Spiritual attainment often causes the siddhis to spontaneously manifest. A quick look at the lives of saints throughout the world will demonstrate this quite clearly. Virtually every saint in history has demonstrated some of these non-ordinary powers. But the presence of these powers does not necessarily mean that the person possessing them is illuminated.
I believe that those of us working with spiritual technologies need to understand the potential of what we are dealing with. And I believe that we would be well advised to enter this mysterious realm of human potential with the three jewels of wisdom, compassion and humor. Yes… humor. Seriousness is, after all, the death-knell to liberating spirituality.
excerpt from Tom Kenyon