We have already seen wherein the higher psychism differs from the lower - how that it follows upon intellectual development, depends upon the development of the chakrams of the higher bodies, and is capable of being exercised at will, just like the power to see or hear physically.
A Distinction: Clairvoyance and Psychic Sensitiveness. - It is found by experience that the higher psychic faculty presents itself under two forms, which can conveniently be distinguished in the manner indicated by the above [Page 63] heading. Clairvoyance may be defined as the ability to see outwards on the higher planes and transmit the knowledge thus acquired into the waking consciousness. It implies the power to see objectively such things as atoms, the aura, astral forms - whether of living or dead people - nature-spirits, etc. When properly developed it permits of minute and careful scrutiny of the object under observation, so that it can be described as accurately as a physical object. Psychic sensitiveness, on the other hand, seems to relate to a somewhat different order of experience, less definite but often more essential. It does not bestow the power of direct vision, but more that of sensitiveness to impressions or “sensing," of intuitive perception, of knowing with conviction. [Page 64]
The distinction between these two phases of psychism is well marked in actual experience, but when we try to analyse the causes thereof we are treading upon difficult ground, and, at our present pioneer stage of knowledge, are bordering upon the realm of hypothesis rather than carefully ascertained fact. The following suggestions may, however, be put forward with some degree of confidence, and certainly will help to an understanding of the problem.
Both clairvoyance and psychic sensitiveness are manifestations of psychic faculty, i.e., of the power of the man to look around him on the higher planes, and to transmit the knowledge thus acquired into the waking consciousness; and psychic sensitiveness is really a rudimentary form of clairvoyance. Where the power to see [Page 65] outwards or to transmit the knowledge is still very partial and limited, the impression upon the waking consciousness is vague, general and massive, rather than precise and definite, and belongs to the order rather of subjective experience than objective. With the gradual perfecting of the apparatus the element of greater objectivity will enter into the experience and there will come ability to examine external objects in detail. [ The student will be able to grasp this point better if he will read carefully the chapter on "Consciousness and Self-Consciousness" ( Chapter IX) in ‘A Study in Consciousness’, where the gradual awakening of self-consciousness and of the recognition of an outside world is very lucidly explained.]
Such would be the broadest application of the two terms. But we are using them here in a more technical and special sense, to indicate [Page 66] a distinction in psychic faculty arising from difference in the order and method of its unfoldment.
In this technical sense: Clairvoyance represents the development of psychism “from below upwards" and is more specially associated with the pituitary body; Psychic Sensitiveness represents the development of psychism “from above downwards" with the vivification of the pineal gland.
Each will be distinguished by certain characteristics, which we have already to some extent noted. This clairvoyance will be nearer the sphere of the waking consciousness, and therefore more definite and explicit in its working: this psychic sensitiveness will be that of one of the higher of the vehicles, with the result that the knowledge thus acquired will in the [Page 67] earlier stages be less completely reproduced in the waking consciousness, but will be more intuitive in character and more attested by spiritual certitude.
The contrasted characteristics of the two will be better understood if we try to show how each would deal with, say, the diagnosis of disease. The clairvoyant would examine the body, and locating the seat of disease, would carefully note the appearance of the diseased organ; ascertaining the nature of the ravages, he would prescribe accordingly. The person psychically sensitive, on the other hand, would place himself into sympathetic touch with the patient and sense more or less vaguely where the disease was prevalent. He might be guided intuitively to prescribe a suitable remedy, but that [Page 68] would depend on his knowledge and development. Obviously, the clairvoyant has the advantage here.
But on the other hand, the clairvoyant, unless he be also psychically sensitive, may observe a phenomenon objectively, but be lacking altogether in the intuitive understanding of what he sees. For example, he may see certain colours in the astral body, but he does not necessarily know what they signify: he judges by the result of his past experiences or the tabulated researches of others, using his lower manas, not his spiritual faculties, as the arbiter. The sensitive may not see the colours, but by placing himself in relation with the other person feels the presence of certain qualities of character, certain weaknesses or difficulties, certain ideals and aspirations. Again, if a [Page 69] Master came to a place astrally, the clairvoyant would be able to see and describe Him; the sensitive would feel His influence and identify Him thereby (if he have past experience enough to guide him) without discerning the form or features. But the clairvoyant who was only a clairvoyant and lacked the intuitional psychism, would be liable to be deceived by an impersonation, whereas we may assume that our sensitive would at once discern the difference of magnetism, for we are told that whilst an entity bent on deception can simulate the facial appearance, he can never simulate the magnetism of one so great.
There is a hint which goes to support the distinction we have here drawn between clairvoyance and psychic sensitiveness in Mrs. Besant's ‘Initiation [Page 70] or the Perfecting of Man’. [ p.82] The passage runs: "... the Spirit comes down, the Spirit of Intuition, and before he can go further, to the third Initiation, he must learn to bring it down, through his enlarged causal and mental bodies, to his physical consciousness, so that it may 'abide on him' and guide him." To which is appended a footnote: “This process is usually called the development of psychic faculties, and it is so in the full meaning of the word ‘psychic.’ But it does not mean the development of clairvoyance and clairaudience, which depend on a different process."
We may note that psychic sensitiveness constantly develops in those who have practised meditation systematically; i.e., who have learned the art of [Page 71] stilling the lower mind and emotions, and thus rendering the mental and astral bodies receptive to the intuitive prompting of the higher nature. Numbers of people who obviously possess this faculty will maintain, when questioned, that they are "not at all psychic," because they limit the word to objective clairvoyance. Yet they may be almost acutely sensitive to the influence of persons or places, feel strongly instinctive likes and dislikes, and so on.
Psychic sensitiveness (using the expression in its broadest sense) may work predominantly through the astral or the mental vehicle. In the one case the information is expressed more in terms of feeling, in the other, of knowledge. For instance, in the endeavour to "sense" an aura by these methods, under the former method certain [Page 72] qualities would be felt sympathetically; [ Some psychics have an inconvenient aptitude for reproducing sympathetically in themselves that with which they make relation in others. Thus, in trying to locate, and perhaps remove, a pain in the body of another, they find themselves suffering from pain in the same region of their own body. Evidently the interest and sympathy awakened cause a transference of some of the bad magnetism. An unskilled magnetic healer will often suffer similarly, through not disposing properly of the impure magnetism he is withdrawing from his patient.
Again, a psychic coming into contact with a person in a state of violent emotion, such as grief, will often become infected with, and will experience difficulty in freeing himself from, the influence in proportion as he is himself prone to the same emotion. This difficulty arises through not being sufficiently positive.
The present writer knew a man who was psychic, who when his wife suffered from morning sickness during pregnancy, reproduced the same symptoms in himself, although he was over a hundred miles away from her.] under the latter the information would come as a flash of knowledge concerning the aura: the experience would be one not of seeing or feeling [Page 73] but of direct mental perception, often instantaneous in action.
We may say of clairvoyance and psychic sensitiveness what the Scotchman said when offered a choice of two very desirable alternatives: "baith's best"! Indeed, if the two powers can be harnessed together in sympathetic relationship, a very sublime form of psychism results, competent to undertake detailed scientific investigation and at the same time to perceive general principles.
Kundalini. - We now come to the last subdivision in our analytical study of psychism. It would not be profitable to collect here the various scraps of information given in Indian scriptures [ Vide the Ananda Lahari, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, Sivaswarodya, Shatchakra Nirupana, Garuda Purana (chap. xv)] and hinted at in alchemical and [Page 74] other writings, relating to Kundalini, for a great deal more information is given in the second volume of Mr. Leadbeater's ‘The Inner Life’, and the student cannot do better than apply himself to the study of that, based as it is on practical first-hand knowledge of the subject and its grave dangers. Suffice it to say, that the Kundalini or Serpent-Fire is described by Madame Blavatsky in ‘The Voice of the Silence' [Pages 23, 27 - 5th edition] as an “electro-spiritual force"; it is latent in all men, and its effect when fully aroused is, first of all, to unify the consciousness of the astral and physical planes, so that the astral consciousness is henceforward included within the sphere of the waking consciousness, and astral clairvoyance is capable of being exercised at will. By “fully aroused" is meant [Page 75] the carrying of the fire in all seven layers through the spinal passage and the circuit of the seven chakrams.
The peculiarity of this very dangerous process, which we are told should only be carried out under the direct instruction of one of the Masters, is that it confers clairvoyance upon one who may not previously have possessed psychic powers in the slightest degree or shown indications of a psychic “make-up" of body. Hence it is the most effective of all methods of inducing clairvoyance. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the awakening of the Kundalini is necessary in order that a person may be normally clairvoyant. It is possible to possess a high degree of clairvoyance - of voluntary clairvoyance - without having awakened the Kundalini at all. Probably the [Page 76] Kundalini also conveys certain possibilities in practical magic, powers which involve a mastery over the matter of the planes. [Page 77]
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