Ask Abdi: Psychic Abilities?

Question: While I first read your moving and very healing book Shadows on the Path months ago, I find myself still very much trying to process it. One of the ideas you explore is how powerful (in all senses of the word) psychic abilities can be. I haven’t been able to quite wrap my head around what you mean on that topic, and I keep coming back to it, especially as I’d like to explore this concept in a new book project of my own.

Early on you write (page 20), “It is exactly at these times that we need to push on and deepen our connection with ourselves by removing the psychic debris that fosters the disconnection.” Do you mean psychic debris in terms of psychic wounds incurred during past experiences and relationships? Are you talking here about psychological scarring? Or something else?

On the next page, you describe a terrifying and traumatic experience of being on the receiving end of “long-distance psychic attacks” and “psychic warfare.” What did this look like? How did you know this was what was happening to you? And how did you know who was responsible? And is what happened to you the same thing that happened to Dion Fortune, who went on to write Psychic Self-Defense: The Classic Instruction Manual for Protecting Yourself Against Paranormal Attack?

On page 23, you mention that psychic awakenings are happening more and more frequently for more and more people. But how do we know that psychic awakenings are real? If clairvoyance is real, for example, how come so many people think it’s not? How come debunkers like James Randi can offer a million-dollar prize to anyone who can prove their psychic ability and yet no one has ever claimed it?

As you can see, I’m a little overwhelmed and confused, so any insight or illumination you can give would be greatly appreciated!

Answer: I am happy you found the work useful. First off, let me clarify something. When I wrote “removing the psychic debris that fosters the disconnection” I was referring to the psyche as in doing psychological work not psychic work. That has nothing to do with any kind of psychic ability or phenomena. Rather, it involves grappling with how psychological wounding affects our daily life. Working with a competent therapist is priceless here.

Next, the psychic question. What is your interest here? What peaks it? Are you interested as a voyeur? As a scientist trying to prove or disprove something? Do you feel like you are missing something? Those questions need to be examined first before you jump into the one that you asked.

You answered your own question yourself when you said “I haven’t been able to quite wrap my head around what you mean on that topic”. The reason psychic phenomena are so weird/frightening/exciting is that they lie outside the realm of the thinking mind. You can not understand it in your head, you can only experience it. That is infuriating for the thinking mind which wants to be in control by understanding. But that function has limitations. And it runs into a brick wall with these kind of things.

I have no interest in proving or disproving such phenomena. Again, what is your interest? I can say this to you, such things do not make us special or give us any leg over any one else. Years ago I came across as well as studied with people who had profound psychic abilities. Some told me things decades ago that are still coming to pass. Fascinating? Absolutely. Did it make any difference in my own life? Absolutely not, I still had to go through all my trials and tribulations. Where any of these psychics any better off than you or me? Almost always the opposite. They were mostly ungrounded to an extreme which brought much hardship to their lives.

What I would offer you is this: sit with yourself with some kind of daily practice where you can step out of your chattering mind. Learn to tolerate that space and much of what you are grappling with will be revealed. I leave you with my favorite quote of the Third Zen Patriarch Seng-ts’an’s The Mind Of Absolute Trust written in the late Sixth century :

“The more you think about these matters
the farther you are from the truth.
Step aside from all thinking,
and there is nowhere you can’t go”.