Clairvoyance … illusion or reality?

Theosophists have been talking about clairvoyance from day one. The subject is very wide, as the word ‘clairvoyance’ is very vague. I’m afraid this post is just as rambling as some clairvoyants…

The main issue for me is not whether clairvoyants exist. I think they do.

The issue is also not about what types of clairvoyance there are. There are likely many and I’ll gladly leave cataloging them to others.

I’m not even going to give advice on how to become clairvoyant.

This post focusses on the most difficult aspect of clairvoyance: how to distinguish between illusion and reality. This is not easy. Obviously. It’s in fact so hard, that psychologists generally prefer to think all clairvoyance is nonsense. They have two fears, or so a psychotherapist recently told me:

  1. The clairvoyance is merely illusion. This is the classic scientific stance of course.
  2. The clairvoyant is going to refuse the help they need because they feel the already ‘know’ what they need to do.

From the perspective of alternative spirituality it is pretty obvious that one should not talk to psychologists about any idea you might have to be either clairvoyant, or talking to God or whatever. I mean – nobody wants to be called a nut. Generally the feeling is that psychologists will just deny there might be any truth to the visions and put you on medication.

However, every once in a while scientists listen to ordinary people. In the Dutch university of Groningen (where I lived most of my life) they have done research on ordinary mentally healthy people to find out how people deal with hearing voices. It is thought that about 10% of the population hear voices. Most of them function normally.

The issue in this post is: when are those voices telling the truth?

Of course our ordinary thoughts are also likely to be untrue – or at least unnuanced and lacking substance. But unlike clairvoyance there isn’t the aura of infallibility. The Dutch media have recently revealed that many of the people advertised as psychics on our local television were not screened for that position at all. Not only were they not asked whether they were in fact psychic, but were mostly told to just keep people on the phone as long as they could.

That’s the issue with clairvoyants payed to help people: one should try to find one that has at the very least had some training to help. There are courses out there for aura-readers and such and the good ones train not only in how to see the aura, but also how to deal with the person whose aura is looked at. My mom, who is a psychotherapist, has speculated that the ‘easy’ psych cases go to clairvoyants these days instead of going to a shrink. This is an issue, because it implies that people training up to be shrinks can’t find easy cases to start with 🙂

From the perspective of spiritual growth – clairvoyance is just a minor side effect of spiritual growth. The main danger is that people will stop growing spiritually because they focus so much on the stuff they see psychically. For instance Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote:

Extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, occult powers, cannot free thought from confusion and misery; sensitive awareness of our thoughts and motives, from which spring our speech and action, is the beginning of lasting understanding and love.

Which is not to say that Krishnamurti himself lacked these talents. He just didn’t think they were important. And Blavatsky agreed (before his time obviously).

I’m wondering: is there a point to all this? Is there a point to clairvoyance itself? The ability to know what other people are thinking is intrusive. It violates their right to privacy. The ability to know the future can harp ones ability to live in the now – as so ably illustrated in Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Further more: a little knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge at all – it’s too easy to misinterpret fragments of truth.

BUT it is important to realize these things are possible truths. And those few people who have a reliable clairvoyant capacity, and use it for the benefit of mankind, surely deserve our thanks. Just like scientists do, because they add to our knowledge of the laws of nature.

5 thoughts on “Clairvoyance … illusion or reality?”

  1. If you consider all to be (inter)connected, knowledge is non-local. This is something quantum mechanics also ‘discovers’.

    Interesting question, though…”Illusion or reality?” … define “reality” 😉

  2. Well – yes, that’s partly the issue: what IS reality?

    For some reason some people understand that question without much explanation, to others it seems perfectly obvious that reality is what you can see and touch… hm, perhaps that’s a topic for a future blogpost? If only it weren’t so deep into ‘can I find words for this’ territory…

  3. I agree that those with spiritual abilities and who use them responsibly deserve our thanks! I’ve benefited much from learning through a number of masters, many with very little ego but with a deep sincerity to share.

  4. Clairvoyance is about seeing past the obvious, in that respect we are all clairvoyant but some are more able than others. It is all fantasy until we get that magic word confirmation!

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