There has been over the centuries much debate (and excitement) about the possibility of special powers of consciousness being available to the human individual who either is born with, or gains through a specific discipline or practice, entry into these states of awareness. Many of these have been called “psychic powers” and it seems they are highly sought after by many. Clairvoyance, clairaudience, precognition, aura reading, and out of body travel experience are just a few of these powers. There are many who simply disavow the existence or possibility of these powers, or who treat all those who claim to possess them to any degree as charlatans or frauds. There are others who have attempted to find scientific methods of proving the existence or non-existence of these powers; and there are even those in various military commands around the world who have set up “psychic units” to systematically find those who are capable of anything in this regard, support and train them, and deploy them for their military purposes.
Many people have seemingly had experiences that would fit into these categories, and thus, it is impossible to dismiss them, and their credibility outright in its entirety. Sri Aurobindo provides us insight to the origin and development of these powers of consciousness:
“…for these phenomena are only the exception admission of the waking mentality into a limited sensitiveness to what might be called the image memory of the subtle ether, by which not only the signs of all things past and present, but even those of things future can be seized; for things future are already accomplished to knowledge and vision on higher planes of mind and their images can be reflected upon mind in the present. But these things which are exceptional to the waking mentality, difficult and to be perceived only by the possession of a special power or else after assiduous training, are natural to the dream-state of trance consciousness in which the subliminal mind is free. And that mind can also take cognizance of things on various planes not only by these sensible images, but by a species of thought perception or of thought reception and impression analogous to that phenomenon of consciousness which in modern psychical science has been given the name of telepathy. But the powers of the dream-state do not end here. It can by a sort of projection of ourselves, in a subtle form of the mental or vital body, actually enter into other planes and worlds or into distant places and scenes of this world, move among them with a sort of bodily presence and bring back the direct experience of their scenes and truths and occurrences. it may even project actually the mental or vital body in a profoundest trance without sign of life until its return.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 26, Samadhi, pp. 502-503