Through the influence of the desire-soul and the limitations of the mental consciousness, the initial openings to the powers of the psychical consciousness tend to be applied to sensationalism or the attempt to exercise power of various sorts in the physical and vital arenas. This has led to what we may term the “black arts” or various forms of vital occultism. It has also given rise to a vast industry of psychic and “spiritual” readers who may engage in fortune telling or wish-fulfillment activities. Or if the influence is taken up primarily by the mind, there may be enhanced powers of insight and opportunities to influence people and actions, but within the limited scope of mental objectives. Thus, spiritual traditions have, by and large, downplayed the use of these psychic powers and have treated them mainly as obstacles to the spiritual progress of the individual. There are however some significant potential uses and benefits that can be obtained from the psychic opening for real spiritual progress, as Sri Aurobindo explains:
“…it is largely by a psycho-spiritual interchange of this kind that a master in Yoga helps his disciple. The knowledge of our inner subliminal and psychic nature, of the powers and presences and influences there and the capacity of communication with other planes and their powers and beings can also be used for a higher than any mental or mundane object, for the possession and mastering of our whole nature and the overpassing of the intermediate planes on the way to the supreme spiritual heights of being. But the most direct spiritual use of the psychic consciousness is to make it an instrument of contact, communication and union with the Divine. A world of psycho-spiritual symbols is readily opened up, illuminating and potent and living forms and instruments, which can be made a revelation of spiritual significances, a support for our spiritual growth and the evolution of spiritual capacity and experience, a mans towards spiritual power, knowledge or Ananda.”
It is in this arena that the spiritual practices, forms and objects can become entrances or aids in making and maintaining the connection that brings these spiritual forces to play in the being. This includes the use of Mantra, various devotional practices, including the use of significant symbols, forms or rituals to develop the focus and open the soul to the spiritual influence of the Guru, the God, the Divine being, the Avatar, etc.
“Adesha, presence, touch, guidance can come to us through our spiritualised psychic consciousness and, as a subtly concrete means of transmission from the spirit, it can give us a close communication and nearness to him through all our psychic senses..
“These and many more are the spiritual uses of the psychic consciousness and sense and…they are of the greatest utility on the road to the spiritual perfection and afterwards, liberated from the limitation of our minds, transformed and supramentalised, an element of rich detail in the spiritual Ananda.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 847-848