Stage 2. Siddhis – Magical or Mystical
Siddhis – “superpowers”, mystical experiences such as visions, prophetic dreams, clairvoyance, mediumship, ability to perceive other people’s thoughts and emotions, etc. is something that definitely CAN and often does occur in people seriously practicing meditation for extended periods of time and especially on long retreats.
This stage usually excites people the most! Whenever I talk about it I always stress that this is not the end and not the end goal of the spiritual path. But for the childish part of our mind, it is Magic, not the Emptiness that motivates, until we grow up…
I must admit, when I hit this stage it did look like this is what I was looking for, I could not even imagine that this is only the halfway.
What is it?
Our brain can be compared to a radio receiver with an extensive capacity to tune into many different “radio stations” – energy waves and dimensions in which the Reality (Universe, God, Eternity, Emptiness, etc.) is broadcasting. Habitually, we only function in a very limited range of conceptual thinking, primarily focused on “ME”, obsessively filtering everything we perceive by its relevance to “ME”.
Through practicing meditation, we can develop the capacity to perceive different aspects of reality, which can sometimes appear to us as “magical, mystical” or “supernatural”. In our mainstream conceptual framework, there is a lot of controversy about this, ranging from fascination to blatant denial and ridicule.
Since I am only talking from my personal experience, without regard to the wide range of other opinions, I can say with certainty – there is a whole world of fascinating “mystical” things out there, which is very interesting to explore. In my case, it manifested mostly through very vivid “prophetic” dreams, visions and premonitions – occurrences of “just knowing” something without any regard to logical reasoning and “common sense”.
I have experienced my first very powerful vision after practicing meditation for about 5 years. I might write about it later, just now can only say it was a very clear preview of an event (a sudden death of a family member) that took place a month AFTER the vision.
Over the years, and especially during long meditation retreats I had many chances to explore the capacity of my mind to perceive a range of various “broadcasts” – from talking to my deceased relatives to incredibly detailed and vivid movie-like visions.
Is it important?
Probably, I have indulged in it a bit too much, all the time being aware of Buddha’s warning: Siddhis (mystical, supernatural powers) are to be expected if you practice meditation seriously, but they are not the end, and can actually lead you astray from your search for the Real.
Siddhis are extremely seductive, not only in terms of feeling “special” or “superior” but just because of their magical nature. Habitually, we live in a grey boring world where everything is labeled and well-known.
When you suddenly became aware of so much more than your “normal” limited world of conceptual, logical thinking… it feels extremely exciting! We can talk about the dangers, but the truth is – when you get a glimpse – all the warnings will be forgotten. It is just too good to say “no” (and you might not even realize how to say “no”)!
If I am to say anything at all about it – enjoy them, explore, but be aware that this is not the end. There is still more. These experiences are still just experiences – they are impermanent, they will come and go and frustrate your logical mind – which is probably a good thing! But if you get attached a bit too much – they will bring another twisted form of suffering – insatiable longing for the magical.