We can all radiate love, joy, and blessings to our surroundings and in doing so influence our environment positively.
By Roberto Assagioli (7 March 1961). Translated from Italian. Original title: Le Facoltà Parapsicologiche. From the Assagioli Archive in Florence. Translated by Gordon Symons. See also the free ebook: Psychosynthesis and Parapsychology.
Parapsychological faculties are generally considered as something exceptional, extraordinary and wonderful, but this does not correspond to the truth, and today I propose to emphasize their universality and their normality.
I will begin by recalling how widespread they are in the animal world. Prof. William MacKenzie, who has spoken about this several times here, said that certain aspects of the life of ants, termite mounds and other animals cannot be explained unless they are admitted to have sensitivity and transmission possibilities that are beyond the physical senses.
Then there are the well-known experiments with animals: trained horses and dogs. I could talk to you about this at length, because back in 1913 I spent a week with the so-called “thinking horses” of Elberfeld [Germany] together with my friend MacKenzie; then there are several other dog experiments which have given intelligent manifestations.
A large collection of spontaneous manifestations of parapsychological sensitivity is contained in Bozzano’s book entitled Do Animals have a Soul?
The parapsychological faculties of primitive peoples are also well known; there are books on the magic of primitive peoples, and on this subject an interesting book by Bozzano is Primitive Peoples and Supernormal Manifestations.
Children, if you let them talk without telling them that they are lying or mocking them, often express things that indicate that they have extra-normal sensitivities.
In poorly educated people, superstitions and magical practices – which are very widespread – demonstrate the belief in parapsychological faculties, a belief that despite all the exaggerations, would not exist if it did not contain elements of truth.
The types of parapsychological manifestations, as is known, are of two kinds:
The first is that of extra-sensory perceptions, or receptive manifestations: that is, clairvoyance, psychometry, telepathy and premonition – both waking and in dreams. There are now thousands of well-demonstrated cases, and the proof of their existence is now confirmed; the problem now is that of their nature, their way of acting, etc., and there is serious difficulty in distinguishing the genuine parapsychological elements from the products of the unconscious— but this is not my theme.
I will speak a little more broadly, or if we want, less schematically, about the other group of parapsychological faculties, the projective ones, because they are those over which we can have the most control and for which we therefore have a direct responsibility. For the most part we let them occur without realizing their existence and their beneficial or harmful effects.
To be realistic, each of us should consider ourselves as a transmitting station of vibrations, emanations, and influences— Influences of various wavelengths, to continue the analogy— transmitters that can emanate very different vibrations and influences.
Thus, everyone transmits continuously – whether they realize it or not, whether they want to or not – at all levels of their being. There are, first of all, the magnetic emanations that come from what the Orientals call the etheric body, of whose existence there are, in my opinion, by now various demonstrations; numerous visionaries describe “the aura”, an emanation of subtle vibrations that come out of the physical body and propagate to various distances.
These are emanations that healers possess to a special degree, and even the reality of magnetic healing is beyond doubt. But it is not true that these emanations are exceptional, because everyone has this power to some extent.
A few years ago, we carried out a series of very successful experiments, which showed that with the laying on of hands, without touching the objects, the mummification of fish, meat and other biological substances is effected.
In Turin, serious experiments were carried out that demonstrated the effectiveness of the laying on of hands, always at a distance, on the germination of seeds and on the development of plants.
Aside from experiments, some people are known to have a beneficial influence on the flowers they handle and are able to keep them alive longer; whereas others make them wither immediately.
Furthermore, many of you will have observed that the company of certain people takes away , devitalizes, or sucks energy- so to speak -; whereas the company of others stimulates and helps, and it is not certain whether it is only weak, sick or elderly people who take away energy. Children do this too, and this is justified; but also some exuberant and very lively people are often tiring. This is a form of unconscious magnetic vampirism, and it is good to know it both in order to beware of those who exercise it, and not to exercise it ourselves.
At another wavelength, so to speak, that is, at another level, there are emanations that can be called by the general term “psychic”. These are at the emotional level of our nature, and they too can be positive or negative, individual or collective. Waves of panic, fear, irritation and combativeness are sometimes epidemic and infectious, and are also produced without the use of normal senses and words.
Now, given the modern means of communication, it is more difficult to ascertain this sudden rise of an emotional wave, of the same impulse among the masses in many countries at the same time; but in the past, even when communications were much more difficult and slow, epidemics occurred.
The same is true of the power of thought and imagination. The transforming and creative power of thought and imagination is well known and has been demonstrated in various ways, so I will not dwell on it; I will say something more about telepathy, that is, the remote influence and transmission of psychological contents.
Phenomena of spontaneous telepathy have been recorded by the thousands, but even the scientific experiments carried out in this regard have given undoubted results, and I can mention some facts of my own experience.
One was done by a group of nine people, some of whom were in America, some in Europe. In turn, one of the nine transmitted for a month – during a certain period a word was transmitted, in another period a spiritual psychological quality that the person was trying to realize and live during that monthwas passed on to the other eight. In a third location, colors were displayed. These experiments had a distinctly positive result, far greater than the calculated[chance] probabilities, and they brought out interesting facts about the mode of transmission.
The most interesting was that of involuntary and unexpected precognition: several times, one of the receivers apparently made a mistake, but the following month a different sender transmitted what they had received, especially towards the end of the previous month.
This phenomenon of “the slippage of time” is very interesting from the scientific side, because it passes from telepathy to premonition.
I will simply recall the experiments made with Prof. E. Stefano Borello, who transmitted from Turin, while here in Florence people tried to receive. There too the results were clearly superior to the calculatedchance probabilities, and there were also “time slippages.”
Then there are the higher manifestations. Everyone who has had a vivid religious experience has also experienced parapsychological phenomena; there are many known cases of beneficial radiation without the medium of the senses. There are numerous cases In the history of mysticism which have collected, along other things, in the interesting book by Vittorino Vezzani: Mysticism and Metapsychicism(Mistica e metapsichica). Everyone knows about the paranormal phenomena of Padre Pio, but I will not dwell on these because they are not ordinary manifestations, unfortunately!
To frame these phenomena in the structure of our psyche, I will use a pattern known to many of you (the egg diagram).
This area (marked #4 on the diagram) is the area of the conscious personality, but there is a much larger area made up of our unconscious, at various levels, which can be schematized into three parts: lower (1), middle (2) and higher unconscious (3).
This represents a schematic anatomy of the normal psyche, but as you can see, the lines delimiting the unconscious are dashed, that is, at every level there are communications with what is extra-individual. Jung calls what is extra individual or psychic “the collective unconscious” (7), which is a neutral name that is correct for what it says but insufficient because of what it does not say.
In reality, we must consider ourselves, as it were, as fish darting about in a psychic sea, as psychological beings living in a psychological way, which is just as real to us as the external world is in relation to the physical body.
Between this psychic world and our individuality, our personality, there are continuous exchanges in both directions— from the psychic world to the collective and individual unconscious, and also to consciousness; and then from the unconscious and from the consciousness to the outside—that is, both receptive and projective. Now, many facts suggest that these exchanges in the unconscious are continuous and normal, but what is not so frequent and so well-known is the passage from the individual unconscious to the field of consciousness. In fact, the passage from the personal unconscious to the collective unconscious is much easier than from the individual unconscious to the waking consciousness. This is the field of the unconscious that we have in common with animals, this middle area of ordinary humanity.
The upper zone, also called the superconscious, is that of the highest humanity, and here is the spiritual Self, what is commonly called the Soul, the Immortal Spirit, or the Divine Spark. This is partly within the field of the personality, but in part it is in direct communication and contact with the Ocean of Spiritual Life, with the Divine Life.
Let us now see the deductions, evaluations and possibilities that derive from the recognition of all this; that is, from the fact that parapsychological manifestations are continuous and normal, even without our realizing it.
First of all, the primary consequence of this is the elimination of the exaggerated importance given to parapsychological manifestations, especially one’s own.
Many people who experience a parapsychological phenomenon exalt themselves and consider themselves superior to others; they give it excessive importance and believe they have something totally extraordinary, whereas in fact it is something that everyone has. Therefore, getting rid of this emotional exaltation is very appropriate. At the opposite pole there are the negative reactions of fear and superstition: these too must be eliminated, because when we recognize that these are normal properties of living beings, even non-human beings, there is no need to worry about them, but only to be aware of them just as we protect ourselves from thunderstorms or infections.
A third mistaken reaction is skepticism and derision on the part of those who believe they are very positivistic, including certain scientists, who in this show that they lack the true scientific spirit.
Sometimes these people manifest real anger, a determination against any manifestation that disturbs their positivist ideologies and the concepts of materialistic science, which are now in the process of being overcome.
Once these wrong reactions have been eliminated, the right attitude to take, is first of all that of paying attention to these facts, of realizing them and recognizing them, and this is very difficult, particularly in relation to knowing how to discriminate what is genuine from what is appearance—that is, purely the work of the imagination.
This is difficult, because there is no clear distinction, there is no black and white. We cannot say, “this is parapsychological but this is not.” There is often a mixture of one and the other. For example, many dreams can have a genuine parapsychological core, and then an elaboration that is fantasy. This is precisely the task of science.
But the most important thing for each of us is to master these faculties: both the receptive ones (impressions that come from outside), as well as those of radiation. The former may be called influences, the other, effluxes or emanations. Educators, parents and doctors ought to recognize, respect and correctly guide the spontaneous faculties found in children and the sick.
I have already talked about the relationship between parapsychological faculties and nervous disorders in a lecture that was published in Men and Ideas, an interesting parapsychological journal from Naples, and I said how many patients with psychic and nervous disorders are actually psychics who are not recognized either by themselves or by doctors, and therefore they are treated badly, in an inappropriate way, because they try to cure the effects and not the cause.
We have a great responsibility for what emanates from us. It has been said that one will have to account for every vain and harmful word we uttered today, but the same is equally true for every emanation, for every radiation that comes out of us.
The parapsychological faculties show unsuspected possibilities of knowledge and action, demonstrate the independence of the human psyche from time and space, and therefore from the laws of matter, and therefore they open the door to recognition, not only of survival, but also of immortality. And since they are normal and exist in everyone, they demonstrate that this spiritual element, which is independent of time, space and matter, is present in everyone.
This recognition is something that can transform our life. On the other hand, recognizing the possibilities and powers that can be developed is a temptation, given the egoistic element that to some extent is present in all of us. In fact, there is a natural tendency to use these powers – in the same way that we use the usual ones of speech and action – for personal purposes, without considering their effects on others.
Therefore, what is needed is a sense of responsibility, caution and above all right motives in the use and development of these powers.
Since these faculties – as I have mentioned – are found at all levels of our being, it is necessary to control – and, when appropriate, suppress – the development of their lower aspects, and instead to focus on the development of the higher faculties. These too are more frequent than people think. For example, almost everyone – in critical or serious moments of life – experiences an influx of unexpected forces that help to overcome a crisis that was considered insurmountable.
Now, if these energies come in special moments, their manifestation can be supported even outside such an urgent, desperate, albeit unconscious call. On the one hand, it is about the activation of the higher receptive faculties: those called intuition, inspiration, listening and guidance from the soul – which could be summarized in the term “vertical telepathy”.
On the other hand, there is conscious emanation. Good people, people animated by goodwill, spontaneously and naturally radiate – even without realizing it – beneficial waves around them, but this irradiation can be immensely intensified if it is consciously projected with a powerful will-to-good.
Anyone can do it, but generally it is like a treasure left unused, like oil, gold and diamonds left underground because its existence is unknown.
We all have the joyful responsibility of using this good will . It can be used with the normal means of action, including the word and blessing, which literally means saying, expressing, sending good. But there is also the remote blessing, that is, the parapsychological projection of beneficial energies.
But what is this will-to-good essentially? It is Love – it may seem strange to consider love as a parapsychological faculty; in reality it is not only parapsychological, love is expressed at all levels, with physical acts – even instinctive ones -, with a look, with a word, with external help; but, in addition to these means, it also works unconsciously by parapsychological means. This can also happen for human affections; in fact, many cases have been found of telepathic relationship, and help from a distance between people linked by strong affection. But this is especially true of the highest form of love, Spiritual Love, ‘CARITAS‘, celebrated so effectively by St. Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
This is a love that is not personal, exclusive, possessive, jealous and demanding – as the human one often is – because these characteristics hinder the parapsychological action, because they are more attractive than emanative. Human love actually desires and demands the affection of others and draws towards itself, and therefore tends to form a closed circuit.
Spiritual love, on the other hand, is generous, effusive and radiant. There is a spiritual practice taught by the Buddha and used by his followers, which is based precisely on this radiating power of the human soul. It consists of what are called the four arms of VISHNU, which can be considered as radiant contemplations. Here is the formula given by the Buddhist canon:
“The religious person dwells with a soul permeated by love and radiates in one direction, then in a second, in a third, in a fourth, upwards and then downwards. He radiates toward the whole world with a soul permeated with love, with a broad, profound and unlimited soul cleared of hatred and rancour. “
The same formula is repeated many times, with the only change being in the term LOVE, which is replaced each time: COMPASSION – JOY / LIKING – EQUANIMITY – IMMUTABILITY / STABILITY.
Through Love the ascetic feels and recognizes himself in all noble and ignoble beings, happy and unhappy in this as in any other world, and he acts as if their destiny were his own destiny, he feels himself in their feeling and in their suffering.
Then Compassion, and subsequently radiating JOY, as if the darkness of every being were to be resolved, as if the sentiment that is being radiated was propitious to beings, supporting them, clarifying them, freeing them.
Finally, the last radiation follows, that of IMMUTABILITY / STABILITY; the religious, continuing to develop this universal consciousness, as if he wanted to radiate the “Being” of every Being. He intends to instill in every creature the same calm, the same quality of stability and equanimity that he has developed in himself, to project the quality of “BEING” into it.
This indicates one thing: that to project something you must first possess it, you must first live it. This may seem a self-evident truth, but in fact it is a profound spiritual need: it does not happen with a mechanical radiation, thinking coldly and and just saying a word that indicates what we want to radiate.
As I said at the beginning, it is similar to (to pass from the spiritual to the mechanical analogies) a transmitter. Now, a transmitter must have an electrical potential suitable for the amplitude and intensity of the transmission for which it is used, therefore it would be an illusion or presumption to believe that one can radiate, with purely technical-mechanical means, what has not been experienced, experienced and possessed – and of which one is not convinced.
First of all, it is a matter of creating the transmitter, and charging it with the most powerful “voltage” possible: and then the radiation occurs almost by itself. And not only does it require no effort, it is enough to put our “device” in the right conditions; but it happens even if we didn’t intend it.
There is a beautiful expression from Emerson, a beautiful phrase that says: “What you are speaks so loud that I don’t hear what you say”. That is, what he heard in his interlocutor struck him much more than the words that he expressed, which were perhaps different.
Therefore, from this point of view, parapsychological sensitivity makes all hypocrisy, and all lies, useless; what one is, speaks, emanates, and reveals itself despite the words we can say to the contrary.
The power of radiation is therefore a parapsychological faculty that each of us possesses, which we can use and develop more and more. Nobody and nothing can prevent it. It can be practiced in everyday life whatever our condition; whether one be paralyzed in a bed or in a prison, one can still pour out Love, Peace and Joy. Among them, LOVE is the most powerful parapsychological faculty, which can pervade everyday life. It is a wonderful power that can give meaning and value to every day, every moment of life, transfiguring it.
 Padre Pio (1887-1968) was a Franciscan friar who exhibited healing powers. Padre Pio was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 2002. Toward the end of his life, Assagioli’s son Illario went to Father Pio for healing of his tuberculosis, which was not successful.