What is the relationship, if any, between psychic gifts and spiritual maturity? In pursuit of this possible relationship, Rhea A. White has rendered students of the soul a great service. Ms. White, a librarian and author, plowed through all four volumes of Butlers Lives of the Saints and carefully catalogued the number of Catholic saints who also had psychic ability.
Ms. White studied the lives of 2,532 of the saints that have been formally canonized by the Catholic Church (at the time of her study) over the centuries. She found that 29 percent , or 676 of the saints also had psychic ability.
These psychic gifts ran the gamut from the ability to work “miracles,” to the ability to heal, to the ability to levitate, to bilocation, to telepathy, to the ability to materialize objects from thin air.
Similar claims are reported in the spiritual literature of all the great religions of the world. In other words, unless we are claiming that a massive, worldwide fraud has taken place, human beings possess this inherent ability to do truly exceptional things at this stage of our evolution.
Although Ms. White has documented a very high correlation between the psychic and the spiritual, I ask myself, “What about the 71 percent of the saints who did not have psychic gifts?” Were they second rate saints? Actually, no. That is because what is determinative of a truly realized being is humility and a life of love and service.
As it turns out, often those maturing spiritually will also have these psychic gifts develop. There is nothing strange about this. These gifts represent a kind of “muscle” found within the soul. But, if a person has not transcended to the next level, that of love and humility, this “muscle” is virtually useless and could even be problematic.
There are some people who are highly developed psychically who are still infants spiritually. It is potentially dangerous to the person with only psychic gifts who may become “inflated” with their own powers. It is also a real problem for his or her followers, if they have any, who think that psychic powers translate into spiritual maturity. They do not. They are two different realities.
One can frequently see this situation in some modern day gurus. They tell us how to harness the mind, to overcome negative thinking, and to maximize our human potential. What is wrong with this? Nothing, as long as we do not confuse it with spiritual maturity. Over the years, I have had the occasion to meet many of these modern day gurus. Almost without exception, I have encountered colossal egos, filled with false pride, who seem fixated on themselves rather than serving others.
There is nothing wrong with being both psychic as well as spiritual. After all, Jesus and the Buddha both had a combination of both. But we follow these true saints, not because they could read people’s minds but because they showed us the importance of humble, loving service to others.
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