What Is A Siddhi?
Read any ancient yogic text and you will invariably come across the mention of siddhis. Made most popular by Patanjali's yoga sutras, siddhis are what can best be described as (in a more colloquial sense) “super powers.”
Now, before you jump on the bandwagon of either (a) this is all hocus-pocus, or (b) how do I get them? Understand that modern interpretation and understanding is lightyears ahead of ancient interpretation and understanding.
Take, for example, the interpretation of ancient elixirs (more commonly known as “drugs”). Lysergic acid diethylamide* (LSD for short) is a highly intoxicating compound, previously used in studies and recreation since its discovery in 1933 (though, the use of LSD goes back much further than that). Prior to being made illegal in 1966 due to fear and control issues, this “drug” was often used by influential thinkers, both pre and post-prohibition. Thinkers like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Aldous Huxley. It was also used as a form of psychiatric therapy for the schizophrenic.
Not to venture too far off into the historical bureaucracy of this whole endeavour, let's focus on the more commonly held side effects of ingesting LSD; (1) a delayed transmission in the visual cortex, leading to altered visualization, brighter colours, and movement in patterns where there was none before, (2) a greater sense of awareness over one's actions in relation to another*. Not knowing the science, one could easily attribute these effects to being a "higher state of consciousness" or "divine influence from god."
Going back even further from its "modern day" discovery to more ancient utilizations of LSD, we see that LSD was also being used as a medium for talking to spirits, as well as being the primary tool used in the Eleusinian Mysteries* which were held in Greece; a sort of "initiation ritual" in order to overcome one’s fear of death.
Comparing modern, scientific understanding to the more ancient one, we can see an obvious disconnect between the naive perspective and the more well-thought-out one; ultimately giving rise to the potential explanation for cults, ritualistic sacrifice and even religion itself. The same goes for siddhis (or, more accurately, illusions in the way of truth).
What is a siddhi? Any illusion standing in the way of real truth. What is true? That you are going to die, and that reality is solely based on your own perception of it.
Think about it, do pathological people know that they are pathological? That would be oxymoronic to the whole understanding. Crazy people do not know that they are crazy, they simply think that other people are crazier…
What is society? Well, if a collective group agree upon a certain set of governing rules and principles, of which gets easily shifted from one generation to the next, based on a singular viewpoint from an agreed upon heirarchal set of individuals, and that viewpoint stems from the belief of "not being crazy" — well, doesn’t that sound a lot like the pathology example from above? In truth, it’s all pathology. What you believe is pathological.
All life is a siddhi. More explicitly, Patanjali explains siddhis* as the ability to levitate, read minds, become fearless in the face of danger, tolerate heat and cold, remain unconquered by others; but what does this all really do for you, anyways? Are you a nicer, humbler, more accepting person in the end? Or are you lost in the effect of some illusion that you can play both on yourself and others?
Forget the siddhi, focus on the truth...
—everything else is just an illusion, anyways.