Any ability to command nature is called a siddhi in Sanskrit. The word means “power,” and it refers to powers that have been perfected in consciousness.
Healing the sick is a siddhi, and like the supernatural feats that yogis are supposed to be able to perform – flying through the air, turning invisible, reading the past and future – the key to mastery is a shift in awareness. A person suddenly knows how to do something impossible, as simply and easily as I know how to life my arm.
A shift in awareness does not require force. A person who has achieved the level of consciousness where siddhis are natural can breathe change into things as softly as you or I wish and dream, using no more energy than it takes to stir a thought.
If I see a tree in my dreams, I can jump over it or make it turn blue or fly over it into the sky. What gives me such powers is the dream state. If I had no other state of awareness to compare it to, the dream state would constitute the only reality I know and accept as valid.
On waking up, I find that I cannot jump over a tree anymore, but why not? According to the rishis, what holds me back is not the tree but the arrival of waking-state consciousness. It has propelled me into a world that obeys different laws of nature.
As long as you are in your dream, the tree seems to be outside you, just as it is in a waking state. In truth, what you take to be the only ‘real’ tree should be called a waking-state tree. If you cannot jump over it, perhaps you need to wake up from waking. Then you would discover that this tree, too, was in your head.
This is how reality appears from a higher state of consciousness. The siddhis are an essential part of reaching such a state, a stepping-stone.
Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).