Vipassana as Magick
Finally, the greatest benefit of having the level of mental control, galvanized intent, and concentration that lead to the more exotic powers is that we may turn this well-tuned mind to wisdom, to the understanding of impermanence, suffering, and no-self. Wisdom is listed as the greatest of the powers, the ultimate reason for learning to cultivate them. In this, we rise to the fourth jhana or rise to and leave the eighth jhana and see the true nature of experience, allowing us to cut through delusion and untangle the knot of suffering and ignorance. This is the final punchline of many a great sutta for good reason.
Further, wisdom teachings have their own magick to them. Perceiving sensations clearly transforms them into something more workable than the way we typically perceive them. Perceiving emotional energies as patterns of transient, natural sensations can make them vastly more workable. Attaining deep, transformative insights and the stages of awakening can themselves shift our way of perceiving issues that we might otherwise have tried to solve at a more mundane magickal level. Feeling deeply into any shifting disturbances in our field of experience can help resolve those disturbances. Further, the texts state that realization provides defense against some of the magick of those of lesser stages of realization or magick performed by the unrealized. [See Vimuttimagga, IX, “Knowledge of Others’ Thoughts”, end of section, for example.]
Sometimes the best magick is not explicitly magickal but more in the realm of vipassana. Both more formal magick based on concentration, particularly the brahma viharas, and more insight-based magick have their uses, and trying to sort out which is better in any given situation is part of the adventure. These practices that can fuse concentration and insight can be unusually profound. This combination of vipassana and brahma vihara practice is also some of the cleanest, most powerful, and most karmically skillful protective magick around. Still, while practicing, keep morality at the front of your mind, and whatever you do in your practice will likely go vastly better. May all your intentions be for the benefit and awakening of all beings.