This process of breaking down the self into its component parts and then, through understanding, purification, balancing, and mastery of those parts, eventually reorganizing and reassembling them into a more pure/efficient form has been referred to the Great Work and other names over the years. Contrary to what some believe, it's really not all that mysterious or hard to understand. The goal is to purify, equilibrate, and RE-INTEGRATE the total consciousness so that you are One within yourself and have access to your psychic talents and 'true' consciousness. (Also known as the core of your being, or the Higher Self by some, but to me it's just the higher aspects of your own consciousness that most people aren't aware of.)
The whole process starts with energy purification, and working out internal emotional problems etc. It really isn't all that much fun at times, but it's very necessary. It takes YEARS for most people, and as far as I can tell this process is never-ending. Study and practice of common Chakra systems or the Qabalah/Tree of Life (when applied to energy work and the human aura) can assist you to reorganize your psychic 'parts' into a more useable system for easier access. As a result of studying yourself for your parts, you then learn to work with those parts and eventually combine them (mentally) into a more useable whole. (This is a really oversimplified run-down of the process.)
As a result of working on the self and learning to reach your full human potential, you may or may not notice a few extra benefits and 'powers' here and there. Some people can project astrally with ease, others can move objects, some can see future flashes, etc. None of that stuff really matters or is an end in itself to me though. In other words, it shouldn't be the only goals to be dwelt upon, unless you have a purpose for it (i.e. helping others, healing etc). This is just my viewpoint, but I had to learn that lesson the hard way since I started out on a pursuit of power and selfish interests...wasn't a good thing at all for me.
From what I've seen, the closer you get in levels of awareness and consciousness toward the higher more 'divine' aspects of reality, the more selfless your viewpoints necessarily become. You can't keep a selfish or 'self-oriented' viewpoint (I'm not referring to any moral issues here - only perceptual viewpoint) and still raise your awareness beyond such things toward more profound divine frequencies. Higher frequencies of reality just seem to be oriented toward selflessness and Allness, rather than common ego awareness. So if you want to perceive at those levels, you'll have to temporarily modify your own awareness so that it matches those frequencies and is selfless and part of Allness. That's just what I've noticed, it may or may not be actually true for all people. You'll have to do your own research there. From my own experience, as I went higher in development and through meditative and astral practices, I kept being shown that the ultimate goal was to reach a state of 'Allness' in my consciousness, or oneness with all things. I saw the universe as a vast living organism where all things were interconnected.
So, rendered in religious terms, I saw the universe as 'god' (not a dude with sandals and a beard) and all of us as functioning aspects of the mind of 'god'. I saw that the idea that I was separate from anyone else or separate from the universe itself was an illusion, and that I wasn't just a 'me' or an 'I' or any of those things. I was simultaneously a functioning aspect of the universe (One with All), and at the opposite end of the awareness spectrum, this energy phenomenon I call 'me', had the capability to perceive itself as a self-conscious 'me' or 'I' entity. A lot of similarity with Zen Buddhism huh? I was a bit surprised.
Again, this is just what I found through my own research and may not be true for all people. True reality, I believe, is infinite and can't be contained in one book or set of laws or dogma.