From a couple postings on the topic of Auras
"I haven't had much success seeing auras other than the usual afterimage effect."
You'll know you're being successful when you can look away from the person and NOT see an after-image on a wall in the shape of that person (and when you look back, you see the aura AGAIN, vivid as ever).
"I was wondering if you had any advice on how to discern them?"
Medusa's (Su) advice is about the same as how I learned and currently do it, only I figured it out by accident...and they said zoning-out in class all those years ago was just a waste of time ;)
Side-note on that advice: It basically described the method of relaxing the mind, and then staring at a willing partner against a light colored background while not focusing the eyes directly at him/her.
I've always found that white or slightly off-white backgrounds are best for me. Sometimes I can't even look at people for long if they're standing against a white background - it makes my eyes 'go funny'.
Regarding the part about not focusing your eyes:
When you're practicing seeing auras, just pretend that you're trying to see one of those holographic magick-eye images that look all screwy until you focus your eyes the right way and then suddenly a picture pops out of the jumbled mess of lines. Look almost past or through the person, not directly at any details.
There is also a psychic component to it as well, but you should be able to see the lower layers with little difficulty if you practice (they'll usually appear electric blue or grey depending on the person and his/her development).
Don't forget to relax and silence your mind beforehand - it's hard to learn or practice any psychic activity when your mind is chattering away to itself.
"Also, is the attribution of different Aura colors for various personalities accurate or an over simplification?"
The generalizations about personalities and color (i.e. 'what color your aura is') are completely silly most of the time. No one's aura stays the same color all the time, and each person's energy fields are a collection of MANY colors with MANY meanings. (To me, most people look like swirling masses of wispy colors and cloudy shapes, with occasional structures and lines all contained within a luminous egg. Each person's energy fields look different - it's like each person is his/her own new kind of energy technology since no one thinks or uses energy in quite the same way all the time, and each person's physical body itself will also tend to channel energy in slightly different ways.) When you're overwhelmed by a single emotion, you will tend to take on a predominant color but you aren't usually that sole 'color' all the time. Some people who are regularly or habitually wiry and irritable can appear to have more reds in them, but they still have other colors on other frequency levels that can vary around different areas of their body. Diagnosing or analysing someone's aura can get quite complex when you consider all the different variables working all at the same time - multiple frequency ranges, multiple layers, different parts of the body, different colors, various structures indicative of blockages/emotional packets of stored info/past trauma etc.
I've noticed that colors seen in an aura are sometimes the result of the training/biases of the magickian, but usually only when scanning higher frequencies (where things would be seen with one's mind on a more symbolic level anyway). The more optical aspects of aura viewing will tend to yield results in accord with other viewers regardless of tradition of practice, but I don't always agree with the interpretations of those colors (some of the new-agers get really fluffy and way off-base I think).
"I was wondering what is an advanced auric configuration?"
This is hard to explain unless you've seen and compared the auras of lots of different people - especially those of 'normal' people and those of magick practitioners. 'Normal' people (if there is such a thing) tend to have less over-all energy, less internal energy organization, the colors of their auras tend to be more dim (some who are less 'pure' e.g. more cluttered internally with emotional baggage and/or illness and/or drugs can even look muddy), and the spiritual dimensions they're consciously connected up to (and consciously channeling into their lives) tend to be of a lower vibratory rate. The pranic tubes ('middle pillar') of non-magickal people also tend to be smaller in diameter, and in some cases can be not completely connected up all the way through their bodies. I've even seen a few whose pranic tubes look like a shriveled appendix around the top of their heads, while serious magick practitioners (with psychic ability) tend to have a rather thick 'mainline' straight into their bodies from the top-down. That's just some of the visual stuff I've noticed. As far as psychic feelings/impressions go, you can usually tell from the feeling of a person's aura whether or not they're a seasoned magick practitioner. The difference in feeling between non-practitioners and practitioners is similar to the feeling you might get when you compare someone who lifts weights and does gymnastics with someone who doesn't. One person gives off the (psychic) impression/feeling of greater control of energy and self (i.e. the ability to manipulate energy freely and easily in order to cause change within and around himself at will) and the other just doesn't.
It's often hard for people to describe psychically perceived info in words, so hopefully I made a little sense in all that rambling...