There are many cultural traditions the world over geared toward what is called inner development, be it called occult, magical, shamanic or otherwise. In these traditions meditation in one form or another has always had a primary position. It has always been considered indispensable for inducing changes in the human body/mind that result in what are today called psionic or psychic abilities. Westerners or other scientifically minded individuals of the post modern era, however, usually relegate meditation practices to a secondary position at best. The value of the altered state seems highly underestimated today outside of traditions, and is more considered in terms of psychological well-being or a help rather than a foundation pillar of psionic cultivation.
Indeed, it seems one can form and sense a psi ball or practice empathic and telepathic communication, even move a little paper wheel on a pin all by simply willing it in a normal wakeful state. This is actually an illusion. To sense energy you need an altered state, or it would always be sensed. The focus and concentration that is taken for granted is that altered state in this case. For simple effects, it suffices. Because it suffices, the post-modern student of psionics assumes all it takes is more practice in the same state, or more focus to accomplish more elaborate effects.
All I have to say to that is: good luck. States of awareness are like gears in a car. If you want the car to handle a certain road at a certain speed, you need to consider shifting to the proper gear. Otherwise you get nowhere and can end up damaging the car. Trying to accomplish advanced psionic feats through will and high focus and only is like stepping on the gas on a flat road in first gear. It is not good for your vehicle, and you won't get very far at that.
This does not mean you need to be spaced out in a trance state in order for your psionic attempts to work well. In fact, this is where meditation also enters the picture. With meditation you can reach a trance state where that state can be subjectively experienced in an alert wakeful manner. You don't have to be out of it to be in a different gear. This is similar to someone who drinks or ingests some mind altering chemical for the first time as opposed to someone who is used to it.
The first timer will not be able to accommodate the altered state and will be disoriented. Their brain chemistry is different that their consciousness cannot conform to it so they become disoriented. More experienced drinkers, users etc. can pretty much orient normally depending on the degree of brain chemistry alteration. With natural altered states, however, you don't have foreign bodies in your organism so adaptation can always be complete.
One of the things meditation does is lead you to altered states, teaching you about your own awareness gear box. It can also help you acclimate to these states so that even the deepest ones manifest with you awake and alert, but feeling different than in the default waking state. A third result is that meditation teaches you to remove mental clutter at increasingly deep levels, and this opens space for more of your awareness to be available for psionic applications.
This latter result ends up making even the highest levels of focus and concentration stress free and effortless. If you find yourself tensing or pushing when attempting some psionic application, it just means your meditation is not deep enough or has not cleared your mind and energy system of noise enough. In this way, if you place meditation first, psionic expression can come more easily and naturally, and the more advanced forms far more swiftly than through going through motions again and again and hoping that this alone will stimulate successful applications. Successful meditation development leads to greater ease in expressing psionic abilities. Many traditions even ignore psionic development altogether because it is a natural result of meditation experience anyway, and trying to focus on psionic applications on their own tends to bog down overall progress, at least according to these traditions.
In other words, meditation doesn't simply result in optimal conditions of awareness for psionic development, but represents the necessary conditions for such beyond a certain point. Thing is, most people today don't realize how elaborate and involved meditation can be. It includes energy cultivation at many levels, for example, a cultivation which also demands to ability to shift awareness gears at will and remain conscious and alert in the process. There is certainly more than meets the eye here, and the methods usually marketed for the general public are but introductory samples.
Even so, consciously developing substantial psionic control, which is natural and more or less effortless is not easy and requires a lot of dedicated commitment, combined with facing more than a little resistance, no matter how enthusiastic you are. There are no shortcuts, but relatively speaking cultivating lucid meditative awareness is the safest and swiftest path to establishing psionic expressions that can test the limits of an uncultivated body/mind.
If you, therefore, find yourself wanting more out of your psionic work, consider meditation. Even the methods available to the general public are a start and can give you a greater intuitive sense of how you can better your psionic work, as well as a greater sense of your own awareness potential.