The differentiation between pre and trans rational has been promoted and popularized by Ken Wilber. One of his most engaging and easily accessible books is titled “A Brief History of Everything”
A pre-rational skill is identifying a thought with an object. Children do this. Magical incantations are often based upon this lack of differentiation between the idea and the object. Pre-historic hunters used to draw a picture of a deer in the sand, dance around it and then stab it with their spear, killing it, before the hunt. The deer was considered already dead by this act. Some people don’t like to say fearful words, for fear of bringing about the real event.
Pre-rational magic might actually work. Just because the thought visualization is not as clear and distinct as it could be, doesn’t mean that it can’t work at all. But it can also just be wishful thinking, and nothing more. And it has a hard time telling the difference. The hallmark is superstition.
Transrational skills begin at the edge of rationality, what is called “vision logic”, where a person can not only hold a point of view, they can not only at the SAME TIME see another persons point of view, but they can hold and array of views, even an array of arrays, see the whole broad landscape at once.
After that point we get into seeing divinity, not as an idea, but as directly perceived and felt.
Then we move closer to causal awareness, and then back out to the fish market with non-duality.
Chi-kung can be practiced either through the cognitive lens of re-rational, or transrational. A pre can be a strong chi-kung practitioner, but usually, it is only in the transrational cognitive development stage that wide and full mastery is available. There is less confusion and greater differention for someone who does not equate an idea with an object, and so a person can weed out facts from fictions, and feel into things with greater subtlety.