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Author Topic: How do you know it's working?  (Read 3971 times)
Katefox
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« Topic Start: May 23, 2011, 05:58:16 pm »

I was reading and thinking about energy work.  But how do I know if what I'm doing is actually sensing and manipulating energy, and not my imagination?  Say I decide to shield myself by picturing a globe of energy surrounding myself.  I spend time on this visualisation, so that I have a very strong mental image.  But have I spent all that time actually pouring energy into this shield, or just in tricking my mind into thinking something is there?  Because I want to get things right, but how can I do that if I'm not sure whether I'm just imagining things?

I hope I don't sound too skeptical.  But I don't see how I can improve if I can't even see what I'm doing, so hopefully someone can give me a bit of guidance.
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« Reply #1: May 24, 2011, 12:27:03 pm »

I was reading and thinking about energy work.  But how do I know if what I'm doing is actually sensing and manipulating energy, and not my imagination?

I hope I don't sound too skeptical.  But I don't see how I can improve if I can't even see what I'm doing, so hopefully someone can give me a bit of guidance.

The first step of energy work is to make sure you can feel the energy, move it, work with it and know the difference between actual energy work and just imagination. Everybody feels it differently, and when you feel it, you'll know. For me, it feels like a strong magnetism, with a cold water flow. When I made my first energy ball, it felt like such a force that I could hardly push my hands together, and it felt like running water through my arms. Other times, it felt like my hands were being pulled together like 2 very strong magnets.

Once you can feel the energy you can move the energy into forming the shield. Honestly, if you feel the difference and feel the energy when you're making your shield then you know you're doing it right.
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« Reply #2: May 24, 2011, 03:09:49 pm »

But I don't see how I can improve if I can't even see what I'm doing, so hopefully someone can give me a bit of guidance.

The place I start is "Is this thing I'm doing making things better? Or are they the same? Or worse?" And then "Is anything else in the situation changing in ways I might want to take into consideration?"

For example, if I center and ground, and feel better afterwards (and don't have any negative impact other than taking a minute to take a few deep breaths and think about me rather than the busy world around me), there's a certain point at which it doesn't matter if it actually helps because it's energy work, or if it's helping because taking a few deep breaths and relaxing consciously triggers a whole bunch of things in our bodies that can be quite helpful.

Likewise, if I create a shield, and it helps me deal better with a busy store, or a concert, or some other public event, and it doesn't take more away from me than it gives me, does it matter if it's energy work, or if it's me talking myself into making it easier to deal with a complicated setting?

In practice, I think that magical and energetic work is at least a quarter psychology, at least a quarter neurobiology (how our brains interact with our bodies) and at least a quarter, direction, and decision. I think it's totally possible that there's esoteric energetic stuff going on that isn't trackable by any other means - but at the same time, I know that many of the magical and energetic techniques I use have at least some basis in actual biological and psychological sciences and tools that are good for me. (Like taking a few deep breaths, destressing, using techniques to focus intention and goals in a particular way.)

So, some days, I think it's almost all psychology, neurobiology, and intention (and stuff that science is beginning to be able to describe clearly.) Other days, I'm pretty sure there's a bunch of esoteric and spiritual stuff in there that's beyond the realm of science. (My *ritual* and religious and spiritual work, there's a big element of the esoteric and spiritual in, of course.)

The real trick comes if the magical/energetic stuff is something that's *detracting* from other areas of your life. In that case, the question of what you do gets more complicated.

For example, I had experiences during my training as a priestess that were energetically impossible to explain logically in any other way than "There was a deity here who did some stuff, and who changed the energy of this space - and sometimes of me - in ways I could not have done on my own." Most of those experiences are amazing, wonderful, and stunning - but they also left some after effects that left me feeling tired and worn out for a few days, distracted from other things in my life, and so on.

Personally, I think as long as that's moderate and passes given a reasonable amount of time, it's generally fine - sort of like someone who chooses to act in a theatre production, or run a marathon, or have a baby is going to be distracted and tired and need to readjust priorities for a period of time. That's part of having a rich and fulfilling life. But if it's all the time, or if someone's using those peak experiences to hide from other important things in their life, then something may need fixing.

In terms of sensing what's happening - well,you may not be able to see energy, but most people can learn to sense it. The trick is that it takes some practice. People who can work with someone else (even someone who isn't very experienced themselves) tend to learn faster - there's a bunch of stuff where it's easier to sense if someone else does something, or where the other person can give feedback that helps a lot.

But one thing that books often don't cover well is that different people have different modes of learning. Lots of books talk about 'seeing' energy - but if you're like me, and visual stuff is one of your weakest senses, then you might get really frustrated. (Instead, I hear it, and to some extent feel it.) There's some ideas and additional resources on my website at http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/ways-you-learn/ that might help you figure out if some of that is what's going on for you.

So, when I'm centered and grounded, I feel it in my body, and I 'hear' myself in ways that sound differently than when I'm not. Tuning into that sensation and sound can quickly help me figure out what I can do to fix things.
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« Reply #3: May 25, 2011, 08:21:36 pm »

The first step of energy work is to make sure you can feel the energy, move it, work with it and know the difference between actual energy work and just imagination. Everybody feels it differently, and when you feel it, you'll know.

Once you can feel the energy you can move the energy into forming the shield. Honestly, if you feel the difference and feel the energy when you're making your shield then you know you're doing it right.
"Everyone feels it differently."  That's part of what makes this difficult, of course.  No instructions to follow that say, "and when it looks/feels like this, you've got it right."  But I guess that's what practice is for.  Thank you for your insight.

---

The place I start is "Is this thing I'm doing making things better? Or are they the same? Or worse?" And then "Is anything else in the situation changing in ways I might want to take into consideration?"

For example, if I center and ground, and feel better afterwards (and don't have any negative impact other than taking a minute to take a few deep breaths and think about me rather than the busy world around me), there's a certain point at which it doesn't matter if it actually helps because it's energy work, or if it's helping because taking a few deep breaths and relaxing consciously triggers a whole bunch of things in our bodies that can be quite helpful.

Likewise, if I create a shield, and it helps me deal better with a busy store, or a concert, or some other public event, and it doesn't take more away from me than it gives me, does it matter if it's energy work, or if it's me talking myself into making it easier to deal with a complicated setting?

In practice, I think that magical and energetic work is at least a quarter psychology, at least a quarter neurobiology (how our brains interact with our bodies) and at least a quarter, direction, and decision. I think it's totally possible that there's esoteric energetic stuff going on that isn't trackable by any other means - but at the same time, I know that many of the magical and energetic techniques I use have at least some basis in actual biological and psychological sciences and tools that are good for me. (Like taking a few deep breaths, destressing, using techniques to focus intention and goals in a particular way.)

So, some days, I think it's almost all psychology, neurobiology, and intention (and stuff that science is beginning to be able to describe clearly.) Other days, I'm pretty sure there's a bunch of esoteric and spiritual stuff in there that's beyond the realm of science. (My *ritual* and religious and spiritual work, there's a big element of the esoteric and spiritual in, of course.)
I do believe you've hit the proverbial nail on the head.  I don't doubt energy work is beneficial, otherwise I wouldn't be bothering with it.  And if it works, is beneficial, rather than harmful, it doesn't really matter whether I am, in fact, dealing with magical energy, or psychological tricks (for lack of a better description).

The thing is, though, that I like to know exactly how things are.  If energy work was entirely psychology and neurobiology, and nothing else, I'd be quite content knowing this, and doing it anyway.  But if there is some esoteric energy stuff going on, I'd like to know for sure that it's actually there, not just that it's probably there, or likely there, or maybe there, &c.  I like concrete things, even if that concrete thing is, "yeah, it's all in your head." xD

I was talking about this to my boyfriend, and his response was to suggest I run a experiment.  Find some places with different kinds of energy.  Explain to some friends how to sense energy, and then ask them to read the energies of my selected places.  If we all come up with different results, it's probably psychological.  However, I'm not sure any of my friends would care to put in the effort to learn to sense energy just to satisfy my curiousity, even if they didn't scoff at the idea outright.  I wonder if anyone's ever tried something like that?

And now I hope it doesn't seem like I'm scoffing at the idea of magical energy stuff with all my "but is it really there?"ness.  (Eheh, and .this desire to know things for sure makes my entire current crisis of spirituality incredibly frustrating, but that is neither here nor there.)

Quote
In terms of sensing what's happening - well,you may not be able to see energy, but most people can learn to sense it. The trick is that it takes some practice. People who can work with someone else (even someone who isn't very experienced themselves) tend to learn faster - there's a bunch of stuff where it's easier to sense if someone else does something, or where the other person can give feedback that helps a lot.
Unfortunately, I don't think anyone I know would be particularly interested in learning this stuff, so I'm sort of stuck doing it on my own.

Quote
But one thing that books often don't cover well is that different people have different modes of learning. Lots of books talk about 'seeing' energy - but if you're like me, and visual stuff is one of your weakest senses, then you might get really frustrated. (Instead, I hear it, and to some extent feel it.) There's some ideas and additional resources on my website at http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/ways-you-learn/ that might help you figure out if some of that is what's going on for you.
It's funny you should mention this because I tend to get annoyed with vision-focused language, being mostly blind, and then my entire post was full of it.  Probably because, as you say, most sources talk about seeing energy, rather than hearing or feeling it.  We actually covered different learning styles and intelligences in the psych class I took this year, but I never really thought of applying that to ritual or energy work.  That is definitely food for thought.

And I must thank you for your website.  It is full of interesting tidbits; I certainly haven't looked around all of it, yet; there's alot.  Also, one of the words for "harp" that I encountered in Old English was "gleebeam", and this is what I think of every time I see the URL.
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« Reply #4: May 25, 2011, 09:48:54 pm »

The thing is, though, that I like to know exactly how things are.  If energy work was entirely psychology and neurobiology, and nothing else, I'd be quite content knowing this, and doing it anyway.  But if there is some esoteric energy stuff going on, I'd like to know for sure that it's actually there, not just that it's probably there, or likely there, or maybe there, &c.  I like concrete things, even if that concrete thing is, "yeah, it's all in your head." xD

Regrettably, the world is not quite that simple.

The way I look at it is sort of like other people's emotions. There's a bunch of stuff I can make some really good guesses at (based on experience, knowledge, my own responses, etc.) But at root, can I ever be absolutely certain that someone loves me, or likes me, or whatever in a totally concrete way? Nope. I can just add up evidence and experience.

Energy work's like that. After doing this for ten years (well, more than that), I'm pretty sure that there's stuff there that isn't just neurobiology. But I'm not absolutely totally certain in a way I could prove reliably to anyone else.

Your boyfriend's suggestion about trial runs is good - but as you say, it involves having people who are willing to work with you. I will say that from having done work with other people in that kind of context, that people have reliably had experiences that could not be explained purely by logic, or by purely mechanical/biological response. But again, hard to prove to other people, because a lot of the response is relatively subtle, and you have to rely on people's descriptions of what they sense.

Quote
And I must thank you for your website.  It is full of interesting tidbits; I certainly haven't looked around all of it, yet; there's alot.  Also, one of the words for "harp" that I encountered in Old English was "gleebeam", and this is what I think of every time I see the URL.

Ooh. Gleebeam is a nice one too. (Gleewood, for folks who don't know, is an Old English word for harp).

I do take suggestions, if there are other topics people would like me to expand on.
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« Reply #5: May 26, 2011, 03:46:52 am »

I was talking about this to my boyfriend, and his response was to suggest I run a experiment.  Find some places with different kinds of energy.  Explain to some friends how to sense energy, and then ask them to read the energies of my selected places.  If we all come up with different results, it's probably psychological.  However, I'm not sure any of my friends would care to put in the effort to learn to sense energy just to satisfy my curiousity, even if they didn't scoff at the idea outright.  I wonder if anyone's ever tried something like that?

The closest thing I've come to having other people deal with energy is this:
I was in Geneva with a group of friends. The lunch we ate was ridiculously expensive and I used up the rest of my money for food that wasn't even that good and that didn't fill me up. One of my friends was also trying to convince me that they speak a language called "Swiss" in Switzerland, which I found extremely annoying. Anyway. All these things combined and I could nearly feel my blood boiling in anger and frustration. I was trying my best to keep that under control, and was doing a good job. My friends were thus only mildly annoyed at me.

But one girl, who'd told me before she'd had psychic experiences before was literally freaking out, way out of proportion to what the others felt. She kept frantically telling me to calm down, stop yelling (when I wasn't). Finally she started begging me to do *something* because I was projecting my frustration onto her. So I used a tree to help me ground and suddenly my head was quiet and I realized that the sort of buzzing sound I had been hearing in my head was also gone. My friend calmed back down even before I explained to her that I grounded.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #6: May 27, 2011, 07:45:23 am »

One of my friends was also trying to convince me that they speak a language called "Swiss" in Switzerland, which I found extremely annoying.
OT:  facepalm, headdesk, ARGH!!!

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« Reply #7: May 29, 2011, 11:01:36 am »

OT:  facepalm, headdesk, ARGH!!!

Sunflower

Lol, I know. She seemed to think because her host sister had visited Switzerland she was an absolute authority... XD
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« Reply #8: May 29, 2011, 06:27:39 pm »

The closest thing I've come to having other people deal with energy is this:
I was in Geneva with a group of friends. The lunch we ate was ridiculously expensive and I used up the rest of my money for food that wasn't even that good and that didn't fill me up. One of my friends was also trying to convince me that they speak a language called "Swiss" in Switzerland, which I found extremely annoying. Anyway. All these things combined and I could nearly feel my blood boiling in anger and frustration. I was trying my best to keep that under control, and was doing a good job. My friends were thus only mildly annoyed at me.

But one girl, who'd told me before she'd had psychic experiences before was literally freaking out, way out of proportion to what the others felt. She kept frantically telling me to calm down, stop yelling (when I wasn't). Finally she started begging me to do *something* because I was projecting my frustration onto her. So I used a tree to help me ground and suddenly my head was quiet and I realized that the sort of buzzing sound I had been hearing in my head was also gone. My friend calmed back down even before I explained to her that I grounded.

Hope that helps.
That is an interesting story.  Thank you for sharing it.
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