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Last time we discussed visualization and why I don’t use it, I talked about asking my mental muscles to do this and directing them to do that. Today, let’s wrap up this series by discussing my 3 approaches to asking and directing my mental muscles: Words, diagrams, and (when I’m sloppy) visualizations.
To connect to Lisa, I’ll think the words, “connect to Lisa,” while thinking of the feel of her energy signature. (If you’ve never thought of a signature, think of it like remembering the scent of a flower: Hard to put into words, but clear in your memory.) Words are great for common, simple tasks, particularly:
- Tasks I’ve done a million times that require zero focus, like connecting to people and ethereal software.
- Tasks my mental muscles simply know how to do, like checking my shielding for openings. If the mental muscles know how to do something better than my conscious mind does, I don’t even bother trying to guide the details.
- When communicating with spirits and ethereal software, I think the messages in words.
Remember, the magick isn’t in the words, and there’s nothing special about the phrases I use. The magick is in engaging your mental muscles. I just use words to communicate my intent to them.
So, words are great for simple or heavily-practiced tasks. But for more complex or detailed work, I need something more expressive: Diagrams.
Last time, I talked about taking a small step, then listening to my mental muscles to see how that step changed the external world. I often “see the change” as a diagram, showing me the paths, signatures, and other magickal forms my mental muscles are working with. And I can then use that diagram as I direct the next step.
For example, when I do energy healing, I’ll engage my mental muscles for physical effects, then touch the person, think about wanting to see the energy of their tissues, and receive a diagram of the tissues, from skin to muscle to tendons to bone, each with a different feel to denote healthy vs inflamed vs another energy signature. I’ll then use this diagram for the rest of the healing session, with my mental muscles updating it as I go.
To zoom in on a particular tissue, I focus on that tissue in the diagram. There are no words involved, just focus. If I had to explain the feeling, it’s a bit like mentally double-clicking on the diagram.
To do the healing technique, I might think the words, “What signature would you recommend for this tissue?” while focusing on the tissue in the diagram. My mental muscles would zoom in on the tissue, and show me which signatures are applied to which spots. As I focus on each spot, I can feel the signature, and I can adjust it based on that feel, or move some signatures to different spots. Then I approve the signature, and the healing energy starts. Depending on the situation, there are a lot of different techniques from here, but it’s all the same pattern: My mental muscles show me a diagram, which I manipulate to guide the magick.
Why Diagrams Aren’t Visualizations
Aren’t diagrams just images in my head? How are they different than visualizations? Simple: Diagrams correspond to magickal forms in the external world, and visualizations don’t.
Visualizations come from your imagination, based on symbols and correspondences and abstractions. You create the visualization before you do any magick, and often use the same visualization for multiple healing sessions with multiple people (or doing other similar-but-not-identical-magick). So, the visualization is unlikely to correspond to the actual forms your mental muscles are manipulating. It’s a single, static image, designed to convey your overall intent — visualizations aren’t a dynamic feedback mechanism.
But a diagram comes from the external world. After your mental muscles connect to the thing you’re magicking (that’s a word, right?), they create a diagram representing the specific forms in the external world. Every line in the diagram corresponds to an actual connection, and every region corresponds to an actual signature. You can select individual connections in the diagram, and it’ll correspond to an individual connection in the external world. And you can adjust a signature in a diagram, and your mental muscles can translate that into a specific change to a single signature in the external world.
A visualization is like sitting in a room with the blinds closed, trying to draw a map of a city you’ve never seen. A diagram is like walking the streets, and drawing a map as you go.
Another analogy: Imagine you’re a doctor, using a surgical robot. A diagram is like the live feed from the robot’s camera, showing you what the robot actually sees, minute by minute, giving feedback on each action you take. In contrast, a visualization would be like a single, unchanging image of the robot doing some surgery on another patient.
But despite all this, I do occasionally use visualizations. And each time, I’m reminded why I avoid them.
Recently, for a healing session for a friend with PTSD, I had to break some connections, then prevent the connections from re-forming by locking the paths those connections followed. (Imagine wires going through a pipe — the wires are the connections, and the pipe is the path.) I went through three visualizations:
- Symbolic: I imagined a padlock on each path. This felt fine, but then I checked the results with another diagram, and saw that it didn’t work.
- Literal (but inaccurate): I imagined a glowing band tied around each path, which also didn’t work. I realized, it guided my mental muscles to try to add something to the paths to seal them, which is the wrong way to do it.
- Literal (and accurate): I used the wire-in-a-pipe image, and imagined twisting the wires inside the pipe, so they couldn’t reconnect. This worked well.
That wire-pipe visualization came from work on connections in 2003. It corresponds well to how paths and connections actually work, so it works well for directing my mental muscles. But it would have been much simpler to just use the diagram, rather than messing around with visualizations.
So why did bother with visualizations? It wasn’t a conscious choice. I was focusing on finding all the paths that needed to be locked, and “lock the connection” sounded so simple that I barely thought about it. But if I had, I would have used a diagram, found the right solution faster, and maybe even locked the paths more thoroughly than I did.
That’s the end of the series. Leave any questions / thoughts / other comments below.Other posts in this series:
- Visualization is Overrated (August 25, 2012)
- The Many Substeps of Magick (August 25, 2012)
- Some Magick Won't Come Naturally (August 28, 2012)
- Why We Need Unintuitive Magick (August 29, 2012)
- Directing vs Perceiving Magick (September 2, 2012)
- Visualizations Direct (But Don't See) Magick (September 3, 2012)
- What I Do Instead of Visualization (September 5, 2012)
- The 3 Ways I Direct My Mental Muscles (September 8, 2012)
- How I Develop New Techniques (September 12, 2012)