Am I Feeling Energy, or Hyperventilating?

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Responding to my post on basic energy meditations, Alejandro asks:

Whenever I meditate or do energy meditation, […] I can feel prickling or tingling sensations in my hands and feet, strange thing is mostly I just do normal meditations and not energy meditations, is it really energy that I’m feeling? Or is it something I read on a different website called “Biofeedback”?

Excellent question. I’ve been thinking about that myself, and I wish I had a simple answer for you. I don’t. All I have are more questions.

First, my best answer: I don’t think a beginner can tell the difference between actual energy, the odd feeling you get if you focus on one part of your body, and the odd feeling you get from hyperventilation if you overdo the breathing exercises. The physical feeling of energy is similar to a lot of things, and since everyone feels energy differently, describing how energy feels to me won’t help you.

There’s another problem with giving newcomers an energy meditation: I’m not sure how to get you from “imagining” to “actually moving energy.”

See, the parts of your mind responsible for moving energy are called “mental muscles.” (My term.) If they’re awake and paying attention, then when you imagine energy, they’ll respond by building and moving energy. But if your mental muscles are hibernating, then imagining energy is just that: Imagining. And just like imagining your sofa floating in the air doesn’t actually move your soft, imagining energy in your body (without your mental muscles paying attention) doesn’t actually move your energy.

(In my writing, “visualize” means “imagine and engage your mental muscles.”)

Most people don’t practice magick, so they don’t use their mental muscles, so their mental muscles are asleep mostly. (This has nothing to do with intelligence — when I say “mental muscles,” I only mean the part of your mind that drive magick.) If your mental muscles are a little bit awake, then some combination of imagination and focus and belief ought to wake them up more, and once they’re awake, I know how to help you consciously engage and train and strengthen them.

But if your mental muscles are entirely asleep, I don’t know that any amount of imagining will get us anywhere. But, as you point out, the person can still feel the sensations of energy through placebo (focusing on the body and expecting to feel something) and hyperventilation, so they might not know their mental muscles aren’t responding. Then they can study magick for quite some time without realizing they missed the first step.

Where does this leave us? In the 3 years since I first wrote that energy meditation post, I’ve come to believe that an energy meditation isn’t a great way to start your magick practice. We just use it because it’s easy to teach, and we don’t have anything better*. That’s why I wrote that post — I needed something to get beginners started, an energy meditation was the default, and I tried and failed to think other options.

*I have a better option now. More on that soon.

I’ve actually thought about taking that energy meditation post down, but the post seems to help people get started — at least, the people who have somewhat-awake mental muscles for doing magick — and I like to think that the discussion of what’s really happening and the debugging tips make it somewhat better than articles that just give the visualization and assurances that it will work.

But, I also have something better in the works, based on ethereal software. You’d contact the ethereal software by focusing on a sigil, then ask it to awaken your mental muscles while you do energy meditations (and other tasks.) The ethereal software already exists, and I’ve already verified it connects to other mages when they view the sigil. I’ve also personally observed it connect to several non-mages who viewed the sigil. What remains is to write the instructions, which will make up Part 2 of my book.

Until then, you can see an early draft among these posts. And hopefully, I’ll have that section of the book written in the next few months. (I’m posting it free on here as I write it, see “Book” in the top nav bar.)

Summary: Good question. Sorry I don’t have a simple answer. It turns out, creating a robust way to teach a beginner to engage their mental muscles is quite complex. But I’m working on it.

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