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Responding to my post on energy meditation, Lorenzo asks:
How would i be able to tell if i’m feeling energy or if it’s a placebo effect since i read on how some other people feel energy? When [..] i think on how energy feels for others and i start to feel “something”.
I wrote that energy meditation post in my first year of blogging, because I felt I should have a post on how to start magick, and because I didn’t have a better answer. I remember trying to think of a better answer, one that would work even if a person’s ethereal muscles weren’t paying attention, one that would provide good feedback, and coming up empty. So, I wrote the best energy meditation post I could, and called it done.
But even then, I knew: Energy meditation isn’t a great way to start with magick. It’s a mix of hope (that your ethereal muscles are paying enough attention to respond and start awakening more) and suspension of disbelief (to keep practicing until you’re experienced enough to produce real results, and not worry it’s all your imagination). And as a scientist, I don’t like basing techniques on hope and suspension of disbelief. Nope.
A better solution would involve ethereal software. That’s why I’ve recommended doing the LBRP if your energy meditation fails, and why I’m using ethereal software for my book. Because you really do want an outside force helping your ethereal muscles awaken.
But, back to Lorenzo’s question: A novice simply cannot tell if what they’re feeling is real energy, placebo, hyperventilation, self-hypnosis, or something else. And I cannot tell you how to tell the difference.
Even experienced mages get it wrong, experiencing tingles because they expected to, rather than because of actual energy. You know how professional wine tasters get fooled by cheap wine in expensive bottles (and an interesting deeper exploration), expecting it to be awesome wine and therefore tasting it as awesome wine? It’s not that the sense of taste is a myth or that all flavors are just placebo, it’s simply that our expectations affect our senses more than any of us realize. So, you expect awesome wine and you taste awesome wine, and you expect energy tingles and you feel energy tingles. That’s just how our senses work, both ordinary and magickal. It affects everyone, at least some of the time.
Sorry I don’t have a better answer. It’s tempting to draft a post full of bravado and reassurances, but they’d be false. This is simply the nature of magick, especially when you’re a beginner.
Here’s what I can tell you: Most human effort goes toward things we believe are worthwhile, but cannot actually know. Job applications, dating, investments, charities, eating healthy, driving anywhere, all are based on uncertainty. Magick is no different. The only path is to accept this, decide if you can live with that uncertainty, and then practice anyway.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.