Building Skill with Energy: The Importance of Failure

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Alice wants to play basketball. She shoots baskets every day. Each shot is a little different: More wrist tension, slower bicep movement, etc. Some changes help, others don’t. And each time, she sees the result. Did the ball go in? Did it get close? She keeps the helpful changes, discards the rest, and a few months later she’s sinking many more baskets.

Bob also wants to play basketball. But he fears failure. He isn’t willing to miss a single shot. So he closes his eyes and visualizes himself sinking baskets. And he throws a ball in the air, to learn how it arcs, how hard to throw it. But he never goes near a basketball hoop, because if he did, he might discover that he doesn’t sink every shot.

Who will improve more quickly?

I used to practice energy like Bob. I was afraid of seeing an energy technique fail, afraid it would give oxygen to the chorus of internal skeptics I was trying to suffocate. So I would visualize energy, note the sensations in my body, and congratulate myself. (Never mind that placebo feels exactly the same.) Or I’d test energy with a friend, telling them exactly what I was doing and what they should feel, and congratulate myself when they felt that. (Never mind that I’d suggested exactly those sensations.)

Most energy workers practice like Bob, too. That’s how we were taught to practice, and it’s how our teachers were taught, too.

In my 30s, I scientifically tested a simple energy technique with a friend. It was fun and successful. (Details here.) Then I tested another technique, with sigils. It didn’t work, but you know what happened? Nothing. There was no skeptic hiding in the bush, waiting to cry, “I told you so!” Facing my fears, seeing they were empty, felt liberating and peaceful.

Since then, I’ve been working to practice like Alice, to create tests that only succeed if I do the energy technique properly. That’s been key to my increased confidence and skill, and it’s been fun too. That’s why I’m so passionate about testing and the Energy Geek Meetup.

About the Meetup

The Energy Geek Meetup is for practitioners who want to take their energy skills and confidence to the next level. It’s the 4th Wednesday of every month, 7-9pm, at the Embodiment Arts Collective, 3490 20th Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco (near 24th st BART). Suggested donation $5-10.

Please RSVP on Facebook or Meetup. (Popular events draw more people. RSVPing helps us grow. Thank you!)

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