Magick Anyone Can Feel: Testing it Out

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

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Last time, we discussed my two bad plans. I knew they were bad, and I knew I had to sit with the problem until I created something good. That really is my recipe: Take a block of time, load as much of the problem as I can into my mind, see where the gaps are, and something will come to me. But between the surgery, packing, and saying goodbye to everybody, I just hadn’t found that block of time.

Then came my flight to LA. Sometimes, boredom is the mother of invention. Especially when you’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the problem, and by everything else.

It started with a question: How does the tingling sensation move from magick::energy to nerve cells? I saw two options:

Energy influences the nerves in my arm –> The signal goes up those nerves to my brain, like any normal feeling.


Energy touches my arm –> My mental muscles notice the energy –> My mental muscles send a message to my brain.

In other words, is a tingle in my arm caused by the nerves in my arm, or is it projected into my mind, similar to how visions work, or how spirits can drop thoughts into your mind when they communicate?

I didn’t have an answer. It’s not the sort of thing you can reason out, because it could go either way. The only way to know is to test it.

Step 1: Observation

Before I could design the test, I needed to know what I was working with. What are the major moving parts, and how do I think they work? What’s the hypothesis? To answer that, I connected to my arm, my mind, and the arm and mind of a non-mage, to see what the differences were.

I started with the nerves in my arm, tracing the paths from energy layer to nerve cells. (Well, as close as I could get to the actual cells.) It was just a normal-looking set of paths, the same ones I work with all the time for energy healing. Later, when I looked at the non-mage’s nerves, he had the same paths. In other words, there was nothing unusual going on in the nerves in my arm.

Then, I looked at my mind. There were three components: Thinking mind, energy layer, and physical nerves. The energy layer and physical nerves are basically the same as the nerves in my arm, then thinking mind goes on top of them.

(Thinking mind is the layer used for communicating with spirits and ethereal software. They can read thoughts from it and write their responses to it. When I asked my trainers what it was, their concepts came through as “thinking mind,” which is how I got the term.)

I also looked at the non-mage’s mind, which had the same 3 layers. But there was a big difference: My thinking mind was more active, and had much bigger connections to the energy layer.

Don’t read too much into this. This doesn’t mean that I’m smarter, that my mind is more active, or anything like that. Thinking mind is a magickal structure used in magick. It’s involved in in sensing energy and connections, and in communication. As you learn those skills, I would expect this magickal structure to become more developed. I just want to be clear, when I say “my thinking mind was more active than his,” I’m not disparaging his cognative abilities in any way.

OK, back to the magick. So, we know that the magickal forms around the nerves in my body are basically the same as a non-mage’s, but my thinking mind, and its connections to the energy layer of the brain, are quite different. This gave me a hypothesis: The sensations associated with energy originate in mental muscles, move from thinking mind to brain, and do not involve the nerves in my arm (or wherever I’m feeling the tingle). After having zero traction on this problem for two weeks, I was pretty excited. But I had to test it first.

Step 2: Test it

We tested the model by seeing how to turn off the tingling sensation. If the path goes:

Mental muscles –> Thinking mind –> Nerves

Then we should be able to turn off the tingling sensation by blocking either the connections between mental muscles and thinking mind, or the connections between thinking mind and nerves. In contrast, if the path goes:

Energy –> Nerves in my arm –> Ordinary nerve signaling until the feeling reaches my brain

Then blocking the messages from mental muscles and thinking mind shouldn’t have any effect, because the message enters my brain through normal neural signalling.

At my request, my trainers blocked each set of connections (mental muscles –> thinking mind, and thinking mind –> brain). It was easy for them to do. And in both cases, it turned off the tingling sensation. The testing confirmed my earlier observations, and now we have a model: The tingling sensation is caused by mental muscles placing sensations into thinking mind, in much the same way as visions and messages are placed directly into thinking mind. The actual nerves in your body at the location of the tingling are not involved.

For now, it’s a tentative model, since there could be some other possibility I haven’t thought of. Once we develop the tingling technique based on this model, I’ll call it confirmed.

Why It Matters

For anyone casually following this blog, it might seem like I’m splitting hairs. Why do I care so much?

First, all of my previous research had focused on the nerves in the arm. I was imagining to cause tingling by applying the right energy to those nerves, in the same way I do energy healing by applying the right energy signature to the nerves experiencing the pain. But now, I know that focusing on the arm was unlikely to yield a success, and that I must instead focus on the mind.

Second, I have plenty of trainers, but if no one knows how to cause a non-mage to feel energy, I can’t ask for training in that. But now, I know to ask for training in the connections between thinking mind and brain, and I’m already in touch with an expert in that field. So, having this model tells me what to learn and how to learn it.

Third, it once again showed me the importance of good terms. Did you notice how I kept talking about the “energy layer of the nerves” in this post? I used to call that “thought layer,” because it reflects the moment-to-moment signalling of the nerves. But “thought layer” sounds a lot like “thinking mind,” and I hadn’t been able to keep those two completely different structures straight in my own thinking. If I’d had better terms, I probably would have checked this weeks ago.

So, coming up, I’ll make some better terms, get training in the connections between thinking mind and brain, and then come back to developing this technique. Also, now that I’m mostly over my jetlag, I’ll get back to writing the book.

Question for you, as readers: Is it interesting to see what my work actually involves, or are you lost in all the technical jargon, or otherwise uninterested? I’m fine either way, just want to make sure my writing is helping you, or at least entertaining you. Thanks!

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Magick Anyone Can Feel: First (Bad) Plans

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

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This series is about my current research project: How to cause a tingling feeling (similar to energy) that even non-mages can feel, using only magick — no telling them to focus on their breathing, their skin, or anything else along those lines.

Today, I want to tell you about the two lines of thought I explored for the first week. They turned out to be duds, but there’s a lot of value in sharing them: If you ever develop your own techniques, you’ll wind up exploring your own dead ends, and seeing some examples will help you recognize them, and hopefully help you keep from getting frustrated. Plus, friends sometimes ask me what it’s like to do direct magick, so I ought to share some of the non-glamorous part.

OK, on to the plans. Remember how mages have these thicker connections between thought layer and nerve cells? My first idea was to have the spirits use energy to give me tingling, while watching what happens closer to nerves. Then we’d try to reproduce what happens in the cells without touching the energy layer.

It seems straight-forward enough, and indeed, this description fits the path I’m currently working. But the problem is, this description fits a lot of other paths, too. It was just too vague — it didn’t even let me make a list of pre-requesite skills, or even figure out exactly what to look at. Do we move one step along the path from energy to cells? Two? Try to affect all of the layers except energy? The plan basically amounted to, “Watch everything, reproduce everything that happens, and hope it works.” Fail.

At the time, I didn’t know exactly why it felt wrong. I certainly hadn’t articulated all that. I just knew it didn’t feel brilliant — that it felt like my only plan, rather than my best plan. I couldn’t see the moving parts, or even see a real path.

Well, what if we go from the opposite direction? Energy intended to numb should work on nerves, even in non-mages. I can do it easily and reliably. What if I adapt it, using different signatures in the same spots in the same nerves, intending to cause sensations instead of taking them away?

I actually gave this a shot. I rounded up the spirits I’m collaborating this, taught them the energy I use for pain, and tested it on a tickling rather than pain. The session was very valuable, because it exposed a lot of things the spirits didn’t know about working with cells. But it yielded no results: I still felt the tickle, possibly because it’s dynamic and moving and changing in time. The spirits took some questions home to explore, and I went back to the drawing board.

The problem was, this plan was better, but it still wasn’t brilliant. And I keep focusing on brilliance because there’s a particular feel to it, where you see the whole problem, and see a path that makes perfect sense with that full picture, but wouldn’t make any sense without it. That’s how my best work feels, and I try to reach that before committing to a plan. Not surprisingly, it sometimes takes a while.

Over the next week, I made two more plans. Or, really, one plan, with a huge refinement. I won’t call it brilliant, but it’s definitely moving in that direction. I’ll share those next post.

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Magick Anyone Can Feel: Why It’s Hard

Friday, July 20th, 2012

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Now that I’ve recovered from my surgery, it’s time to start that research into a tingling sensation that even non-mages can feel. I’ve gone through a few research plans for it, and most were mediocre, but I want to share this process with you because, for me, planning research is one of the hardest skills to learn, and seeing some examples might help. (Also, seeing that it takes everyone a few tries to get something decent might help you keep at it. Perseverance and perspiration being the true keys to success, after all.)

First, let’s start with the problem: Energy feels different to everyone, and it doesn’t feel like anything to non-mages. I want a technique that consistently produces tingling in a chosen area (like a 1-inch square of skin), with no suggestion or placebo involved. In this context, telling the person to breathe hard or focus on their elbow is cheating — it has to be the magick causing the sensations, not some mundane method dressed up as magick.

The fact that the same energy feels different to me than it does to you tells me there’s a missing step, that there’s some step between the energy and the sensations. Also, that step is different in different people. And, most importantly, that step is probably the missing ingredient in making non-mages feel energy.

But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. This is the line of thought that finally got me traction on the problem, but it took about a week for me to get there. Next, I’ll share the two lines of thought that didn’t work, so you can see what that part of research is like.

Note: While in Australia, I won’t have as much time for writing. I’m still going to post daily, but it’ll mostly be shorter posts like this one, spreading a discussion over several days.

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How We Cheat at Feeling Energy

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

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I’d like you to try an exercise for me. It’s something often done with beginners in energy healing classes, and it’ll only take a second. It’s to show you where your energy body is.

Hold your right hand open in front of you, facing sideways, kind of like you’re about to shake hands with someone, but closer to your body. Now, extend your index finger of your left hand, and move it close to your right palm, watching as you do it. Do you notice the tingling you get in your palm when your finger almost touches it? That’s your energy body, extending from your finger.

(If you don’t get the tingle, try moving your finger in little circles, almost touching your palm.)

Go ahead, try it. I want you to feel that. It even works with your eyes closed. Once you’ve done it, scroll down.
















Now, here’s the thing: That’s not your energy body. That’s a totally non-magickal feeling called proprioception, which is your brain’s model of your body. It makes you feel weird whenever something is about to touch you because, well, it’s generally a good idea to get out of the way of things about to touch you, or at least to know they’re there.

How do I know it’s not energy? Easy. Repeat the experiment, only instead of touching your own hand, have a friend almost touch your hand. With your eyes open, you’ll feel tingly, but with your eyes closed, you’ll feel nothing. Why? Because when the almost-touch comes from someone else, you need to see it to trigger proprioception. If this really were energy, it wouldn’t be affected by sight. But it’s not.

Most of the things we tell beginners to do are like this. I’m thinking of all the classes and books and workshops where you focus on your elbow until it tingles, or that guide you to breathe deeply until your chest feels different. Sure, those reliably produce tingling, but that’s not because of energy, that’s because of how attention affects the brain and because of how increased oxygen feels.

Don’t get me wrong. Energy is a fairly important part of my model, and it can definitely make you feel tingles. I believe that the sensations most of you felt when you asked my ethereal software for an obvious connection were legit, caused by energy and connections. But, when we’re talking about ways to make non-mages feel energy, I want to be clear that most of the things we do for novices are in fact tricks based in neurology, not magick.

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Why Non-Mages Don’t Feel Energy

Monday, July 9th, 2012

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Now that my ethereal software is out, I have a few projects:

  • Write instructions so you know how to use it. This will happen as I write the books.
  • Add and debug more features, like magick to help you with enlightenment. I’m going to leave the ethereal software in beta until this is done, which will probably take until I complete my second book, which will probably be sometime in the second half of 2013.
  • Add the feature I couldn’t get into the beta: A tingling that even non-mages feel.

I’m going to do the projects in parallel. Writing instructions is a great task for when I’m magically exhausted, and most of the features I’d like to add, I can delegate. So, most of my time will be going to developing a connection that non-mages can feel, and I’m going to blog about it as I do it.

First, why bother? I have a few reasons:

  • Right now, the ethereal software very gently attacks you to make you notice it. Kind of like a kid getting your attention by poking you. This is not ideal, and several users have said that, while very noticeable, it’s not entirely pleasant. If I could instead cause physical sensations by directly influencing nerves, I could develop a much more pleasant signal for the ethereal software to use.
  • Second, I want to work with novices, who may not feel energy at all, even if it’s gently attacking them. And, while I don’t expect a tingle to convince hard-core skeptics, it will give a nice reassurance to most people, and it will also let me answer the question, “How do I know if I got the command right?” The answer will be: The tingle lets you know it’s working.
  • And third, I expect this research to lead to better techniques to affect nerves and the brain, such as better energy healing, communicating telepathically with non-mages, and so on. In other words, I’m not going to spend a month learning to make people feel tingling so I can make people feel tingling; I’m going to spend a month learning how magick interacts with nerves, apply that to making people feel tingling, and also apply it to other techniques.

I’ve already been thinking about how to do this research, but I want to start at the very beginning: Why do mages feel energy, but non-mages do not? To answer that, I need to tell you about the magickal anatomy of nerves.

The Magickal Anatomy of Nerves

In order to share my research, I need to tell you some of the details of my model. Normally, I try to walk you through how to find all the things I’m talking about, so you can experience everything yourself. But a lot of this stuff is fairly advanced, so I can’t bring you along in that way. For this series, you’re going to just have to trust me.

Now, here’s the model, which I’ve used to develop a bunch of useful and effective techniques:

Most tissue has one energy layer, with one set of paths from the cells to the energy, and with all the energy being in the same pool. There may be multiple signatures in that pool, but they all mix together.

Nerves have two separate pools of energy, each with its own set of paths to the actual cells. One pool, which I call the “nerve layer” or “physical layer,” reflects the overall state of the nerve: How it responds to hormones and neurotransmitters, which nerves it’s connected to, and so on. For healing techniques for inflamed tissue, pain, anger, or any other healing technique that will last longer then a few seconds, you want the nerve layer.

The other pool, I call the “thought layer.” It reflects the passing second-to-second state of the nerve, as it signals thoughts and sensations. If you want to communicate ideas or read minds, you want the thought layer.

Both nerve layer and thought layer are energy layers, and each of them has connections to the actual nerve cell. And this is the critical part: You don’t feel the energy. Instead, you feel the changes to your nerve cells that are caused by the energy.

We’re going to talk a lot about these different layers this week, so even if you don’t understand every detail right now, you’ll get more practice with them. For now, just remember there are two energy layers, and that neither of them does anything unless the change makes its way to the actual cell.

Why Mages Feel Energy & Non-Mages Don’t

I got training in this last week, some simply going to tell you the answer:

Everyone has some very thin connections between the thought layer and their cells, but experienced mages have some additional, much thicker paths*. It is those thicker paths that let a change in energy cause in a sensation in the cell. In non-mages, those thin paths only synchronize one-way: They make the thought layer reflect what their nerves are doing, but they don’t push changes from the thought into the nerve cells.

*A path is a bundle of connections.

Have you ever heard that only experienced mages can see spirits? Or that it takes practice to channel messages? This is the underlying mechanic: You need to develop these thicker paths before the spirits can communicate with you effectively. And you need to develop them before you can feel energy.

Do some non-mages feel some types of energy? Yes, they do. But they don’t feel the types of energy that most spirits work with, and frankly, it’s difficult to tease out how much of the tingling that novices feel comes from the energy, and how much of it is purely psychological, caused by focusing on their breathing and their body as they do the visualizations. Maybe people respond differently to energy applied to the nerve layer vs energy applied to the thought layer, though? That’s one of the things I’ll be testing coming up.

Right now, I don’t have the answers. I have some good questions, and some good things to explore, and writing this post helped me think of a few more. We’ll discuss some of those approaches later this week.

By the way, for anyone who feels like this is way too advanced: I’m also writing chapters from Part 2 of my book, discussing how to get started with magick, and how to use my ethereal software to awaken more of your mental muscles. You’ll get some of those beginner-friendly posts this week, too.

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