Posts Tagged ‘PersonalStory’

My Next Magick Project (My Work July 5-11)

Friday, July 11th, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

Every Friday, I discuss what I learned that week. Lost? Read the archives.

Last week, I reached a good stopping point. I’ve learned to create calm, focus, and other states in myself, and in others with some effort. It solves an everyday problem, so I can stop allocating practice time, and instead just use the technique as needed.

So, what’s next? I spent this week ruminating on that.

My first thought was manifesting. That would let me rest the ethereal muscles for working with the body, and instead focus on the muscles for communication. And I was working on manifesting earlier this year, trying to learn details for gambling and similar uses. It make sense.

But I’m not sure. I’m rather excited about sensations, and starting a research organization. I want to break for a month or two, not a year. I don’t know that manifesting will fit into that timeframe.

I could learn more about the fundamental skills for physical effects (like sensations and energy healing). When I train like that, I usually learn one new technique every 1-2 weeks, so there are plenty of good stopping points.

And I have a general principle: When in doubt, learn the fundamental skills. Because I don’t know what they’ll be useful for, but I know they’ll help with something worthwhile someday.

I talked with my mentors — both my current mentor and my previous one. They both agreed: Go with the fundamental skills, they’ll have the biggest impact on your long-term success.

So, that’s what’s next: A month or two of fundamental skills.

Also this week: I used the sensation technique to awaken myself and a friend who practices magick. On different days, we were just worn out — not enough sleep, too many errands, that sort of thing. It worked well — not perfectly, but a noticeable effect, certainly enough to be useful. I’m pretty happy.

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Talking to Skeptics

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I talked with a skeptic last night. He’s a friend and a reasonable guy, genuinely interested in connecting to me. It was a pleasant discussion, not an argument. Today, I want to share some things I figured out about talking to reasonable skeptics.

“I Don’t Know”

He asked about energy healing, and asked what mechanism I think it operates by.

I thought for a bit. Magickal terms weren’t what he was looking for — a discussion of ethereal software and energy signatures was the wrong entry point. He knows standard science, and he was looking for an explanation that connected energy healing to standard science.

I don’t know how to do that. So I told him, “I don’t know how it operates. This is too immature of a field to have the kinds of answers you’d expect from physics, medicine, or even psychology.”

I felt a bit sheepish admitting that. But it turned out to be just right. It surprised him, got him to pay attention. He didn’t poke holes in ideas about how it might work in the way that someone would attack a false “expert” explaining “the ways of the universe.” It was a really pleasant conversation.

How Many Joules?

With skeptics, call it chi rather than energy. He said that, whenever someone talks about energy, he wants to ask how many joules it has.

Discuss Proprioception

He asked about visualizations and tai chi, and we did an exercise that creates tingly feelings. The tingles were clearly proprioception and suggestion, not magickal energy.

I explained that people use the term chi to refer to a lot of different phenomenon, including proprioception, hypnotic suggestion, and also this other phenomenon that I’m interested in. Point being, just because someone else mistook proprioception for chi doesn’t mean we’re all making that mistake.

Keep in mind, your skeptic has probably run into energy healers making all sorts of inaccurate claims. Accepting this gives you credibility.

Don’t Try to Convince

At one point, my skeptic pressed me about ethereal structures. He pointed out that it’s very unlikely that there’s another form of matter that interacts with cells but not other materials. And he’s correct, it is unlikely. My reply: “These ideas originate with the things I’ve experienced. It’s not that I think it’s super likely that another form of matter exists. It’s just my best attempt to explain how these things might work.”

Another time, I explained that this needs to start as its own field, and mature a good deal before we can connect it to other fields like physics or medicine. This is a perfectly reasonable stance, takes the pressure off you to have all the answers.

At one point, I even said, “If I hadn’t had these personal experiences, I wouldn’t be studying this either.”

If you don’t try to convince them, they won’t feel such a need to convince you, either.

Skeptics Are Often Right

Many things called energy healing really are just suggestion. Many claims made by energy workers really are false. Some of these things really are unlikely. When skeptics say that, they’re correct. So agree with them. You’ll come off as reasonable and intelligent, and they’ll be more open to the ideas you actually do care about.

Got your own experiences and tips? Leave a comment.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Mental Health for Mages

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

We all need help sometimes. But finding a therapist can be hard when you practice magick. Will they dismiss your experiences? Lead you away from magick? Think you’re crazy?

We’re not the only community to have this problem. Homosexuality was a diagnosable mental illness until 1974. Kinky people today have difficulty finding therapists who won’t pathologize their sexuality. Friends have had bad experiences and stopped trusting therapists. Some of those friends have clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, and other serious problems, and went for years without help.

I’m seeing a therapist myself. Started when I left a deeply unhealthy relationship, so I wouldn’t over-burden the people around me. I kept going because it’s been helpful for my growth. I tell you this so you know I’m speaking from experience, and to help de-stigmatize therapy.

So, as a magick practitioner, how do you find a good therapist? I don’t have a solid answer here. But I do have a few thoughts.

(If anyone knows of mental health resources for mages, please share in the comments.)

Interviews

Good therapists will offer a free phone interview or first session. This is your time to see if they’re a match. I know it’s hard to talk about your magick, especially if that’s part of what’s causing you stress, but do not be shy. If you know you want a magick-friendly therapist, talk about magick. Remember, your therapist is a professional you hire. You get to ask questions and decide if you want to hire this one or find someone else.

Here are some questions you might want to try:

  • I practice alternative religions. Tell me what you know about shamanism / wicca. (These are the most mainstream forms of magick. Someone open to magick should know something about them, while they might not know about the Golden Dawn.)
  • If you were working with a patient who believed they were psychic, how would that factor into your diagnosis and treatment plan?
  • What is your opinion of patients who seek alternative therapy, such as Reiki or acupuncture, in addition to traditional western medicine?

The point is, don’t just ask, “Are you OK with magick?” Get a feel for how the person views the world, and how comfortable they are with these topics.

Present Magick Well

I used to be nervous when talking about magick, rush through it, confusing people. It came off poorly.

These days, when I first talk about magick, I don’t talk about magick. I talk about healing, and about exploring how energy affects cells. About how, if we could understand that and affect nerves more strongly and precisely, we might be able to help depression, epilepsy, paralysis, and a bunch of other serious problems. I’ve learned to talk about magick like a professional would talk about their research, and it dramatically changes the responses I get.

(I learned to do that by writing. You should start a blog, too.)

Before you tell your therapist, think about what you want to say. Practice, with a friend or on your own. Presentation matters.

Know Your Goals

Every week or so, I hear from readers with upsetting mystical experiences. They hear voices, see visions. They question their own sanity. And they’re terrified the therapist will think they’re crazy, too.

Your therapist’s job isn’t to tell you you’re crazy. It’s not to fix you. It’s to listen to your goals for personal growth and change, and help you achieve them. Unless you’re a danger to yourself or others, their job is to help you become who you want to be.

Is your goal to stop having visions? To continue having visions, but no longer be upset by them? To just figure out what’s going on? All of those are perfectly legitimate, and a good therapist will help you figure out what you want, then help you make that happen.

Fire Bad Therapists

What if your therapist won’t listen? You tell them your visions are inspiring, and they pathologize them. Or they insist that all healing is placebo, make you feel like you’re wasting your time studying magick. Or they otherwise try to make changes they want, instead of changes you want. What do you do?

Simple: Fire them. Your therapist works for you. If they aren’t helping, fire them.

Then, interview more therapists. Don’t let one bad experience with one bad therapist prevent you from getting the help you need.

Now, I live in San Francisco. If you live in a small town in a less open-minded part of the country, this might be harder. But many therapists offer phone sessions. If you don’t like the therapists in your town, hire one in San Francisco. Or Seattle. Or Portland. Or…

But please, get the help you need.

Got more ideas? Or an experience to share? Leave a comment.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

The Valley of Despair

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

It’s a term from tech startups. The valley of despair is when the initial excitement wears off and the founders realize how much work goes into creating a company. Many quit. Experienced folks write about the valley so newcomers know it’s normal and stand a better chance of working through it.

(It’s from other places too. The bible? Anyway, I know it from tech startups.)

Magick research has a valley of despair, too. If you create new techniques, you’ll hit a point where the initial excitement is gone, you realize how much work goes into understanding and building this stuff, and you’ll want to quit. And you’ll stand a better chance of working through it if you know you’re not alone.

I’m in the valley this week with my sensation research:

  • I’ve gotten my arms around the problem, and I see how big it is. These two often go hand in hand, by the way — It’s a good sign when you realize what’s involved in solving the problem, but that’s also the time it’s easiest to get overwhelmed.
  • I’m learning to control energy consciously. That’s another good and necessary step, but it means I’m feeling the effort of learning each new step, at the same time I’m seeing how many steps there are.
  • Sometimes I test a technique, manage to do all the steps right, and get better results than I’ve gotten with visualization. But often, I mess up one step and get no results. And about 1/3 of the time, I realize there are more steps than I thought, my list gets longer, and my valley gets deeper.

The valley will fill you with doubts. Is this project worth it? Am I even able to do it? What if magick isn’t real, and I’m just wasting all this time? Those thoughts are normal. They’ll pass once you get out of the valley.

There’s no secret to getting out. You simply work the problem, learn the techniques, keep going. Once one technique starts working — once you have something to show for your effort — you’ll find your way out.

Hopefully, knowing this is normal will help you keep going, too.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

A Week of Rest (My Work May 24-30)

Friday, May 30th, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This week, I rested again. Really, a combination of over-scheduling my social life — BBQ Monday, friend moving today, a few other items — and being a bit lazy. Mea culpa.

I’m sharing this for two reasons. First, I noticed, I took the last week of April off, too. I’m wondering if this is a pattern, resting every four weeks or so. These posts help me track my work.

Second, I used to stress when I’d take a week off. Feel like I wasn’t working hard enough. So, if that’s you, I’m hoping that seeing me take a week off will help you enjoy your weeks off, too.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Movie Heroes and Powerful Magick

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

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I saw Frozen recently. A Disney princess with ice magic creates castles and monsters and dangerous bolts of ice.

Idle thought: Look at how much that magic diverges from ordinary physics. It’s so powerful.

Except it isn’t powerful. Because anything powerful solves problems that matter.

Building castles from ice? We’re pretty good at building castles and apartments and skyscrapers. Firing dangerous projectiles? We’re pretty good at that, too. And creating monsters? Not actually useful.

You know what is useful? Energy healing a knee in chronic pain, to help people run and exercise and have a better quality of life. Or predicting future events, so you can invest in smart ways. Neither is hollywood-flashy. But both solve problems that are actually worth solving. That’s what power is.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

A Week of Rest (April 26 – May 2)

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

This week, asked some spirits about auras and ethereal muscles, but didn’t learn any new techniques. Mostly, I rested.

I considered skipping the “My Work This Week” post today. After all, there’s not much to post. But I think it’s important to see that not every week is about building new techniques and teasing apart problems. Some weeks are about resting, letting your thoughts wander around a problem, and letting your ethereal muscles recharge.

This week, I’d call spirits and notice that my communication-ethereal-muscles were tired. I noticed I was more internally-focused, instead of problem-solving-focused. And I let myself go there. And, coming off that week, it was good.

Next week, I’ll get back to creating sensations, and maybe explore manifesting some more, too.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Explaining Magick? Slow Down

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I get nervous explaining magick. Even to friends, even if they believe too, even after writing this blog for four years. I expect they’ll be bored, or they’ll trivialize my work as just another visualization, another arbitrary way to communicate intent to the unconscious. And so, I rush.

I rush through the model, defining terms rather than explaining the ideas behind them. I talk about one technique, rather than walking them through the overarching model and my reasons for using it. I try to finish quickly, rather than drawing them in so they want to explore the ideas with me.

Of course, rushing creates the exact problems I’m anticipating.

This week, I explained my current work to a friend. I made myself slow down. Explained ethereal muscles before discussing communication. Talked about referred sensations from imagination before discussing the tingles that come from energy. Stepped her through each idea while we had breakfast.

And she got it. She even offered to help me test some techniques.

One more note: Last Friday, I wrote about my work that week. So I’d already organized my thoughts. That helped immensely, and I’m going to do that every week from now on.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

It Was Never Easy

Monday, December 16th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

“I just wish learning magick was easy, like it used to be.”

I’ve daydreamed that a few times this month, remembering days when I just practiced communication and did healing sessions around hurt knees. Things I can do easily now. Those days were good.

Except those memories are lies. Those days were just as hard as these days. Just as exhausting. Sure, if I faced those problems today, they would be easy. But that’s only because I’ve already solved them. The first time around, they were just as hard as today.

If I try to think back to a time when magick really was easy, I can’t find it. Maybe in my teens, before I really tested my results? Maybe? But if hard days are the price of getting actual results, (and they are), I’m glad to pay it.

That longing is the urge to avoid challenges, to do what used to be hard instead of what’s currently hard. It’s anti-growth. And recognizing it for what it is helps me do the hard work today.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

Manifesting for Career Decisions

Monday, September 9th, 2013

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

Last week, a job offer fell into my lap. I did manifesting, asking about the job vs my current path vs some other options. Then I did it again, with spirits helping me, and got the same answers each time. But I was asking the wrong questions, and the accurate (I assume) data was leading me to the wrong choice. Here’s what happened, what went wrong, and how I fixed it.

Thursday morning, I got a call from a computer consulting firm. They knew me by reputation, and wanted me full time for a year or more, flying to their client every Monday, home every Thursday. Not as brutal as some consulting schedules, but not easy. But I’m in a slow period, steady work is nice, and 3 days a week at home isn’t bad. I was interested.

I started manifesting right after that call. Questions: Tell me what will happen if I take the job. Tell me what will happen if I keep doing what I’m doing.

Answers (summarized): Your life will be about the same, but if you don’t take the job, you’ll be worried about money, about not having enough work. So take the job. Also, make sure to push for a high salary, at the top range of your standard consulting ask. (Note: I don’t actually make what I ask, no one does, it’s just how you negotiate rates.)

I said OK, and manifested for success on the recommended path. (The command: “Make me successful on that recommended path.”)

An hour later, I was talking with their HR rep, negotiating salary. Their offer was good, she was friendly, I felt awkward asking for more. But manifesting had said, so I asked for an additional $40k, because if you’re going to ask, might as well ask big, right? With very little fuss, we settled on $30k over their initial offer. Score one for manifesting.

But the question remained: Did I actually want the job? Time for more thorough manifesting. I asked about this job vs the freelance work I’d been doing. I asked about a potential job with another former colleague, and about starting a business developing healing techniques. I did some of the manifesting myself, then checked with some spirits I know, and got the same info both times: Take the job, save up, then use that money to start the healing business in 1-2 years.

My normal decision was in alignment with my manifesting: Maybe not the perfect job — I wasn’t wild about the travel — but a good rate, reasonably interesting work, and a steady paycheck. I’ve had worse years.

But I forgot to ask something. Any guesses? It took me a couple of days and a friend prompting me, so don’t feel bad if it hasn’t jumped out at you.

The missing question: What about other jobs in San Francisco? I never asked the broad question to catch all the other paths I might take. Which probably has to do with my relative inexperience with manifesting — I needed this experience (and maybe a few more like it, since I’m a slow learner sometimes) to build up the reflex of asking broad questions like that.

When I did, both manifesting and my ordinary logic agreed: A local job is the best option, if I want a job. So that’s the plan: Keep doing what I’m doing until I’m bored, then get a normal job in San Francisco. And when I do manifesting, make sure to ask broad questions, otherwise accurate data can lead to poor decisions.
Do you have a similar experience? Share it in the comments.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.