There are many systems designed to teach you how to apply energy work and understanding to your rituals. Some learn better through stories, some through example, some through practical hands on application of their craft. Rarely, there are those that intuit their process, and it works just fine for them without ever trying or practicing. I am not one of those.
I had to develop my own system of energy work, and without going into too many boring details of how to apply visualization and programming to energy constructs, I would like to at least start off by explaining a bit about the baseline assumptions made about energy work.
First, that it is malleable. This is a base assumption of most of the magical community. I saw it is an assumption, because while we can prove that energy in fact exists, and we can direct it to a degree, there is hardly any empirical evidence to prove that humans are capable of consciously changing the direction or nature of raw forces. I say this to play devil’s advocate, in some ways– but to also make sure we are all on the same page. The only reason that magic works is because we are changing how we perceive and interact with the objective universe by filtering it through our subjective perception matrix. The human consiouness is also known to catagorize information based on pre-conceived notions of survival. If you want to believe that something is not a threat to you, then you will see it as harmless (a fact that nature takes advantage of by programming us to see baby creatures as “adorable” and thus harmless), and this same shifted perception can work against us. Just be aware.
Another assumption that some make in the magical community is that there is a “source” or “well” of energy. Regardless of your own cosmological structure, you should be well aware of the conventions that rule your order of the universe, and know that not every one will use the same concepts as you to perceive their universe. When having discussions I see this all the time, where instead of talking about the similarities of cultures, or comparing their ideologies, people argue over the semantics that govern the differences in their spiritual practices. Remember the Golden Rule– Don’t be a dick. As long as you keep this one in mind, and stop the petty pedagogical pissing contest, we can all have a good conversation. ;)
While there are many systems of training, there are some people that argue “all spirituality is the same, it leads to the same destination.” I hate to piss in your cheerios, but this is simply not true. The concepts of enlightenment are not a concept most people practicing a spiritual path seem to care about. In fact, some are using their spirituality to simply be better people, others to be successful in business, even others to honor their ancestors, and every paradigm has different customs and assumptions of what is important and how to act as a “good person.” It is ridiculous to assume, with all of the different types of people and paths along our own journeys, that we really have anything in common other than our human nature (which some will even contend that point, so you see what I mean?). If you are having a spiritual conversation, see point two on the clarification of things, state your own understanding, and allow others to do the same. Then, using your critical thinking skills (cue: scary dramatic music) to asses the similarities and disparities, and use that as a starting point.
Now that I have done all that explaining, allow me to divulge my big secret to personal energy work, and it’s success. I just focus. Confused? Allow me to extrapolate.
Focus is an acronym. It stand for Free, Order, Concentrate, Understand, and Sense.
This simple tool is how I remember all my necessary steps. First, to free the mind. Breathe, allow yourself to relax, and stop the worry or unnecessary tension. Then, order your thoughts, and while relaxed begin to move on to step three. COncentrate on your goal, being at this point to build your tension, and as you concentrate on what needs to be accomplished, move to step four. Understand how energy works (in your perception). For me, Energy follows Will, which is navigated by Thought and Emotion. Move the will, and the energy will follow. Understand that this process is automatic, and allow it to work for itself. The final step, to sense, is to make sure you are still in a good place. Sense yourself, make sure you are grounded, calm, and conscious.
With this simple process, I complete most all of the complex constructs of my meditations, rituals, and even interpersonal interactions. I also use this during my classes, study sessions, and conversations, to make sure that my emotional reactions are justified and moderated.
I hope this clarifies a few things, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.