Triggers, also called anchors, are the psionic equivalent of writing in shorthand. An arbitrary physical or mental gesture is associated with a specific psionic application until the gesture brings about the action. This concept is apparent in various fictional forms, including animes (think of the various poses used by characters for signature moves in the dragon ball series, for instance) and even Harry Potter (think of the specific flick Harry and company need to learn in order to cast a levitation spell). However you will also find the concept in much more mundane parts of your experience. No doubt there are actions have associated with an event or gesture, I’ve accidentally said “I love you” when ending a phone conversation more than once after only speaking to family on the phone for a few weeks, as an example. We are creatures of habit, and it is to our benefit to take advantage of this fact rather than trying to ignore or bury it.
In psionic practice there are various triggers that often develop without most people even realizing it. If you always assume the same posture when you gather energy, you will probably find that assuming that posture will start the process of gathering energy automatically. The same is true for creating a psiball or shield. Any relatively routine action that you have established a set protocol for will eventually become an automatic part of that protocol even if you are not going through some of the other steps you would normally go through (like intentionally shaping energy into a sphere).
To use a trigger you must first be fairly competent at the task you wish to associate. I will use the example of the psi ball as it is generally considered a basic staple of the beginning psion and most readers will have a fair to impeccable familiarity with them. I will first list the steps in brief then explain the process at length.
The steps I recommend are:
1) Determine what gesture you want to tie your psionic action to
2) Become familiar with both the psionic action ad the arbitrary gesture
3) Associate the gesture and the psionic action by performing them simultaneously
4) Repeat step 4 ad nauseam
First you must determine what gesture (mental or physical) you wish to use as a trigger, make certain you can perform it easily (don’t choose mentally reciting pi to the 10th decimal place if you have trouble remembering numbers). The gestures should be something easy, but not not something you would normally do. It is important to consider both that such a gesture ought to be unobtrusive and that it needs to be easily done in the circumstance in which you will need to perform your psionic action. Holding one’s hands a certain way, or thinking of a particular phrase as a mantra are very common triggers. Some people use a wide variety of triggers for different abilities. Many practitioners of psychokinesis hold their hands a certain way when manipulating objects, this too is a means of using triggers. Understand the ability does not derive from the trigger, rather one is building an association between them. It is entirely possible to create a psi ball or manipulate a psi-wheel without any physical or mental associations, however trigger help to speed the process, particularly when starting out.
Before committing to a gesture be sure you can comfortably and easily perform it. Practice it, even if it is relatively simple, until you have a degree of muscle memory dedicated to it. Make certain that your gesture can and will remain separate from your casual everyday actions. Snapping can be a good trigger, but if you snap often you must create a distinct snap to use as a gesture for your trigger, the same goes for any other gesture.
Once you have carefully chosen your arbitrary gesture, perform it while making your psi ball (or whichever task you wish to associate the trigger with). Try not to focus more on either the gesture or the making of the psi ball, rather treat them equally as two parts of one process. The two separate actions need to be considered one and the same by your subconscious mind, in order for a trigger to work as well as normally performing the action.
In order to firm the association, repeat this until there is a concrete association. Usually this means practicing the action with the trigger on a daily basis. Sometimes, especially if there is already a partial association with a different trigger, even more frequent practice is necessary when establishing the trigger. Once a trigger is established, though, they can remain stable with rare use (often around once a month, even less frequently if the trigger has been used for years). Once this stage is done, triggers save a lot of time.
It is worth considering that triggers sometimes hold one back when relied upon too heavily. If you only make psi balls when sitting a certain way you may subconsciously come to believe that you can only make psiballs when in that position. This is of course not the case. Anything that you can do with a trigger you can do without, so be sure to practice, every now and then, without using your triggers, to prevent building up these mental blocks. Triggers are useful shortcuts, but they are still shortcuts, be sure you can accomplish things the usual way, as well.