Awareness and sensitivity are probably the two most frequently discussed topics in psionics. And I suspect the most neglected and misunderstood. Often alluded to, assumed, vaguely referred to and assigned a myriad of different names that are relative, but just not quite precise enough. As happens with so many general terms, they have come to have a general understanding, lacking any concreteness or boundaries with so many subtle (or not) variations of definition that they become ineffective or not clearly understood in conversation and reading material.
Awareness and sensitivity, while closely related and usually interacting, are not the same thing. The terms are occasionally used interchangeably, leading to confusion. To be aware, is have knowledge of, or to recognize (to notice). To be Sensitive is to be affected by. You can be aware of something without being affected by it. You can be affected by something without being aware of the source, even react to stimuli without consciously realizing that you are. Most people experience a variable combination of both. What is normal? There is no real baseline measurement for that. Normal actually means “average”. Now there’s a moving target… When attempting to assess your awareness or sensitivity level, be mindful of the pool you pull that average from. An average derived from the general population will differ greatly from that derived from small group of practicing psions or magicians.
At some point (hopefully early), every practitioner must examine their awareness in depth to achieve consistent and sustainable success in their art. This contemplation is also valuable in personal confidence in skill/achievement. It’s not unusual to hear from novices “Well, I thought it was, but now I’m not sure.” With a little effort on your part, this can be reduced significantly, and false positive results (and self-delusion) minimized. The first step, is to acquire a grasp of the actual range of your physical senses. The physical senses are far more acute than they are usually credited for. We have learned throughout our lives to ignore much of what our senses tell us because it is not relative or necessary to the moment at hand. We all hear much more than our mind acknowledges the majority of the time. We can and do hear such things the hum of a refrigerator, a clock ticking, cars driving by outside, the heater/air conditions, the rustle of clothing and our own breathing and heartbeat. These things are the commonplace background noises of our live, familiar, somewhat constant, and not often important I our activities of the moment. This is selective hearing. The mind has chosen not to acknowledge these sounds. We usually become aware of them when level/combination of noise is different, such as late evening when the pattern changes, or like that faint whine indicating your computer drive is about to fail, or when we are startled into actively listening.
This selectivity occurs with all our senses. Our eyes gather much more information than the conscious mind acknowledges. We can feel the clothing touching our bodies. We feel the texture of whatever our hand happens to be touching. We can smell the lingering odor of car exhaust, household cleaners, the fabric softener in our clothes. We can taste saliva and sometimes the air we inhale. We usually don’t acknowledge these things consciously.
Spend a week or so, being mindful of your surroundings and sensations. Especially in the location where you usually practice. Pay close attention to just that, your attention. When chatting or practicing, we are contemplating input/output more than usual. Awareness being the subject at hand, it becomes our main focus, and naturally, we notice more than at other times. Spend some time becoming more familiar with your actual range of physical input. Is that background static really present/louder because you are psi active at the moment, or are you just now actually noticing it? Without familiarity of your actual physical sensory range, you will not be able to satisfy that question.
Sensitivity levels are not usually easy to determine. Sensitivity to anything can range from the feeling of a vague out-of-place emotion, to a sudden or increasing sound of static (like radio noise) in the physical or mental hearing, to a complete interruption in one’s train of thought. Any of these and many more can lead to noticeable reaction on your part. One can be physically affected by psi activity directly, but more often the case is that the psi input/output (mental), triggered the body into responding physically. In other words, your acknowledgement of the psi activity caused you to have a physical reaction. Registering contact, or concentrating heavily on practice, tends to cause many to tense facial muscles or the shoulders. Holding very still, which many fail to realize they are, can cause the body temperature to drop from lack of activity, or limbs become numb. Headaches are often reported. Psi activity does not hurt. Clenching the teeth, squinting, remaining in one position too long, crossing the legs, emotional response such as fear or anger, sleep deprivation and stress are the most likely culprits.
You can get a fair sense of how sensitive you are, by observing over a period of time, and comparing your current state with any changes, noting all the details you can. I would recommend keeping notes for a least a week. Note your physical condition and mental attitude. Throughout your practice or chatting, write down any changes, how significant (to what degree), and whether it may be from situations mentioned above, or personal emotional reaction to the environment of the moment. Some of your best notes may actually come from a conversation that you have little interest in, that is boring you. Your very lack of mental interest in it could make any reaction stand out more definitively, with less likelihood its an emotional reaction on your part.
While significant physical sensations directly related to psionics are infrequent, they do happen. This is usually because of expectation, or unconscious programming on the part of the individual. Occasionally it’s by choice. If you are focused on determining whether input/output of psi activity is occurring, your subconscious needs to find a way to communicate to your conscious when it does. The most frequent signs I know of, are mild tingling, a difference in the tone or volume of hearing, a sense of pressure somewhere on the head or chest, and light seeming to be brighter or dimmer, and fatigue. Studies have also shown that during practice, for unknown reasons, the body’s potassium and blood sugar levels may decrease. If you are tired, stop practicing.
One needs to be very careful in examining sensitivity. Expectation plays a large role in it. If you “expect” to feel tingles, and your practice partner says “sending”, your mind expects to feel something, and will very dutifully produce it for you. If you have told or trained your own subconscious that input equals tingling (or whatever else), as soon as you have the thought that there is activity, the subconscious will compute ‘its time to tingle’, whether there is truly any input occurring or not. I would personally discourage choosing physical sensation to indicate activity. Not only does it significantly heighten the possibility of many false impressions, but it could prove to be very uncomfortable in the long haul.
Obtaining a good baseline of what your awareness and sensitivity levels are, is beneficial in all stages of learning, but I especially recommend it for beginners. It will decrease your doubts, and increase your ability to determine your success in whatever you are practicing. It crosses all sections of psi activity, and is more than worth the relatively little time you spent examining it.
Practical exercises and recommended reading will be provided in another article, as will awareness as a state of mind to be manipulated.