When developing any skill, it's important to have some way of measuring how well you're doing. If you rely on your own sense of how good you are, usually it's really skewed (and most of the time you don't give yourself enough credit). For example, sometimes when I go jogging I feel like shit, but at the end of the run it turns out I ran a faster time than before. My own sense told me I did terrible, but in reality I was improving.
With psionic skills it's trickier to verify and measure them. If you can take a step back, and just think about what you're doing, it's not that hard to find tests and ways to measure it though - it just requires a little bit of creativity sometimes .
One of the most common questions we receive is, "I just tried to make a psi ball, and I'm not sure if I made one. How can I tell?" The first sign that you've made a psi ball is that you can feel it in your hands. Usually a tingle or magnetic feeling, or you can feel some heat or coolness. For some people, that's all they need to convince themselves that they've made a psi ball. But c'mon now, is that really a reliable way to measure and verify it? It's a good first sign, but if you want to get serious, you'll need some extra tests to see what's going on.
When I first started making psi balls, I would feel hotness between my hands. I immediately thought, "Ok, that's cool, but it's probably just in my head." The first test I performed was seeing if my mom could feel it. She had never practiced anything psychic before, but she said she could feel it in my hands. It's a simple idea, but for some reason people overlook it: if you experience something weird, see if others experience the same thing. If they do, it's a good sign that you aren't crazy (or at least, you aren't the ONLY crazy person :P).
After a while, my parents started looking at me strange when I asked them to feel the invisible ball in my hands :P. Since I felt hotness, I figured I would try making a digital thermometer we had heat up. That's an easy way to measure how hot something is - a thermometer (duh :P). I first surrounded my hands around the thermometer and made the temperature rise. Once my dad saw that, he said it might just be from the heat coming off my hands - so my new solution was to make the psi ball across the room, and throw it on the thermometer. When I first started doing it, it would raise the thermometer a tenth of a degree. After a week or so of practice, I could raise it two tenths at once.
Since psi balls are the most common skill people want to verify, I'll expand on some more ideas that you can try.
If you are good enough to make different kinds of psi balls, then you can find new ways to verify them. People in the chat room like to play a game called "Pass the Construct". You create a construct with a random shape and texture, then pass it to someone else and see if they can feel the same shape and texture. This can be done over the internet, and is actually fun :) . For example, you can make a list of four shapes, and four textures. Cube, Sphere, Pyramid, Cylinder; Hot, Cold, Tingle, Sticky. Create a random construct (like a sticky pyramid), then send it to your partner. Probability says you should get one in 16 correct from random guessing - so if you can do better than that, it's a good sign you are doing everything correctly.
You can create tons of games in this manor to test your skills. Be aware though - if you aren't getting them, it could be for a lot of reasons. Perhaps you aren't creating the construct strong enough, perhaps you are missing when you throw it at them, perhaps the person receiving them is screwing it up somehow... There are a lot of rooms for mistakes. If you practice regularly with the same group of friends, you should start to notice more hits.
For the really curious, you can keep track of how good you do in a journal to see how much you are improving over time. Do the thermometer test and see how much higher you can raise the temperature, then do a series of 20 "Pass the Construct" and record how much you got right. Do this every day for a month, and see how much you've improved.
Psi balls and constructs are pretty easy to test since they're so limitless on what they can do. Shielding is a little more difficult though because they are created with a specific purpose.
After you practice and verify constructs for a while, you start to get a "feel" for them. You can use this same "feel" to verify your shields (which is what most psions do). It's very practical and doesn't take long once you get the hang of it. But what if you haven't developed this feel? Or perhaps you're just curious as to how good your shields really are?
One way I use to see if my shields are up is to just stick my hand straight out and see if I can feel them. Just like how you can feel your psi balls in your hand, you can usually feel your shield around your body. If you're not afraid of a few strange looks, you can even ask random people to see if they can feel them too.
The only real way to test to see if the programming is correct is to test it out with a partner. For example, if you were trying to make a Mirror Shield (something that reflects constructs), you'll have to get a buddy to toss a construct at you and see if the shield actually reflects it.
Don't be afraid to be creative though - you don't have to shield yourself. Try shielding a wall with a Mirror Shield, then toss a construct at it when you're done, and see if it bounces back and hits you. Don't hurt yourself, but have some fun too :) .
Another common way to test a shield is to have a friend scan you and see if they can read the programming. This makes for another fun game you can do over the internet - create a random shield, and see if your friend can read it correctly. If they can, you have just verified both your shield making skills, and their scanning ability :) . Just like "Pass the Construct", create a list of ten or so random shields. If you have a list of ten shields, they should get it right once out of ten tries according to chance - try and see if you can get it right five or more times.
If you ask around, a lot of people have had strange experiences where they've predicted an event, or had a dream that came true. While these individual experiences are freaky, if you decide to try and practice them regularly, you'll need a way to measure how you're doing.
With precognitive dreams, I highly recommend keeping a journal of when you had the dream, what was in the dream, and what you think the dream meant. What does the dream predict? Write it all down right after you had the dream. If something in the future happens that reminds you of the dream, check out your journal and see what you wrote. You might notice some symbolism you wouldn't have remembered otherwise, and that can help you to decipher future dreams.
It's always a good idea to write down all your predictions and see which ones actually come true. Sometimes people have hundreds of predictions, then when ONE comes true they claim themselves a prophet - but think about it. If you predict things left and right, chances are one of them are going to come true sooner or later. If you write it all down, it can force you to be honest with yourself. Are you really predicting events, or are you just remembering the things you got right? On the other hand, perhaps you are predicting more than you thought.
You can also play statistical games with precognition too. For example, pick a random event that happens every day. Rainsong once suggested predicting what e-mails you would get the next day. Or if you get a lot of phone calls, try to predict who will call at what time. Inspect your life and look for opportunities to predict events, and then record your results.
The way OBEs are described, it seems like it would be easy to verify them, but in reality it's actually very hard (but not impossible :P ). If you can float around outside your body... you could pass all sorts of tests. Charles Tart had an easy test - stick a five-digit number out of sight, and have the person leave their body and read the number. "Miss Z" did this successfully in 1968. (See this article, or search Google).
Other tests include visiting friends and watching what they do (with their permission!), then later ask them if you were correct. Robert Monroe reported pinching someone while out of body, then later asking the person if she felt anything. She not only felt something at that time, but also had a large bruise to prove it (in the same spot he pinched). (See "Journeys Out of the Body", by Robert Monroe).
In the same book, Monroe reported feeling objects under his floorboards; if you wanted to test yourself, have a friend seal a random object in a box. Then leave your body, stick your hand through it, and see if you can guess the object based on how it feels.
It's pretty easy to verify if you're doing psychokinesis or not - if you are trying to move an object, and the object moves, you did it! Right?
For larger objects that's true, but one common exercise that falls under scrutiny is the pinwheel. It's so sensitive to random disturbances that it's not always clear whether you are moving it, or something else is.
The first thing you need to do before you even start a practice session is to check for the obvious disturbances. Are the windows open? Is the AC on? Does your desk shake when a big truck goes by outside? If someone walks by far away, could it cause your pinwheel to move? Do a thorough investigation of your environment and make sure you know what's going on. The last thing you want to do is correctly move the pinwheel, but not be sure of it because you didn't check things out before you started.
Some people put containers over their pinwheel to reduce disturbances. I personally spend about 10 minutes prior to practicing just seeing what effects my pinwheel, and what doesn't. If I adjust my body too quickly, it causes wind... so I have to be aware of how much I'm moving my body while practicing. Usually I stick my shirt over my mouth and nose so I don't breathe on it.
You can't remove all disturbances, but you can minimize them quite a bit. Spend some time on removing as many as you can.
Even after you safeguard everything, it's still possible for the pinwheel to move on it's own. Random things happen that you can't protect against, and you might not even be aware of what's going on. But that doesn't mean it's hopeless! There are still ways to make sure YOU are the one moving the pinwheel.
If you can control the pinwheel, try spinning it in random directions, and stopping it abruptly. For example, say before you start that you're going to spin it clockwise for 30 seconds, stop it for 10 seconds, then spin it counter-clockwise for 30 more seconds. If you actually pull it off, then it's very unlikely random disturbances moved the pinwheel the same way you wanted it to move.
It's important to test your skills to make sure you are actually doing something psionic. Once you can prove it to yourself, it makes practicing a lot easier and more fun. It's also very satisfying to see how you've progressed over time. If you have some strange skill, find a way to test it! Find a way to measure it and be creative.
- Sean (aka Peebrain)