3 Learning to use psychic techniques

The material in this section forms two distinct sections. The first consists of background information on the brain, the mind and the nature of consciousness. If you follow the instructions closely, you'll develop the ability to manifest psychic experiences at will, including goal setting and achievement, telepathy, psychokinesis, clairvoyance and precognition.

The Brain, the Mind and Consciousness

A question which often arises when people begin to develop their psychic ability is: 'How do psychic events relate to our everyday consciousness?' To answer this, we need to consider the activity of the human brain and mind. We all intuitively realize that psychic events do not 'just happen'. Occasionally, of course, we spontaneously experience telepathy, or have a flash of insight that turns out to have been precognitive.

Generally, however, such events are rare; they tend to occur only under unusual circumstances: when we are relaxed and daydreaming, for example, or perhaps when we are under a great deal of stress. Oddly enough, it is this observation which provides a clue to the nature of psychic experience. Psychic events tend not to occur during our normal, everyday, waking consciousness, but in special states of consciousness.

Let us digress here and consider what is meant by consciousness. It can be defined as 'that property of the mind which enables us to feel, perceive and think'; in other words, to be aware. Aware of what? you may ask. Well, aware of the world around us. Aware, also, of our own existence. And, indeed, aware of our own consciousness.

Obviously this last statement is at one level tautological. Yet it sums up the problem precisely: how can we use our conscious thinking ability to analyse our own consciousness? Many of the philosophers and scientists who have approached this problem have begun by debating whether brain and mind are separate realities, whether mind is an illusion, or whether mind is a by-product of the brain's activity. For the time being the observation central to our discussion is this: the mind can work on several levels, and its activity is closely linked to that of the brain. Let us consider these points in greater detail.

When a person thinks or dreams, or even when just asleep, the brain is active. We know this because electrical impulses in the nerve cells of the brain produce a very small but quite distinctive pattern of electrical activity on the scalp and forehead.

This activity can be measured on an electroencephalogram, or EEG. The EEG has shown that the electrical activity of the brain varies according to what we are doing. For example, during everyday life, particularly when the mind is directed to some problem or when anxiety and tension creep up on one, there are waves of electrical activity running from the back of the head to the front at anything between fourteen and twenty-two cycles per second. These are called beta waves. Other well defined frequencies of brain waves include alpha, theta and delta.

Alpha waves are those with a frequency of between fourteen and seven cycles per second. They are common during moments of peace and calm, and during certain phases of dreaming and sleep. Theta waves extend down from seven to four cycles per second and occur in most people during sleep and briefly in the daytime when problems result in strong emotions or frustration. They are also associated with very creative periods. Finally there are delta waves, which need not concern us here because they occur only during the unconscious periods of deep sleep.

Thus it is clear that, at least to a certain extent, brain wave activity changes according to the activity of the mind - in both consciousness and the unconsciousness of deep sleep. This is a key point in our discussion. Rather than try to define a specific state of consciousness in which psychic work can take place, we must turn to an analysis of brain wave activity and see if we can pinpoint any feature which is characteristic of psychic work. In fact, the changes in brain activity during psychic work are well documented.

The Russians were amongst the first researchers in this field. In March 1967 one of their research groups was conducting a test of telepathic communication between two men: Karl Nikolaiev in Leningrad, and Yuri Kamensky in Moscow. Nikolaiev was the receiver, Kamensky the transmitter. Both men were wired up to EEG recorders. The researchers noticed that when Nikolaiev indicated he was ready to receive impressions, his brain was producing regular alpha wave activity. They described his associated mental state as 'relaxed but attentive'.

A similar pattern of brain and mind activity was observed in Kamensky when he began transmitting. The most successful subjects of the experiments of Rhine, Moss and other research scientists also displayed alpha waves; the effect is, in fact, a, general one which is seen in all kinds of psychic work. (There is some evidence, mainly from research on Nelya Mikhailova, that PK and perhaps one type of psychic healing involve the production of theta waves.

All in all, then, the evidence points to one inescapable conclusion: psychic work takes place in a state of mind, or consciousness, characterized by brain wave activity of a frequency lower than normal. This conclusion raises an interesting question: are brain waves of the alpha frequency the cause of, or merely the result of, a particular state of mind?

There is no clear answer to this question, but it is much more likely that externally measured brain waves are nothing more than a sign of underlying physiological mechanisms. In the words of Lyall Watson, 'It seems certain that both telepathy and psychokinesis occur only under certain psychological conditions and that these are the ones marked by production of a particular frequency.' In other words, by learning to develop a state of mind in which alpha wave frequencies are dominant, you can develop your psychic ability.

Here is an extract from the writings of the pioneer psychologist William James:

... our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.

The 'potential form of consciousness' with which we are presently concerned is the state of mind associated with the production of alpha waves by the brain. This is difficult to describe to someone who has not experienced it. Phrases like 'controlled awareness', 'concentrated passivity' and 'relaxed attentiveness' do not convey the true meaning. The most obvious characteristic of this alpha level is that both mind and body are relaxed: tension produces beta waves, which disrupt the alpha needed for psychic work. Equally obvious is the fact that analytical and calculating thought disrupt alpha and produce beta. But despite this, it is possible to think at the alpha level if one reduces the conscious effort involved to a minimum. This is necessary for two reasons. First, the conscious mind is associated with sensory input and stimulation from the physical world, where ESP is a rare event.

But, more fundamentally, the psychic sense - the part of the mind which receives and transmits information psychically - is normally beyond conscious awareness: it is subconscious. We only become aware of it, or at least make an approach to it, when we lessen the activity of the conscious mind to a minimum. Information can then pass into our awareness with very little disruption (although the problem of primary process distortion remains). At first, all of this seems like mere conjecture. However, it is correct. We know this because the use of a tool such as the dowsing rod, to display psychically received information, bypasses the conscious mind entirely - and the results, at least for a beginner, tend to be much more accurate.

To sum up what I have been saying: the development of the alpha state can provide a key to unlock the door to the psychic world. How are we to do this, though? Some people - perhaps ten per cent of the population - seem to spend most of their time in alpha naturally. (It is very likely that the successful subjects of the experiments described in the chapter on telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition all fall into this ten per cent.) Another group of people who show great development of the alpha state are practitioners of meditative disciplines such as Zen Buddhism and yoga.

Not only can they slow their brain wave frequency down from everyday beta into alpha or even theta, but they can also maintain production of alpha for long periods. However, it takes months, if not years, to learn alpha production with these techniques. Moreover, as is well known, the devotees of these arts often withdraw from society to practise their skills. No matter how much we might like to do this, it is just not practical.

It is sometimes suggested that alpha is generated whenever a person shuts his eyes. Indeed, there are people who can practise telepathy and the other psychic skills discussed in this book just by closing their eyes and directing their mind to whatever they wish to achieve. However, for most people, shutting the eyes is not enough.

This is because the great majority of people are too emotionally and physically tense (even with their eyes shut) to enable psychic impressions to pass from their subconscious to their conscious. Or, more specifically, the conscious mind is too .alive with stress and worry to notice the subtle psychic impressions received by the subconscious. So alpha produced by the simple act of shutting the eyes remains 'scrambled' by everyday beta. To produce prolonged, pure alpha is a different matter altogether.

When one is physically relaxed in alpha, one tends to feel very calm and peaceful. Indeed, there are many real benefits associated with alpha. For example, the breathing rate slows down from the normal twelve breaths per minute to about six breaths per minute. The depth of each breath is also reduced. The heart rate, too, slows down. The implication of this is that the body is using less oxygen. Since oxygen consumption is a Measure of the metabolic rate, the metabolism of the body must be slowing down. This happens because the anxiety and stress which make us all excited and overactive during normal life are cut out, thereby allowing a state of deep rest to develop.

There are various systems available for training oneself to function in alpha. One such system which is widely available at the time of writing is the Silva Method. This comes highly recommended for its ease of use and the rapid way in which you can get in touch with your powerful psychic, sensory abilities and the remarkable way you can function with mind at the alpha level.

Boosting one's alpha wave production during short periods of the day, so that the effects carry over into the remainder of the day's activities and thereby lower stress and tension. It is a useful way of controlling one's own mind and it has gained great popularity because of its effectiveness. One of the interesting things about Silva is that it acts, quite independently, as confirmation of the importance of alpha in psychic work.

The research which was the foundation of Silva began in the 1950s when Jose Silva, a Mexican-American who owned an electronics business, but had no formal education, taught his children to relax in such a way that with vivid mental visualization they could learn much more effectively. What he was in fact doing, as we now realize, was training his children to go to a deeper level of mind corresponding with the alpha wave frequency. The most astounding thing happened on one occasion when his daughter was being questioned about her schoolwork: she answered a question before it had been asked - while it was only a thought in Josť Silva's mind, in fact. Clearly the training to go to alpha level had in some way led to the ability to experience telepathy. Over the next thirteen years, he developed a simple, practical course which, in three days, can train anyone to develop alpha. The point is that everyone can learn to produce alpha waves and the particular state of mind associated with them. As Jose Silva wrote in his book The Silva Mind Control Method:

At the alpha level ... you cannot bring your feelings of guilt and anger with you. If these feelings intrude, you will simply pop out of the level. As time goes on, they stay away for longer, until one day they are gone for good. This means that those activities of the mind that make the body sick will be neutralized. This is the first step in mind control, and by itself it will go a long way towards setting free the body's healing powers and giving it back the energy squandered on tension.

The Silva Method will allow you to use the alpha state to actually make a goal into a reality (such as obtaining a new job, moving home, making money, making better relationships, even healing serious illnesses); experience telepathy; employ distant healing and diagnosis; develop speed learning; use dreams to solve problems; and make events occur just as you need them.

By the way, you may wonder why people do not remain in alpha naturally, since this state is apparently so useful. The answer is simple. Alpha wave production starts in the creative part of the brain, a part which is overwhelmed by the emotional and reasoning part in the majority of people. As we have seen, emotions and reasoning in everyday life are conscious activities which elicit beta waves, and these swamp alpha (and theta). Training the creative side of the brain to be more active in producing alpha and theta waves does not stop the emotional and reasoning part working, but it does reduce its dominance.

How to Develop Your Psychic Ability

Practising the exercises described below for two fifteen-minute periods twice a day for about two to four weeks is enough to give you the ability to develop the correct state of mind for psychic work whenever you want. You will also learn the trigger technique which is useful for psychic work during the day.

An easy and simple introduction to psychic techniques - Learning to relax and visualize

Remember - this is the key to ESP, psychic healing, problem solving, and a whole lot more. The results are well worth the time and effort involved. Choose times when you are free from pressures. Whenever you choose, you will need two periods of about fifteen minutes, one in the morning and one in the evening. Here is what you will do.

1. Sit down comfortably on a soft chair with your back vertical and well supported. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor with your knees slightly apart. The angle between the. upper and lower parts of your legs at the knee should be as near ninety degrees as possible. Your feet should point forward, although they may be slightly apart. Although a headrest is not essential, as it is quite easy to balance the head in an upright position, if you do find that your head flops on one side when you relax then it may help.

Overall, the idea is to find a position where the body muscles can completely relax and are free from any tension. To ensure that this is so, you will need to ensure that you are not wearing any tight clothing. Some people try the exercise when lying down full length on a bed; there is no basic objection to this approach, but the association of bed, relaxation and sleep may make you fall asleep, which is of no help whatsoever!

2. Close your eyes. The room should be a reasonable temperature. There should not be any distracting lights shining into your face when you try the exercise.

3. Test the tension in your body by checking each area in turn. Roll your head from side to side and concentrate on the muscular tension. You will probably find that you become aware of tightness which you previously did not know about. Relax these muscles. Do the same for your face, shoulders, arms and legs by consciously 'feeling' them in your mind. You will probably be astonished at the tension you have built up, particularly if this is the first time you have tried it.

4. Say to yourself mentally, 'I am very peaceful'. Picture yourself, perhaps, lying full length on a sun-soaked beach with the waves breaking leisurely on the sand. Whatever image you use, the mental phrase is 'I am very peaceful'. (Do not be too upset if you find your mind wandering. When you realize what is happening, repeat three times: 'Not now. At this time, I am very peaceful.' After practising you'll find that your mind will remain on your relaxation.)

5. When you have quietened mental activity by a conscious thought of peace and quiet, you can begin to relax each part of your body in turn. The feeling associated with complete relaxation will be heaviness, or a sense of losing touch with your body, or even lightness. This is caused by a complete loss of muscle tension. Go through each part of your body in turn and say, 'My right (or left) hand is getting heavy'; 'My forearm is getting heavy'; 'My upper arm is getting heavy'; 'My chest and back are getting heavy'; and so on, for each part of your body in turn.

6. The final phase of relaxation is to ensure that your abdomen is relaxed. This is done by repeating mentally, 'Right in my middle, down there, is pleasantly warm.'

Next, you can create your alpha state by visualization. Most people find it easy to create a vivid mental image or picture after only a little practice. It is this procedure which stimulates the production of alpha in the brain. Silva teaches its students to imagine a mental screen onto which all their visualization is projected. The screen is imagined to be some distance away from the body. This is done while sitting upright with the eyes turned upwards (behind closed lids) at an angle of twenty degrees to the horizontal. (If you were lying down, the screen and body would take the same relative positions.) Other authorities on visualization, however, do not suggest the use of a mental screen: they claim that simply forming a vivid mental image or picture is sufficient. What is best for you is probably what you are most comfortable with.

7. Once you are happy with your procedure for visualization, create the following images (eyes closed, remember):

(a) Any brightly coloured object such as an orange or lemon.

The discovery of one particular colour which you can perceive most vividly is the goal. Basically, the exercise enables you to think creatively, a process with which we have very often lost touch these days. Note '... if you find the first exercise easy, the others will be no problem. So ensure that you have achieved it before moving on. Avoid thinking about what you are doing; the time to assess any experience is after you have finished.

(b) Try to visualize yourself walking around the object. Touch it, feel it and look at the texture. The more vivid your imagery, the better. You will be able to use this procedure for solving problems and more practice now will aid you later on.

(c) Visualize another person or a scene for which you feel some particular affinity. There will be some inner experiences and reactions. Try to remember these, but do not analyse them yet.

(d) Count down from five to one. Each number might form the image of a solid object on your mental screen. Be satisfied that you have a genuine perception of a number before counting downwards. This can take anything from ten seconds to three minutes. Each time that you do count down breathe out deeply.

(When you come to do this, you may find that your breathing has been regular and shallow. This is a sign of deep rest of the body.)

Breathing deeply while you count down will do two things: first, it will send the body to a deeper state of rest, which is good because it is easier to lose awareness of the body when it is relaxed; second, it will set up an association between the five deep breaths and your brain activity, so that the five deep breaths come to act as a trigger which lowers your brain activity towards alpha levels. The most important thing is to keep your conscious mind active but controlled - this is the state of controlled awareness which we shall encounter many times in psychic work. Try going deeper by counting from fifty or one hundred to one. You may be able to feel the deepening of your state of mind. Practise visualization.

8. After a time, when you are happy with your achievements, come back to normal levels of mind by repeating these phrases mentally: 'I will feel much, much better each time I go down to the alpha level and I will keep control of the images I create. I am now coming back up to normal levels of mind by counting from one to ten. As I do so, I will have no headache or feeling of discomfort of any kind. I want to open my eyes, and I will be able to open my eyes, wide bright and clear.' Count slowly from one to ten. Do not rush it!

As you come back to a normal level of mind, notice how awareness of your body gradually returns. If you are still deep by the count of five, gently move your arms. Flex them, clench the hands and stretch the arms upwards. Then breathe out deeply and enjoy the feelings of stretching each part of the body. When you reach ten, stand up slowly and open your eyes. You may find that it takes a little while to come back to normal awareness, so do not immediately jump off the chair and rush about. Take your time.

Using the exercise for psychic work

The enjoyable feelings of relaxation will help you to recover from the stresses of the day. However, the exercise does more than that. The gradual development of mental imagery is aided by the relaxation to the point where you function in alpha. You will know that you have achieved this when you can relax quickly and control your visualization. For most people, this takes about four weeks. And then you are ready to try psychic work! There are two ways you can do this:

1. By using two fifteen-minute periods of visualization each day to achieve some objective (healing, ESP, obtaining your goals and desires, problem solving, or indeed anything you wish to try). Full details of the methods of these techniques are included in the relevant chapters.

2. By using the five deep breaths to trigger an alpha state which you can use at any time of the day for ESP, dowsing, divination, PK and other techniques.

The effectiveness of the five deep breaths as a trigger depends upon its continued association with the alpha state. So go through the full relaxation and visualization exercise fairly regularly - at least once a day - even if you are not using it for healing or some other specific objective. If you do not have a special objective, simply go through the full. exercise and mentally repeat statements like: 'I am relaxing completely and all stress and tension is going away completely.' At some point during this exercise, make sure you count down from five to one, breathing out each time you repeat a number.

Many books claim that it is impossible to stay in alpha with your eyes open. This is quite wrong. For one thing, we have seen that ten per cent of population spend a great deal of their time in alpha naturally. And secondly, scientific research has shown that people m practise Buddhism, meditation, The Silva Method, or visualization all develop prolonged alpha during the day. Of course it all takes time.

You may find you can work psychically with the eyes open. Whether or not you can do this depends upon both you and the technique are using. With some techniques - divination and dowsing, example - you have to keep your eyes open. The key to success here is being in alpha and being able to direct your attention inwards while forming a suitable mental image or question directed towards what you wish to achieve. Other techniques such as healing are best done with the eyes closed. Details can be found in the relevant section of this website.

This is not to suggest that every psychic technique depends on visualization. For example, divining or dowsing with the I Ching is conducted while you think of the question you want answered.

In later sections of the website we examine how you try many psychic techniques, from dowsing through to telepathy.