Have you ever learned an energy technique, and wondered if it really moved chi, or if it was more psychology and imagination?
In my classes, we answer that uncertainty with energy games. Here’s one:
Blindfold your partner and send energy to one of their hands. Don’t tell them which one, and don’t touch them. Using only your energy, get them to feel it.
This game gives people a deep confidence in energy.
It shows them where they can improve, and lets them measure that improvement.
And it shows them how energy really feels to them, without the influence of preconceptions and expectations.
This post walks you through that game.
Why games are key to learning energy
You probably heard that energy feels like tingling.
Here’s the challenge:
- Almost being touched also feels like tingling. This is (L Wikipedia page) proprioception.
- Mild hyperventilation, like from breathing deeply as you meditate, creates tingling.
- Rubbing your hands together brings blood to the surface, which creates tingling.
Even just imagining and expecting tingling are enough to create it.
If I visualize energy and experience tingling, does that mean I successfully used energy? Or just that I breathed heavily and expected to feel tingling? It can be hard to tell, which makes energy hard to learn.
This game shows you when you’re using energy and when you’re not, so you can improve faster.
But more than that, our experiences are influenced by our expectations.
We inherit those expectations from teachers, books, and media. And since everyone experiences energy differently, those learned expectations are unlikely to align with the way your unconscious represents energy.
To engage your energy, you must use the language of your unconscious, visualizing energy the way your unconscious represents energy. Not your teacher’s unconscious. Your unconscious.
This game will let you experience energy the way your unconscious intends, unaltered by your expectations. This is the single biggest step in mastering energy.
The energy game
Partner up with a friend. Decide who sends and who receives. (You’ll switch roles soon.)
Learn your partner’s energy
Before you can play, the receiver needs to learn how the sender’s energy feels.
Receiver, quiet the energy in your hands. With your eyes open, hold out a hand. Sender, send to that hand, and let the receiver tune in to your energy. Then switch hands.
Your hands can retain your partner’s energy. This can make it hard to discern their energy in the next round — are you feeling the energy they’re sending, or the energy that’s retained from last round? So before each round, reset your energy: Move some of your own energy down your arms, into your hands, then back up your arms and into your chest.
Now you’re ready to play.
Playing the game
Receiver, quiet the energy in your hands, close your eyes (or put on your blindfold), and hold out both of your hands.
Sender, pick a hand, look at it, focus on it, and send energy to it. (But don’t touch it.) Once you’re sending energy, look at the receiver and say, “Sending.” Then look at the hand you’re sending to. Keep the energy flowing.
Receiver, feel into the energy in one hand, then the other. Move your attention back and forth. Take your time. Feel free to talk out loud about what you’re noticing. (Sender, don’t reply, just listen.)
When you’re ready, guess which hand they’re sending to, but keep your hands where they are.
Sender, say whether their guess was correct or not. If they were incorrect, keep sending energy, so they can learn.
How “Mistakes” Teach Us
If you got it right, awesome! Move your own energy through your hands to reset your energy, then quiet your energy and get ready for the next round.
If you didn’t get it right, that’s OK. In fact, that’s when most of the learning happens.
This is when you get to explore how energy feels to you, uncolored by your expectations.
Tune in to the energy in the hand that’s actually receiving energy. Pay attention to any subtle sensations in the correct hand that you might have not noticed or simply ignored.
Note the word subtle. Students often comment on how subtle energy feels without their expectations to amplify the sensations. Not fireworks. Not even a match sparking alight. Without the aid of expectations, energy often feels like a faint heat or gentle tingling. Sometimes it feels similar to how you expected energy to feel, but often, the sensations are totally different.
Are those subtle sensations energy? We don’t know yet. We need more data.
Put your blindfold back on. Play a few more rounds. Pay attention to the subtle sensations you identified. See if they lead you to the correct hand most of the time.
If the sensations you’re noticing don’t lead you to the correct hand, take some time to tune in again. Feel for other sensations. See what else you notice, and keep trying.
Note: Most people discover that, once the blindfold is on, feeling energy becomes more difficult. But they also discover that, with a few hours of practice, they begin to feel energy accurately, even blindfolded. Don’t give up!
Once you have a sense of how energy feels to you, revisit your energy meditation. Adjust the way you represent energy tactilely, visually, and auditorily based on how energy actually feels to you.
Play several rounds, switch roles
Play a few rounds. Receiver, between each round, flush your own energy through your hands to reset your energy, then quiet your hands again.
How many rounds should you play? There’s no set answer, but five to ten is a good range.
As you get better, here are some numbers to know:
- If you get 100% accuracy for five rounds: There’s only a 3% chance this would happen from luck.
- 100% accuracy for seven rounds: Less than 1% chance it’s luck.
- 100% accuracy for ten rounds: Less than 1 in 1,000 chance it’s luck.
Learn and have fun
This game is cooperative. The goal isn’t to beat your partner’s score. The goal is for both of you to get better scores over time.
Think of these games like soccer practice, not the SATs. Have fun. Give yourself time to learn these skills — multiple sessions, spread over days and weeks.
But most of all, get started. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you improve, once you start playing games and seeing what’s working and what isn’t (yet).