A great many books on practical energetics and magic in general start with exercises to discipline the mind. As discussed earlier, we are dealing with a predominantly mental subject. We manipulate subtle energy with controlled thought, so the longer you can maintain focus on your work, the better. You will also need to be able to keep your focus exclusively upon what you are doing, without allowing your mind to wander. These are actually fairly difficult things to accomplish. If you don’t believe me, test yourself. Start counting mentally, from zero, and see how far you can get without any other thoughts intruding. If you’re honest with yourself you’re likely to find that you reach a fairly low number. If you have undertaken mental training before then you have a head start, but most of us come to psionics with a fairly low level of mental discipline.
Think of the times in your life when you have been totally absorbed with something. Perhaps you were reading a good book or watching a movie. Many gamers find themselves completely immersed in their video games, to the point where they are so absorbed that they completely lose track of their surroundings. These are examples of being focused, but they aren’t quite the level of discipline we are looking for, for the simple reason that it’s easy to become absorbed in something that is interesting. It would be ideal to develop your focus to the point where you can completely still your mind to the exclusion of all extraneous thought, and shut out all external stimuli, so that your thoughts are focused on your work alone, regardless of whether that work is interesting or mind-numbingly boring. Obviously this is no easy task, and that level of discipline is not absolutely necessary. You will find that it gets easier with practise, and that your efforts in all fields of the mind will improve as you develop your mental discipline. You will notice that the exercises that follow are pretty boring. This is for a reason! There will almost always be something more interesting to think about than your construct. Your mind may want to wander to thoughts of the girl or guy you’re interested in, or worries about money, or any one of a multitude of concerns.
If you sit around waiting for a time when there’s nothing of interest to occupy your mind, you’ll be waiting a long time. You need to be able to clear your mind of all the day’s clutter before you start working. To gain and maintain a state of blank mind is to begin your work with a blank slate. You also need to be capable of maintaining a sharp focus on your work, to the exclusion of all else, as previously discussed. If you cannot do this, your mind will return to the thoughts you just emptied your mind of, or you’ll find another, equally disruptive, mental distraction. Accurate and reliable imaginative ability, especially in the areas of visualisation, tactile, and spatial awareness, is also a must. The ability to maintain focus will come as a matter of course when practising the other exercises listed below, for the obvious reason that you will practising it in an effort to maintain the results of the exercises. That being said, I’ll start with this ability anyway as it is of the utmost importance, and possessing it will make the exercises that follow easier.