I have never met a magician that didn't go through a period of doubt. Is this stuff in my head? Am I making it all up? If it is real, that doesn't mean I'm doing it right. If you are the magician that has never had these thoughts you are either very fortunate or something else.
What many do not realize is those thoughts hang on for a long time. So do every day thoughts, distractions and random detritus of the mind. All of these things interfere with the magick. These are barriers that you may not be aware are there. One tends to think that if you can just push them away for the moment of magickal release, you've done your job. You likely have but not to your fullest potential.
So how do you clear those thoughts long enough to reach that potential? Have fun. Have fun like you did on that vacation day when you didn't have a care in the world. Nothing from outside that moment disturbed your excitement about being the coast, in Europe or the forest. Remember that fun? Hang on to that fun with the intensity of making love, not fucking, not sex, but making love. Total focus, total desire, total release.
Oh but Robert, you're a magician, you know you're supposed to keep your emotions out of it. Hogwash. Total hogwash you Victorian Vicar! If you want it, your ritual or meditation should include time to SEE the result in vivid detail. Where does it happen? What time of day? Who (if anyone) is there? You need to include time to LISTEN. When it happens what is said, by whom? Are there birds singing, dogs barking, a noisy fish tank? Take time to TOUCH, are you sitting on a couch, outside in a cool breeze, or in a hot steamy kitchen? What is the fabric like on the couch? Does the cool breeze bring a slight chill? How does all that steam feel in the air? Take time to SMELL. What is cooking in that kitchen, what scents are carried by that breeze, is that a cat? Take time to TASTE. This may be hardest because we are not always in a situation where we are eating but other things stimulate the sense of taste. It is also very closely related to smell. Has the place just by cleaned with Lysol? Is there some heavy household air freshener in the room? Those taste like metal on my tongue. Some perfumes even have a little taste. There is one more, how does success feel to you emotionally in the situation? Savor that feeling. Hold onto it as the ritual or mediation builds to sweet release.
Then enjoy that post coital bliss. You've just released all that built up pressure and anxiety the situation produced in an explosion of magick that will make the changes you desire. Smile.
Some people will say this is putting restrictions on the ritual. You aren't giving the magick room to work by giving it all that grounding detail. Again, hogwash, my pedantic prestidigitator! The astral doesn't work like that.
One of the reasons astral visions are so easily debunked by the scientific community is that what appears on the lower astral doesn't appear exactly like it does in the mundane but there is a metaphorical link. For instance, you may see something as buried on the astral but in the physical it is in the bottom of a long forgot junk drawer. A car accident can manifest as an argument with a stranger.
So, when you work as I described above, none of what you see may happen but when you suddenly feel like you did in the vision for no reason at all, you may have just learned your magick worked. Or, you find yourself in such a scene in real life and suddenly the metaphors of you situation make sense. That experience is more powerful than the magick most people do.
The trick to the above is that it is one way of being totally present in the situation. It is work do all that but the concentration needed not only banishes distractions but focusses us on our sense of place, which is very important in magick and spirituality.
I am here. Right now. I am a force to be reckoned with.