This will be a very long post. If the idea of overcoming aphantasia or increasing your mind's eye interests you at all, I'm confident it will be worth the read.
Some points I want to summarize before we jump in:
I do not think that everyone with aphantasia needs to change their experience, nor do I see it as a "disability", per se. In fact, I think there's great value in different type of thinkers in this world, so I hope not all aphantasics would want to change.
Though, for those who desire to change their experience, I'd like them to know that there seem to be options.
I also wish to remain sensitive to those that are quite frustrated and feeling cheated, I've been having conversations non-stop with those who share your feelings over the past 4 years, and will continue to do so. Aphantasia is a very real cognitive experience, and anyone who says otherwise at this point is simply ignorant of the strides in this field since 2010.
I will be as honest as I can through this post, and not overly hype anything up. It's good to be skeptical, but please consider that I've been doing this for 4 years at this point and I'm not going anywhere. If I were out here trying to deceive people I likely wouldn't have lasted this long.
I do charge for programs that require my personal time, and this is not a secret by any means. If you have a problem with someone charging for their time, energy, and effort, we won't get along and that's fine.
Pretty much every time I've posted about my work to groups in the past, I would be met with accusatory commentators, saying that I was a "snake-oil salesman" or something similar, even though they knew nothing of my programs, techniques, or successes with students. And, admittedly, I let these comments get to me. It's fine to be skeptical, but comments made from being ignorant are not welcomed. I'm more than happy to have civil discussion, though, even if you fundamentally disagree with me.
Plus, if I really just wanted to make money, I sure as hell would not have been doing this for the past 4 years, especially since 2020 when I went full-time in all this. I don't particularly enjoy not being able to buy food / pay bills some months, while still working my butt off. It's all been my choice though, to sink more time into this rather than spend that time elsewhere.
Historically, I've kept my specific techniques and exercises behind a paywall, but this changes now. I've had a core value of mine come to my full attention recently that our world needs more transparency and open-sourced information. I'm done with the traditional online coaching method where a coach is supposed to talk about "the what, not the how" to make sure to funnel people into paying programs, essentially luring people to pay you because they don't have the full picture and need it from a program.
So this post will contain most, if not all, of the major points of consideration that I've stumbled upon while working with people in increasing their visualization over the past 4 years. I believe that if I help enough people get what they want and help them make progress, it will come back around to me somehow.
I do not have a degree (as of yet, though I am considering it) in neuroscience or anything like that. I've always been a self-learner / researcher, though I stumbled into all this, and the main thing that qualifies me to have a voice in this field / topic are the successes I've seen with people.
I've also been collaborating with Neuroscientists from the UK, adding what I can to certain studies we've been pioneering in these areas. So, that's quite a humbling honor, and may add to the validity of my claims for some.
If you're going to attempt to begin practicing for yourself, I'd ask you to keep track of your VVIQ results so that we can gather some more objective measurements of progress being made (something my program has sorely lacked for the most part... until recently, that is).
Also, I'd ask you to be vocal online about any progress made, too, since the more others see your progress, the more that might give them hope that they may be able to change their experience.
In this post, you'll see me use the term "breakthrough" throughout, I'd like to define this term as it pertains to my work so you know exactly what I mean by it.
Breakthrough: any time an individual becomes aware of a new type of thought process that is outside of their norm (in this case, specifically visual thought).
This doesn't mean that everyone who started at aphantasia was able to fully "cure" their experience of aphantasia. But the majority were able to see progress, at least to some small measure. Others did in fact change their norm overall, but I'll get to that in the "results" section of this post.
For those who would say "changing aphantasia is impossible", I challenge you to find any evidence outside of your own opinion / experience that back up that claim. The progress we've seen in the field of neuroplasticity over the past 20 years especially should be enough reason to believe it at least would be possible for the brain to change itself, thus changing your conscious experience.
And beyond that, there are a growing number of people who claim they have made progress. So instead of implying that they're all lying, I'd encourage you to look into these things fully before completely forming your opinion. Ask questions, be curious, and don't be one of the ones who decided something was impossible while the rest of the world moves on.
There's no way I could possible guarantee that practicing would get anyone progress, though, with a breakthrough rate of 93% of the people I've worked with 1:1, I'd say it's probably you could do it.
I'm also not saying in this post that I know everything there is to know about the mind's eye, aphantasia, and all of the possible nuances, but I am communicating the through-lines from the past 4 years of working intimately with all of this, hundreds of conversations, and dozens of students.
One of the reasons I assumed other people would be able to make progress was because I had seen progress already for myself. I was always a visual thinker, but years ago I inadvertently worked my way into a fairly consistent hyperphantasia-like experience. In 2010, I was also successful in generating "projected" imagery, which I didn't have access to prior (I'll get to differentiating that type of visualization within this post).
If you're in support of this post, please comment! If you're not, please comment! Everyone should be free to share their perspective here. I just ask that you keep things respectable. I don't respond / try to engage with personal attacks, especially when the person is blatantly in the dark when it comes to my work and the idea of others making progress, so let's not go there.
If you're in support or optimistic / excited, and yet nervous to say so because people can be rude and give you backlash, I'd encourage you to go for it anyways. If someone chooses to be rude and overtly negative, it speaks more about them than any discussion points that are at hand.
Final thought... Just because you do or do not wish to change your current experience, does not mean that others are required to have your same desire. Let those who don't want a change be where they're at, and let those who do explore the possibilities of doing so.
I have a confession to make. I've been acting timidly when it comes to the work I've been doing for the past 4 years. This cowardly stance has dictated a lot of my decisions when it came to what to share, how much to share, and who I share with. Yet, the more I've grown personally, the more I have realized how much I value open and transparent information. Indeed, I think transparency is something our world desperately needs more of. And how can I ask that of the world, when I have not done that in my own life / endeavors? So, I'm making a change, starting now.
In this post you will find extreme detail around the work I've been doing helping people to either overcome their aphantasia or increase what visualization capacity they already have. A forewarning: There is no magic pill here, and I don't consider aphantasia something that can be "cured" at this time, but it does seem with proper training one can make progress in visual thought, to varying degrees.
THE REALITY IS THIS: I'VE SEEN MANY PEOPLE MAKE PROGRESS IN THEIR CAPACITY TO FORM MENTAL IMAGES.
And I won't continue to dodge around the fact that I've seen person after person make progress for themselves, which is largely due to the (embarrassing) reality that I haven't wanted to offend anyone. Offended or not, here I come.
Also, I'm not holding information back here, and I'll be putting everything in this post that I would consider necessary for one to make progress for themselves. I'll also be detailing the effectiveness of training the mind's eye, at least as it seems to stand as of now. My program has not been perfect (I'll be including some of the pitfalls and mistakes I've made) but I have seen many successes. So, here we go.
Context & Backstory
The year is 2018, and I stumble across the term "aphantasia" for the first time. I had known that people had this experience since 2011, when a roommate of mine shocked us at the house saying he couldn't visualize anything, and despite looking for info on this phenomenon, I couldn't find anything on it. Until that day in 2018.
The first resource I ran across was a video by the YouTube channel BrainCraft (https://youtu.be/KuWSh4n5AiI), and I thought "Oh finally! That experience has an official name." (since finding out my roommate had this experience, I also learned my cousin did, as well. Indeed, she didn't even dream visually). In the video, Vanessa also covered some of the initial fMRI data which demonstrated different brain activity between aphantasics and visualizers. And I thought to myself "well, if the brain is doing that, maybe something like this would work..." And I proceeded to jot down a bunch of ideas on what might cause someone's brain to begin processing thought using the visual centers rather than a spread of areas, as an aphantasic's brain does. The fMRI data also showed that, potentially, an aphantasic brain is relying heavily on a center that is known for linguistic recall (which could explain why many aphantasics describe their experience of thought as "words / descriptive lists"). I then stumbled upon the now classic video by Photography Insider Info detailing Win Wenger's "Image Streaming" process, a method which is meant to help induce visual thought (https://youtu.be/3F2qjtwcMhA), and I noticed some similarities between what I was already brainstorming and this process. From the first time I saw this video, however, I realized that what this process was encouraging people to expect physical hallucinations, and not just mind's eye visuals (a distinction I'll make clearer as we go). You can see the effects of this misclassification of visualization types in the comment section of that video, where as of just 1 month ago, someone commented: "Your telling me I actually have to see it?!?!!!". After 4 years of working on all this, and hundreds of 1:1 conversations with visualizers and non-visualizers, I can say with confidence that most people are not physically seeing anything when they visualize. But again, we'll get there.
So, having compiled my thoughts, and knowing my cousin experienced aphantasia and wanted to experience the mind's eye, I gave her a call asking if she'd want to give it a go and see if we could make an impact on her experience of aphantasia. She said yes because, in her words, "what do I have to lose?"
Her first hint of a breakthrough came on session #3, where she was able to think of the color of a sunset. Not the name of the color, the color itself came into her thoughts, so she had the mental experience of that particular color. Then, on session #5, she had an image flash to mind for the very first time in her life. It was when she was recounting her morning routine, and the scene of opening her morning pop-tart flashed to mind. The image lasted about half a second, but it was noticeably different than any other thought-type she had ever experienced before. The scene even had some vague surrounding detail of the kitchen itself! Going from never visualizing before to this was quite the leap, and at the end of our process together she was able to think of herself sitting on a beach. To a vague (but to her clearly visual) degree, could "see" the waves rolling in mentally, the surrounding sand, the brightness of the sun... She was even able to mentally "feel" the wind and warmth of that place.
Needless to say, this was quite dramatic in terms of subjective results for her. Excited, I began to report on these things via Facebook first, but I quickly transitioned over to YouTube.
After about 6 months of seeing results with people, one of my potential clients mentioned "why are you not charging for this?? Build a practice already!" So, I began charging for my time and resources. I made the decision to go full-time in all of this in the beginning of 2020, though it's been a long and rough road, as the market for this type of work is very tiny still. So it's been a constant battle of deciding how much to offer for free, meanwhile trying not to shoot myself in the foot and sabotage my budding practice.
That being said, if I'm being fully vulnerable, one of my constant fears the past 2 years has been not destroying my chances of making a living out of this. I so would love to continue to do this full time, and continue to help people and see progress and create studies. And admittedly, I let some negative comments get me down, and I shied away from talking openly about the progress I was helping people make. I don't think that people realize sometimes that hardly anyone does anything truly for free, and even those spearheading studies receive funding and a salary to do so. I'm all on my own, so I've tried to make it work how I could. So that fear of not bringing in enough income to survive has caused me to decide to withhold a lot of my techniques / concepts, opting for a more traditional online coach methodology where I would release just enough info that people may be able to see slight progress, but then would eventually want to participate in a program. After all, if you're putting full-time work into anything, you need some sort of monetary resource coming in, if you're planning to participate in our modern world, that is. But this is changing now, as in this post I will be detailing everything you would need to consider to get progress in the mind's eye as others in my programs have.
It's time for me to open up these methods to the world. Let's dive in.
TRANSPARENCY AROUND RESULTS
Herein lies the biggest pitfall of my work over the past 4 years: a lot of the results people have gotten have only been subjective breakthroughs, and not formally measured in any way.
From an individual's point of view, most were more than happy to begin experiencing some visual thought that was outside their norm. But from the standpoint of scientifically validating the process and progress, this aspect has been glaringly absent. This is something I've begun to bake into my programs as a requirement, but up until now it's been sorely lacking. So now, before I'll work with anyone in a 1:1 setting or group setting, they're required to fill out VVIQ, then after training / progress has been made, they're required to fill out another VVIQ without consulting their original scores.
This leads to another valid point around trying to measure progress in general: the VVIQ is still an extremely subjective and faulty means of measuring mind's eye activity, since it's entirely based on self-reporting and. Though, it is the current industry standard, so that's what I'm now using.
Even though my programs have lacked this aspect until recently, I have at least been intentional with recording every single session I've ever done via my notepad, and was able to track when each person began to report breakthrough moments happening.
Some had minor breakthrough, few major, and most moderate, and now I'd like to give you a full run down of the breakthroughs which were achieved. Please keep in mind these points while looking at the following info:
It was exceedingly challenging to tell when someone started training whether or not they indeed did experience baseline aphantasia or some measure of the mind's eye (especially in the beginning, since back then I didn't really have proper language to accurately describe what the mind's eye is like for most people. That language evolved over time).
So even though some self-reported aphantasia, they may have actually been experiencing some measure of hypophantasia or higher. This is largely due to the fact that we've haven't had proper language to describe different types of visual thought (I get into the differences in the next section).
I even worked with a few people who were adamant they experienced aphantasia, but come to find out they were actually experiencing hyperphantasia! And we both had a moment, hours into training that was like "OH, you mean see it in my MIND?? YEAH I CAN DO THAT! LIKE 10/10!"
I've given ratings to the strength of the breakthroughs in the following chart, here's the key for those ratings:
0: No breakthroughs / noticeable change - simply put, the individual was not aware of any recognizable change to their thought process at any point.
1: Minor breakthrough - a small number of new visual thought moments were achieved, typically 2 or 3 moments total.
2: Moderate breakthrough - a handful of new visual thought moments were achieved, and it seemed their mind began to head towards processing visual thought more often.
3: Major breakthrough - a new standard of visual thought was achieved and began to bleed into their everyday moments without much effort needed.
This results chart only pulls from the people I've worked with directly, and not people that took my ecourse, group programs, used my free materials, etc...
Lastly, keep in mind that the majority of the people I've worked with self reported aphantasia when starting, but some also started with hypophantasia or even common-phantasia.
I'll have that full breakdown, as I said, on my website sometime soon.
The last point I'll make is pointing out one more pitfall to my work: I didn't measure people's long-term results. Usually people worked with me for 4-6 sessions, and then they'd go and continue to try to build on their own. I haven't heard back from the majority of people, either, as my programs were solely focused on just getting those initial breakthroughs so they could experience and know for themselves what the mind's eye is like.
NOTE: I was going to post the exact details about all 72 people that I've worked with 1:1, but looking at the length of the table, it would be absurdly long. I'll put that somewhere on my website, though, so here you'll only see the number of breakthroughs of that specific rating.
Total number of participants: 72
Percentage of minor breakthroughs: 29%
Percentage of moderate breakthroughs: 46%
Percentage of major breakthrough: 18%
Percentage of no noticeable breakthrough: 7%
That means 93.06% of people got some measure of breakthrough. In all honesty, this number is still surprising to me. Now whether the breakthrough is remembered, built upon, or sustained... well, that's another story. And as I previously mentioned, I'm starting to build these aspects in now.
So now that you know a bit about the context of all of this, let's discuss how to train for yourself.
MAIN FOUNDATIONS TO TRAINING
HAVING CORRECT EXPECTATIONS
Please note: what I'm about to share here isn't everything there is to say about these experiences, but these are the main through-lines I've noticed over the years.
This has been a massive point that I've tried to clarify over the past 4 years: the difference between what we now call "projected" imagery, vs. regular mind's eye imagery. I've always been a visual thinker in my mind's eye, but I didn't always used to project images and actually "see" them. That started for me in 2010, but let me back up...
First, let's detail the mind's eye.
The mind's eye exists on a spectrum. It's not typically that someone occupies only one area on that spectrum, rather they can fluctuate along the spectrum depending on state of mind, content of the visualization, etc...
We have 4 main classifications of mind's eye visualization.
Aphantasia: Lack of visual thought or involuntary visual thought that is extremely weak.
The typical description of aphantasia seems to be that the individual thinks in words / lists of descriptors, and doesn't get any sense of seeing occurring in the thoughts. There are nuances and exceptions to this, but it seems to the the common description.
Hypophantasia: Weak voluntary visual thought.
These types would be able to think of aspects of visuals, but would have a hard time forming a coherent "image" in the mind.
So one may be able to think of a color, and just that color, devoid of shape. Or maybe a shape would come to mind, but not much color or definition to it.
Hypophantasia also seems to have a low and high end experience, so those on the higher end would be able to think of an image, surely, but it would be lacking a lot of detail, saturation, and detail.
[Common] Phantasia: Visual thought, yet lacking the extreme detail when compared to seeing in waking life (this is where most people are at, thus the "common" part).
These people are very aware that they're thinking visually, aka visualizing, though certain areas of the visual thought will feel foggy / absent / fuzzy.
For instance, they can think of their friend walking up to them, but maybe the background info in the scene is absent, or maybe they can't quite think of their friend's nose just right so it's absent feeling, or maybe the motion is really jagged and uneven.
Hyperphantasia: extremely detailed visual thought, often indistinguishable to the detail apparent with physical sight.
Often times, hyperphantasics also report other mental senses being involved in their mental imagery, almost as if they have a separate "mental body" they can access and "go to" (an effect that can also be achieved by some common-phantasics, though with less detail and clarity).
An [imperfect / incomplete] visual aid to help convey the mind's eye experience.
Now, there is an incredibly important distinction I'd like to make here... and that is this:
MOST OF THE PEOPLE I JUST MENTIONED IN THOSE MIND'S EYE CATEGORIES STILL JUST SEE BLACK WHEN THEY CLOSE THEIR EYES.
Let that sink in for a moment...
Yes, most visualizers do not seem to be actually, physically seeing anything against the black space when they close their eyes.
Instead, it's in a "different" space entirely, that they're able to perceive this visual thought information.
My favorite definition for mind's eye visualization (and Dr. Zeman and team mirrored this in their 2015 paper, which I hadn't found until a few weeks ago: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2015-57165-051), is this: MIND'S EYE VISUALIZATION IS BEST DESCRIBED AS "THE FEELING OF SIGHT" WITHOUT ACTUALLY SEEING ANYTHING.
So, a parallel which may help further clarify. Some of you have access to an "inner-monologue" where you can think of the words that you think in order and in real-time. Almost like a part of your psyche is speaking those words. Some may even be able to get the mental impression of what their own (or another person's) voice would sound like! For most of us, it's very clear that we don't physically hear anything when we're doing this. It's not like we get startled, jumping to our feet exclaiming "who said that??". Instead, it's a mental sensation of sound which occurs. The same can be said of visual thought. It's not physically seen, it's mentally perceived.
THOUGH, all that being said, there does exist a different type of visualization, which we're now calling "prophantasia". I, in fact, created this term out of sheer necessity to help dispel confusion around these different visual experiences. And now, we're gearing up to publish the term in our upcoming study, effectively coining this classification of visual thought. And now for the final type of visualization...
Prophantasia: the ability to create "projections" which occupy our physical field of view.
You could consider this a type of intentional hallucination.
It's important to realize that from what we can tell so far, it does not seem that many visualizers do this. And if they do, it seems to be very weak.
We don't have a solid number yet on the frequency or rarity of this type of visualization, but according to our current study, it doesn't seem very common. Also, anecdotally, over the hundreds of conversations I've had and countless more online interactions, I've only ever ran across 3 people who accurately described a significant projection ability.
An [imperfect / incomplete] visual aid to help convey the prophantasia experience.
There's an inherent issue within our language when it comes to these things, as well, since most of the time if you ask a visualizer (even a hypo or common) to visualize an apple, they may report back "Yes, I see the apple". I find that what they're most often talking about is not projected imagery, rather it's the feeling of sight in the mind, occurring to varying degrees of vividness. Yet, if you really dig in with them, eventually you'll likely get to the point where they say "Oh, well, of course I'm not hallucinating the apple..." Then you'll make the face I have so many times: -_- Just kidding, of course, and in all seriousness, it's not their fault the descriptions are so vague, we're only just now trying to put language and structure to all these things.
So here's the first step of training your visualization...
STEP 1: GET CLEAR ON WHAT TYPE OF VISUALIZATION YOU'RE AIMING AT.
The different types have different methods that work best, so it's best to not waste your time practicing the wrong thing. Spinning your wheels practicing for projected imagery when you're trying to generate mind's eye imagery will just be frustrating and unfruitful. This post will detail different exercises to tackle both types.
Also, one other note here along the lines of expectations...
Try to lower your expectations as much as possible.
If you're starting at a 1, don't expect a 10 visualization right off the bat. Learn to catch the 2's and 3's, and allow yourself to build up from there.
Just like learning an instrument, it should be a progressive process.
WORDS AND SENSES
It seems that one of the biggest keys to all of this is using words to describe sensory information. The idea there is that we're trying to create some overlap between the center of the brain processing language, and the center that processes senses (is this really what's happening? I won't know for sure until I can afford to do some fMRI / EEG studies pre / post training, which are planned but require funding). So while you practice, you'll be using lots of descriptive language to describe remembered, current, or imagined sensory information. A few main notes here:
Describe the attributes of things, rather than just stating what that thing is.
So if you're describing a candle on your desk, instead of just saying "there's a white candle there", really get into its attributes with something like "I see a white candle, it's about 4 inches in width, 6 in height, it's got a soft-looking texture to it, and near the top the surface isn't straight across, but wavy from where some of the wax has melted.
Try to relax and let the descriptions flow without much conscious thought / effort.
This takes practice! It feels awkward for most people at first.
Try to keep your conscious mind out of it. So if you begin thinking "I'm not being descriptive enough" or "Bah! I'm being too descriptive", you've lost the sweet spot! Just relax and let it flow.
BRAINWAVE STATES & "FERTILE MENTAL GROUND"
The main brainwave state classifications and their respective roles are as follows:
13-32hz Beta: conscious waking life, decision making, stress, problem solving, basically everyday life for most of us.
8-13hz Alpha: light to deep states of relaxation. Deep alpha could be considered a light trance.
4-8hz Theta: deep relaxation / trance, between awake and asleep, also conscious dreaming.
.5-4hz Delta: deep, dreamless sleep. The mind is not conscious, and the body is restoring itself.
For the sake of accuracy, your brain is constantly putting out each of these waves in different regions. But depending on which is predominant on an EEG readout is how we get these different classifications and conscious "states".
Now, why is this important, you ask? It's because the conscious mind will have a much easier time recognizing new sensory thought information while in a slower state (alpha / theta). So one of the first things I recommend people do is learn what it feels like when your brain begins to slow down. Then practice from that relaxed state.
STEP #2: LEARN TO SLOW DOWN YOUR BRAIN TO ALLOW FOR NEW TYPES OF THOUGHTS.
My favorite method for slowing down the brain is simple "paced breathing". Here's a great video to guide you through some paced breathing: https://youtu.be/aXItOY0sLRY
Indeed, even one breath in and breath out begins to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of slowing down the brain and body. So have fun breathing!
SEEING VS. IMAGINING
One thing that I believe has some very important implications when it comes to developing mental imagery is this: the exact same regions which are used in the brain to see physically are also utilized to produce mental imagery.
However, the process is reversed. In physical sight, we see the occipital lobe stimulated first, then the parietal lobe. So the interpretation process comes second. In visual thought, it seems the parietal lobe initiates the process, followed by stimulation of the occipital lobe, a process known as "top-down" processing.
And here's the implication if we could stretch it a bit: your brain is using the regions necessary to visualize!
Now, maybe some new neural pathways need to be formed to strengthen that top-down process, but rest assured that if you're seeing these words right now, you're brain is using the right areas, so it's not likely that those regions are simply "missing wiring" or "not working correctly". Maybe it all just comes down to the brain leaning towards a certain type of thought processing over another. If that's the case, well, I believe we can tweak the areas being utilized, and the successes of people so far seem to show that that is the case.
THE "MAGIC BULLET": METACOGNITION I wouldn't say that there was any magic piece that will automatically get someone success, but if I had to pick something that was close to a magic bullet I'd say its metacognition.
Metacognition defined: awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes.
I've found that having the correct exercises and practicing the "right thing" is useless if the individual does not have the ability to dissect how they are processing thought.
It's not enough to experience aphantasia or hypophantasia and to say "I just remember / know what an apple looks like".
What you'll want to dig into, and dig as deeply as you possibly can, is how your mind is processing the thoughts that you're having.
After any given thought / practice session...
Was it just words?
Was it more than words? If so, what was it?
What moment may have been more than words?
Was there any extra qualities to that thought outside of how I normally process thought?
Dissecting these subtleties is often times where progress is made.
RECOGNIZING ATTRIBUTES OF VISUAL THOUGHT
So, if you can't differentiate visual thought from other thought forms, it's not likely that you'll make much progress, since you wouldn't be able to catch visual moments, anyways.
So it's imperative that you dissect your thoughts as you practice, as described above through metacognition. But I'd also like to describe what I've seen as being the main components of visual thought throughout the 4 years I've been doing this.
Color: the sense of a particular shade of color, as if seeing it, but still not seeing it.
This one is really great, because if you consider it, color is a completely subjective experience. In fact, scientifically, we can't be sure that the green I see with my eyes is the green you see with yours. My green might be your purple! So, if you begin to have a sense of a color, that exceeds words alone or the names of colors, you are likely having a visual experience, since color can't really exist outside of the name, some descriptive language we culturally assign (but that doesn't actually describe the experience of the color itself), or the conscious experience of that color.
Shape: the sense of certain shapes. Not the word round, but the sense of the roundness.
Perspective: this one is somewhat tied into shape, but if you have a sense of experiencing your front door from a certain vantage point, odds are that thought is visual in nature.
This isn't to be confused with sensing your door with a spatial sense, that sense seems to be independent from visual thought.
Peripheral detail: the sense of detail around the surrounding subject.
Definition: the definition of any perceived edges.
Texture: any patterns or fine details of the subject at hand.
Lighting / luminance: the sense of lighting or brightness within the mental scene.
Remember, especially at first, all of these things can be incredibly subtle. You may, in fact, only start having visual components pop through in one of these areas at first.
But that's great! Commit any new moments to memory, celebrate it, and look to push it further.
BELIEF AND THE ROLE OF THE CONSCIOUS MIND
So earlier in this post I mentioned how far my cousin had come through our training together, but that's not the end of the story. So yes, by the end of our training together she was able to visualize herself on a beach, and we were both quite blown away.
But then! 3 months later at family vacation, I'm dumbfounded hearing her say to the rest of the family "Yeah, I just can't visualize. Never have and I never will."
"But, cuz" I started saying, "What about all the progress we made over our sessions?"
She looked at me, dead in the eye, and replied "I don't remember that. Nope, that didn't happen"...
WTF?? I was shocked at what she was saying. So I implored her to have a sit down with me the following night and we can do a follow up session, which she was happy to agree to.
During that follow up the next evening, I walked her back through the notes I took during our sessions (lucky I took them in the first place!), and more importantly, reminded her of her breakthrough moments. A peculiar thing happened, where every time I reminded her of a moment where her mind's eye had clicked on, she went "Oh yeah! The sunset color, I remember that now... Oh yeah! The pop tart wrapper, I remember now", and so on.
And, even stranger, once the memories of the breakthroughs came back, guess what else returned? THE ABILITY TO VISUALIZE, RIGHT THEN AND THERE.
And indeed, during that follow up, she had the strongest and clearest visualization she had experienced up until that point in time.
I left that interaction truly scratching my head. What the hell had just happened? And it took me a few weeks to dissect properly.
The conclusion I came to was this: if one does not alter their internal narrative that they cannot visualize, it will not only stop them from doing so, but might erase the memories of breakthroughs ever happening entirely.
Being the first person I worked with and so early in my process, I didn't put any emphasis on changing her mind / belief system about what she could or could not do. And admittedly, my cousin can be quite stubborn, once her mind is made up, it's near impossible for her, let alone others, to change it. And this deep rooted internal narrative caused her to forget her dynamic experiences from our sessions together.
Now, I'm happy to say, her mind has made the turn, and indeed she can retain and recognize visual thought to some degree.
But this entire experience was profound, and I began to incorporate the concept of changing our internal narratives as a foundation of the program. Just look at Roger Bannister, who only first broke the 4-minute mile after he got so close to breaking it that he believed he could, although virtually everyone in the sports and medical communities said it was impossible. I choose to never take "impossible" for an answer, and I'd wish the same for you.
Instead of spending more post-real estate on this concept (because there's plenty of resources out there which could help you do this piece), here's the next step...
STEP #3: CHANGE YOUR MIND TO BELIEVE IT'S POSSIBLE TO MAKE PROGRESS.
After all, the experience of the mind's eye is purely subjective and resides solely within the mind, so if we earnestly believe we will not make progress, then you will not be able successful in recognizing or generating progress.
RATING VISUAL THOUGHTS & THE MEASUREMENT SCALE
So, when attempting to make progress in something as subjective of the mind's eye, how could you possibly know whether you've made progress? There is an element of new types of thought breaking through, and for some people that can be quite a dramatic moment. Though I find more often than not it's quite subtle.
So, especially after you start having visual components of thoughts come to mind, here's the scale I use with people to help them gauge the measure of the experience:
1 - thought based in only words.
2 - thought that's not just words, but it's hard to tell what it is exactly.
3 - singular visual components beginning to come through (color only, vague shape only, etc).
4 - visual components begin to be combined, forming a very vague sense of the object being visualized (about a 2 on the visual aides from above).
5 - visual components are being combined, but still a lot of detail missing.
6 - background info begins to be filled in, but still quite a lot of detail missing.
7 - more detail, maybe even some motion, but still "absent" spots / details.
8 - a bit more of the lifelike-ness begins to come through.
9 - very detailed, but just short of life-like reality and detail.
10 - extreme visual detail, as if one was seeing it (still not typically physically seen, remember).
SUBTLETY AND "STRETCHING"
It became increasing clear to me as I worked with people, that the mind's eye can be an extremely subtle experience. Especially when breakthrough moments first start happening in for someone.
More often than not, someone would try to describe their breakthrough by saying something like "Hmmm, that was weird. For a second I felt like I could almost see something, but I didn't see anything".
After hearing enough people say this I finally realized that really, that's a pretty great way to describe the mind's eye! It feels as if you could see it, but you never actually see anything.
So the feeling of sight can be extremely subtle when it begins to kick in.
And what you have to ask yourself the proper questions, as described in the "metacognition" section above.
After you begin to have subtle visual components of thought being generated, then it becomes a process of being able to recognize those moments on the regular. Once you're ready to attempt to push your mind's eye into further areas on the spectrum, now we're talking about recognizing those visual components, but building upon them. This is done by a process I call "stretching", and it's similar to stretching a muscle! You go a little further each time.
So after any given exercise, it's important to attempt to recognize attributes or moments that you could say were potentially more visual than normal. One of the best ways to do this is what I call "pointed questions"
Pointed question examples:
IF I HAD TO PICK (not giving yourself an option of not picking) a moment from that exercise which felt more visual (or colorful, clear, defined, etc...) than the rest, what moment would it be?
Phrasing things like this "If I had to" will help the conscious mind narrow down the differences in the thoughts that went on during the exercise, and in those differences will reside your new moments.
The other part that seems effective for stretching the mind's eye is adding a .5 (or .25 / .75) on your moments. This gets extremely subjective, but one of the main components to all of this is to convince your conscious mind that you're having the experience you're looking for. So over time you start having that experience consciously.
For instance, this worked for me back when I was inching more into hyperphantasia. I'd come out of a meditation, questioning to myself "was that more vivid? Hmmm, maybe a very tiny bit!" Was it objectively more vivid? There's no way to tell! But over time I effectively entered more into those vivid experiences.
So in your case, if jumping from a 3 out of 10 to a 4 out of 10 feels too big, but you can still tell it felt a bit more vivid than usual, make it a 3.5! That way overtime, you'll begin entering into those 4's and beyond.
This way your conscious mind can continue to entertain the idea that you're making progress, and you'll build yourself up into that experience.
BEGIN PRACTICING & SUB POINTS
So, those are the main foundational points (I've found) to begin practicing if you're starting from aphantasia / hypophantasia. Here are some smaller points of consideration that I didn't feel merited their own section:
Practice out loud, unless otherwise noted.
This helps to occupy your conscious mind, effectively making "space" for visual thought to generate in the background.
Work with a partner when possible.
When a partner is listening to you, they can help ask questions and catch moments for you that you might miss otherwise, since you're occupied with the task at hand.
Record yourself out loud when you do your practices
The reason being, it can feel more like you're talking with someone, and less awkward than just speaking alone by yourself.
You can also listen back to the recording, and retro-actively recall thought moments / types from the exercise.
Ignore the black space when you have your eyes closed.
SUPER IMPORTANT. If you're looking into the black space for a hallucination, then you're practicing for prophantasia, and that process is very different from generating mind's eye imagery.
There seems to be a tie between familiarity and vividness of mental imagery. So the more familiar a subject is, the easier you may find it to visualize. Also, memories that have a strong emotion (I recommend positive memories, and not negatively charged ones) seem to elicit a stronger visual response in the mind.
If you start feeling frustrated, it's okay, it's natural when you're learning a new skill.
I recommend just to feel it for a minute, let it pass, and continue or take a break.
Let go of any desperation / pressure
Yes, you want progress, or else you wouldn't be practicing. But holding onto such internal need / desperation / pressure will only serve to make your internal / mental space noisy and incoherent.
Try to go into every session from a neutral standpoint. Recognize you've gotten this far without what you're working for.
Not every session has to be life-changing, or even bear results. So it's okay to have nothing happen sometimes.
I will say though, people typically start getting breakthrough within about 2-3 sessions with me, so if you've been practicing for a long time (weeks / months) with virtually no change, it's reasonable to think you should change up your approach / regiment.
WRITE NEW MOMENTS DOWN, EVEN IF THEY'RE NOT VISUAL IN NATURE (ZOMG SO IMPORTANT)
Here's the thing. Your conscious mind loves to reinforce your current norm. So if you do not write down new moments and commit them to memory, celebrating them, you will likely not even remember that they happened in the first place (like my cousin, described above).
HYPERPHANTASIA / PROPHANTASIA SPECIFIC TRAINING POINTS
I find to stretch your way up into a hyperphantasia / prophantasia experience is a very similar process to what I've already described. Though, there are some specifics that are definitely worth mentioning.
GETTING TO HYPERPHANTASIA
One of the main things here is to increase the amount that you consciously "go into" your mind's eye.
I call this "drifting", and involves drifting your conscious mind away from your physical senses and more towards your mental senses or "mental stage".
There are exercises which I'll include that can help this drifting process.
Blend senses together
One of the best ways I've found to make your mind's eye more of a first person experience is blending the sense of sight and touch together in the mind.
Don't only see the plant, feel the edges of its leaves with your mental hand. Don't just see the beach, feel the hot sand on your feet.
Blending other sense in can also increase the vividness, but I find the most important are sight and touch.
You must convince yourself that you see something which you don't, even more-so than mind's eye practice.
Prophantasia is literally convincing your mind that you physically see something that isn't there (controlled hallucination). So do not allow yourself to get stuck at "I just don't see anything".
Learning to see visual snow is foundational within the process I use to teach people to activate prophantasia
Often times the initial outlines of objects can form "from within", or "from" the visual snow.
This has led me to believe that visual snow is not just a condition, but it's a common experience that one can learn to see.
If you can turn on visual snow or make it more prominent, you may be able to turn it off or make it quieter!
There's a concept which I've created called "mental switches".
This entails putting language to a "mental feeling" when you adjust your internal or external perception.
Learning this concept and mastering it can help with all sorts of mental / physical abilities, including entering into proper states to visualize / project imagery from, and will be foundational to you learning to project imagery.
BE CAUTIOUS WITH THIS PRACTICE
You're essentially learning to intentionally hallucinate, and hopefully it remains intentional for you.
We don't know the full implications or effects of activating this type of cognitive ability for yourself, so please go slow and put a priority on your mental health.
If you or your family have a history of schizophrenia, it is HIGHLY DISCOURAGED that you practice this skill at all.
The same regions in the brain that you use to see are also used to visually imagine
Isn't it wild to realize that no physical light ever enters your brain? It's all just electrical impulses.
What you see physically is not always what it appears to be. So your brain is constantly in an internal process of decoding stimuli coming from your eyes.
But, that being said, I believe you can begin to intentionally control those stimuli, after all, even physical sight is all in your head anyways.
For more on this concept, I highly recommend Anil Seth's TED talk, which mirrors a lot of what I had stumbled on for myself in this regard: https://youtu.be/lyu7v7nWzfo
There are some other points in hyperphantasia / prophantasia practice I could get into, but seeing as this is an aphantasia specific sub, I'll leave that for another time (since this post is already way too long).
And... With that...
***TIME FOR THE EXERCISES***
BEFORE DIVING INTO PRACTICING
Participate in the VVIQ. This will give some sort of measurement for where you’re starting from. After practicing for a while / seeing progress, fill out the form again and record your new scores (without reviewing your old scores first, so those don’t influence you at all).
You can get an accessible version of the VVIQ, as well as record your scores here (if you download it it will even auto-calculate your score!):
There’s a link at the bottom of that form, if you click it you can record your scores. This is imperative to demonstrate progress.
If you forget to click the link, here it is: https://forms.gle/cmJkQipPHJdmdQ3N6
Keep your descriptions fresh. If you find yourself just trying to recall what you had said in phase 1, you’ll miss the point of the exercise.
A good way to do this is to start at a different part of the room than you started the first time.
Anytime you do an exercise where your eyes are closed, remember to describe things as if your eyes were open. Something like “I can see the tv stand straight across from me”, even though you’re not seeing anything.
Describe the attributes of things (color, shape, texture, distance from you, etc…) instead of just stating what something is. So instead of saying “There’s a candle to my left, a tv to my right”, say instead “The candle to my left is 3 feet away. It’s an off white color and I can see the light from my lamp illuminating the inside. It’s stubby and short, about 6 inches in diameter…” etc…
Don’t try too hard to visualize. It’s when the mind is relaxed that new things can be perceived. “Squinting” mentally doesn’t help.
Remember not to force the descriptions! Just let them flow.
Aphantasia / Hypophantasia Specific
Duration: 2 minutes per phase
Objective: A warm up exercise! Don’t overly expect anything visual to pop through yet. You should take this exercise as a chance to get used to describing things.
Phase 1: With eyes open, carefully describe what is currently in your surroundings. Describe primarily visual information, but it’s also okay to throw in other sensory descriptions too (how the air feels, temperature, things you hear, etc).
Phase 2: With eyes closed, describe the room again. You can continue from where you left off, or start from where you ended and work your way backwards. Just make sure it doesn’t devolve into a memory game, where you’re trying to remember and repeat what you had said the first time. Keep things fresh, as if describing them for the first time.
Overall, how did this exercise occur to you?
Take note of even non-visual observations. E.g.: “It felt easy to do / was hard… pleasant…” etc...
Notes: Consider this a warm up, just to get used to the process. No need to expect visual breakthroughs just yet.
Duration: 1 minute or so
Objective: This is a “stream of consciousness” exercise, and isn’t specifically meant to induce visual imagery. It’s meant to allow you to feel the state of mind necessary to allow your mind to relax.
Instructions: Have a list of 15 words (preferably nouns, and here’s a good website to generate some random words: https://perchance.org/object) ready to be spoken to you from a partner / recording. Ideally you will not be familiar with the words beforehand. As each word is said, allow your mind to be clear, and verbally state the next word that comes to mind after you hear the word from the list. The two words don’t have to be related, necessarily. Try not to have much of a filter, and just see what comes.
How did this exercise occur to me?
What stands out to me after doing this?
Was there any subtle difference mentally from when a word just flowed vs when I had to consider it?
Notes: This exercise is just aimed at allowing your mind to go with the flow, not necessarily to generate mind’s eye activity.
Modified Image Streaming
Duration: 4 minutes
Objective: Allow subjects / descriptions to flow in a more “stream of consciousness”.
Instructions: Pick a prompt to kick off from. This could be an object you’re familiar with, a favorite coffee shop, a friend you’re fond of (ideally something that isn’t in your immediate surroundings). Set your timer, and begin to describe the prompt in precise visual detail as if you were currently seeing it (even if you’re not imagining / seeing anything at all). Once your mind begins to wander to something else, or you run out of content on the subject at hand, go with the flow and describe what comes to mind next.
How did that exercise occur to me? What stands out about it?
What types of subtle thought processes went on behind the words I was speaking?
Notes: Remember to allow your mind to drift from subject to subject, without trying to control the direction much. If nothing comes to mind, it’s totally okay to rest for a few seconds to allow something to come to mind.
Outside / Inside
Duration: 2 minutes / phase.
Objective: Pulling on an immediate memory to help elicit new mental processes.
Phase 1: Eyes Open. Pick a spot that is different from where you normally practice (preferably outside on a porch or something. A different room can work, too. You just want some sensory variation there). Once you’re ready, take 2 minutes to describe what you see, feel, hear around you (with an emphasis on what you see). After you’re done, immediately go inside to your practice room for phase 2.
Phase 2: Eyes closed. Once back inside, sit down and relax, breathing deep for a few seconds. Close your eyes, and think of what it was like to be outside just a minute ago. Proceed to describe the surroundings outside as if you were still out there. So make sure to say everything in present tense (eg: I can see… I can hear...). Try not to just recall what you had said the first time around, and instead, describe as if you’re doing it for the first time.
Bonus phase (the curve ball): At the end of your timer, take an extra 30 seconds to a minute to add in an event that did not happen while you were out there, and describe the event as if it were happening right in front of you (eg: a bird flies in, lands, does something, and flies back out. Or a deer walks by, looks at you, then walks away. Anything like this works great).
Overall, how did that exercise occur to me (specifically phase 2 and the curve ball)? Any thoughts or observations are valid here.
If I had to pick a moment from what I described in phase 2 that may have contained more visual information than the rest, which moment would I pick?
What about that particular moment makes it stand out from the rest of the exercise?
Remember to take note of any slight difference. Everything is valid.
Notes: If working with a partner, have the listener create the curveball, so the scenario is unexpected! This can help with novel sensory thought generation.
Duration: 1.5 minutes / phase
Objective: Blending the sense of touch with sense of sight. For some this will be effective in creating more of a “mental platform” on which to build imagery. For others, the exercise serves as just a good practice (it can also set you up for future hyperphantasia specific practices).
Phase 1: Eyes open. Select an item from around your house. This should be something that you can easily hold in one hand. Also, the item should have a fair amount of detail to it (for instance, a candle stick would not work well for this exercise, since it’s so simple, and there’s not much to describe on it… But a little figurine would work great!). For a minute and a half, hold the item in one hand, and with the other hand trace along the features of the item with your fingers. As you do this, also observe the spot your fingers are at and visually describe the item. You can also describe the textures / feel of the item as you go. Describe color, shape, size, etc...
Phase 2: Eyes closed. With that same item in hand, close your eyes, and describe the item the same way you did before, by feeling the spot with your hand as you describe it. This time since your eyes are closed, describe the visual components as if your eyes were open. To keep things fresh, start from the opposite side of the item from where you started the first time (so if you started from the top the first time, now start from the bottom).
What about this exercise (specifically phase 2) stands out to me?
Was there anything in my thought processes which felt different than my normal form of thought?
Notes: It’s rare that someone will get breakthrough from doing this exercise, though it has happened. Nonetheless, I still find it a solid practice for bridging the sense of touch and sight in the mind.
SPECIAL NOTE: I like to mention that this is not an exercise which I specifically created. I first learned of it from someone online, and then found it in some forums, so I’m not even sure who created it. But it’s quite effective!
Duration: ≈ 2 minutes per snapshot.
Objective: Generate subtle impressions of visual quality within thought forms.
Phase 1: Find 3 images, illustrations, or photos that you are completely unfamiliar with (works best if someone else finds it for you, so you don’t get to see it beforehand). Allow yourself to look at the image at hand for an extremely brief moment (max about 1 second). Then, looking away / closing your eyes, proceed to verbally describe everything that you saw within the photo. Try not to visualize very hard, just allow things to either be present or not. Afterwards you’ll dissect your thought processes.
Phase 2: After you’re done describing everything that comes to mind, take a moment to review the photo at hand to see how it stacks up to what you were considering in your mind. Then move onto the next one.
Phase 3: After you have recounted each photo, without looking at them, review each one as best you can mentally, without words. Then proceed to ask yourself some questions.
(The following works best if you do 3 images in succession) If I had to pick one of the photos that stands out from the others as being more visual in my mind, which one would I pick?
What about that particular image makes it stand out from the rest?
Are there any visual qualities I can notice while recalling it?
Any sense of color? Sense of shape? Layout? Perspective?
Try to dissect any minute difference that you can.
This is also a good point to record numbers on our 1-10 numbering scale (1 being absence of visual sense, 10 being extremely vivid).
You can take numbers down for each of the components, as well (eg: color 1-10, shapes 1-10, etc…)
Keep in mind that this is not a memory exercise, and doesn’t matter what you get right or wrong. It’s always fun to compare what you had recalled in your mind to the actual photo, but it’s neither here nor there as to what is accurate or not.
Once you have the feeling of mind’s eye activity kicking in here, you can skip reciting the details of the snapshot verbally, and just practice holding it in mind.
Duration: 2 minutes
Objective: Allow the mind to relax, creating space for subtle visual impressions to form. Dissect these subtleties after the exercise is over.
Phase 1: First, find a spot to relax and close your eyes. Then, with a partner or by using an app (My Sleep Button App can be used here), have random objects recited to you. Each word should have a pause of about 5-10 seconds in between. Allow your mind to relax and don’t try to visualize too hard, or at all. Just allow thoughts to roll through the background of your mind. Afterwards is when you’ll dissect any subtle processes which occurred.
If I had to pick one or two objects from when I was listening to the list that stand out as potentially more visual than the rest, which would I pick?
What is it about that / those objects that stands out?
What visual components in my thoughts can I take note of?
Rate any visual components from 1-10 like we’ve been doing.
Do a quick google image search for that object. If you had to pick one of the images that best represents how the object came into your mind (in perspective, shape, color, etc.), which one would it be?
Further dissect why that image on google is the one that fits how the thought occurred in your mind. Go as deep as you can, dissecting any present subtleties
Notes: This exercise can be quite effective, because it offloads your conscious mind, and you can passively generate subtle visual components. Make sure to not introspect until after the exercise is over. So in the moment, just relax, and don’t even try to consciously react to any visual information which occurs.
Duration: ≈ 6 minutes
Objective: Passively generate subtle visual components within thoughts.
Instructions: You’ll need 3 scenarios narrated to you. These scenarios should be short, simple actions that you do every day and are very familiar with (brushing your teeth, opening your bedroom door and turning on the light, getting into your car, etc…). Any type of action will work, so long as you do it often. Either find a partner to narrate the scenario to you, or record yourself narrating the scenario and listen back to the recording. Phrase things in first-person and present-tense. For example: “You walk up to your car door at a normal pace, and can see the morning light bouncing off the roof. As you reach out your dominant hand, you feel the chill of the car material on your fingers…” etc… Listen to all 3 scenarios in a very relaxed state, passively letting any sensory thoughts run in the background of your mind. After listening to each scenario, dissect your thought process.
If I had to pick one of the 3 scenarios which stands out as more visual than the rest, which would it have to be?
What about that particular scenario stands out as more visual?
What moment / object in particular jumps out?
What number would I rate the different visual components of my thoughts during that specific scenario (color, shape, perspective, motion, etc…)?
If I had to pick an element that was slightly beyond my normal thought process visually, what would it be?
Notes: Make sure to just relax your mind while listening to the scenarios. And if a part of the narration doesn’t fit your physical routine (eg: My front door has a handle, not a knob) just allow your mind to fill in the gaps.
Duration: 6-10 minutes.
Objective: Allow your conscious mind to fully relax and get lost in the exercise and experience at hand. Flowing in a stream of consciousness, allow new types of sensory thoughts to pop through without trying to consciously grab or control them.
Set a timer for 6-10 minutes, and find a comfortable, peaceful place to practice.
Select a memory from the past year or year and a half which is fond and has some sensory variation to it. For example: a walk in the park with a friend after it rained (that’s just one example, but something like a calm day in the office won’t work well for this, since you were only in one setting most of the day).
Select a starting and an ending point to the memory (If I’m using the memory of a hike with friends… Starting point: when I got out of the car. Ending point: when I got back into the car).
Next, relax as much as possible, and allow yourself to verbally recount the chosen memory as if you were currently there, experiencing it in first-person, present tense. Describe how things looked, felt, sounded like, etc. Allowing yourself to get “lost”, drifting into the memory of this day as much as you can.
After, dissect the processes your mind went through in retrospect.
If I had to pick a moment from doing the memory stream that stands out as more visual than the rest, what moment would it be?
What about that moment stands out as particularly more visual?
What components of visual thought can I be subtly aware of?
Carefully dissect any presence of potentially visual thought, making sure to note down if anything feels beyond what you’re normal experience is.
Notes: Just like snapshots, this exercise is not particularly a memory exercise. So do not worry or fret if you cannot remember certain aspects clearly. Simply let your descriptions roll right past those spots that feel a bit fuzzy.
Hyperphantasia Specific Exercises
Duration: ≈ 5 minutes
Objective: Be able to dissect subtleties in visual information stored in the thoughts when comparing a distant memory with a very recent one.
Phase 1: Make sure you have had some time between this exercise and first completing the original snapshot exercise. At least 3-7 days. When you’re ready to tackle this exercise, begin by mentally reviewing each snapshots from the prior week. It’s okay to forget details, but try to write down what was generally in each one (eg: a beach with a family hugging…).
Phase 2: After mentally reviewing the images, ask yourself this question: If I had to pick one of them that stands out in my memory that feels slightly more visual than the others, which one would it be?
Take a minute to jot down your answer and record ratings (1-10) on the visual components (color, shapes, layout, etc…) for that image that feels like it stands out more.
Phase 3: Open up the original image (either by opening it on google, your computer, or watching the snap review video) and compare the actual image with what your mind had reproduced.
What’s similar? What’s different? Note these observations down before moving forward.
Phase 4: After, take another 30 seconds to mentally review the snapshot one more time, now that you’ve seen it physically again. Take another round of rating the visual components, 1-10. And note down the following observations:
How does recalling the distant memory of the snapshot differ from recalling it again right after seeing it?
What processes in my subtle thought process can I say changed between the distant memory of the snapshot and the recent memory?
Which visual components of the thought may have changed, even if slightly?
What subtle thought processes can you notice this exercise made you aware of?
Notes: Requires that you have completed the regular snapshots exercise first. And remember, this isn’t a memory-strength exercise, so accuracy doesn’t matter.
Duration: ≈ 3 minutes
Objective: Practice training your conscious mind to tune in and out of being aware of certain stimuli or not.
Instructions: This practice can work with any sound in our environment (a fan sound, refrigerator hum, construction, dog bark, etc…), but I have prepared some tracks to use here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1P_khDnrNrGkPzr5v06rS2SQbIfveFYux?usp=sharing
For the first 3 tracks: Pay more attention to the sound instructed by the title of the track than any other sounds present. Try to
For the 4th track: This track is simply a droning, distracting sound. The challenge is to play out some mental scenario (such as Familiar Actions or Memory Streaming), while allowing the distracting sound track to fade away from our conscious mind.
Were there moments of being able to pay attention to one sound over the other?
Did you have any success in tuning the distracting sound out?
Notes: This exercise can be quite challenging. Remember, there really isn’t a “doing it right” here. There is only how it occurs to you.
Watch and recreate motion gifs
Duration: 2-5 minutes.
Objective: Carry out a brief physical action, then proceed to “replay” it as best you can in your mind.
Phase 1: decide on a brief and simple action to do physically. Such as: stand up, walk to the window, open the blinds, close them again, walk back, and sit down. It really could be anything. Carry that action out, and pay special attention in your mind as you do so, taking note of what you see, feel, hear, etc.
Phase 2: While seated, close your eyes and slowly / intentionally replay the memory of carrying your action out. Try to mentally experience what you saw, felt, your sense of motion, anything you heard, to the best of your ability. After, proceed to answer questions about the mental replay.
Repeat the process with as many mental scenarios as you’d like to do for your practice session.
After all actions were done: If I had to pick one, which mental replay occurs as more visually vivid than the others?
Out of that specific replay, if I had to pick a moment where the visual sense in my mind was more vivid, what moment would that be?
Out of that replay, what attribute of visual thought (color, perspective, motion, shape / definition) would I say might have been more vivid than normal?
Carrying out the action first is supposed to create a fresh sensory memory to pull from while practicing with your eyes closed.
Also, use of your hands during your action is highly recommended.
Duration: 5 minutes - however long you’d like!
Objective: Practice, and get the feeling of, allowing your mind the begin to “drift” away from your physical senses, and more into your mental senses, your “mental stage”
Pick an audio track that can serve as a light distraction, but nothing too bad. Something like this river sound would work just fine: https://youtu.be/IvjMgVS6kng
Begin to relax and breathe, initiating your mind and body to start slowing down.
Once lightly relaxed, begin to recall a recent memory, and walk through it silently to yourself as if you were currently doing it in first person. As you do this, you may drift in and out of the awareness of the river sound. The idea is to dampen your awareness that you hear the sound until there are moments / stretches of time that it seems to fade from your hearing entirely.
Afterwards, jot down your observations.
What were you thinking about when the sound in your ears seemingly faded, if not completely than largely.
What did your mind / body / emotions feel like when the sound would seemingly fade out of your awareness?
Notes: You may find that the sound never fully disappears, this is normal, you’re just trying to put less and less conscious attention on it.
Duration: 2-5 minutes
Objective: Intentionally utilize more than one mental sense at once, overlapping them within your mind.
First, take a seat, get relaxed and breathe, allowing your body, mind, and emotions to begin slowing down.
Next, select a mental scenario to play out (this could be a recent memory, a familiar action, an imagined scene in your mental “quiet spot”, a memory palace, etc… Anything that you could visualize in a fair amount of detail.
While going through that scenario, try not to only visualize the scene, but also reach out your mental hand and touch things, effectively focusing on that sense for a time. Then focus on what you would hear, then go back to sight and what you would see. Blending the main senses together as you go.
After the exercise, if you had to pick a moment that stood out as more visual, what would it be?
Identify any specific feelings or state that you accessed when your mind was processing more vividly.
What made those moments different than other moments within your exercise?
If you had to select a visual component (color, shape, definition of edges, perspective, movement, etc…) that was more consistently vivid throughout, which would it be?
Notes: This practice will increase the “immersion” of your mind into your mental stage, and make your visualization even more “first person, present tense”.
Duration: 5-10 minutes
Objective: Allow yourself to get fully mentally immersed in an imagined space.
Instructions: Get relaxed first, of course, and select a location that you’re quite familiar with. Could be your favorite coffee shop, your childhood home, your school or workplace, and begin to mentally “walk through” the space. Try to actually “feel” your mental body taking steps. And when something catches your attention, don’t be hesitant to mentally approach it, and really take in it’s details. Allow yourself to just relax, but also be intentional.
If I had to pick something I saw while doing this that stood out as more vivid than the rest, what would it be?
Any observations from attempting to mentally soak in the details of my location?
If I had to pick a moment that was beyond my usual, what would it be?
Notes: Choosing a more familiar scene will help to increase the inherent vividness of the imagery as you do so.
Deep State Videos
Duration: 3-5 minutes ish
Objective: Passively mentally re-experience a video of your choosing in as much detail as you possibly can.
First choose a video to use. Something with color, significance, or a fair amount of stimuli should work well. This could be a scene from a Marvel movie, a music video, anime, etc…
Relax and watch the movie from start to finish, paying great attention to every moment.
Afterwards, lie or sit down (whichever will help you to really sink deep into a low alpha / theta brain state), and begin to breathe, allowing your system to slow down.
Once you’re reasonably deep into your state, proceed to replay the video you had watched from start to finish. Don’t get hung up on details that you can’t remember perfectly, and allow your mind to just let it be what it is.
While replaying the video in your mind, what moment stood out as more vivid than others?
Any other thoughts you may have.
Afterwards, it might be fun to re-watch the video physically, thwart way you can compare what you thought it was like in your mind / memory with how it actually was.
Notes: Remember, these types of exercises aren’t specifically memory exercises. So it doesn’t matter what you remember accurately or not. I actually find it more interesting and effective if your mind inserts things that weren’t actually present in the actual video, then you have your mind’s version and the real version to compare and contrast.
Prophantasia Specific Exercises
Note: Most of these prophantasia specific exercises work best the first time around if you follow along actively with the accompanying video track (provided in my programs). Once you then know the process, you can proceed to do the exercise on your own.
Special video link: https://youtu.be/O6NVRrKVdxc
Duration: ≈ 8 minutes
Objective: Learn to “feel” (aka become cognitively aware) of the “mental sensations” when you cause certain cognitive abilities / states to kick in.
Instructions: This exercise is best practiced by following the video lesson. I could try to describe it here, but it’s really something that needs some active guidance. In essence, you’re using optical illusions to control how you perceive them visually.
After watching and following along with the video lesson, you’ll want to try to catch any extremely subtle cues that you may be turning on and off a mental switch.
Mental switches are hard to put language to, and oftentimes are not even a physical sensation. More-so, they’re an ethereal, “mental muscle” so to speak. So make sure to try to catch subtleties here that you would normally write off.
Duration: ≈ 4 minutes
Objective: Use the provided audio tracks to attempt to project a sound into the audio.
Instructions: Access the audio tracks here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1OmYjA4MM5z8zx4U4PIN52dPdVLd9aBmq?usp=sharing
Each track contains white noise and a car alarm sound. Find a relaxing spot, and listen to both, one at a time.
One of the tracks has the car alarm throughout the duration of the track, changing in volume. The other also has the car alarm, but there are stretches where the car alarm is fully muted.
Your task is to attempt to reproduce some sense of the car alarm playing throughout both tracks, almost tricking your mind into thinking “wait… Is the car alarm actually playing right now or not?”
You will not know which track contains the car alarm for the entire track and which does not.
What was it like to attempt to project the sounds? On a scale of 1-10, how “loud” was the sense of the sound in your mind?
On a scale of 1-10, how much did the thought of the sound translate into your physical hearing?
If anything above a 1, how did it feel when you would have those moments? Can you identify any switches?
Notes: Remember not to try too hard. And even if you can only imagine the track in your mind, without physically projecting the sound of it yet, you’re on the right track. After all, it’s that sound in your mind that will get “louder and louder” until it feels that you can still physically hear it. This is all about convincing the conscious mind.
Duration: ≈ 3 minutes
Objective: Gain even further control over which eye you are processing from, essentially controlling a perceptual mental switch. You’re training your mind to see what you want to see.
Instructions: Follow along with the video lesson, as it will walk you through the process better than I could do here. But in essence…
Using images: Gaze at an image that’s composed of a red and a blue photo. Attempt to control your perception to see one over the other for any length of time. Try to switch between the images at will.
Using your hand: Using one hand, hold it about 6 inches in front of your face, block one of your eyes. Focus both eyes on some subject that you can see beyond your hand. Using perception switches, alternate your perception to make your hand opaque or transparent (see video lessons for a visual representation of what we’re talking about).
Write down any observations on how it feels mentally to intentionally change these perceptions.
Notes: Remember, the better you can put words to these things, even though it’s hard to describe, the better you’ll be able to consciously recognize what “mental muscle” you’re using to make the effect happen, and the more likely you’ll be to reproduce a desired effect later on.
Duration: ≈ 2 minutes
Objective: Become aware of certain points on the body, fine tuning your conscious awareness.
Instructions: This exercise is best done by following along with the video lesson within my programs. In essence,
You’re having a partner point out different points on your body to pay attention to, with about 5 seconds of wait time in between each one.
An alternative way to practice this could be working with a partner, and having them pick out sensory stimuli in your environment at random.
Eg: the wind on your face (pause). The sound of the water. The warmth of the sun. The feeling of your feet in the sand.
What was it like to become aware of these sensory points one by one?
Did it feel they almost “popped into existence” after they were mentioned?
Was it easy to then pay attention to the next point?
Notes: Try not to drum anything up. Just become aware of what is already present in that spot. This exercise serves as a warmup to what’s next, of sorts.
Projecting Haptic Sense
Duration: ≈ 5 minutes
Objective: Catch subtle changes to our perceived sense of physical sensation, essentially projecting the haptic imagination.
Phase 1: First, get in a relaxed position and place your hand palm up in front of you in your lap or on a surface. Take about a minute to point your attention to your physical palm, and take note of any physical sensations that are present there. Do not necessarily try to generate any feelings yet, simply take inventory of what you already feel there (eg. warmth, openness, weight, lightness, etc…). Jot down your observations as bullet points before moving on.
Phase 2: Now, imagine that your palm is filling up with plasma, a pulsating energy (if you can visualize a bright energy filling up your hand, do so now). Then answer this question: if I could feel that plasma in my palm, what would it feel like? As best you can, try to imagine that feeling in your imaginary hand. Next, point your attention back to your physical hand, and take note of any slight change in the physical sensation in your palm. No change is too small! Note down your observations on a notepad.
What were the differences between first paying attention to my palm, then after I imagined the plasma there?
If I had to pick one sensation that was stronger than the others, what would that be?
Notes: Even if you don’t physically feel much, a fine starting place is simply imagining what it would feel like to feel the energy in the palm. Focusing on the imagined feeling will eventually give way to the physical sensation.
Some variations: Start with the energy being of a certain imagined element (wind, fire, electricity, etc…), and midway through, change the element to another, taking note of any subtle changes in the physical palm.
Projecting Haptic Motion
Duration: ≈ 5 minutes
Objective: Perceive subtle sense of imagined motion within the physical senses.
Instructions: After initial haptic exercise, start with a palm up on a surface in front of you. Once you are physically able to feel the imagined energy in your palm, you’re then ready to do this next exercise. While focusing on the feeling of energy in your palm, begin to imagine that energy slowly traveling up your palm into your wrist, from there it continues to travel up your arm until it slowly reaches your elbow. The objective here is to feel the motion of the imagined energy ball traveling. Try to catch any subtle sensation of motion within your arm as you do this. Once at your elbow, go ahead and pass the energy back down the opposite direction towards your palm again.
If I had to put language to what it felt like to pass this imaginary energy up and down my forearm, what would I say it felt like to do so?
What sensation was more physical than anything else?
Notes: If you’re having trouble feeling anything, using your eyes to “follow” where the ball would be can help to enhance the sensation of it traveling.
This exercise is wonderful for increasing our subtle sensations and convincing our conscious minds that we’re feeling / seeing something.
SPECIAL NOTE: I like to mention that this is not an exercise which I specifically created. I first learned of it from a forum post (which I can’t find, if anyone knows the post I’m referring to, please let me know and I’ll link it here). I haven’t found it very effective until one can already project simple shapes to some degree.
Also, use this video to view the referenced images: https://youtu.be/QQWkMKkcOpY
Duration: ≈ 4 minutes
Objective: Begin to convince your conscious mind that you’re seeing something that isn’t actually there by projecting a non-existent line between two dots.
Phase 1: Use this example photo to take note of how the image with a line between the dots. Take mental note of the image looks with the line present.
Phase 2: use this photo, where the line is now absent from the image, and gaze at the image. Relaxing your gaze, begin to “feel” the line into existence by imagining the “presence” of the line first. After a while of feeling the line there, begin to take note of any slight difference to how the image looks physically.
Find an image with 2 white dots on a black background. After viewing
What slight differences could I pinpoint after trying to project a line between the dots?
Was there any other sensation that was present besides just visual?
Notes: Remember, getting the “presence” of a projected object is a great first step! So even if you haven’t physically seen anything yet, continue to build on what perceptions are available to you.
Beg. Visual Snow
Duration: ≈ 5 minutes
Objective: Convince your conscious mind that you can physically see “visual snow”. Visual snow can serve as the foundation to more detailed projections.
First, look at this example of what visual snow looks like (for some): https://youtu.be/j-nMoT1MsP8?t=447
Next, find a blank wall in your immediate surroundings that you can stare at and zone out on. A blank, off-white wall works best.
Dim down the lights as much as possible in the room without being completely dark (visual snow is easier to perceive in low-light environments).
Anchor your eyes on the blank wall, and allow your gaze to relax fully, losing focus as if you’re zoning out.
Simultaneously, imagine in your mind what visual snow looks like, as if you’re looking at a static tv screen in your mind.
Then begin to think of what it would look like to see the snow on the wall in front of you.
Point your attention back to the wall in front of you, and just relax and observe for a time. Try to catch any subtle changes whatsoever to your field of view / peripheral vision.
Once you get a sense of the snow, just gaze at it and allow it to persist.
If I had to describe what subtleties I was able to catch, how would I describe them?
Again, getting the “presence” or “feeling” of the snow is a great first step! From there you can build into seeing it.
Int. Visual Snow
Duration: ≈ 5 minutes
Objective: Try to maintain the sight of the visual snow even with your eyes closed. It tends to be harder for most people to see it with their eyes closed.
Start by dimming the lights, pick a blank spot, and start seeing the visual snow on the wall.
Once you have a fairly strong sense of it, slowly begin to close your eyes and maintain the sight of the snow.
At any point, if you lose sight of the snow, back up, open your eyes and see it again on the wall.
Restart the process of slowly closing your eyes, trying not to lose sight of the snow until you can see it with your eyes closed, too.
How does the viewing the snow with eyes open differ from viewing it with eyes closed?
Notes: Typically, the snow will appear dimmer for people when they do this with their eyes closed vs. eyes open.
Duration: ≈ 5 minutes
Objective: Become accustomed to “moving” shapes around mentally, preparing you for future exercises. This exercise requires a mind’s eye to complete, but it doesn’t have to be super vivid.
Follow these steps:
First, with your eyes open, take mental note of what you see physically in front of you right now. You may see your computer and desk, you may be looking out a window, or on a bench at a park.
Now with your eyes closed, recreate that scene in your mind’s eye as best you can.
Next, let’s say that in your mind’s eye, you could see a white circle / sphere appear about 2 or 3 feet in front of you. Try to imagine what that shape would look like just hovering in the air.
Now, as your “mind’s eye” continues to stare straight ahead, mentally begin to slowly move the white circle up to the top right corner of your mental scene. Next, move it to the bottom right corner. Next, move it diagonally across to the top left corner, and finally bring it to rest front and center again. Try to visualize it moving to these different points as best as you can.
Next, allow the shape to get a bit closer to your face, and begin to rotate it around your head, as if it’s a small moon orbiting. Allow it to pass from your mental “field of view”, and feel its presence passing behind your head. Once it comes back into view, it slows down as it comes back front and center.
Now, rotate the shape the opposite direction. Allowing it to pass from view and continue until it rests front and center again.
Which direction did the shape rotate initially? Then the next time?
Were you able to imagine what the shape traveling would look like? Even to any degree?
If you had to put language to the shape rotating out of view, what does it feel like to do that?
Notes: Remember, even if you have a 4 out of 10 mind’s eye vividness, you can still do this exercise.
Pulling Shapes Forward
Duration: ≈ 5 minutes
Objective: Begin to convince your conscious mind that you’re projecting images into your field of view. Low-detail projections may start here.
First, close your eyes and relax by taking a few deep breaths. Now, start by seeing the visual snow against your wall, like previous exercises have instructed. Then, maintain sight of the snow with your eyes closed before moving on.
Next, go ahead and visualize a simple image: a white circle on a pure black background. NOTE: You’re using your mind’s eye here, and it doesn’t have to be super vivid (about a 5 or 6 would be good enough).
After you have a pretty good sense of the simple shape in your mind, proceed to give that image a “location”, and that location is in your head. NOTE: This is quite abstract, as truly, there isn’t a “location” to thoughts, per se… But they can “feel” as if they’re coming from the head, so that’s where our image will “reside”.
Proceed to imagine that thought image moving from inside your head, downwards, towards your nasal cavity, and then pulling the image out in front of your nose, resting the image in front of your face. NOTE: Even if you can only feel the presence of the image in front of your nose, that’s a great step!
Attempt to maintain the abstract concept of the image of the white circle hovering out in front of your nose while simultaneously gazing at the visual snow with your eyes closed.
While you maintain both awareness (lightly switching back and forth is fine, too), take mental note of any slight change to the visual snow whatsoever. The visual snow can start to look “more condensed” in the are of the shape you’re trying to project.
If you lose the sense of the mental image of the shape, back up, and begin the process again (see the snow, imagine a shape, mentally pull that shape down and forward in front of you, hang it there and gaze at the snow).
What slight changes would you say occurred while hovering the shape out in front of you?
How does the “feeling” differ from before you pull the shape down and forward and after?
Remember, that now more than ever, being aware of the presence of the shape is just as important as starting to physically see something.
This practice all comes down to convincing your conscious mind that you see something that is not there.
Duration: 2-5 minutes
Objective: Observe the effects from offering your conscious mind suggestions.
Using visual snow: In a dimly lit room, begin to relax and gaze at a blank wall. Next, submit the following, out loud, to your conscious mind: “The visual snow is becoming stronger”. Don’t try to make it stronger, just observe if it does. Even if it’s very minor! Once successful, submit the next thought: “The visual snow is becoming weaker”, and try to observe it getting “dimmer”. You can also try this with eyes closed.
Using audio track of distracting sound (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H-z0daQmg27SNjpWfSPE3OzheKxJKqTm/view?usp=sharing): While listening and relaxing, submit the thought “the distracting sound is growing quieter”, and “stronger” respectively.
If I had to put language to any slight effect that the suggestions had on my perception, what would those be?
Notes: This concept of suggesting experiences to our conscious selves can be used in a variety of ways! It’s especially effective if used while in a deep meditative state.
Sensing a Projection’s Presence
Duration: 5-ish minutes
Objective: Obtain the “feeling” that a projection is in front of you, even if you don’t see anything yet.
First, close your eyes and begin by imagining the room in front of you, your current environment. Then imagine that you are lifting your hand in front of your face, without actually doing so physically. While you do this, attempt to not only “see” your mental hand in front of you with your mind’s eye, but attempt to imagine what it would feel like to sense its presence. Take note of any subtle feeling that may arise.
Next, try this with an imagined shape. Close your eyes, and think of a white triangle. Now, gaze into the black void in front of your physical vision, and think of that triangle existing in that blackness. Attempt to convince your conscious mind that you can feel it hovering out in front of you. Take note of any subtle feelings.
If I had to put words to what it feels like to sense the presence of an object that isn’t really there, how would I describe it?
What minute / extremely tiny changes can I take note of from when I was not projecting a shape to when I was looking for the feeling of the presence of the shape / imagined object?
Notes: Again, the goal here is not to see an object. Instead you’re only supposed to sense the “presence” of the imagined object.
Duration: 5-10 minutes
Objective: Gain a vague visual impression of different objects through a blindfold.
First, make sure to get some sort of blindfold that will block out all, if not most, light from your eyes. One that you could comfortably open your eyes in is best, but not totally necessary.
Also choose some object that has a straight edge to it. A binder, or wide book would work best. Make sure the object is completely opaque, and not see-through.
Now, go ahead and put your blindfold on. Double check there is virtually no light streaming through. Observe the quality of the black space in front of your eyes for a few minutes, taking mental note of how it appears to you.
Next, choose one hand, and slowly begin to wave your hand in front of your face. Go very slow, one pass should be about 1.5 seconds or longer. What you’re looking for here is any slight change to the black space when you have your eyes. Some people will see their hand represented as a darker / lighter spot within the blackness.
Finally, after you’ve observed your hand in this way, use your selected object (binder / book) and slowly move the edge from the bottom of your face to the top. While you do this, attempt to distinguish any slight change to the blackness that could represent the location of the object.
What was the difference between only observing the black space and when I’d wave my hand / object in front of me?
Even if I didn’t overtly see any difference, was I able to sense the presence of the object moving?
Was there any presence of “visual snow” in the blackness? If so, did it change at all?
Most people will be able to slightly see a darker / lighter area where their hand or object is. I assure you, this is not a shadow from the lighting in your room.
If you really need to, you can lock yourself in a light-tight closet, layer blankets and a pillow over your face, and then try it… you’ll still be able to see your hand! (speaking from experience when I first stumbled on this interesting effect!)
This can serve as proof to your conscious mind that you are indeed able to project imagery into the black space.
Duration: ≈1.5 minutes
Objective: Practice “deleting” a sound from your physical environment, subtly tricking your mind that it is no longer there.
First, open this track: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H-z0daQmg27SNjpWfSPE3OzheKxJKqTm/view?usp=sharing
While listening to that track, attempt to allow your conscious mind to drift away from the distracting car alarm, and focus only on your own thoughts / the white noise of the audio track.
If I had to put language to how my mind “felt” when the car alarm was seemingly faded away, what could I say it felt like to have my mind do this?
How long was the longest stretch where the car alarm seemed way less prominent? 3 seconds? 5? 10?
Notes: You may find that there would be moments where the car alarm seems to disappear from your awareness, but then it would come back. This is totally normal! What you’ll want to do is try to identify how your mind feels when you’re not hearing the sound as much. If you can recognize that state consciously, you can better recreate it.
Duration: ≈5 minutes
Objective: Achieve a subtle, low-level projection of simple different shades of color.
Take a few minutes to breathe and relax, entering into a light alpha brain state. Observe the visual snow with your eyes open and closed, if you can.
With eyes closed, begin by selecting a vibrant color and bring it to mind. Fill your mind’s eye with only that color, devoid of shape and form. Put all your attention on that color in your mind and nothing else.
Next, gently bring your attention to the black space in front of you, while somewhat maintaining the sense of seeing the color in your mind’s eye. Observe the black space in front of you, and attempt to see any change within the blackness that begins to take on the subtle quality of the color in your mind.
Stay with this awareness for some time, observing and taking note of any slight change.
Once you’ve observed a slight projection of that color, go ahead and move on to a new one.
If I had to put words to a change in the black space, what difference occurred?
Did any projected sense of color have any certain qualities to it? Did it move at all or take any form?
Which color of the ones I chose was the most vivid against the blackness?
Remember, the projection of a color can be extremely subtle, especially at first. So you don’t need to put too much pressure on yourself.
A tricky part of practicing prophantasia is that oftentimes it can feel as if you’re trying to convince yourself that you’re seeing something. And in essence, this is exactly what you’re doing! So don’t be afraid to do so!
Duration: 5 minutes or so
Objective: Begin to generate the experience that I call “blobulars” (a silly name, because there isn’t an official term for the experience yet). You’ll have been successful if you start to see those color swirls that result from deep meditation. This will be easier if you’ve either seen them before, or have seen a visual representation of what to expect, which you can see here: https://youtu.be/_k6HdfvJ7Qs?t=235
Or the original place I could find this gif posted: https://i.imgur.com/DMLml.gif
Enter down into as close to a theta-state as possible. Then place your attention on the black space in front of you. As you gaze into that black space, attempt to first “feel the presence” of the blobs, swirling about.
Don’t try to force them coming into view, just simply feel their moment at first. Eventually, try to catch any slight awareness that you’re starting to see them.
While gazing at the black space, what language could you possibly put to the feeling of swirls moving about?
If you did start to see some sort of effect, how would you describe it? Did it have a certain color or quality?
Notes: Most often, I’ve heard people experiencing these things without necessarily trying. After some time of experiencing them myself, I recognized I could jump start the experience. Other than feeling my way into it, and looking for them / convincing myself that I saw them, that’s all there is to it!
Duration: 5 ish minutes
Objective: Gain some mental control over the movement of the blobs.
Allow yourself to sink deep into a meditative state via your preferred method.
At that point, allow the blobs to form, or attempt to jumpstart them.
Once you can see them swirling about and doing their blobby thing, attempt to initiate some control over their movement. Imagine that they freeze in place, speed up / slow down, reverse direction, etc.
To do this, try to visualize it in the mind first, and see if that alone affects their movement at all. Other than that, using a “mental switch” / “mental muscle” is the best way to make this happen.
What slight change could I notice in the blobs when I would initiate attempting to control their motion?
Did they occur at all (even very slightly) different from their norm? If so, how?
Notes: Really, we get into intending to do something and having it happen mentally here. Even now, I have a hard time describing how this is exactly done. The best way I can describe it is you use a “mental muscle” to cause a change to what you’re observing. The exercises / illusion practice in my “mental switches” system illustrate this concept best, I’ve found.
After Image Manipulation
Duration: as long as you’d like
Objective: Pick a simple black and white image to use as your target. Something like this would work quite well: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/31cL-TXyz0L._AC_SY355_.jpg
First, open your image of choice on your device (I recommend using a laptop or something with a large screen, so it fills more of your vision).
Take 20 seconds to gaze at the image, using one spot to anchor your eye with out moving it much that entire 20 seconds.
Afterwards, close your eyes, and turn your head towards a light source like an open window or a lamp. You should be able to see the after image.
Attempt to allow the after image to remain in your vision, convincing yourself that it isn’t fading from view.
Once it does fade from your physical view, retain it in your mind’s eye, and from there, see if you can revive it in your physical vision.
What sorts of effects can I notice when I try to retain an image?
How long am I able to retain the image for? And was it any longer than the last time I tried this exercise?
Notes: One more advanced thing you can try would be to not only retain the sense of seeing the image, but also add in slight alterations to it!
Kasina Style Meditation
SPECIAL NOTE: This is a specific type of meditation that I certainly did not create on my own. As far as I can tell, it’s quite archaic.
Duration: 5-10 minutes.
Objective: Begin to create low-level projections within your physical sight.
Instructions: Since this isn’t my custom technique, I’ll just include a web page that can explain this technique way better than I can here.
Was I able to at least sense the “presence” of any projections?
What slight changes to my visual field can I take note of?
Notes: Prophantasia can be done with eyes open or eyes closed, kasina style meditation can help to generate both experiences.
My methods described here are not perfect, and there's no guarantee that they will work for everyone. But they have been working for some, at least within a coaching setting. Please refrain from trying something for one day, and giving up, proceeding to claim it doesn't work. This process has taken intentionality and effort from the people I've worked with, and not giving it a fair chance will only serve to undermine progress that is being made by those out there.
I'm here, for you, as well. I'm more than happy to answer questions and respond to inquiries and such.