131 Comments

  1. Josef

    Hello, this is Josef again.

    Sad to say that my progress has stagnated,
    1) because of my summer job and the lack of energy etc.
    2) When I first posted this, back in April, I had completed 24 sessions of neurofeedback. While the purpose (and money that went along with it) was for something else, I had hoped to get something out of it that would ‘boost’ my visualization. I mean, neurofeedback is about fine-tuning your brain through electric stimulation and changing unwanted behaviour/thinking, so I don’t think it was unreasonable to except SOMETHING. Unfortunately it didn’t help (not for visualization or anything, even though it carries some science behind it). I’m not to hung up over that but it has been demotivating.

    Now, the one thing that is true and I’ll repeat it, was that one time I feel semi-asleep on my pressure mat and ACTUALLY SAW A STREAM OF IMAGES in high speed. THIS. THis I believe is the goal that we all want (but with control of course). Unfortunately I haven’t been able to recreate this.

    What do I do now? I still listen to ‘Improve Visualization’ from Hypnosis Download when I commute but I guess I need to try and put more overall effort into this whole thing. So I guess, in a ‘natural’ way, not much has happened…

    I don’t know, maybe you’ll condemn me but I’ll lay this out anyway: Couple weeks ago, I went abroad and tried ‘magic truffles, tampanensis’ (where it is legal) to see if I could visualize. And…it works! I saw light gray dot-patterns and several forms of ‘ring water’ (thin). But I stupidly took too much and had a bit trip, so I’d say I saw this for <30 minutes before things became too much…I didn't see much colour, only geometrical figures but I could definitely see something when I closed my eyes. I will try this again but I do not know when and I will definitely be more cautious.

    Regards and best of luck,
    Josef.

  2. Tanner

    Hello Marko, thank you for making this forum. I plan on trying out the techniques you listed for a couple of months, I have a question and would like to hear if you think this could help my visualization process. So i’ve always been able to visualize a problem and basically run it and see how it would work and make changes to it to try and solve something rather than trial and error, but my visualization skill is extremely weak and faint. I only mostly get impressions of extremely dim pictures that only lasts like 2 seconds, but I can still use these to do the problem solving technique I am able to do. So I was wondering would trying to visualize problems and solve them using visualization be worth using as a technique to practice or do you think it best to just stick with the known ones that work that you listed.

    • Marko Martelli

      Thank you for your question Tanner.

      You’re doing, if I remember correctly, what Nicola Tesla did to solve the majority of his creative “problems”. He was known for having extraordinary visualization powers.

      Do you use your skill on a daily basis?

      And yes, I guess it can’t hurt to improve the efficiency of your visualization by enhancing clarity and focus.

      You’ve got a fanstastic foundation already!

      Consciously sit down and drastically enhance the tool you’ve already developed:
      Just do what you’re already doing and: Lengthen the max. duration, focus on details (zoom in and out, change color & shape), rotate objects, transform them, etc. Observe these objects, their details and texture in real life and bring them into your routine. Gradually add more and more detail.

      I would stick to what you’ve already got and level it up by deepening your sessions.

      • Tanner

        Thank you very much Marko for your response! — I haven’t used this skill on a daily basis. I really haven’t touched it much in past years except for a few times. Daily activities don’t require it, because of this it has become harder to manipulate objects in my head, but thankfully I can still do it to some extent; but the objects have never really been clear, bright, and sometimes the objects become in visible but I can still see them in a sort of way in my head, but not with my eyes.

  3. Tomasz Karaban

    Who can develop his imagination/visualisation using this exercises has a lot of luck. I have been practising 3 months and i got a lot of sh*t and awareness of wasted time. People without visualisation skill is something more than just untrained mental muscle. We are using visualisation all the time but our imagination dont want improve, something like biological barrier.

  4. Federico

    Took me 3 days for a total of 2 hours but I finally got my first after image for a split second of a bluish-blackish square, so that’s what visualizing is, I had it all wrong, it is in fact image-y! Gotta keep at it, sight is the only sense I’m completely missing in my mind.

  5. Kathy

    Hi, Marko! How do I join in and follow these threads? I am a total Aphantasiant and have never experienced my mind sensor of any sort. Can I follow you? Your advice is interesting.Thank you.

    • Marko Martelli

      Dear Kathy,
      I don’t use any social media but, if you want to follow the discussion here, you’ll be fine checking every 4-5 days for new content.
      Please let us know if make any progress with these (or other) exercises.
      Marko

    • Marko Martelli

      The more the better. Just don’t force it. Keep it light and easy. Maybe you can do some ‘skull practice’ when waiting, sitting in a bus, lunch break, etc.

    • Sam H.

      If you can’t see mental images at all don’t waste too much time. I did the exercises for a while and nothing. See my earlier comment below. I have yet to hear from anyone whose mental imagery turned on all of a sudden after doing exercises like this, other than Marko apparently. Just friendly note of warning before investing too much.

        • Sam H.

          I did it for 30 minutes a day for weeks. All I got was afterimages. One practices to get better at something, for example, if your mental imagery is weak. It’s a whole other story if your mental imagery is simply off. Like I said, I have yet to hear from anyone whose mental imagery turned on all of a sudden from doing exercises like this. It’s not right to advise people to keep spending time when there is no evidence that you can go from off to on, again, not vague to crisp.

          • Federico

            I couldn’t even get after images when I started, now I can. Do you think I should just give up? I have the other senses, they suck but I have them.

          • Marko Martelli

            Please make sure to get into a state of total relaxation before doing these exercises. If you won’t get anything at all, try this:
            Very gently press, with the tips of your fingers, your eyes, until you perceive some kind of light sensations. Stop touching your eyes and begin describing what you see (out loud). Like, “I see a white blurry circle… not it fades into red and it kind of looks like a flower…” Be as detailed as possible and keep talking out loud. Win Wenger called this ‘Image Streaming’ and this exercise helps you to kick start your visualization. Try it foor at least a week, 10-20 min a day.

  6. Aaron

    Are the after images contained in a small rectangle in the center of your vision when you close your eyes for anybody else?
    Am on my second day of trying these excersizes the first day i could see absolutely nothing today i can see the shapes contained in a small rectangle in the centre of my closed eyes but very small sized

  7. Josef

    Took a longer than intended break. Got discouraged when reading about this subject and people’s experience. But now I’m back, and I can actually see the after-image of the candle flame (even though it is tiny…like…tiny..). I couldn’t do that at all in the beginning which was why I dropped it in favour of other exercises. So, I got that for me in terms of progress. And while my enthusiasm may have dropped I’ll keep going.

    Best of luck,
    J.

    • Pomasz

      Don’t give up, i am prepare for long long time, even year, Marko needed 6 months to be good at it. I am scared that i will never be better at it, even if i started witch seeing something :O

  8. Andre

    I have attempted in the past to visualize (via assignments in classes that require such) I will commit to a few months of 5 or so minutes a day of the third exercise that appealed the most to me, and reply after that time if any progress is made. I am curious, has this worked for anyone so far besides Brandon and you?

    • Pomasz

      Now, i am not sure, i spend 1,5 month witch visualisation, first 1 hour per day, now, 30 min per day, and my visualisation skill is still weak, just little bit stronger than at start. I think progress is a matter of persistence practise. I recommended longer sessions than 5 min, at least 10 min. Progress depends of person, for my stone brain it can take very long time, for you maybe not. Don’t give up. Good luck 😉

  9. Tomasz Karaban

    Sorry for English) Thanks, You probably save my life, why you ? I tell you after i get more progress, but for me very important is that this exercises to see any changes can take more than just 1 month, before when i stop train imagination after 1 month, i dont saw any progres and stop with thinking i will never done that. Now after 1 month and 6 days i see little better pictures and when i hear song my mind alone visualise moments from music video, i did not have that before. I will done comment here after several months and i will write why you save my life, thanks.. 🙂

    • Tomasz Karaban

      Oh my… i was too greedy here, after 1 month and 20 days i still have much moments when i almost have not visualisation skill, so annoying. So fuc***g unfair matter with my stone brain, visualisation is the best skill that you can have, this skill by image streaming technique can absolutely change your IQ and life. I always was stupid, and EVEN i cant change that, where here is god ? 🙁

      • Tomasz Karaban

        Sorry for English. Here i will report my progress. After 2 months and 3 days i still have visualisation skill like at the begin. 90 % days i think i made 0 progress BUT 6 days ago i had one very strong visualisation day and next day was good too but worse. In this 6 days my visualisation was so weak again. Sometimes i think i’ll never get stronger basic visualisation skill. My visualisation improving skill is so bad. We’ll later……

        • Tomasz Karaban

          OK, after 2 months 15 days, i added into main training relax. First Relax, after relax, visualise, and my visualisation seems to be little better, we’ll see later.

          • Alex

            I hope you’ll get better, i’m really curious to know your improvements. I tried to train visualization for like 1 month but without constancy. But now i want to start again. Please don’t give up man

          • Tomasz Karaban

            I will not stop, i want get better so so much, but its may be impossible. I will continue that maybe for 9 months, But i cant remind how powerful my visualisation was at the begin, maybe it slightly helped becouse i have not moments with near zero visualisation which i had at begin, but visualisation is still weak. I will report all progress, now its 2 months 25 days, we’ll see later

  10. Josef

    I am in the same boat as Sam H. I began my visualization regime 11 days ago, prompted by your sentence about how most self-help books already assume that you can visualize. Really frustrating..

    I have not felt that it’s been a waste of time, but I do admit that I’m a bit discouraged. On a scale of 1-10 (with 11 meaning conjuring HD images) I have always been at 1. Always been able to dream now and then. Say 1-2x/week. With plenty of scenarios BUT most often without details, influence or anything. Just…a dream. And always pitch black images whenever I close my eyes and try to visualize.

    I would now say that my visualization is 2…2.5/10. I still see nothing, but my after-images are better. It’s true. They are still not where I want them to be but I’ve found progress (e.g observing keys, shampoo bottles and whatnot and..actually getting the outlines). And maybe more encouraging is that I was able to see lime-green colour. No fluke. This one completely suprised me and I wasn’t focusing on the color. It was even the wrong colour (meant to be purple) and only 1-2 cm in diameter but still a pleasant surprise because prior to that it has always (and still) been very dark colours. And my dreams have been more intense. The other night I could VIVIDLY smell freshly made bread and feel its crispy texture. Suffice to say I was disappointed when I woke up :(.

    But I’m still discouraged. A part of me made the recent mistake of seeking advices from all over the place. Which will, at some point, give you contradicting answers. “you SHOULD, you MUST, you HAVE…to do X for Y” and I guess it makes me less relaxed. It’s difficult to put in words but I don’t want to feel that I’ve wasted my time. I’ll keep going. But no more additions. I’ll go back to practicing the previous exercises.

    Just for reference: I never did #1, didn’t suit me. #2 occasionally but I feel #3 have been the best.
    I try to “chop up” the top of the triangles with a very slow and steady laserbeam (excuse my poor wording). Same with the quadrants. I try to make tiny ones at the corners. I aim for 30-40 sec, and then close my eyes while looking slightly upwards. Sometimes I try to go for 30-40 sec and make a blinking motion (like snapshot) every 3 sec. The star-shaped figures: I “try” to imagine a bright, shiny brush following its shape before it fades away. Usually it takes a while to make a whole lap, but it is doable. I also practice a lot on stationary objects. Like a red spoon on a white napkin, or keys…or shampoo bottle with contrasting colours. Black dot on white paper. Imagining lemon halves and it’s smell etc…Whatever really, but not anything difficult (I haven’t tried an actual photo and I don’t want to).

    #4 is also good. I find I’ve made progress, but I do wish the images were longer than 30 sec. It messes up the flow when I practice. I tried with part 2 and 3 but na.

    #5. I tried the Middle Earth Meditation. But the vocabulary was too advanced for me, so I became distracted…I have however recently started with “improve visualization” bought from hypnosis download. I feel by writing this down I’m able to hold myself accountable. To not quit yet. And also, when I feel the next breakthrough and report it back here, other people might be encouraged as well. Anyway, have a pleasant evening.

    Regards,
    J.

    • Marko Martelli

      Josef,

      Thank you for sharing your experience and progress such a level of detail!

      I feel you’re on the right track! Despite the difficulty of practicing this elusive and intangible ability you’re driven by a burning desire to make this happen!
      How do you feel about the “improve visualization” program? Could you give us some feedback about this product?

      Marko

      • Josef

        Hello Marko.

        I do feel I’m heading the right way. Just the other night I was semi-sleeping (after using a pressure mat) and my mind felt like a sketchbook in high-speed (similar to the MARVEL movie’s intros). It was like I had a small TV (1/4th in size) in the corner of my mind. The most vivid memory in that short period of time was music blaring and a colorful dancing stereo. I really enjoyed the tune and tried to youtube the song while dreaming but to no avail. And the best part is that I was “lucid” at one point, I knew that the instant Ill move my back from the pressure mat I’ll wake up. And it happened twice during the same night (one with, one off pressure mat)! None of these happened before; not the amount of creativity I felt and neither being lucid. Never. And I can only attribute these moments to the visualisation practices.

        As for the program, I would rate it 7.5/10. At least a 7. The score is lowered because of the price (unless you buy in bundle which I did for some other tracks). I haven’t felt anything special to say that visualisation works BUT it gets a solid score because I get deeply relaxed every single time. It’s weird but he has a very soothing voice and this track is by far the better of the ones I’ve bought. And well, hypnosis is highly individual, but because of the price I’m wary of recommending it to people just like that. But honestly? I’ve managed to complete the whole track only once. No joke! I feel that SOMETHING must be going on subconsciously…

        I have one question Marko, have your short-term memory improved? I mean like “where did I put my keys?..they were with me 30 sec ago..”. I understand that when you are able to create images you can play around with memory-palace etc but what about the above?

        Regards,
        J.

        • Marko Martelli

          Hi Josef,

          What a rewarding experience! That’s a fantastic side effect; when you train your imagination, your dream gains in clarity too.

          I think my short term memory improved indeed. Maybe it’s because I am trying to capture more of the “now”… staying more aware of what’s happening around me this moment. But I’m also a fan of memorizing long texts, so I can’t say clearly if my memory improvement enhanced in particular through training my mind’s eye. Although, I’m sure it helps somewhat because I can, for some situations, recall images/movies of what happened in the past.

          Thank you for your review! Maybe, after you’ve used it for some time, you can report back to us again.

          Marko

      • robosky

        please sir, when you visualize with your eyes closed, do your eye balls move as if to scan the mental images?

  11. Sam H.

    Marko, thank you for writing this. I’ve done the exercises for a week, and I was able to see the afterimages. But they are just that, afterimages. Afterimages are not the same thing as mental images. Afterimages are an optical illusion and are caused by the eyes continuing to send signals to the brain after staring at an image for too long, and are not created by the mind itself. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afterimage

    So apparently I can’t see any mental images like I thought. My question is, how long did it take you to go from seeing afterimages to a mental image? This should be easy to differentiate because the afterimage you see the image of what you were just starting at (with the colors in negative like explained on wikipedia) while an actual mental image is an image of something that you haven’t just been staring at. Are you telling me you were initially seeing afterimages and then one day you were also able to construct mental images? And if so, how long did that transition take? I’d appreciate it if you could give me those details because I honestly now feel like I may have just wasted a lot of time on this.

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Sam,

      The afterimages are, of course, not the goal of the the exercise. You can use them rather as a stencil for actual mental image to fade into.
      If you get very bright afterimages, please try reducing the time you spend observing the object (or photo). Think about it as taking a snapshot.

      For me it took maybe three weeks of trial and error to get some vague mental images. Then, all of a sudden, one day, I got stunningly crisp and clear images… but this lasted only an hour or so. This happened when I was tired and deeply relaxed. After that, it took me 2-3 more weeks to make any progress at all.

      I know, this can be a frustrating process but, because this is such an intangible matter, only persistant experimentation will show you the ideal way to practice.

  12. Tim

    With the guided meditations, do you mean listen to the sound whilst you do the above exercises? Or are you saying try to visualise what is in the videos of the guided meditations?

    • Marko Martelli

      Try visualiying the scenes of the guided meditations. Of course you can choose some relaxing meditation music to boost your level of relaxation while doing the other exercises.

  13. Loveandlight17

    Hi Marko. I just stumbled on your forum. I used to be able to visualize very bright, vivid images, but one day after having a panic attack (a result of a stressful 12-year career in corporate America, a breakup, etc), I suddenly started see black whenever I closed my eyes. This is about the sixth month after the original occurrence, and unfortunately my short term memory has been slightly affected as well. In the past, whenever I would close my eyes I could still see the shadows of people passing by and my mind’s eye was very bright. Now it’s a brownish-black color with little floaters of light.

    I just want to thank you for the encouraging words of motivation. I, too believe in the power of positive thinking and belief in the ability to shape and improve the mind. It’s nice to read your conversation with Brandon as well, and I would love to get an update on where the two of you are in your progress. I plan on starting the exercises today and staying consistent for at least 30 days. I’m determined to get back to my “normal self”, and I will keep you all updated. I tried another Image Streaming exercise that I found on the web the other day and I had a lucid dream that evening, so I’m hoping that means that there is hope for me with consistent practice.

    Out of curiosity, do you know of any cases of people who used to be able to visualize clearly and lost the ability, and subsequently regain the ability through a practice such as this one?

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Loveandlight17,

      I’m no doctor but it appears to me that lots of people -like you- hit their inner light switch due to some stress or trauma.
      Now, I’m glad you want to find out for yourself if you can turn your inner light ‘on’ again.
      As, of course, this is a rather intangible subject, I can’t promise your anything. But, why not see for yourself? I think, if I’d be standing in your shoes, I’d work on it at least 3 months to really proof to myself that, I can either get your mind’s vision back or not.

      Even if you can get the slightest improvement within that time period, then… “Jackpot” — keep going.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t heard back from Brandon yet. Like you, I’m be delighted to hear from him, whether he made some more progress.

      Please keep exploring different exercises (not just the ones you read here) and follow your intuition.

      So far, I haven’t heard of one yet.. It seems to be a rare case to lose your ability to visualize completely. Will you be the first person? I would love to hear about your progress. Please keep us updated!

      Marko

  14. Adam

    Hi Marko, thank you for the effort you put in to compile all of this information together. Just want to say that I was one of those who had absolutely ZERO ability to visualize. I could not even picture something as simple as a circle. And when I discovered that others did have this so called ability to view things in their mind’s eye, I was in disbelief that there could exist such a world that I was oblivious to. When I learned of the term “Aphantasia”, I also learned that what came along with it was often hopelessness and defeatism. That if you had this disability, you were stuck with it for good. I began to feel it too, when I struggled hopelessly for days trying to get the faintest hint of a visualization, only to be met with disappointment. And as someone who is trying to be an artist, this was extremely discouraging.

    However, for some reason there was a part of me that just wouldn’t let go of the idea that whole Aphantasia was a crock of popularized bullshit. It just didn’t sit right with me how seemingly SO much of the population had this massive incurable deficit and that people didn’t start really talking about it until a year ago. So I’ve decided to dedicate a bit of my time every day to form this ability despite having absolutely no disposition for it, as only the most tenacious plant will grow even when planted in concrete.

    So thank you for being one of the few beacons of optimism in this sea of self-defeatism. I’ll be in touch!

  15. Marisa

    Hi Marko.
    I want to thank you for your post. You have no idea the hope you just gave me!
    I recently decided to meditate in order to be less stressed and found that not being able to mentally see images transforms the process into a nightmare. trying to visualize something and only see full blackness is not calming. It leaves you with a feeling that you’re missing something.
    I will definitely try your guide in hopes that will help me overcome my blackness!
    Again, thank you so much!

  16. Hi Marko. First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all these clear steps and the hope you gave me. I am truly desperate to learn how to visualise. I’ve tried for years, but as you said, I haven’t try hard enough. It’s true, I gave up easily, I thought it will come naturally one day. I used to think that if I want it bad enough, it will happen. I thought if I command my mind to see things, “she” will listen. But it didn’t happen. I have never been able to visualise. Not even when I was a child. Many people say that when we are children we can imagine and see things as we want them to be… I remember trying to see my future, like all the other girls, but I saw nothing so I believed I will die at a very young age and that’s how I explained the impossibility of visualising. However, after all these years, I am still here, incapable of see anything whatsoever. Three days ago I started to follow the steps above. I read the books about visualisation – I read and listened to everything I could find on the subject. I am able to see some simple geometric figures, but only for a few seconds. But, I do not see the colours. I could only see like a fire colour and it seems to me that it’s the imprint of the image on my retina, and not my mind doing it. I tried for many hours in these three days because I am truly desperate. I am not giving up but it is possible that some people really cannot visualise? I don’t want to believe that… my dreams are based on visualisation. I have to see it in my mind, there is no other way. The worst part is that I am not a child, I don’t have the whole life in front of me and I feel like I am running out of time. I need to make this work, for the love of my family. Sorry for this long comment, I know you’re not “my confessor”. Thank you again and when I’ll visualise, it will be because of you. So, thank you and God Bless. PS. You don’t have to reply, I can only imagine how busy you are. – The questions are rhetorical.

    • Marko Martelli

      Dear Cristina,

      I greatly appreciate you leaving such an honest comment.

      You’re right not to give up with learning to visualize. Go ahead and apply gentle but persistent effort.

      But, I must ask you, please don’t make this your prerequirement to your life’s success. If you currently can’t visualize your goals with your mind’s eye, express your goals, your visions in writing.

      Describe it all as if you’d have it right in front of you. Employ all your senses in writing. Breath life into your goals by adding all the details you’d want to see. Even though you may not actively ‘see’ with your mind’s eye, your brain is still forced imagine what it is you write about.

      Visualization is just a tool. If you can’t take avail of it right now, just grab another one for the same purpose. In your case (and this applies to probably thousands of other successful, happy people, too) writing is a perfectly effective substitute to get clarity, direction and drive in life.

      To point you to some great resources to get the most out of life through writing, check out some of these titles on Amazon or your local book store:

      – “Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within- Janet Conner”
      – “Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It – Henriette Anne Klauser”

      Love,

      Marko

      • Thank you for your kind reply, Marko. Appreciate it immensely. Yes, I already write my dreams on paper, but something is definitely blocking me into realising them. I’ll have a look at the books you kindly pointed out. I have done progress with visualisation. I am clearly seeing words (I wrote on a piece of paper), but only when I am practising. However, the colours are all wrong. I can only see blue and violet and not when I should see them. My words are almost all written in red (and green) because I can’t seem to see this colour in my mind. It’s really curious. Anyhow, I managed to bring up two of “my words” in my mind randomly, which is an amazing improvement. I won’t give up, it’s a challenge now. Thank you for all your help and kind words. You’re an amazing person. Cristina

  17. Warren Kirkpatrick

    Hi, these seem like good exercises but I have a problem when I try and visualise and maybe you can help me or know if it has a name. So when I try and visualise, for example walking through my front door, my brain won’t let me do it, it’s like there is an invisible force stopping me or sometimes when I try to imagine myself in a scenery, in my minds eye, the scenery keeps spinning round and round and it’s like I’m fighting with my brain to visualise what I want? Have you every heard of anything like that before? Thank you

    • Marko Martelli

      Dear Warren,

      When you say you want to visualize, like you said, walking through your front door, does that mean you’ve got already control over ‘simple’ images? Like imagining an orange or a dice? If you haven’t mastered simpler objects then this is probably the root of the problem. Just take a step or two back and practice with easier things first until you’ve got full control over motion, color, clarity, etc. Then, move ahead and increase complexity.

      But, if you say, you usually can see with great control and clarity, yet lack of control in very specific scenes of your mind-movies, well, I’d have to guess. Maybe your subconscious mind keeps you from advancing in these particular scenes. Personally, I would affirm to myself the positive outcome of ‘being able to confront the situation and gaining control over it’…taking a deep breath, deepening relaxation and trying again.

      Employ gentle persistence and effort and keep revealing clues that can guide you. Your personal continuous experience will tell you what works best for you.

      Marko

  18. Alex

    Hello Marko i used to try those exercises for like a month but uncostantly and then i stopped because of boredom.. I want to start again, and this time i want to to do it seriously. But before start i have to make you two questions:
    1) often i have troubles talking about my experiences, stories i have lived, things i have seen, because i have problems at recalling them. my memories are in blurry images that comes to my mind and changes to other images very fast, and i cant hold them for more than a fraction of a second. So when i try to think about these experiences i miss a lot of important details, and i have trouble to translate them in words. Do you think that developping my visualization skills i could solve this problems? Do u think i could recall my experiences and memories easier and with more details? I hope you understand what i m trying to explain.
    2) if increase my visualization skills to good/high levels will i have always images and videos in my mind s eye? Or just when i visualize consciously?

    Thank you

    • Marko Martelli

      Dear Alex, Thank you for leaving your comment here!

      1) Okay, you’re already able to produce images. That’s excellent (even though not yet clear or stable). Let’s work on getting better.
      In terms of memory, I love this one exercise. If you do this every night, for a few days, just before you go to sleep, you’ll get some astonishing results:
      –Sit or lie down, deeply relax (use your preferred method), close your eyes.
      –Now review your day in your mind. Begin with the very first thing you did when you woke up and go through your whole day in sequence. Just like a movie. What kind of conversations did you have? What did your friends wear? What did you do after you left the house? Etc.
      You can push this really far and spend a lot of time on this. The thing is, you will get better really quickly, and, you’ll be amazed how quickly you develop your memory-biceps.
      If do not want to commit too much time on this exercise, you can select just a particular part of your day but focus on remembering more details.
      Here again, what you focus on… you will strengthen. Focus on holding a certain image in your mind, you’ll get better at stabilizing fickle images. If you constantly dig for details, then… you get the point.

      2) I believe when you’ve invested the time to hone your visualization skill, you’ll begin to employ it more or less automatically. For example, I’ve found that I (first consciously, later automatically) began to use it when reading a book. Or, when I think about traveling a certain route with a goal in mind, I do this subconsciously. Or, just last week, before drawing some images (for a video presentation) I switched into “mind-mode” and visualized how I’d draw a heart or a glass of sparkling wine.

      The bottom line: First you have to push yourself all the time and whittle away at the resistance and blurriness. But later, the more you do it consciously, the more you run your ‘visualization-software’ on autopilot.

      Marko

          • Alex

            Another thing: the exercize of focusing to remember the details of the day passed will increase the ability to recall memories of the past or will it work only for the present/future?

          • Marko Martelli

            You can reach into all directions. You can delve into old memories and over time rediscover lost details or you can use the mechanism of your mind to go into the future (using the principles of Psycho Cybernetics): Rehearsing a future scenario (like a meeting with yours boss, a lovely evening with your loved ones, the ideal golf shot, etc.) — basically creating a future memory so that you’re likey to act as you’re ‘used to do’ (in your mind).

      • Alex

        Hey marko it’s me again, i practiced the exercise that you said to me ( the one of visualizing the day past) for 10-30 mins at day for like 40 days. Anyway in these 40 days i missed some days, even 2-4 in a row where i didn’t practice ( for lazyness or because in some days i had too many thoughts to focus on visualization). I think i got a little better, even if i’m not sure or if maybe it’s just placebo. I have some questions, again: this exercise that i’m practising works only for memory or also to increase visualization skills? or i need to practise on other exercises (like seeing an image and reproduing it in mind, etc) to master this skilll?
        I noticed that when i “visualize” my past day, i remember a lot of things i have seen, even if with very fast and quality-missing images, maybe because i always had a great visual memory. But in terms of remember auditory details, i’m really bad, i struggle to remember the conversations i had (i can remember what we talked about in summary, but i almost never can remember the exact words of the conversation). Do you have any tips for this? Thank you again MArko

        • Marko Martelli

          Hey Alex!

          Great effort you’re putting into it. Now, you can refine your practice and put more focus on the faculty you want to strengthen… in this case your ability to reproduce imagery in clarity. I know I keep repeating this but, what you focus on, you strengthen.

          If you want to improve the auditory channel, the same principle applies. You can make it a practice to recall conversations. When you’ve had a conversation, retreat and try recalling it. If you seriously want to improve this ability, write it down. The more effort you put into it the better you’ll get.

          Maybe you’ve ever kept a dream journal. When you first try recalling dreams in the morning you won’t remember anything… or… you recall only a fraction of a dream. Keep doing this for 2-3 weeks — with focused mental effort — each morning you wake up, and you’ll get a rich amount of dream-memories to write down.

          In a nutshell: Your memory expands on the area you focus on.

          Marko

          • Alex

            nice advices, thank you. I will try the conversation’s exercise and i will continue to train visualiation and i will let you know my progress

  19. Jeff

    I appreciate what you’re trying to do here, but it is very ignorant of the condition of aphantasia. Contrary to your belief, aphantasia is a real thing. It was discovered accidentally when a man in his 60’s underwent a cardiac procedure and afterward complained about no longer being able to visualize. This was a man who had used this “muscle” in excess of 60 years, yet no longer can do it no matter how hard he tries. His brain was not affected in any way otherwise; it was only a cardiac procedure. If this man who had been exercising this “muscle” for 60 years can’t do it, how do you expect people who haven’t been able to do it their entire lives to do it? Anyone who follows this guide and learns to visualize things does not have aphantasia; they simply haven’t been using their ability to visualize. If you have aphantasia, then it is not possible to learn how to visualize. To anyone reading this with aphantasia who gained some false hope only to be let down when all their effort was rewarded with nothing; don’t worry about it. Aphantasia allows you to “view” (process?) the world in a unique way and has many advantages. Everyone I’ve ever met with aphantasia has had a greatly above average ability to learn and memorize information. I think of it as a gift; it keeps me more down to earth and realistic, and better at solving problems. Having to visualize everything to learn and solve problems just slows you down anyway.

    • Hello, yes, I agree there is a confusion about what Aphantasia is and is not. I’ve explained this, likening it to telling a person with no arms to try to pick up a penny off of the table. Perhaps the prehensile toes on the feet can do it? I’m an artist and have been creating for quite some time. Never have I referenced an image seen in my mind’s eye. Additionally, I am one of the blind who is devoid of other mind sensories, such as smell and taste experienced in the mind. Aphantasia is a spectrum, like autism is a spectrum. I appreciate your efforts here and believe it will help some who are mildly different. But, nothing in these exercises addresses the concurrent situation of nonexistent sensories. But, keep at it and don’t give up hope, it’s just good to know that if you aren’t successful it’s for a very valid reason. Perhaps, you are as different as two people with different colored skin. One has more melonan than another. No matter how hard you try to imagine yourself a different color, you’ll stay the same. Thank you!
      Kathy

      • Jon

        Not enough is known about “aphantasia” to say much of anything about it. Even if it were comparable to someone losing neurological control of a limb, even that has been overcome with enough determination. I have been struggling for years with this disability or weakness or whatever you want to call it, but I know I must overcome it. I meditate for hours in an attempt to calm my mind, and I try my best to retain afterimages as long as I can. I can only hold them for a second, but even in the past few days I have grown more aware of the mental images that flicker away as I wake from sleep. I think there is a way to overcome this, and likely other internal senses will fall into place after the visual element is working.

  20. Failed

    My 31 days are up and unfortunately I have not improved. My visuals are just as vague and distant as when I started. I did the candle, colors and shapes exercises for 15 minutes a day. In addition I also tried to visualize and memorize hiragana. I really wanted this to work and kept an open mind throughout, even towards the end when it was becoming very clear that it was not working for me.

    • Marko Martelli

      Can you describe what your current level is? Do you see anything at all yet?

      Depending on how important this is to you: instead of declaring your endeavors as ‘failed’ I suggest you take a break of 2-3 days, then test some other approaches.

      I’d like you to try this guided mediation/hypnosis from Michael Sealey. It will take you into a very deep relaxation and you’ll be guided through an exercise to enhance your visual perception and your visual memory.

      The deeper you can let go and relax during your exercise sessions the easier the access to your realm of imagination.

  21. Slipper

    I don’t have total “aphantasia” but my visualization skills have always been very, very poor to the point that they might as well not exist. I’ve been doing the candle and shapes exercises for 12 days now. At first I thought it was working, I did seem to be getting slightly better. But now I seem to be slipping backwards and I’ve lost all of the tiny amount of progress I made in the first 5 days. It’s like I hit a mental wall and bounced backwards off it. Any tips for solidifying progress and preventing reversion?

    • Marko Martelli

      This is totally normal. Since I published this article I continued practicing almost every single day. Sometimes it seemed I made a major breakthrough to a new level… just to find out, the next day, all progress was gone again!

      But here’s the important part:

      DO NOT STOP! Because it’ll come back and you’ll become even better. It’s comparable to a muscle, that when strained, needs some time to recover and grow. Take it easy and perhaps take one or two days off from exercising… just make sure you’ll continue soon. Perhaps you want to alter your exercise a bit to prevent boredom through repetition. You could exercise with some simple objects or, what I love to do, go to Flickr and experiment with some of the many breathtakingly beautiful photos there.

  22. Shane

    I’ve been doing this for a week or so and I’m finding all my after images to be all negative colour. Is this supposed to be like this?

    • Marko Martelli

      Dear Shane,

      Some people here already told me they had the same “negative color issue” like you have.

      Please try practicing with some ‘real’ but simple objects (spoon, dice, perfume bottle, …). Furthermore, I’ve found that if you stare for too long at a very bright object (especially on the computer screen or a light source like a candle) the chances are you’ll see negative colors. Shorten, experiment with the time you spend observing the object/image.

      I’m certain, if you stay with it, you’ll find you can recreate images in their true colors.

      Marko

      • Shane

        I’m beginning to see burning white flashes that slowly come and disappear shortly after, did you ever experience these type of visions or could this just be visual hallucinations?

        • Marko Martelli

          Hi Shane,

          Hm, I’m not entirely sure what you’re experiencing. It could be a glimpse of the after images. Then, this also reminds me of the white flashes you see when you apply pressure to your eyes. Please make sure you consciously relax prior to the exercises and keep testing.

  23. Blue

    Maybe I’ve misunderstood something here but I think you are confusing two different things and I’m not sure which one you are actually talking about. From my own experience there seem to be two modes of visualization. Firstly there is the dull, lifeless visualizations that are vague and distorted. The images are more like silhouettes or outlines moving about behind a cloud of black fog. I can control them and direct the scene, but it takes a lot of mental effort. And then secondly there are the perfect clarity, full color, detail-better-than-real-life visualizations. These ones appear randomly and only for a split second. Often they are of things I don’t want to see, like corpses or faces of people I don’t like. I cannot control them. Does thing make sense to anyone else? Which one are you guys talking about?

    • Marko Martelli

      Thank you for your comment Blue.

      What you describe as random, better-than-real-life-images, I haven’t experienced yet, but I heard of others who indeed have.

      We are mostly concerned here with the self-manufactured visualization that you can shape, create, control through mental effort… thus enabling you to harness its power to improve your life through, for example, braking bad habits, inciting passion, memorizing, envisioning your ideal future, etc.

      All the exercises here are simply a means to an end to gain more control and clarity over the images you fashion purposefully though willpower.

  24. phoenix

    someone posted this on the aphantasia facebook page and I thought i will give it a try I have been trying to learn for 40 plus years to visualize used about every strategy going and nothing and I find the same with this it has made no difference to me at all I have no minds eye to visualise. but i also can not do it with smell sound and taste either. I have no other problems suffered no trauma it is just who i am and I am one of those who will never be able to visualise.

    • Marko Martelli

      Dear Phoenix,
      Thank you for your comment. May I ask, how have you been practicing?

      From my personal experience (and from others who emailed me) “aphantasia” merely means that the specific mental muscle responsible to fashion visual imagery lacks practice. Not occasional practice. But at least 15min. (better 30min) every single day.

      I’ve interviewed a couple of friends and people who have been using visualization as an integral part of their lives. No one told them how to do it. They apply it naturally on many occasions during the day to review the past, to rehearse the future, etc. They spend a great deal of time visualizing every day routinely, automatically… honing this asset.

      In a nutshell, as someone who starts from scratch, I think we have to invest a good amount of time to bring this muscle to life, strengthen it… and then… apply it frequently and routinely in our daily life.

  25. Kimberley

    I’ve heard some people say that they don’t have complete control of their visualization. That they may see things they don’t want to and sometimes visuals come unbidden. Do you find that starting from scratch gives you complete control? Or do things come to your mind randomly at times? I want to learn to visualize but there are memories I just don’t want to see.

    • Marko Martelli

      Dear Kimberley,
      What you’ve heard, I think is very natural. Especially if you start from scratch, images will be hard to tame and you have to gently fight for stability and control. The more you hone visualization the more you become the active director of your internal movies. Yet I doubt that you’ll be able to control your mental images 100% at all times… which is probably a natural mechanism of our subconscious minds.
      As the transition from crawling to walking is an amazingly complex process, so, I think, is the learning to visualize in great clarity and stability. Your first few steps will be shaky and unstable. Later, you’ll walk without thinking about it consciously anymore.

      • Kimberley

        Thank you for your response. Learning to walk seems like an apt analogy. I read through the the whole process and from what I know about the brain and the mind you make sense. I’ve done guided meditations for years but never have seen the scenes. I imagine things all the time. I feel like the image is there behind a door in another room. I am going to give these exercises a go. Thank you.

    • AnimeFan

      The more you resist unwanted images the more the unwanted images try to appear. That was my mistake, for years I shut off all mental imagery because I didn’t want to see the bad images and ended up not seeing any images at all. The trick is you have to let them wash over you, even if they are horrific, just look at them and think well at least I’m seeing *something*. Eventually they will dissipate if you just view them clinically without any emotional reaction.

  26. Mabd

    Hi Marko, thanks for the exercises. I have a question about the after images (I’m still trying the candle exercise), I hope I can word it properly.

    I look at the flame (actually it’s a youtube video of a candle lol) for a while and when I close my eyes it seems there’s an after image that fades almost instantly. It looks just like the candle and I’m aware it’s there, but it fades too quickly to hold onto, sometimes I can barely see it. If I keep looking into the darkness, after a few seconds another after image will appear, though this one has the colors inverted (only light/dark at this point) . This one stays for a lot longer and I can focus on it. My question is, which of these two after images am I supposed to try and hold onto? Should I only worry about the initial brief image? Or are both valid for practicing?

    Also, do you think using black and white images is a good exercise instead of a candle? Or is this maybe a bit more advanced?

    Thanks again!

    • Marko Martelli

      Thank you for your comment!

      “It looks just like the candle and I’m aware it’s there, but it fades too quickly to hold onto, sometimes I can barely see it.” — This is the particular after-image you should try to hold on to. I know, in the beginning it vanishes almost instantly but with constant practice you’ll be able to keep it for much longer (or you can recreate it). If the image is completely gone, try to recall details mentally even if you can’t see them. You could think about the shapes, the colors, the proportion, and you could also imagine holding the object, feeling its contours.

      For some people black and white images seems to be easy to replicate. I found it more difficult. In fact, my mind seems to have an easier time with colorful, vivid images.

      • Mabd

        Thanks for your response. Even though I’ve been practicing for only a few days, I have a feeling I’m able to hold onto the after image for a fraction of a second longer… sometimes. And even when it’s gone I feel like I have a better idea of it’s shape/size/orientation, as if I can look into the darkness but still remember where the image was (a bit hard to explain). Some black and white images seem to work for me, though not the whole image. I guess the contrast helps. I’ll give other images a try. It’s also fun to practice while, say, stuck in traffic. Looking out of a bus window and closing my eyes, trying to hold on to what I was just looking at, has been fun and helpful. I’ll keep it up!

  27. Slava

    Thanks for article!

    But the question how you visualize the image? I mean, you imagine the canvas in front of your closed eyes? It seems I am trying to reconstruct the image and paint it in the black space when I closed my eyes. Or image should be somewhere in your head and you should avoid concentration on your kinda eye area?

    Thanks
    Slava

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Slava,

      You can certainly imagine a canvas or a screen (monitor, cinema, phone, …) in front of you… and even painting on a canvas works well. I like to imagine a canvas (white, back, blue, ..) because somehow it helps to have the canvas’ texture to ‘paint’ on. This I do, when I have trouble getting a clear image of, for example, of a blue rectangle. Thinking of using a crayon or a paintbrush to paint makes it more tangible.

      Yet, I don’t give my images a location. Even if I imagine painting on a canvas… well, I see the canvas, but I don’t visually place it in front of me. It all happens in your head and you don’t need to focus on projecting the image to a location.

      But, please take some time to experiment. It may work better for you to focus on a specific location. See what works best for you.

  28. Tripti Paul

    Hi Marko,

    Thanks for putting up this post. I am practicing from the past one month, (I started from almost zero), and I can conjure mental pictures in my head, but they lacks clarity to a very great extend.

    So after you have reached a primitive stage of conjuring pictures in your mind, what are the steps/exercises to improve clarity of the pictures ?

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Paul,

      That’s great feedback Paul! Thank you for sharing your experience.

      After you’ve overcome the initial phase of seeing ‘nothing’, try focusing more on details when you observe an object (before visualizing it). Use an imaginary pen and retrace details (outlines, sub-shapes, light reflections, colors, …) while observing. With your eyes closed, repeat the process of using your imaginary pen to recreate the object. It’s like as though you’d need to draw an object from memory. The more careful you observe, analyze and internalize the little things… the better, clearer will be your final drawing.

      • Tripti Paul

        Hi Marko,

        Thanks again. Sounds cool !

        How the little things are internalized ? By practicing again, again and again or are there any special methods on internalization ?
        Also, how the colors can be made more vivid ?

        • Marko Martelli

          Paul,

          Yes, that’s right. You’ll get better by repetition. You’ll be able to automatically capture more details with a single look.

          As with colors, you’ll also get better over time. For me it helps if I suggest to myself the color I want to see. Like, “This shape is filled with a deep blue, like the blue of phone case.”

  29. Arka Karmakar

    I have recently started to do that, (for around three to four days), with absolutely zero gains. Are you sure it would work if I practice persistently ? My current state is extremely accurately described by this quotation: “You close your eyes, and all you see is blackness or, at best, you see some blurry shapes.”

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Arka, I appreciate your comment. Yes, I can confirm you that it worked for me and other people who started from scratch like you too. Vital key is you keep practicing on a frequent basis.

      • Arka Karmakar

        My name is Arka, not r 🙂

        What is frustrating is not only that I am not seeing mostly anything, but after trying hardly (moderately hard), I only can see extremely blurry images which stays almost 1~2 seconds .

        Did this happened to you ? How you persisted to get rid of this situation and for how much long ?

        • Marko Martelli

          Arka, I’m sorry about misspelling your name (fixed now).

          I understand your frustration and, let me assure you, this is normal. The only way you can get better (both in clarity and stability) is to practice a lot. For me it took about 6 months of daily practice go from where you are to right now to being able to see clear images.

          I wish there would be an “easy hack” to improve very quickly… but so far I haven’t found one. All I know is that with endurance and persistence you will improve.

          Think about it for a moment: How important is it to you to acquire this skill? I think, if you plan to benefit from visualization for the rest of your life, it sure is worth practicing a few minutes every day.

          • Arka Karmakar

            Thanks for your (early) reply.

            I can now guess that persistence and determination is probably the (only) key.

            1. As you have succeeded in visualizing, among these which exercises were most beneficial for you (surely some of them should be more beneficial than the other) ?
            2. At the beginning, when you couldn’t visualize almost nothing, how you did the exercises then ? That’s the major problem I’m facing now.

          • Marko Martelli

            I have a routine that I followed (and still do). It’s a mixture of some of the exercises. On my phone, I created a folder with a) shapes and b) photos (goal images, landscapes, fruits, symbols, etc.). So, every night, just before bed, I open up that folder and I go through some of these images.
            This, I think, helped me most. Try adding new images to avoid boredom. Also use images that are meaningful to you and evoke emotions (breathtaking landscapes, images of your goals, family photos, …).

            In the very beginning, when I couldn’t see anything at all, I mostly did the candle exercise because of the strong after image you get from looking at the flame.

            But this might be different for each individual. Please test working with emotional, meaningful photos, and landscape photos. You can also practice when watching a movie or when you’re waiting somewhere. Observe, close your eyes and try to keep the object or scene in your mind’s eye.

  30. Alex

    Hello Marko, thanks for sharing these exercises that i started practicing since 3 days.
    At second exercise i noticed that when i close my eyes i see blackness for 2 seconds, then if i try to recall the color the afterimage of the square (with inverted colour) comes in the back of my eyelids and it lasts like 5-6 seconds and then it vanishes. My question is: Do i have to focus on the afterimage? or just think about the colour? Because i have issues at recalling the colour.
    At #3 and #4 excercises i have troubles too: I can see single parts of the images when i close my eyes, but they are blurry and i can’t hold them more than a fraction of seconds. I’m unable to visualize the picture as a whole, but as i said i can see only parts of it.
    Last question: Do i have to practise all five exercises everyday? Or maybe i need to try only the basic ones and when i get better (if i get, i hope to) i need to try also the last exercise?
    Thank you very much

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Alex,
      You can focus on the afterimage while thinking about the color. You’ll be able to recall the colors with some practice.
      If you can only see small parts of the image, and that only for a very short time, that’s totally normal. You’re on the right track. Keep practicing and you’ll gain both clarity and stability.
      I’d suggest you pick 2-3 exercises you feel comfortable with. It’s crucial, if you want to get better, you keep working on it. Best you practice two times daily. If you really get bored with any of these exercises, try to get some variation. I like to use, for example, a simple memory (match) game from Googleplay. When I play I try capture the details and the position of each single image.
      Then, whenever you’ve a free moment, observe a nearby object. Close your eyes and attempt see the object (or scene) with your mind’s eye. Repeat the process, collecting more details and close your eyes again.

  31. Luke

    Will this help me imagine the fiction I am reading? I have never been able to picture the books I read, and have always wanted to.

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Luke! Yes, you can enhance your reading experience dramatically when you consciously envision a story. You can start practicing this right away but you’ll have to slow down a lot (in the beginning). Perhaps you pick your favorite book, one you’ve read already. Like with the other imagination exercises, this is about patience and details. Read a line and internally replay it on your mental screen. Even if you initially see nothing, internally describe details. The more the better. The more you dig for details, the ore you magnify the little things, the more clarity you’ll get as a result.

      Start maybe with 2-3 paragraphs a day until you get better. If you make this a strong habit, this will help you to create a phenomenal memory for anything you read this way. Persistence and discipline are your best friends.

      If you want to take the principle of ‘picturing what you read’ to the next level (for clarity, speed, and comprehension) then I’d suggest check out the content preview of the book “Reading with the Right Brain” by David Butler, on Amazon. Butler gives you lots of examples and exercises on how to imagine what you read.

      Marko

      • Luke

        Thanks for the reply. I will check out that book. I struggle because I want to be a writer, and have natural talent, but I do not enjoy reading because I do not imagine it, and describing things visually is difficult. I excel instead at metaphor and description of characters’ thoughts, motives, etc. I notice that if I even notice the outside world at all, I am often at a loss of words to describe it. I often find myself resorting to poetic similes to describe what I see. I am usually too lost in deep thought to even notice most things. If I could manage somehow to create a link between the verbal part of my brain and the visual, I think I would be a great writer. Hopefully these exercises will work.

        • Marko Martelli

          Hi Luke, it sounds like you’ve acquired a very special skill already. Now I think that you can, with some training, train your observational skills too. You could do this anytime during your day. For example, you enter a restaurant and you make it your goal to perceive as much as possible. What kind of people are there? What are they wearing? What are they talking about? What does the environment look like? Etc. Observe with great care for some time and later recall as much as possible on paper. Here again, the more details the better.

          William Walker Atkinson teaches in his books a great deal about perception and observation and clearly states that observation is a skill that can (and should) be acquired by anyone who is willing to put some time into it.

          Another method you can use, which has been introduced as Image Streaming, can also help you a great deal with ability to observe details. What you do is you consciously relax through with preferred method. When you reached a state of calmness and relaxation, focus on your mental imagery. Then, and this is most important, describe out LOUD what you see in as much DETAIL as possible. Even if you see blackness, or blurry images, keep describing something. You’re forced to observe and find details and your vision will grow in clarity. (Apparently, some studies stated that these exercises increase your IQ when performed frequently).

  32. Leo

    Marko, let me just say that I am happy to have found this site! I started doing these exercises 3 days ago and have only had success with the first three, with a tiny bit of success with the fourth, and none at all with the fifth. I was wondering though, since the exercises involve afterimages, is visualization really being trained? As in, can I go from only ever seeing afterimages to being able to conjure up images at will? That is my goal.

    For a bit of context… I do dream in full color and sound, so I feel that I do have at least some capacity for visualization. Sometimes, I “see” things that aren’t directly in my field of vision, but the images tend to be extraordinarily dim, almost to the point of invisibility (it’s very hard to describe, but maybe this is what visualization is as described by ironwheal?)

    Anyway, yeah, I just wanted to know if doing the afterimage exercises led to being able to create mental images at will?

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Leo, I think you can compare the visualization process to something like this:
      1. “Recording Ability” Storing away visual information in great detail — requires training of analyzation, focus, careful observation and perception.
      2. “Recalling Ability” Recalling information from your file cabinet built in step 1. The more info and detail you stored away the more you can recollect.
      3. “Redesign Ability” Take the images you already got and merge, rearrange, redesign them to your liking.

      So, with persistent training you will be able to keep the images firmly in your mind and even recall and recreate then from scratch.

      And I think the process is somehow comparable to dreaming and the ability to recall dreams. If you start keeping a dream journal you will begin to remember more dreams (up to 5-7 per night) every single morning. The more effort you put into describing the DETAILS of your dreams, the more details you will be able to extract out of future dreams… and, what’s more even more important, the more vivid, colorful, and ‘real’ you dreams will become.

      Marko

  33. Matt

    Wow this REALLY WORKS! like you I could only ever see black when I closed my eyes. After 15 minutes of doing your exercises last night I could see all 5 squares and their COLORS! (though they were opposite – blue is red, red is blue etc). What does it mean that I could do this on the first day??? AMAZING! SO HAPPY 🙂

    I would love to connect with you and share my results. Send me an email. Would love to know more about how your visualization is going too. This is great stuff!!! thank you so much!

    • Matt

      How long can you practice for each day? is 15 – 20 minutes okay? and will it improve faster the more time you spend on it?

      • Marko Martelli

        I usually spend 10-30 minutes per day. You may want to test for yourself much much is good for you. In the beginning you might get tired from trying too hard. But yes, in my experience, the more you practice the faster you get better.

    • Marko Martelli

      This is great and I think with your enthusiasm you’ll be able to develop this skill much further rather quickly… and eventually you won’t spend another day without applying this skill consciously to your benefit.

      I’ll send you an email.

  34. Leah

    I’ve actually been doing these types of techniques for years now. Seriously years, since I was 15 or 16 years old and I’m 23 now. It’s never worked once. I still only see black and I’ve read up about a thing called aphantasia which could explain it. But anyway no matter how much hard work and effort I put in, I get no results….and I’m very sad about it. This is so important to me

    • Jonathan

      This has not worked for me, either. The only time I can visualize is while sleeping. I think it may be a dissociative symptom of clinical depression and depersonalization. However, a large reason why I am depressed right now is because I cannot visualize, and keep failing school consequently. Very frustrating.

  35. Brandon

    Marko – just discovered something and thought I would share it with you. As I mentioned in one of my posts above, I had been seeing images in my mind’s eye for weeks now, but often the colors were inverted. I thought it had to do with my using my eyes against the backs of my eyelids instead of my mind’s eye. It turns out it’s something more scientific. When you stare at a color for a length of time, you will see the opposite color when you close your eyes. Here’s one of my articles I found about it: http://www.worqx.com/color/after_image.htm

    That explains why I can imagine objects in the correct color, but could never see objects I was looking at on my screen to appear in the correct color. The best news of all, however, is I am seeing the objects very clearly and I have you to thank for it!

    • Marko Martelli

      Brandon, you did it!

      I’m so glad you persisted and proved to yourself that everyone can learn this. Most people would have given up already.

      Now that you made it that far; how are you going to apply this new “mental-power”?

      Personally, I started rehearsing my future goals with their associated actions — finally in vivid detail and clarity.
      Another thing I picked up again is memorization (quotes, content of books, vocabulary, …) So much more enjoyable with good visualization skills.

      P.S. Thank you for the link – I’ve also experienced the inverted color effect after staring for 10-20 seconds on a bright image on the screen.

      • Brandon

        Sorry for the grammar errors above. Obviously, it’s not my article, that was supposed to be ‘many.’ I was so excited to discover I was visualizing correctly I didn’t bother to proofread before posting. 🙂

        I’m working on the dreams right now, but your comments about goals is interesting. In the Remembering Your Dreams course, Dr. Metivier talks about writing your goals/desires down in a journal every day so I’ve started that. I think I’ll add visualization to that process as well. Thanks for the suggestion!

        • Jon

          Hi Brandon, I have struggled to visualize for a long time. Is there anyway I could contact you to ask you a few questions? Thanks.

          • Marko Martelli

            Jon, did you try the exercises? Key is to stay with it for at least 14 days to see somewhat of an improvement.This, unfortunately, takes long to develop but daily practice will pay off.

          • Jon

            Marko, I have done these exercises in the past. I do not remember for how long. I will try again. I just wanted to know if you guys started from absolute zero in terms of mental imagery. Was the very concept of visualizing completely foreign to you? There seems to be talk of the afterimage eventually transitioning into a mental image. That has never happened for me. In any case, this inability to visualize has recently been dubbed “aphantasia” by scientists, and has been receiving a lot of press recently. If this exercise works, it would be a major breakthrough.

          • Marko Martelli

            Jon, yes, I started from zero and, as far as I understood, Brandon did so too.
            And I don’t believe in aphantasia or,let’s say, I think it’s rather comparable to an atrophied muscle that merely needs workout. You also can’t do any pushups if you haven’t used your arms for 10 years.

            As a note, for some reason it seems easier for me to to work with happiness-teasing photos like beautiful beaches, lush landscapes than with anything else.
            Try out Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/explore) choose a photo that triggers some good emotions and then work with that single image for at least 10 minutes.

  36. Brandon

    When you visualize, are you seeing things “on the back of your eyelids” or “somewhere in your head?” It’s a debate with my wife.

    What I described above I see on the backs of my eyelids. It’s gotten to the point where I often close my eyes and see what I was just looking at. It’s in black and white, almost always reversed from the way it’s supposed to be.

    My wife says real visualization is not there, but out in your mind. I can often see things this way, but it’s in milliseconds – I know the image was there, but I can’t hold it long enough to tell you anything about it.

    I’ve been focused on improving what I see on the “back of the eyelids,” but am starting to suspect that’s not really what people mean by visualization.

    Any thoughts on that?

    • Marko Martelli

      You’re already get some images that means you’re on the right way.
      I think it purely takes part in your mind only and, if you focus on the backs of your eyelids, you might prevent yourself from getting the best results.
      Every time you close your eyes make sure they are absolutely relaxed. Then, while you visualize, can you try focusing on the center of your head? This works for me when I realize I try to see with my eyes instead of my mind.

  37. ironwheal

    Much of the confusion goes from the fact is that when you visualize something, you don’t actually SEE it. You just IMAGINE it with high enough level of detail. It’s NOT really a VISION, but a mental construct. After you get well accustomed to this idea, everything tends to go on just fine. The keys are persistence and regular exercises.

    1. Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a simple geometric shape on it, such as a circle. Use a black marker, so the lines are thick and sharp. Observe the circle for 10-15 seconds, then close your eyes and try to hold the image as long as possible. (Don’t forget you are not trying to see it with your eyes, it feels to be residing “somewhere else”, at least in the beginning of practice) As soon as the image begins to fade, open your eyes and look at the real drawing. Then close your eyes and repeat the visualization attempt. You should use different shapes for every practice session. Today it’s a circle, tomorrow a square, then a triangle, and so on. Your goal is to learn to hold those mental pictures for at least two minutes without losing them or getting tired.

    2. Now let’s learn to “dissolve” them, that means make visualized shapes vanish at will. It’s generally very simple, but if you can’t do it for whatever reason, you may try to move a shape in any direction until it is no longer in the field of view. Or you could try to make it smaller and smaller, until it turns into a dot and then completely disappears.

    3. When you are comfortable with holding and disappearing the mental images, let’s try morphing. It’s a more complex task, and many people have problems when the transformation doesn’t go as it should. For example, when you try to morph a square into a circle, it turns into a hexagon instead. When this happens, don’t get annoyed and don’t start the exercise from the beginning. Try to continue a botched transformation and repair it into a successful one, like morphing that hexagon into a real circle.

    4. Let’s do color. Again take a blank sheet of paper and paint a color spot. It should be quite big, at least 5x5cm. Color doesn’t really matter, because you’ll have to repeat the exercise with all primary colors anyway. Observe the spot for 10-15 seconds, then close your eyes and try to hold the mental image of it for about 2-3 seconds, then open your eyes and repeat. You should do this at least 30 times during one practice session. If everything’s ok, then for the next session you increase the time of retention of the image. If it’s easy for you to hold the image, increase the time by 2-3 seconds, if not, just one second will do.

    Persist and don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. You should dedicate some weeks or even months to regular practice before complaining that it “doesn’t work” 😉

    5. For this exercise you’ll need your dearest cellphone and some other phone, such as you home landline. Sit comfortably, take you cellphone and observe carefully it for about 1 minute. Now close you eyes and picture it in your mind with highest possible detail. Dont blame yourself if the image is vague and unstable, any result will do. Now open your eyes and compare your mental image with its real prototype. What did you miss, what are the differences?

    Again close you eyes and visualize the corrected image of you cellphone. Try to imagine what happens when it receives an incoming call from your home line. Try to see the screen lighting up, your home number appearing on it (or whatever name is associated with it), feel it vibrating in your hand, hear the ringtone. Now open your eyes and call yourself from the other phone. Compare the look, feel and sound of the real call with your mental image. Note the differences.

    Close your eyes and once again imagine the call, the corrected version this time. Utilize all your senses — read the caption on the screen, hear the ringtone and feel the vibration.

    6. Take a lighter or a box of matches. Work it through the above mentioned algorithm: first study it visually, then close your eyes and visualize it in front of you. Imagine a fire popping out of the lighter, or a match bursting with flame. Now light it for real. Once again, visualize, correcting the difference.

    When you have learned to reproduce real objects more or less sharply and accurately, try altering their mental images. Try changing the number or font on the phone screen, color of the flame, lighter design, etc.

    5. Books are usually full of very detailed descriptions of people, places, objects, etc. that almost automatically turn into vivid mental images. Grab your favourite novel or story and begin reading. After some lines and paragraphs close your eyes and try to picture whatever you have just read. Try to note as much detail as possible: places, scenery, atmosphere, objects, people and the words they are saying, and so on. Visualize for about a minute, then get back to the book. Read some more, then repeat visualization. Don’t do this exercise for more than 5 minutes.

    • ironwheal

      Also, 3-5 minutes of breathing practice greatly improve visualization results energizing your body and calming your mind. Just do some rhythmic breathing, or still better, 1:4:2 breathing exercise. That means, for example, inhale in 4 heart beats, then hold your breath for 16 heart beats, and slowly exhale in 8 beats. You can improve the practice by making the phases longer, just observe 1:4:2 the proportions.

      • Marko Martelli

        Thank you so much for your valuable input here!
        Especially:

        Persist and don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. You should dedicate some weeks or even months to regular practice before complaining that it “doesn’t work”

        This is very true. Especially in the beginning it’s every easy to give up. But once you experience you’re making an actual progress it’s like opening a door into a new world of possibilities.

        • ironwheal

          Yes, I’ve been through all this. In the beginning I also thought that I was somehow “defective” and could not visualize 🙂 But persistent work and discipline paid off eventually 🙂

          PS. During my research I found out that at least for some people (I didn’t really have this issue) common incandescent lights present a huge problem. It seems that 50Hz (60Hz) powerline flickering “overloads” visual processing core in the brain, somehow locking them into their objective mind and preventing the subconscious from opening. If that’s the case, one may practice in daylight, or use fluorescent or LED lighting, or even go really old-school and use candles or oil/kerosene lamps (which also add to the atmosphere if you’re doing something occult).

          • Brandon

            I’m a little over a month into my daily practice and have made some progress. With the candle exercise, I can typically see the candle and flame (but it doesn’t look like the flame, and the color is totally off). I also see whatever else is in my field of vision. I’ve made similar progress with Exercise #2, particularly the first video.

            My general challenge is colors. Most images are black and white and reversed (e.g. dark colors appear light, light colors appear dark). For example, I am unable to see the shapes I’ve drawn on piece of paper (ironwheal’s first exercise) because the white piece of paper appears black to me so I can’t see anything I’ve drawn. Another example is when I do the candle exercise, I can see the black rubber band on my wrist, but it shows up as a fluorescent white color. The rare times I see color, it’s in the wrong place. For example, the very first image in Exercise #2 is a red ball on a black/gray background. When it’s not appearing as a black circle on a light background, I see a black circle on a reddish background.

            Any suggestions?

          • Marko Martelli

            Brandon,
            I’m happy to hear that you kept at it and that you’re making progress.
            If you’re having trouble to imagine the right colors then you may want try working with solid colors only.
            Please check out the article as I’ve added an extra exercise.
            Marko

  38. Brandon

    Marko – thank you for all of the ideas to try! With The Honest Guys, did you just listen to the audio or watch the accompanying video as well?

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Brandon,
      Maybe you could use the video’s images as after-images. But myself, I actually never watch the videos. Usually I just download the mp3 and listen to it on my phone while lying on the bed.

      An additional tip when you listen to their videos is to “zoom in” into the details. F.e. you see a meadow – now, how does a piece of grass look like? Remember how it looks like. Grab one and squeeze it with your fingers. How does it feel and smell? How about its texture, etc.

      Marko

  39. Derek

    Thanks so much for this info! Unfortunately I’m still struggling. I’ve tried the online videos a few times, but a microsecond after my eyes close I have no idea what the thing I was just looking at looks like. I’ve tried the candle exercise for the first time tonight (I’m leery of looking at a candle as it can burn your retina if you do it too long). Even with the candle, the light source is visible as a white on dark for a second, maybe two, but the candle it was attached to is gone the instant my eyes close. Is there any sort of trick of how I look at the items I’m supposed to imagine? Do I start at the candle flame? Do I try to take in the entire peripheral vision all at once (like I’d do if I’m playing sports), or just casually look at various elements of the candle/flame a bit like a pinball?

    • Marko Martelli

      Derek,

      I understand your frustration. It’s hard to start from ground zero.

      It doesn’t really matter how you look at the candle (or whatever item). Just make sure to relax your eyes and your eyelids when closing them.

      Personally, I think I had the biggest breakthrough with the videos from the HonestGuys. I kept listening over and over again to one audio that resonated with me most (the Sanctuary and actually one of Middle Earth Meditations) and suddenly I could ‘see’ parts of the guided environment very clearly.
      So, if you’re listening to these, try to feel the grass under your feet, the touch of the walls, etc. Use all your senses. The more often you listen to one, the more “color” you can fill in over time.

      Did you try to visualize with open eyes? For some people it appears to be easier.

      • Derek

        Thanks for the feedback. I’ll try to stick with one repeatedly and see if I can start filling in detail.

        I have tried to visualize with open eyes as well, but without much luck. I almost feel like with all these visualizations that I’m visualizing like a blind person. If I think of a triangle I don’t see anything, but I can choose to “feel” myself tracing the 3 sides of the triangle over and over again if I choose. Or I might think of a soda tin, and while I can’t see it, I can sort of “feel” the shape of it, and even turn it or spin it or whatever without seeing anything. The weird thing is that I need to feel movement for me to see it. If I just imagine having a tin in my hand, I can’t see or feel anything. But if I imagine grabbing it, or the act of touching it, I can get some rudimentary “touch visualization”. That said, listening to guided meditations of walking through a forest or putting my hand in a cool stream I can’t seem to visualize either.

        Anyways, I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully make some real progress. In the near future I might be seeing a psychiatrist and getting some lithium supplement to see if that will help. A buddy of mine is convinced it would help me since it helped him with his mental issues he was dealing with.

  40. Jon

    I have heard that afterimage retention is the key to unlocking the ability to visualize in the waking state. I can do it while asleep, so I know my brain can do it. I will keep at this, hopefully something will click.

  41. Jon

    Hello, I am on my fourth day of this. I hope it works. I can only visualize in my dreams. While awake I can think only in words and concepts. I have been very frustrated about this for years, and have seen many doctors. No one understands. Any other tips?

    • Marko Martelli

      Hi Jon,
      Keep on practicing – It helped me and it certainly will work for you. Persistence is the key.
      Make sure to be relaxed, when you do these exercises.
      You do see an after image when doing the candle exercise?

        • Marko Martelli

          When you look into a light source then close your eyes, you’ll see a bright duplicate (usually fades quickly), no matter how good your visualization skills are.

          The more your practice the easier you can transition from an after-image to a controlled mental image.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *