Aphantasia
12-25-2019, 09:00 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-25-2019, 09:52 AM by Loki.)
#1
Aphantasia
Aphantasia is the inability of someone to see mental images. When I say mental image I mean a stable two dimensional image which is projected by your mind with your eyes closed roughly in the same location where your open eyes would see an image.

I am one of the "lucky" ones that have this condition and no mater how bright and simple an image is as soon I close my eyes the image is completely gone. A millisecond after my eyes are closing the colors the shapes the edges of the images are disappearing and are replaced by a black/grey screen. This seems to be a problem considering that visualization is a big part of spiritual awakening.

Do I visualize things. Yes I do in a way, but they are not in front of my mind eyes but rather inside my brain. My day dreams and mental images are generally not vivid looking and if they are sometimes vivid (mostly on bright white light) they are created literally in the place where will be the middle of my brain and I see them not like a two dimensional stable images but rather like a three dimensional dynamic thoughts. Those 3D images from my brain are not stable and they transmit more feelings than visual details. In fact I cannot remember any detail about any of my 3D thoughts but only certain feeling of melancholy or happiness or excitement. In other words my brain is not able to see 2D stable images but only 3D unstable thoughts.

Is this blindness of my mind eye curable in any way or I am just doomed not to be able to spiritually break the veil this life? I am trying to meditate but I cannot visualize anything so my green sunny place I need to visualize is a thought of pieces of past memories and not an image. Everything is a gathering of past memories assembled by my brain trying to improvise but as soon I look more in detail the images are shifting like sands, permanently changing and never stable enough to see details.
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Scah
12-25-2019, 09:12 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-25-2019, 09:13 AM by Great Central Sun.)
#2
RE: Aphantasia
Being able to see/visualize images with eyes closed is also a double-edged sword.

I get freaky images like creepy clown mouths and stuff often come into my mental pictures.
My fear is often triggered mostly through visual mental images.

I never really see anything that's so beautiful and captivating.
That is mostly through feeling when I am captivated and in awe.

Though I have gotten occasional visuals such as with anthros that really move me to tears sometimes.

Doubt everything. Find your own light. - Buddha
https://www.intentionrepeater.com
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12-25-2019, 01:48 PM,
#3
RE: Aphantasia
Hi Loki,

Thank you for sharing. This is the first time i have heard of Aphantasia.
After reading the definition and your experience, i am pretty sure i am also one of the lucky few.

Here is my experience in visualization while having similar inability to form mental image.
When I first started meditation, i had the same frustration with visualization as you.
The image that I was trying to visualize either would never form (closed eye visualization) or would disappear within a second after i close my eyes.

Since I can't really visual images, i decided to only do colour visualization.
Colour visualization works for me. Though, I have the same grainy/shifting issue with colour visualization as well.
I usually just let the colours shift and simply try to watch the shifts instead of consciously trying to stabilize the colours.
I never give visualization much thought after this. The shifting colour visualization was sufficient for me to meditate.
However, one day, without any conscious intention, I saw some POV landscape scenes. I was very surprised but calmed myself down and just enjoyed the ride. The visualization I had were still grainy and shifts (imagine very low def video recorded on a handheld device).

I still can't consciously visualize anything other than colours for more than a second.
The landscape scenes and other new POV scenes do appear randomly from time to time during meditation.

My interpretation of my experience is that even though being able to visualize is a tool and do speed up meditation routine, it's not a requirement. And eventually something else does happen to the brain after some regular meditation practice and visualization would be turn on randomly.

Just thought that I would share my experience.


(12-25-2019, 09:00 AM)Loki Wrote:  Aphantasia is the inability of someone to see mental images. When I say mental image I mean a stable two dimensional image which is projected by your mind with your eyes closed roughly in the same location where your open eyes would see an image.

I am one of the "lucky" ones that have this condition and no mater how bright and simple an image is as soon I close my eyes the image is completely gone. A millisecond after my eyes are closing the colors the shapes the edges of the images are disappearing and are replaced by a black/grey screen. This seems to be a problem considering that visualization is a big part of spiritual awakening.

Do I visualize things. Yes I do in a way, but they are not in front of my mind eyes but rather inside my brain. My day dreams and mental images are generally not vivid looking and if they are sometimes vivid (mostly on bright white light) they are created literally in the place where will be the middle of my brain and I see them not like a two dimensional stable images but rather like a three dimensional dynamic thoughts. Those 3D images from my brain are not stable and they transmit more feelings than visual details. In fact I cannot remember any detail about any of my 3D thoughts but only certain feeling of melancholy or happiness or excitement. In other words my brain is not able to see 2D stable images but only 3D unstable thoughts.

Is this blindness of my mind eye curable in any way or I am just doomed not to be able to spiritually break the veil this life? I am trying to meditate but I cannot visualize anything so my green sunny place I need to visualize is a thought of pieces of past memories and not an image.  Everything is a gathering of past memories  assembled by my brain trying to improvise but as soon I look more in detail the images are shifting like sands, permanently changing and never stable enough to see details.
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12-25-2019, 02:06 PM,
#4
RE: Aphantasia
Why not use something physical as your object of meditation, such as the breath? Or is there a reason why you would prefer visualization?
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kristina
12-25-2019, 03:01 PM,
#5
RE: Aphantasia
(12-25-2019, 01:48 PM)Scah Wrote:  Hi Loki,

Thank you for sharing. This is the first time i have heard of Aphantasia.
After reading the definition and your experience, i am pretty sure i am also one of the lucky few.

Here is my experience in visualization while having similar inability to form mental image.
When I first started meditation, i had the same frustration with visualization as you.
The image that I was trying to visualize either would never form (closed eye visualization) or would disappear within a second after i close my eyes.

Since I can't really visual images, i decided to only do colour visualization.
Colour visualization works for me. Though, I have the same grainy/shifting issue with colour visualization as well.
I usually just let the colours shift and simply try to watch the shifts instead of consciously trying to stabilize the colours.
I never give visualization much thought after this. The shifting colour visualization was sufficient for me to meditate.
However, one day, without any conscious intention, I saw some POV landscape scenes. I was very surprised but calmed myself down and just enjoyed the ride. The visualization I had were still grainy and shifts (imagine very low def video recorded on a handheld device).

I still can't consciously visualize anything other than colours for more than a second.
The landscape scenes and other new POV scenes do appear randomly from time to time during meditation.

My interpretation of my experience is that even though being able to visualize is a tool and do speed up meditation routine, it's not a requirement. And eventually something else does happen to the brain after some regular meditation practice and visualization would be turn on randomly.

Just thought that I would share my experience.

Thank you Scah,

You are lucky if you see colors. I can imagine colors like in a bubble above my head but I cannot see them in front of the third eye with my eyes closed.
I only see shades of grey and black.

One night I was able to have the entire mental image filled with a bright violet color and it lasted minutes. Unfortunately I wasn't able to repeat that experience since then. Other colors? Not even a sparkle. Though I can image them but not see them.

Looks like my mind replaced the eye with some other sort of imaging.
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12-26-2019, 06:19 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-26-2019, 06:57 AM by RitaJC.)
#6
RE: Aphantasia
(12-25-2019, 09:00 AM)Loki Wrote:  Aphantasia is the inability of someone to see mental images. When I say mental image I mean a stable two dimensional image which is projected by your mind with your eyes closed roughly in the same location where your open eyes would see an image.

I am one of the "lucky" ones that have this condition and no mater how bright and simple an image is as soon I close my eyes the image is completely gone. A millisecond after my eyes are closing the colors the shapes the edges of the images are disappearing and are replaced by a black/grey screen. This seems to be a problem considering that visualization is a big part of spiritual awakening.

Do I visualize things. Yes I do in a way, but they are not in front of my mind eyes but rather inside my brain. My day dreams and mental images are generally not vivid looking and if they are sometimes vivid (mostly on bright white light) they are created literally in the place where will be the middle of my brain and I see them not like a two dimensional stable images but rather like a three dimensional dynamic thoughts. Those 3D images from my brain are not stable and they transmit more feelings than visual details. In fact I cannot remember any detail about any of my 3D thoughts but only certain feeling of melancholy or happiness or excitement. In other words my brain is not able to see 2D stable images but only 3D unstable thoughts.

Is this blindness of my mind eye curable in any way or I am just doomed not to be able to spiritually break the veil this life? I am trying to meditate but I cannot visualize anything so my green sunny place I need to visualize is a thought of pieces of past memories and not an image.  Everything is a gathering of past memories  assembled by my brain trying to improvise but as soon I look more in detail the images are shifting like sands, permanently changing and never stable enough to see details.

"When I say mental image I mean a stable two dimensional image which is projected by your mind with your eyes closed roughly in the same location where your open eyes would see an image." This is not how it usually happens.

So, you can be assured you don't have Aphantasia or, if you still have it by the right definition, you are by far not one of the few.

Here's a test everybody can do: https://aphantasia.com/vviq/ But I wouldn't use the quoted definition and I wouldn't close your eyes. Images appear in our mind much easier and naturally when we don't try to "create" them.
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12-26-2019, 10:13 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-26-2019, 10:13 AM by Nau7ik.)
#7
RE: Aphantasia
The mind is like any muscle in the body, it needs exercised and worked in order to develop. Concentration is connected with visualization. You don’t need a mental image to concentrate, you could just as well follow your breath, in and out repeatedly, until your mind is totally focused on that one act.

I think that dedicated and persistent daily practice will develop and hone the ability to visualize images. It may take a few months however. I am also starting to practice the art of visualization and concentration. We want to start off with small basic images and build up in complexity in time. For example, I am trying to visualization fruits: oranges, apples, lemons.

This has been few and far between, but I’ve had flashes of clear visualization of an environment. As if I am looking at it with my opened eyes! It’s hard to hold that focus but it’s definitely possible to clearly see images by visualization. There is power in being able to do that. It’s a 6th chakra activity.

The potentiated subconscious mind (The Empress in Tarot) will produce mental imagery. It is the creative aspect of the deep mind. Potentiated by the “reaching” of the Conscious mind (the Magician teaching for the High Priestess).

I would say to give it daily practice for a few months. Record your practice in a journal (you can gauge progress in this way). There’s also a book that might help, The Magical Use of Thought Forms. The book gives a great course in developing these abilities. It requires seriousness and dedication though.

Best of Luck~
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