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In this guide, I want to share a technique to dramatically improve visualization without having to "practice from nothing". As far as I can tell from forum searches, most of visualization guides rely on some kind of trick/method of practice that you must repeat for hours until you get gradually better at it. I'm sure they can be of great help, but I think there's a faster, more powerful way of achieving 100% perfect visualization, specially for those who don't know where to start or that are afraid/bored of long sessions of imagining numbers and shapes in a canvas. Of course, the things I'll be describing might just only happen in my mind alone, but since all humans are alike, I'm sure a lot of people share this experiences and might find his helpful. That being said, let's start!
· Dreams and the "perfect visualization" state
What if I told you that you already know how to do absolutely perfect visualization? You do it in dreams all the time! Your brain simply knows how to create a whole life-like scene for all your senses without you consciously having to do any effort. Maybe you don't recall it, since most of your dreams is forgotten, but if you've lucid dreamed sometime and payed attention to your surroundings, the amount of detail your mind can create from nothing is just mind-blowing.
How is this of any help, if we can't just "dream while awake"? And how can this help visualizing during the day?
· The half-sleep state
I found a couple years ago that, while trying to sleep and just before actually falling asleep, if you're still conscious, your mind starts to create really vivid images that flow and change rapidly (later I found this is called hypnagogic imagery). After a while, if you retain consciousness long enough, there's a point when you can actually fully control the visuals, just like if you had a TV screen that displayed your imagination with full detail and color. This is what I like to call the perfect visualization state. And this is NOT a dream, or a lucid dream. You're still awake, and conscious. Still, at some point while fiddling with your imagination you might "step into" the images that you're creating, ending up in a lucid dream (this is called the Wake Induced Lucid Dream technique). It is quite hard to reach this point, you usually lose focus before this happens or you get too excited and fully wake up and lose the perfect visualization.
Perfect visualization happens more often when you just wake up from a dream, specially really vivid ones where you wake up abruptly. If after just waking up you don't move and try to remain in the same mind state without thinking of what you have to do in the day and such, you might also be in a perfect visualization state. Try this! Next time you wake up from a vivid dream, stay with your eyes closed, remain calm and don't move a bit. Now try to imagine something. You might be surprised of how powerful and different your visualization is from before.
· Differences and testing your power
There's a huge difference between regular and perfect visualization, and I'll try to describe it with an example. If you play some solitaire games regularly, Mahjong in my case, you might have a clear image of what it looks like in your memory. But if I close my eyes and try to imagine a full Mahjong board right now, I get something that looks like this:
I can only see one tiny and blurry part of the board, and if I try to move the focus to other piece in the far left, I just forget about the center and can't see it anymore unless I move my focus back to the starting point. The game is of course impossible to play in your head this way. It seems you'd need an incredible memory to be able to memorize every piece as you imagine yourself searching through the board for matching pairs.
When in a perfect visualization state just this morning, I tried again to imagine the Mahjong board, and this was the result:
To my surprise, I didn't have to memorize the board in any way. The image just stayed there, with every piece in the same place, very clear and static. Playing the game mentally this time proved to be super-easy, given that I could see the whole board at once like when playing on my computer.
I was very skeptic about people playing chess in their heads before, but I see now that with a good visualization, you actually don't need to work hard to remember where every piece goes, the image just stays there in your mind's retina, clear and unchanging.
· Triggering the perfect visualization state anytime
The hard part about this technique is, of course, that you're not "half-sleep" all the time. What we want to achieve is that level of perfection whenever we want, but it's not an easy task.
Whenever you enter a perfect visualization state, it's easy to lose focus and get distracted. You need to remain calm, don't move and try to remind in the same state as long as possible. Playing games mentally has proven to be really helpful in my case. Also imagining relaxing scenes, like a beach, or a slow flight over the mountains might extend the state longer.
As you extend it, you might start to notice how your mind behaves differently when in this state. Try to see the differences in how and what do you feel between the regular and perfect visualization. What we're trying to do is to allow your mind to identify this special state so you can trigger it in the future. This is very hard to do, but you should see at least some improvement in your regular visualization as you practice this.
In my case, I only can trigger the perfect visualization if I relax for 10-15 minutes and not in every attempt, but I'm slowly getting better at it, surprisingly much faster and with less effort than with more traditional methods, and I hope to have it mastered sometime in the future.
· Update: Problems reaching the perfect visualization state
From the comments I've read it seems that people have trouble initially getting or identifying the state I've described before. Maybe I haven't been very clear about it so here's a some more detailed explanation.
You can get to this state whenever you have some time to lie down in your bed for an hour or so. You don't actually need to fall asleep, although it's possible that it happens (depending on how fast you reach the hypnagogic state prior to the perfect visualization, you can set an alarm so you don't waste much time if you fall asleep).
First, lie down in a comfortable position and just relax as much as possible. What I do while waiting is to train my visualization in the normal way, trying to imagine anything with the best clarity possible (mostly my tulpa of course) while trying to remain conscious. To achieve the hypnagogic state sooner, avoid moving any part of your body, swallowing sliva or changing position as this could take you back to the starting point.
You might notice that at some point it is difficult to control your thoughts and you start to lose focus. Don't worry about this, as it usually precedes the hypnagogic state, just go with it while again trying to remain conscious and try to observe the thoughts from a passive state. In a couple minutes the hypnagogic imagery should start, very vivid and rapid changing images that flow rapidly through your imagination. Let them pass and again, try not to get too excited or involved with them as this may take you to the start. The hypnagogic images should get gradually less changing and at some point you might notice you have control over them. This is the perfect visualization state.
And yes, the first time it is a really hard point to reach, because you don't know what to expect, and because this happens AFTER the hypnagogia, a state by itself difficult to reach consciously. But trust me, once you have experienced it a couple times it gets far easier to identify and to get to it (even as soon as a couple minutes into normal relaxation), and also it gets easier to stay in the state longer.
The other option is to convince yourself before going to sleep that as soon as you wake up, in the morning or in the middle of the night, don't move a muscle, open your eyes nor change position and try to imagine whatever you can as clearly as possible. If you just woke up from a vivid dream, chances are you have still a remanent perfect visualization state, maybe not at 100% power but still much better than your normal capabilities.
I don't know which method could work better for experiencing the perfect visualization state for the first time, I'd suggest to try both sometime and see if you get any results!
· Update 2: Octaviapus' Lucid Mode
I didn't know there was this guide by Octaviapus when I first wrote this one, and certainly they seem to be pretty similar.
But I think that there's some differences between the two states. Octaviapus' Lucid Mode seems to be a more broad state of mind and more easily reachable, and nothing indicates it should always happen after or during hypnagogia. After reading the comments the author also suggests this just may be a light lucid dream induced directly from the waking state (WILD or Waking Induced Lucid Dream). It's a bit vague on this matter so I can't really know.
Perfect visualization happens when you're awake, close but not inside the dream, and it's a very specific point in the awake-sleep transition. Being an experienced lucid dreamer myself, I know the difference between being close to a lucid dream and actually inside the dream. Perfect visualization for me is even better than a "lucid state", since you have full control over the visuals. While in a lucid dream, scenes tend to be more vivid and rich to the senses, but also pretty unstable and variable and you can't change everything at will. This is why I think perfect visualization could be more useful for our experiments.
Anyway, I suggest you try every method that you can so you can find the one that suits you the best. No two people are equal, and even more if we're talking about perception or imagination.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find this helpful and I'd love to hear about your personal experiences about this matter! ;)
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