Imagination is powerful – but only if you have a mind’s eye (Aphantasia and its effects)

Please watch this video before reading this post

imagination

I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO CREATE A MENTAL IMAGE IN MY WAKING STATE

If you have never heard about Aphantasia then this post may change your life. Maybe you will appreciate your ability to create mental images more; maybe you are a leader or personal growth enthusiast and you will realise that you might have to change many of your imagination/ meditation approaches (think of guided visual meditations); or maybe you are a teacher and you used to think that all children are able to see images with their mind’s eye, not being aware of the fact that many thousands of students have difficulty taking mental pictures of what has to be learned and you might need to find new learning strategies; or maybe this post simply gives you some ideas for conversations at your next family or friends get together.

No mind’s eye.

The TEDX video linked above sums up my personal experience so well.

And I wondered why my drawing skills are at a level of a 5-year old. Now I have the answer.

Isn’t it interesting that sometimes you only find out that you are different when you speak openly about your experience of the world? Almost 30 years of my life I didn’t even know that others do have a mind’s eye! We generally have no idea how someone else’s reality might be like until we speak about it. And even then we can only get a glimpse of it.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about ”Imagination and Visualization” which I shared in a Facebook group and this post had a great resonance and many interesting comments from the readers – it made people think and share their own experience. Most importantly however, it made people realize how different everyone is experiencing life.

I wrote:

No matter what personal growth book you are reading, what teacher you’re listening to, which workshop or class you’re attending – it’s often all about Visualisation/ Imagination, isn’t it?

“Visualize your dream life, dream partner, goals,…. see yourself having reached your goal and truly feel it… imagine your favorite beach, listen to the waves, see the blue ocean… remember your most beautiful moment and relive this moment again… evoke the emotions you experienced back then”

I thought, “Yes everyone talks about it but why Imagination must be so fu***** hard?! Or is this just another (limiting) belief that I have?! Why does everyone presume that this is something everyone can easily do?”

Seriously, these were my thoughts.

Since many years I have this book on my reading list, it’s called “The Masterkey System” – it talks mainly about the importance of Visualizations and how you can be a powerful conscious Creator of your life when perfecting this skill. I always wanted to finish the book, but I never got to the next chapter because you have to do this task after each chapter which is to visualize CLEARLY. I started the exercise several times with all the focus I had but I could I never saw “clearly” – so I put the book aside again and again and again. I’ve experienced similar frustrations with other tasks like guided meditations f.e. Or when I was in school and needed to learn for exams. Are you guys actually consciously or unconsciously creating images to remember things better?

By now, we all know that Imagination is an incredibly powerful tool to access something bigger than ourselves. New inventions are being created in the minds eye; Architects are creating houses, entire cities; Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, John Lennon,… they all talk about it’s power. And I too believe that it’s the most powerful thing on this planet. That’s why it always bothered me a lot that I have difficulty accessing scenes deeply and clear with my minds vision.

I believe that Imagination can lead us to new frequencies, new ways of being, new worlds. And you can access it’s magic through the senses: images, sound, feelings, taste, and smells.

A few weeks ago I read this article on Quora where someone asked why they just see black/ darkness when they close their eyes? –>

All I see is BLACK

I thought… “Wow thats exactly my experience! – but wait, I thought all my life that everyone has more or less a similar experience when trying to imagine?!”

Turns out I was completely wrong and that truly blowed my mind.

Then someone commented with the following article on the post that I shared.

Blake Ross, founder of Firefox, shares his experience with Aphantasia –>

How it feels to be blind in your minds eye

The following conversation that Ross had with a friend sounds very similar to my conversations that I had with many people in the last months:

Blake Ross: “—If I ask you to imagine a beach, how would you describe what happens in your mind?

—Uhh, I imagine a beach. What?

—Like, the idea of a beach. Right?

—Well, there are waves, sand. Umbrellas. It’s a relaxing picture. You okay?

—But it’s not actually a picture? There’s no visual component?

—Yes there is, in my mind. What the hell are you talking about?

—Is it in color?

—Yes…..

—How often do your thoughts have a visual element?

—A thousand times a day?

—Oh my God.”

YOU CAN ACTUALLY VISUALIZE THINGS WITHOUT AN EFFORT? IT IS NORMAL FOR YOU? YOU LEARN LIKE THIS? YOU ACCESS MEMORIES AND FEELINGS WITH IMAGES?

Here I am, trying to imagineer my life day in and day out – since years, without being aware of the possibility that I probably simply can’t – or can I but just can’t access it yet?

It hasn’t been studied enough yet.

When I try to visualise, I’m getting a feeling for the mental image, but it’s not like any of my dreams that I’m having – which are actually quite vivid, detailed and “real”.

When I close my eyes (or leave them open as Imagination doesn’t have to happen with your eyes closed – many people imagine with their eyes open) I don’t see a beach, an apple, or a person. All I see is… darkness (or nothing when I have my eyes open). When I try to imagine a scene, I have difficulty accessing feeling states. And that accessing of feeling states is what it’s all about!! This is what makes you powerful!

You surely heard about the famous imagination example of biting into a lemon?

Imagine a lemon with all it’s detail. Now imagine taking a knife and cutting the lemon open into two pieces; take half of the lemon, smell the aroma, feel the skin and the texture, clearly see the lemon in front of your mind’s eye and now take a bite.

Do your senses respond? Do you taste it? – A person with an ability to create mental images probably has a strong sensual reaction.

I personally get the feeling and the sensory stimulation a little bit, but have no yellow lemon in front of my mental eye (I only work with my memory and have therefore a weak reaction) . Some people with Aphantasia don’t even get the sensory stimulation.

I can describe things in my mind quite well, and I somehow agree… I must have this image stored somewhere, but I can’t really pinpoint it, and I clearly don’t see anything – it’s somewhere in the space of my awareness. Someone said its like imagining without switching on the monitor.

So I started asking everyone: When you imagine something, do you actually see it in color and like – almost real – in front of your minds eye if you want to? Hundreds of “YES of course!”

WHAT???

I said: “If I would actually see something so real, I would sit and visualise all day long- I mean… how cool is that!! Just out of fun and because I know how powerful and creative I would be!!”

So if you take your mental images for granted, I hope this post inspires you to be more grateful for this skill.

There’s a group on Facebook with around 2500 people who experience Aphantasia – the number is growing constantly. We have been asked to share the advantage of not being able to visualise, someone wrote:

Ease of contemplating the void (some people have to meditate all their lives to get to where we live)

This is a point. A very good point actually. But there are always two sides, right?

I’ve been questioning this lack of imaginary of course, because I try to approach life from an enquiring perspective. I don’t like to have an attitude like “this is a fact and you can’t change that”. I’d love to imagineer beyond this but…. do I have to accept that I simply can’t or is it just an untrained muscle?  – and again, my dreams are absolutely VIVID, so much so that I wake up everyday being amazed about how on earth “I” can be so creative – everything is so full in detail. When I can have mental images in my dreams, then why not while being awake?

There was one guy who answered on the above mentioned Quora question, and this totally resonated with me: “Don’t let others tell you that this is a thing you can’t fix (…)

He goes on… “But somehow, every single one of them assumes you’d know how to do this.” (…) He also used to see only black, but trained his visualisation with after-images to build the muscle more and more and says then: “First, I got zero results. Then, after about 2-3 weeks, I started seeing blurry, fading shapes. Next, I experienced very short moments of happy clarity. But still, very unstable.

Finally, after several months of daily practice sessions, I can now create vivid and controllable scenes, like being my own movie director.

Thus, I dare to say, that so called “aphantasia” (the dysfunction of the mind’s eye) does not exist. In my personal experience, aphantasia is solely the inability to see with your mind’s eye because of an untrained mental muscle.”

I wouldn’t go so far to say that Aphantasia doesn’t exists. It does. And many people said that they have tried to imagine for years, and they are happy to finally relax into the knowingness that they are not able to change that.

Everyone has their own unique power-sense to access different states of being. Some people have a visual ear – that seems to be the case for me (f.e. see the gif below. Many people actually hear the thud –> Check out the GIF

Some can access intense feelings through music, smell or taste. But I’d say that imagination is most powerful when it comes to creation.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress of enquiring, and training of the minds eye.

Imagination

I’d love to hear about your experience: What do you see when you close your eyes? What is your power sense?

Thanks for reading and commenting.

———

Some other articles if you are interested in Aphantasia linked here:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2124346-people-with-no-minds-eye-may-help-us-boost-our-creativity/

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34039054

https://theconversation.com/blind-in-the-mind-why-some-people-cant-see-pictures-in-their-imagination-86849

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Include your body in your healing process

I can’t highlight enough how important the body and it’s energy field is when it comes to „healing“ and „feeling empowered“💪🏽
Yoga/ Body Work, Personal Development Work, Meditation, and Breathing can have a powerful influence on your well-being and help to free up blocked emotions (💖~motion=flow), but I also recommend to take care of your body especially in regards of the food that you are eating (gut health), and consider to check the degree of toxicity of your body through heavy metals, pesticides etc. – they have a severe impact on your emotions and thoughts, and therefore your ability to expand your consciousness. 🌀

The products below are only a few of my personal favorites that really did wonders for me. Plus the dietary changes I’ve made in the past few years according to my individual needs checked with my (quantum) doctor. 


And besides letting go of beliefs that don’t serve you anymore, surround yourself with your favorite scents, activate your energy field, anchor yourself in awareness, see what you can be grateful for, listen to your favorite music, dance, accept negative emotions and thoughts (see them for what they are – energy – don’t focus too much on them or change your perspective on them), give and receive hugs, sleep well, laugh a lot and spread love wherever and whenever you can ❤️ 

Use whatever resonates for you that makes you feel good.

Love, S 

 

IMG_3256

My Mindvalley A-Fest Ibiza Experience

Afest

3 years have passed since my last Mindvalley A-Fest (short Afest) in Thailand, which was one of the most impactful and incredible experiences for me next to Boundless Bliss Bali 1 with Kute Blackson in 2011.
I just checked my timeline and saw a post about my experience back in Thailand. I wrote:

“I never thought that 4 days can be so life-changing.
I connected with awesome people from all over the world, laughed, cried, listened, opened my heart, faced fears and challenges, gave and received, learned important lessons, changed, became clear on many of my goals and desires as well as limiting beliefs, worked out, meditated, danced, sang, found new friends, and I am so grateful that I was part of this event! DREAM BIG! “Are you willing to play full out?”- Lisa Nichols”

Yes YES.

So what is Afest?

“A-Fest is an invite-only community of 1000+ extraordinary people from 40+ countries who come together to connect, grow, support each other, and learn from the world’s best teachers. “ (www.afest.com)

Now the first Afest always has a special place in your heart, but while I’m reflecting on my second Afest here in Ibiza (I wished for this to happen since years, guys!!) which ended a few days ago, I can just repeat how powerful and transformational this event is!

What makes Afest so special you may ask? I can tell you – it’s THE PEOPLE who get together at this event for a few days to learn, grow, give, open their hearts, work together, listen, talk, dance, laugh, love and have fun. 300-400 attendees, glowing souls, change-makers, entrepreneurs, business owners, angels, families, dreamers, action-takers, influencers, and friends from all around the world – many of them come back to Afest repeatedly because it is a new and different experience every time they join.

The event takes place 2 times per year in beautiful paradise locations across the world. Afest Ibiza was all about LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS with world experts speaking at the event: Esther Perel, Jon and Missy Butcher, John Gray, Marisa Peer, Eric Edmeades, Lisa Nichols, Vishen Lakhiani – the founder of Mindvalley, and many more

Next to learning from world renowned speakers there is a lot bonding happening at the event – I mean you almost spend 24 hours x 4 with new and old inspiring friends and this is why so much growth is happening. At the end of Afest you might have given and received 400 hugs!!;) Imagine how much Oxytocin (that’s the so called “Love-Hormone”) this creates in your body
You actually can’t really explain what happens at Afest. I mean, how do you describe Magic?
But you surely go through many emotions and feelings while you are there. It’s like a roller coaster ride – once you’ve said yes you can’t go back and the best is to enjoy the waves of emotions (this is how we heal, right?!).
Personally I can speak of pure bliss, deep gratitude, sadness, unity, joy, excitement, awe, vulnerability and yes, exhaustion (because eheh you don’t get to sleep so much), but what you are especially experiencing is love, acceptance and the feeling of being enough.

You will discover that you just “click” with some people and this feeling is so wonderful, because it makes you feel seen and often times it feels like you have known each other for ages. 4 days fly by so quick and unfortunately you can’t connect with everyone, but that’s where we get back to the “Magic”, because you get to meet the people you’re supposed to meet FOR NOW and anyways, later you can still connect with more Afesters (Internet, Meetups, Future Afests…)

What else can you expect?
You will have breakdowns and breakthroughs, you will learn from others and others will learn from you, you will experience that there is a tribe that will support you, listen to you and love you with all your “flaws” (there are no flaws really, but we seem to like to perceive it like that;)
People will inspire you, empower you to take action to go for your dreams and help you in any way they can.
You’ll have deep and profound conversations, not just small talk – here you’ll experience big talk!
And last but not least, you will have wild dance nights and the best parties with amazing performances and shows!

But you know what is most important? – To really take what you’ve learned and experienced at Afest into your daily life – hug your friends instead of just giving them a handshake; be vulnerable; listen to what others have to say, and listen actively (because with your awareness you can hear and understand even more than what their words are expressing); do what you’ve always wanted to do – take action!; love yourself everyday, because the most important relationship is always the one with yourself – you can only give from a full cup (checkout this short blog post I once wrote about “Why showing your “Ego” isn’t necessarily a bad thing”: https://feedyourinnerverse.wordpress.com/…/why-showing-you…/); and just celebrate each and everyday as if it’s your last – die before you die and see all the wonders and beauty around you, everything is just there FOR YOU

Behind Afest is a big and very professional working team of wonderful people who put their heart and all their love into this event – I’m very grateful to have been able to witness their passion and to support this amazing team here in Ibiza and I hope to experience my 3rd Afest very soon.

BTW next location is Jamaica if you’re interested to apply.

Afesters Ibiza: I’m glad you came 🎶

Love,
Sarah

Afest2

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Source: Awesomenessfest by Mindvalley

Source: Awesomenessfest by Mindvalley

This is just one great quote by Lisa Nichols – she is amazing and her talk at Awesomenessfest brought me to tears because it was so beautiful:) She really wakes up the giant in you. She inspires you and her words transform you. After hearing her speaking you won’t have no more procrastinating thoughts and you’ll be willing to say YES YES. Yes to your dreams and yes to yourself with a WINNER-mindset. You probably know her from the movie THE SECRET. Check out her website:http://www.motivatingthemasses.com

So what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Think about it and then take action steps in the direction of your dream. Cancel out all those limiting thoughts that tell you you can’t do that or you are not good enough yet. Go for it!

Body Language – Guide to Microexpressions

I recently watched a few body language courses from Vanessa van Edwards (she is a well-known and amazing behavioral investigator). Did you know that most communication is nonverbal and the most crucial aspect of communication?

Being aware of one’s body language (facial expression, voice tone, body language) helps you to see hidden emotions; what someone is truly saying, and also helps you to align your words with your nonverbal behavior. I’ve linked a short and interesting article from Vanessa about microexpressions:

Microexpressions