Imagery Techniques, Visualization Tools

How Vivid is Your Imagery?

Since the later 1880s, imagery has been studied formally within university settings. Researchers have collected self-reports of the imagery experience by interviews, diaries, recordings, and questionnaires. Today we look at how these research questionnaires can help us sharpen our imagery skills and track our progress. We will start with the most current tool, the VVIQ, but I will cover the earlier questionnaires on which this tool is based in the coming months.

The Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ and VVIQ2)

In 1973 the British psychologist, David Marks, published a questionnaire concentrating on how well people could see imagery. This questionnaire, and its 1995 revision, has been used by researchers for more than a thousand published studies.

Its approach is simple. Ask a participant to visualize an image and rank how vivid the image appears in their mind on a 1 to 5 scale. Once the participant has completed the questionnaire, they are asked to close their eyes and each image is reintroduced, and the participant ranks the vividness.

Here is the scale used in the VVIQ2. The rankings are simple and obvious. At one end of the range is not seeing imagery, and at the other end, experiencing imagery of great clarity.

  1. No image at all. You only “know” that you are thinking of an object
  2. Vague and dim
  3. Moderately clear and vivid
  4. Clear and reasonably vivid
  5. Perfectly clear and as vivid as normal vision

3 Ways to Put the VVIQ to Use

These rankings can be quite useful outside of research to help us sharpen our imagery practice.

#1.
Use rankings as a ladder to go further into your imagery experience

When we begin an imagery session, most of us start at a ranking of 1, “No image at all. You only know you are thinking of an object.” Deeper imagery work begins at a rank of 3 (“moderately clear and vivid”), so we know that we have to find a way to get from 1 to 3. Relaxing a bit more can help. Whatever technique we use, we will know soon enough if it is working.

If, after about a minute or two, you haven’t moved along in the rankings, you can try something else. I suggest following any image that comes up. Since the image popped up on its own, clearly, it is ready to be experienced to a deeper degree. Follow the image until you find yourself at least at a level 3 ranking, and then bring up the imagery you are interested in exploring.

If you feel too unsettled energetically or emotionally, you can try concentrating on a static inner image (i.e., a coin, a book, a tree) for as long it takes to settle down. Or you can tap a memory and let a memory pull you into images. Keep experimenting to determine what works best for you.

With practice and close observation of our imagery experience in each session, you will get a feel for your movement up the ladder of rankings and you will be able to direct yourself along its course.

#2.
See how your vividness develops with practice

With daily practice, even just five minutes a session, your vividness will go up. To see your progress, give each session a ranking. You can give it a ranking at any point, beginning, middle, or end, but I suggest you rank your vividness shortly before you decide to finish up your session. This probably is the point at which you have reached good imagery engagement.

#3.
Find out how your vividness differs by what imagery you use

You can use David Mark’s VIQQ questionnaire images to detect if some imagery is more vivid than other imagery. He included 16 items in groups of 4 that test the vividness of nature, people, objects, and movement. I wish he had included basic conditions such as colors, lighting, and textures, but you can also try those. Marks suggests running through the list doing each one with eyes open, followed by going through the items with eyes closed.

  • Theme: Relative or Friend
  • For items 1 to 4, think of some relative or friend whom you frequently see (but who is not with you at present) and consider carefully the picture that comes before your mind’s eye
  • 1 The exact contour of the face, head, shoulders, and body.
  • 2* Characteristic poses of the head, attitudes of body, etc.
  • 3* The precise carriage, length of step, etc. in walking.
  • 4 The different colors worn in some familiar clothes.
  • Theme: Natural scene
  • For items 5 to 8, think of the sun and the sky.
  • 5* The sun is rising above the horizon into a hazy sky.
  • 6* The sky clears and surrounds the sun with blueness.
  • 7* Clouds. A storm blows up, with flashes of lightning.
  • 8* A rainbow appears.
  • Theme: Store
  • For items 9 thru 12, think of yourself at a store or a shop.
  • 9 The overall appearance of the shop from the opposite side of the road.
  • 10 A window display including colors, shapes, and details of individual items for sale.
  • 11 You are near the entrance. The color, shape, and details of the door.
  • 12* You enter the shop and go to the counter. The counter assistant serves you. Money changes hands.
  • Theme: Natural scene: Lake
  • For items 13 to 16, think of a country scene that involves trees, mountains, and a lake. Consider the picture that comes before your mind’s eye.
  • 13 The contours of the landscape.
  • 14 The color and shape of the trees.
  • 15 The color and shape of the lake.
  • 16*. A strong wind blows on the tree and on the lake causing waves.

* Eight of 16 items indicate activity or movement (marked *).

Discover the Unconscioius, Imagery Techniques, Imagination Examined

Book Review: Use Your Imagination

This large picture book introduces the use of imagination with the help of two engaging animal characters, a simple page layout, and fun drawings of animals and props.

The child will be pulled into and along the story by the conversation between a wolf and a rabbit. The wolf acts as a mentor, teaching the rabbit and, at the same time, providing learning challenges for the guileless rabbit to master. Adult readers will be engaged by the implied danger of prey being so close and for so long near its predator. How can this book have any other resolution than the poor bunny following nature’s path? I’m sure anyone reading this book to a child will be thinking: “Do I keep reading this, or do I put it down?” I assure you this book has an ending surprising to a kid and a relief for adults.

What is essential about this fun book is how it highlights imagination as a thing to do. The child reader will undoubtedly get that imagination is a skill that can be cultivated and strengthened, that it has importance, provides many choices, and by the book’s end, holds much power.

“You need to use your Imagination! That means using words and pictures to create a story,” explained Wolf.

“Use your imagination” is repeated several times, almost as a command. Indeed, the reader will remember that imagination is not only something others do as an experience but something that a person should do without hesitation.

I recommend this book for adults who wish to share their enthusiasm for imagination with very young people in a fast, transparent, memorable, and engaging way.

Title: Use Your Imagination (But be careful what you wish for!)
Nicola O’Byrne, 2014, Nosy Crow Press / Candlewick Press, nosycrow.com, 22 pages, 9.09 x 0.2 x 11.42 inches.

Discover the Unconscioius, Imagery Techniques

Paracosms and imaginary worlds

>Curated Content from a variety of sources from around the world, past and present (sometimes with some light editing).

This was found on Wikipedia:

“A paracosm is a detailed imaginary world. Paracosms are thought generally to originate in childhood and to have one or numerous creators. The creator of a paracosm has a complex and deeply felt relationship with this subjective universe, which may incorporate real-world or imaginary characters and conventions. Commonly having its own geography, history, and language, it is an experience that is often developed during childhood and continues over a long period of time, months or even years, as a sophisticated reality that can last into adulthood.

The concept was first described by a researcher for the BBC, Robert Silvey, with later research by British psychiatrist Stephen A. MacKeith and British psychologist David Cohen. The term “paracosm” was coined by Ben Vincent, a participant in Silvey’s 1976 study and a self-professed paracosmist.

Psychiatrists Delmont Morrison and Shirley Morrison mention paracosms and “paracosmic fantasy” in their book Memories of Loss and Dreams of Perfection, in the context of people who have suffered the death of a loved one or some other tragedy in childhood. For such people, paracosms function as a way of processing and understanding their early loss. They cite James M. Barrie, Isak Dinesen and Emily Brontë as examples of people who created paracosms after the deaths of family members.

Marjorie Taylor is another child development psychologist who explores paracosms as part of a study on imaginary friends. In Adam Gopnik’s essay, “Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli”, he consults his sister, a child psychologist, about his three-year-old daughter’s imaginary friend. He is introduced to Taylor’s ideas and told that children invent paracosms as a way of orienting themselves in reality. Similarly, creativity scholar Michele Root-Bernstein discusses her daughter’s invention of an imaginary world, one that lasted for over a decade, in the 2014 book, Inventing Imaginary Worlds: From Childhood Play to Adult Creativity.

Paracosms are also mentioned in articles about types of childhood creativity and problem-solving. Some scholars believe paracosm play indicates high intelligence. A Michigan State University study undertaken by Root-Bernstein revealed that many MacArthur Fellows Program recipients had paracosms as children, thus engaging in what she calls worldplay. Sampled MacArthur Fellows were twice as likely to have engaged in childhood worldplay as MSU undergraduates. They were also significantly more likely than MSU students to recognize aspects of worldplay in their adult professional work. Indeed, paracosm play is recognized as one of the indicators of a high level of creativity, which educators now realize is as important as intelligence. In an article in the International Handbook on Giftedness, Root-Bernstein writes about paracosm play in childhood as an indicator of considerable creative potential, which may “supplement objective measures of intellectual giftedness … as well as subjective measures of superior technical talent.” There is also a chapter on paracosm play in the 2013 textbook Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage, written by Christine Alexander. She sees it, along with independent writing, as attempts by children to create agency for themselves.”

Examples of paracosms include:

  • Middle-earth, the highly detailed fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, as expressed in his novels The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as a sizable body of writings published posthumously containing fictional histories, languages and other reference material. Tolkien had been inventing languages since his teen years, only later imagining the people who spoke them or their environment.
  • Gondal, Angria, and Gaaldine, the fantasy kingdoms created and written about in childhood by Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Brontë, and their brother Branwell, and maintained well into adulthood. These kingdoms are specifically referred to as paracosms in several academic works.
  • K.C. Remington has written over twenty books in the Webbster and Button Children’s Stories series, set in a paracosm called the Big Green Woods.
  • Hartley Coleridge, created and maintained the land of Ejuxria all his life.
  • Austin Tappan Wright‘s Islandia began as a childhood paracosm.
  • M.A.R. Barker began developing Tekumel at age ten.
  • Ed Greenwood (born 1959) began writing stories about the Forgotten Realms as a child, starting around 1967; they were his “dream space for swords and sorcery stories”.
  • Borovnia, the fantasy kingdom created by Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker in their mid-teens, as portrayed in the film Heavenly Creatures.
  • The modern fantasy author Steph Swainston‘s world of the Fourlands is another example of an early childhood paracosm.
  • Henry Darger began writing about the Realms of the Unreal in his late teens and continued to write and illustrate it for decades.
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, detailed in some 33 books, is considered to be an extremely detailed paracosm.
  • Joanne Greenberg created a paracosm called Iria as a young girl, and described it to Frieda Fromm-Reichmann while hospitalized at Chestnut Lodge. Fromm-Reichmann wrote about it in an article for the American Journal of Psychiatry; Greenberg wrote about it as the Kingdom of Yr in her novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.
  • As children, novelist C. S. Lewis and his brother Warren together created a paracosm called Boxen which was in turn a combination of their respective private paracosms Animal-Land and India. Lewis later drew upon Animal-Land to create the fantasy land of Narnia, which he wrote about in The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Additional paracosmists are listed in Root-Bernstein’s Inventing Imaginary Worlds: From Childhood Play to Adult Creativity Across the Arts and Sciences, 2014, and on the related website, Inventing Imaginary Worlds.
Discover the Unconscioius, Imagery Techniques, Imagination Videos, Videos

Swirling Movements: A doorway to deeper imagination

I think I have found a pattern of imagery that is a doorway to deeper imagination. This pattern naturally comes up when I’m falling asleep. It’s not always there but when it is, I know if I pay gentle attention to it, soon it will disappear and much more complex and magical content reveals itself.

In this short video, I show the pattern and cover how to work with it when it comes up for you.

Direct Youtube link: https://youtu.be/XKAb1unWqg4

Discover the Unconscioius, Imagery Techniques, Videos, Visualization Techniques, Visualization Videos

The Queen’s Gambit: Our journey to the imagination

Anyone interested in imagination and visualization training will find The Queen’s Gambit, a short tv-series now on Netflix, an important watch. In episode one we see the main character, Beth, travel the hero’s journey. This is the journey we must follow to get into our unconscious, not just once, but every time we practice imagination and visualization work.

The Queen’s Gambit starts off with the main character, Beth Harmon, being sent to an orphanage after the sudden death of her mother. We see Beth struggling to understand her new life. One day, much like any other day for Beth, she is sent on an errand that will change her life by unlocking her great skill at a game she has never even seen before.

Video Table of Contents:

1 The Queen’s Gambit is a story of the hero’s journey
2 Beth Harmon’s hero’s journey is our journey to the unconscious
3 Descent of the hero to learning and to the unconscious
4 Treasure in the dark basement
5 Trials we must pass thru to get access to the treasure
6 Arrival of the invitation from the unconscious

Direct video link – https://youtu.be/LT5PYN74FQw

Discover the Unconscioius, Imagery Techniques, Imagination Classics, Imagination Masters, Imagination Videos, Videos

Da Vinci’s Wall of Imagination

Today we turn to the master himself, Leonardo da Vinci. In his writings for painters, we see a section devoted to activating and building imagination. Da Vinci gives a special and beautiful way of looking at objects to see our imagination. da Vinci’s Wall of Imagination video includes: how his method works, how-to-do-it instructions so you can do this work.

Direct video link: https://youtu.be/WhhucTbQUZE