Imagination

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IMAGINATION

exercise
: Basic Visual Imaging
Prepare a series of colour squares; dimension 1.5" to 3" and a range of coloured backgrounds covering the colours of the spectrum.

Study a white square on a black background for several seconds. Then shutting the eyes, try holding this picture in the minds eye for a count of 30 ..............................

Do this with different colour combinations, practicing in a systematic way until you can conjure up any colour square against any other colour background. Having achieved the basic skill, get a friend to call out combinations whilst you sit with eyes closed imaging them as they are called. Go for clarity and steadiness of image.

The next stage is to image using triangles and circles as well as squares. When these shapes have been successfully imaged try the purely mental excercise of switching a red square into a red circle into a red triangle, red triangle into blue triangle into blue square into blue circle etc.

exercise
: The Effect of Imagination on the Body
Chevreul's Pendulum


exercise
: Face Imaging
Practice imaging faces until you can 'see' them in your imagination, large and detailed. Do this by studying a face on a bus or in a magazine then shutting your eyes and reconstructing the face with your imaging faculty.

Then when you can do this, have a five minute session with your eyes shut bringing to mind a series of faces. Each face should be 'held' for several seconds as a clear image and may even talk or make different expressions. Try and make one face merge with the next. The series may be chosen from different situations. e.g. friends, films, neighbourhood, lovers, relations, business acquaintances, advertising models, bus conductors etc.

As an advanced experiment try imaging a series of faces you have never seen. Hold each new face for several minutes and examine it in detail.

This excercise may be more fundemental to our imaging ability than exercise 'basic' above as the first pattern we looked for after birth was a human face.

exercise
: Picture Imaging
Go to an art gallery and stand before a well known painting. Study the painting for not less than five minutes until you are familiar with all its details. Now, sit on the nearest chair and imagine the painting with your eyes shut. Return to the painting to fill in details that escape you. Return to the painting again and again until the painting lives as vividly in your imagination as it does on the canvas.

When the picture is established allow it to come to life. Figures move, leaves rustle, water twinkles. Notice how the impression changes and the picture evolves. Blink. Can you now regain the origional image?


exercise
: Visual Imaging Game
Two people sit facing each other over a table equiped with paper and colored crayons. Each person draws a simple diagram using, perhaps, only two colours and then holds it up for the count of 10.......... The diagrams are placed on the table face down. Both people then attempt to reconstruct the diagram they have seen.

The original and the transcript are compared. If high fidelity has been achieved the partner does the a step more complex with, perhaps an additional colour. If however reproduction is inaccurate, (the judge is the reproducer hirself) then the diagram is made simpler until accurate reproduction is possible.


exercise
: Visual Image Exchange
Two people each gather about a dozen pictures ( postcards, cuttings, reproductions of paintings, photographs etc) Don't show your partner the pictures.

One person describes the contents of one picture in detail to the other person who sits relaxed with eyes closed. Description finished the recipient asks questions until s/he has established a detailed and stable image.

The actual picture is then offered as comparison. Roles are swapped.


exercise
: Visual Image Manipulation: Advanced Control
As a final test of your complete grasp of visual imaging chose an object from your room which you can visualise clearly.

Holding it in your minds eye... make it rotate, stop. Then walk around it whilst it is still. Look at it from above then from underneath. Move it away from you until it is in the distance... then gradually bring it closer until you are looking at one detail of it. Make the colour change once, twice and three times. Make it grow larger and larger. Make it grow is gigantic. Make it shrink... continue shrinking it until it dissappears. Then make it reappear in its origional form.

Use simple objects at first then gradually progress to more complex ones. Of course it is necessary to have before you do this sort of mental manipulation.


exercise
: Articulating Imaginary Mechanisms
Obtain a simple mechanism or puzzle (see illus.) which dismantles into 4 or 5 parts. Study it carefully in all ways. Dismantle it slowly considering each part and its relationship to the whole.

(see illus.) ?

Put the thing away and sit with eyes closed and bring the mechanism to mind. (If this is not possible with great clarity go back to studying it again). Mentally dismantle it and put it back together again. As you do his be aware of the functions of each part.

Repeat this process of studying the reality and then reconstructing the visual memory of that study mentally.

Continue this exercise with mechanisms of gradually increasing complexity.


exercise
: Sound Imaging Tunes
You know how you can 'hear' tunes going around in your head.... there always seems to be a handy tune to whistle as you saunter along.

Using this phenomena think of a tune but don't sing it out loud. Allow it to go around in your head for long enough for the tune to 'catch'. Then follow it with another. Pause. Now sing, whistle or hum the first tune you thought of, followed by the second.

When you can do this try thinking of three consequitive tunes before you pause and sing them aloud. Gradually increase the number of tunes you can bring to mind and then sing.


exercise
: Sounds Story
Write a story or draw a comic which comprises a sequence of events having a sound as their main quality. It may be a story that makes narrative sense or just an abstract sequence of sounds represented by words or drawings.
STA-acoustic-images.jpg

The story may be read out or looked at. Pauses should be made so listeners can give full reign to their sound imaging faculties.

Another method is to collect a scrapbook of acoustic images. Look at each picture and imagine the sound it suggests.


exercise
: Imaging Sound Environment
At first choose an environment with a complex but steady sound character such as a busy road, bus, bottling factory (motors and machines form an ideal basis). Listen carefully to all the component sounds. Mimicry to be encouraged. Finally listen to the overall effect.

Away from the sound source, preferably in a very quiet place, conjure up the sounds you heard, in your own head. Are you able to imagine each component sound plus the general effect?

When you can do this this try it with sound environments in which sounds are are less repetitative. e.g. a country road.

You may also try to invent a sound environment that is an amalgam of various out-in-the-world sources.


exercise
: Touch Imaging Tour
Sit in an armchair with eyes closed and takean imaginary blindfold tour of your house touching surfaces and objects taking particular note of the different textures. Opening your eyes, make the same tour in reality as you imagined. Remember the imagined texture before you touch for real. How close was the reality to your imagined texture?


exercise
: Touch Imaging Texture
Collect a range of material squares of widely differing textures. e.g. PVC, Fur, silk, hessian, net, wool.

Touch them and then do an action replay with your 'minds hand'. Touch 3 in a row'. Pause. Then mentally replay each texture you touched, in the same order. As it becomes easier to re-experience each texture early in the mind, try 4, 5 and 6 in a row.

Try a series of textures which are more similar and less contrasting.


exercise
: Touching Fantasy
Perhaps using the Waking Dreams Technique create a fantasy situation for yourself to explore. This may be a castle, Beduin tent, spacecraft, penthouse suite or whatever. In the fantasy you put a blindfold over your 'minds eye' and set, of to explore the textures of your imagined environment.


exercise
: Taste/Smell Imaging
Select the name of a food or flower. Write down your choice. Shut your eyes and imagine the smell and taste. If the sensation imaged floods the mind with piquant detail and your mouth waters, tick your choice and write down another. If, however, you are unable to imagine the appropriate sensation put a cross by your choice and continue. Later seek out the actual objects whose names are marked by a cross in your list. Re-experience the taste/smell sensation with a mind to capturing it.


exercise
: Hot and Cold Imaging
Take an imaginary blindfold walk around your own house or flat. Touch things as you go and notice the temperature of things; how wood is 'warmer' than metal, how it feels when you walk open into a patch of sunlight, open the 'fridge door, go close to a light bulb, pick up toast, open a window, notice a draft, get under the duvet, notice a place on the floor were the dog was laying a few moments ago, the line of the hot water pipe under the plaster, and so on.

If you cannot imagine this vividly... actually do the walk and then sit down and run through it in your mind. Repeat this real feel/image rerun until the sensations become a part of your imaging vacabulary.


exercise
: Kinaesthetic Imaging (Muscles and balance)
When watching an exciting dance performance or sport match we respond to what we are seeing with tiny muscular movements in sympathy with the movements of the players. This phenomena is called the 'kinaesthetic response' and will give us an exhileration which is the shared pleasure of balletomanes and football fans.

Allow this kinaesthetic response full reign next time you are a spectator at some exposition of movement. Allow youself to identify with a player you like and flow along with it. Be right THERE with every balance, swivel, collision; with every leap, fall, kick and glance.

After the event find some time in which you. can spend ten minutes alone. Close your eyes and relive the experience. Try to FEEL the main actions as vividly as possible. Allow your body the freedom to identify with the movements that have been seen and to reproduce them in miniature. Aim to gradually increase the possibility of transfering yourself into the body of a performer... this means imaging all the movements as if you were actually doing them.

Perhaps you will remember only general vague impressions at first but, if you persist, then the details will come with practice.


exercise
: Moving Imaging (Muscles and balance)
Sit, relax and close eyes. Imagine yourself doing some physical activity. It might be a job around the house like fixing the gutter, or it might be a sequence of Yoga or Tai Chi. Concentrate on what the movements feel like.

Start off with short, simple sequences and work up to long, complex tasks. Feel the effort required to do different actions. Be aware of any counter-balance necessary. Careful not to bump into things!

Physical tasks may be practiced in the imagination before actually doing anything. Dancers will often learn to image a sequence of steps before they do it. It is even claimed that fitness excercises may be done in the imagination with real benefit to your physical condition.

Try 30 imagined press-ups or a jog around the park.

When this movement imaging faculty is working well you can even experience doing things that are actually impossible or dangerous.


exercise
: Transformations - Complex Imaging Control
Decide on a scene and a change that could be brought about within it. Then imagine the scene and bring about the planned changes. A couple of examples will make things clear;
E G. 1. You imagine an empty street... gradually it fills with parked cars. You see and hear each car approach and manoevre into a parking place, and the driver leave. Notice the colour, make and type of the vehicle. Whats the weather like? Can you deal with two or three motors arriving at once? (You'll have to be relaxed to do that or rather let it happen).
E.G.2. You vividly imagine a face. Watch the hair change; a beard might grow, be cut back and finally be trimmed into a small moustache. Hair might grow very long, be tied cut and permed in ringlets or brushed bouffant, dyed a different colour, laquered, tied in a pony tail and then cut short and finally shaved off

The face can be felt and smelled as well as seen.

E.G.3. Write your own scenario...

Note: The changes are pre-planned to guard against this excercise decomposing into idle day dreaming.


exercise
: Surreal Creations
Imagine objects relating to each other as they never do in reality. Defy social conventions and physical laws. Allow objects qualities and powers that are in reality alien to them. Make a list; illustrate it with drawings or collages, make your own surreal ideas book. Don't get put-off by all the old surrealist cliches and awkward juxtapositions that may come up at first.

Persist for origional results.


exercise
: Meditation
(An antidote to imagination: for when imagingings and worries separate us from being in touch with the basic present time reality of our lives). The basic principles:
1. Sit comfortably, in a quiet, safe, calm, place. Do not lean or slouch but gently hold the body erect. The head should feel as if held up by a thread attached to the top of the skull.
2. Close eyes.
3. Relax the whole body gradually, part by part, up from the feet. (Instructions from a tape or another person may help concentration here)
4. On each out breath visualise (I) or an infinity symbol (or any undistracting cosmic symbol)
5. This symbol is used as a fix to steady the mind. When a meditative 'frame of mind' has been achieved (this may take many weeks of daily practice!) allow other perceptions and thoughts to intrude into your field of concentration. Watch them in a 'detached way - try not to get caught up in them... return to symbol as soon as you do.
6. Do this for a set period each day. End of meditation may be signaled with an alarm or gong. Recommend starting with 10 minutes and building up to one hour.
7. Before and/or after sleep are considered the best times to practice.
8. Guidelines - a worked example for a homemade audio guide:

B rea t h i n g /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Watch the mind wandering and finally;

return to breathing /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Perhaps sexual or other distracting thoughts arise ... here they are obliterating all else .. watch your sinking into them ... watch your enjoyment of them . watch your guidance of the thoughts ... watch how powerful they are... how they tighten muscles, pull on sinews. Watch now how your memory comes into action, reminding you of your meditation... watch your will power coming into play, driving out the thoughts, r e t u r n i n g your attention to breathing./\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Did your will power interfer brutally with your sexual fantasy? It didn't let you see exactly how the thoughts faded, how the body changed, how the breathing altered. Oh yes... b r e a t h i n g/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Suddenly you realise money is on your mind. Where did that other fiver that you thought you had in your pocket disappear. You worry about it worrying you. Let all these superficial thoughts be absorbed by the deepening breath. Rising and f a l l i n g like an in coming tide./\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

The meditator is a hunter, catching the nuances, the conections, beginnings, mixings, changes and endings in our stream of consciousness. If you can see how a thought arises, how it persists and how it fades, it is said that thought will have no untoward power over you.