Ways of visualisation

I am using mnemonics for about a year now. I am good at visualizing objects and since I started meditation it has improved alot.
But sometimes the objects don’t stick even seeing in great details. This happens particularly when I imagine as I was there in the loci. But when I visualize the image just in front of my eyes, like we see a image of a room on our smartphone, it sticks for a long time.
What is your experience?

Another question is how do you visualize?

(A) You imagine like your are present in the loci and see things around.

(B) You see things in front of your eyes like we do with a photograph.


Metivier says we shud try to use our other senses too…


For me personally, the image that I want to remember has to interact with the surroundings/location in some way. It makes it more memorable to me.

Some examples:

  • If someone’s walking on a wooden floor, their steps will make a different sound than if they’re walking on metal or concrete.
  • If the location is dark and unpleasant, this will affect the mood of the whole image I put there.
  • If someone’s smoking a cigar in a room, the room is filled with smoke. If they’d be smoking outside, that couldn’t happen.

I always try to bring a sense of emotion or action into the image. How would I react to the whole scene if I were there?

Quote from Dominic O’Brien’s book “How to Pass Exams”:
“It is not high-definition graphic detail that makes a strong impact on our memories so much as an impression built up by a mixture of senses.”

That’s one of the most valuable things I’ve learned from Dominic O’Brien’s books.


Definitely (A).


@Josh @SilvioB @userrname. Definitely senses are important and I use them most of the time.
Let me explain my point in details. When I started visualizing I found I can visualize in two ways. First, in the blackness that occurs after closing eyes. I can use this as a screen to project my images on. Second is directly imagining without projecting any image on the blackness.
In my case the first method seems more efficient, but reading memory books it feels like I should use the second method, that’s why I posted this question.


There seems to be no ‘right or wrong’ way in regards to visualization. The best way to visualize seems to depend on the person and his visualization skill/experiences.

It is recommended to use ‘emotion’ to encode a visualization. But for me,animated image is more important than emotion! I don’t usually use ‘emotion’ for encoding images!

I use ‘big and colorful’ images for visualizing. But sometimes even tiny and colorless image works fine. Sometimes,I see images just in front of my eyes,sometimes I see them from a distance! Whatever works for me at that moment!

I think,one should follow one’s own visualization style instead of just trying to follow the recommendation of a book’s author. Because the author’s preferred visualization style may not be suitable with the reader’s visualization style/preferences.


@elitely Most of the books available in market focus on utilizing visual power. Very few sources are available on how to actually visulize things. But this may be because everyone visualizes in their own way. Anyway thanx for your reply.


Hi, I’m new here and just started with brain training. For me it also depends on how long I want something to remember. When I memorize a deck of cards I don’t close my eyes. It is more imagination rather than visualisation when I see my grandpa’s trousers walking around my shower. The emotion is most of the time a smile :wink: After recalling I can forget the images. I even must forget them to be ready to memorize another deck of cards. The idea of a sigar, the room full of smoke, the way it smells, how it is irritating my eyes and so on. That’s for facts that I want to stick in my memory.

The connection between meditation and better visualisation is new for me, but definitely interesting!

This is crucial. There have been many times where I have forgotten an image but not the sound taste or smell and have been able to pick it up and fortify


Meditation definitely helps by minimising distractions. I have been meditating for about a year and half and I can conclude from my experience that it definitely helps to sharpen our skills. If you are interested you should read ‘The Mind Illuminated’ by Culdasa (John Yates). The writer is a teacher of neuroscience. There are 10 stages of concentration. Mastering first four stages are enough for our practice. The stages afterwards are about insight practices and vipassana.


The Mind Illuminated by Culdasa (John Yates)

Culadasa is one of my meditation gurus. I learned some very important meditation techniques from him…They helped me improve my meditation practice dramatically.

After reading his book,I wondered why the existing meditation teachers didn’t talk much about the 'ten stages’of meditation,which Buddha himself outlined…

Thanks for mentioning him :slight_smile:

An “image” doesn’t have to be just visual and real memories seldom are. There’s a lot more “texture” you can add to an image apart from color. Smells are surprisingly excellent for holding memories, sounds, tunes, a voice you know speaking a sentence, touch sensation, warmth, wetness, and also, emotion. You have to bring it to the point where each element has an identity, a presence.


@zvuv Definitely we must do these things but the visual aspects are the most important ones. Smells definitely help to stick the image strongly. I will try incorporating the other senses you mentioned as I had never used them except the smell. Thank you.

Have you read ‘Mindfulness in plain English’? It has some very good points which Culdasa seems to have missed or he has deliberately excluded. The Mind Illuminated is the best book for concentration based meditation I ever read.

Yes,I read ‘Mindfulness in plain English’. After all,it is one of the most recommended books on Meditation for beginners. Another one is “Zen’s Mind,Beginner’s Mind”.

But I needed something of advanced or intermediate level,as I am not at the beginner’s level of meditation. I would consider myself in the intermediate level. Culdasa’s book expanded and enhanced my meditation practice vastly.

I think you discount the variation among people. I have a very persistent aural memory often more reliable than visual, for me. People work hard to make bright images, I invest a lot of time in the sound of the words and phrases.

A musician might be very sensitive to sound. I don’t think one should be dogmatic - people vary and yo u do best if you play to your own personal strengths.

You underestimate the importance of smell. Smell more than all the senses has the power to evoke deep, vivid memories.

Proust’s “In Search Of Lost Time” opens with the smell of a cinnamon cookie which triggers a memoir that goes on for 400 pages! :slight_smile:

@zvuv You are right, but visualisation can be considered as the most universal way to memorise things. Your are blessed with the aural abilities but one may not be able to develop such abilities. However this isn’t the case with visualization. It can be developed with good amount of practice. Smell and other senses definitely help but they should be used as auxiliary to the visual aspects. Many times we can memorise things without use of any sense if the image is weird and unusual enough. That’s why I think we should work more on the visual aspects.

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Never heard of ‘Zen’s Mind, Beginner’s Mind’, but sounds interesting. Is it a insight manual or for basic concentration practices?

It is a kind of ‘insight’ manual. ‘Zen’s Mind, Beginner’s Mind’ is one of the most recommended books to read on Meditation.

I think you discount the variation among people. I have a very persistent aural memory often more reliable than visual, for me. People work hard to make bright images, I invest a lot of time in the sound of the words and phrases.

Very interesting. You are one of the few that I know who emphasize on senses like ‘sound,touch,smell’.

My dominant sense is visual and then,sound. I always have hard time to remember ‘touch/textures’. Of course,smell is a very strong sense of human beings,but I personally have hard time to remember them for a long time. I also try to avoid working on the sense of smell,as I hate bad smells!! :smile:


Adding the other sense and even a history, does a lot to support the “realness” of the image. Without this, they become kind of washed out and prone to fading. Of course, you can concentrate all your efforts on the visual image but it at a certain point it might be more efficient to add a smell or other kinds of information.

When you recall actual images from your past they come with a lot of sensory and supporting data. You may not be noticing it but it gives it that credibility.

In real life if you encountered something that had no smell or sound, your brain might tell you this is a hallucination. Reality is rich in detail. Everything comes with a history, a social context and emotions.

Walk into the room. Smell it. Run your hands over the walls. Carve your name on the wall. It’s old heavy wallpaper and wants to tear. A small insect scurries away. A friend of yours used to live here and he made curries when you came over. The odor still lingers. He had a favorite song and you hear it now. It always made you laugh when you heard it. You remember now, helping him move in and out. You are still safekeeping his guitar. Dig a hole in the floor. Taste a piece. It’s chicken vindaloo!. Turn the light on and off. OMG! There’s a toilet in the corner!! A working toilet! But it’s pale green, the same as the walls so you didn’t see it at first.That’s just crazy! Piss in it. Flush it…

Try it on for size. I suggest that if you spend some time in that little story above. You will have a very persistent, real feeling image. I suspect that you will remember it for while without further effort.

It helps to be a little crazy.