I woke up one morning, trying to remember a very vivid dream. It was such a comforting dream, and it was unusually vivid than dreams I’ve had in the past.
While I often remember when I dream, I tend to forget what my dreams are about; As soon as I wake, they vanish from my mind so quickly.
This particular morning, I remember thinking to myself: What if it were possible to see images in our minds when we’re awake just like we do when we dream?
Seeing images in our mind while awake sounded like a superpower from a science-fiction movie, and I was so excited by the thought. If given a choice between the ability to fly, time travel, or seeing dreams in my waking mind, I would choose the latter, hands down!
As my family came downstairs to join me for breakfast, I shared my newfound idea for a superpower.
My family was confused. Rather, they thought I was confused.
“That’s not a superpower, we can already see images in our mind when we’re awake,” they told me.
“Hahaha…hold on WHAT?”
My thoughts and expressions went haywire. They were right; I was confused. Maybe I just wasn’t clear about my new “discovery.”
So I asked them to imagine being a pitcher on a baseball mound (it’s the only activity I knew none of them had done before).
My step-daughter was reluctant, “I am not picturing something in my mind I would never do in my life!” She exclaimed.
I pleaded with her to give me 20 seconds of her time (that’s a lifetime to a teenager apparently).
“Ugh! Fine,” she said.
Teenagers, am I right?
My daughter responded, saying she could picture herself on the mound at Fenway, and my step-daughter said she could see it vividly too, but she wasn’t at Fenway.
As fantastical an image of Fenway was, my wife was even more descriptive in her imagination. She could describe every vivid detail; The colour of the grass, the force of the wind, the people in the crowd cheering. It’s as though she was on the mound holding the baseball in her hand and setting up position to pitch the next batter at that very moment… in her mind!
I kept repeating, “You can picture it in your mind?
“Yes” they all responded.
“Wait, you can see a picture in your mind?”
“YES!!!” they insisted.
“Okay,” I said, rather sombrely.
“But, I can’t.”
I am 46 years old, and I just found out I am blind in my mind’s eye. This dream turned revelation was my introduction to Aphantasia.
In the aftermath of this profound discovery that I am blind in my mind’s eye, there were so many questions. Seriously, how is it possible that I didn’t know people could actually see images in their mind’s eye before now?
I was utterly dumbfounded, and to be honest, a little frightened, but more than anything, relieved to finally have some answers.
I hold multiple degrees, one of which is a BA in Psychology. I have counselled hundreds of clients and have written extensively on personal development and the law of attraction.
Except, I used to think that that ability to see what you desire in the “mind’s eye” was just a metaphor.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in a perpetual state of confusion. I felt something was missing in my life, but I couldn’t figure out what.
I think back now and remember saying to people closest to me things like, “I feel like I’m in a maze with no lights on” or I’d comically portray Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, “I’m in the dark here. I can’t see anything, Charlie!”
That’s what my life felt like at times, darkness.
How ironic, because when I close my eyes, that’s all I see. The dark with some fragments of light here and there, jumping around like protons.
I thought that was what everyone experienced in their minds.
Despite feeling like something was missing, I somehow always managed to keep pushing forward. I guess you could say, I don’t know how to give up on anything.
Anytime I feel the sensation of giving up enter my life, I dig deeper, work harder and find a way to make progress.
Yet for the longest time, I believed you were supposed to see a vision, or an idea was supposed to reveal itself like in the form of a light bulb or something.
Speaking of which, I’ve read extensively on Nikola Tesla’s experience and how he could build things in his mind and see mental images of his inventions before creating them in the material world. He wouldn’t touch a tool until he finished building it in his mind!
How amazing it would be to have an epiphany, a flash of genius, or an ability to create in your mind; A visual bridge connecting your imagination with reality.
I always waited for this moment to come, but it never did.
It wasn’t until this fateful morning, that something dawned on me.
The “light bulb” went on, and my mind lit up like a spectacular fireworks display, metaphorically speaking, of course.
The revelation I had been waiting for.
I am blind in my mind; I can’t see pictures of my kids, or recall the images of important moments in my life.
I can’t see the beach, the sunrise or sunset, and I certainly can’t see myself pitching on the mound.
While I can’t project images of these events in my mind, I know they are there because I can feel the details of them. I have a strong memory and can remember in minute detail every experience I ever had, including the birth of my children.
The only difference in recalling these events from my past is, I can’t see the video or hear the audio of these moments. But I certainly feel the essence of these memories and will never forget them.
I can recall data and facts, formulate and construct ideas using that information, and relive moments as though they were fresh in my mind in the present. More importantly, I can create the same sense of detail in the present moment as it relates to building on dreams for my future.
All this time, I was waiting for that “visual” confirmation, and I now realize it was my waiting that held me back.
It is the same idea as a blind person feeling their way through the material world. I learned that I am blind in the mind, in my inner world, and I am more than okay with that.
I know now that I don’t need to see images or hear sounds from my distant memories because I will always be able to reconstruct them, and more importantly, I will always feel their essence.
Whether you can reimagine events from your life or not, we can all feel the essence of these important events and memories in our lives.
It is our emotion that connects us to the natural world, and it is our emotional connectivity that will guide us into our future.
“From where we are to whence we go, it is only our emotion that we bring home.”