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Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Does a Non-Visual Image Look Like?

I've only started to scratch the surface of non-visual imagery, but this is one of the truly profound elements in the study of echolocation.  It's one thing to listen to sounds and think.. "oh that sounds farther away than this..." or "I can tell the doorway is here because it sounds hollow".  After a few years of my own intermittent training I have only begun to start to register non-visual images.  It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it is a wonderful feeling.  A rush of excitement comes over me when my senses "open up" and provide this very clear "image" of the things around me.

Being a sighted person, it is certainly taking me longer to learn echolocation than it would for someone who is blind, so you may start to register non-visual images in a much shorter amount of time.  First this is due to the amount of time I can dedicate to practice, and additionally, my visual cortex is already very busy with my everyday vision to have room for such things as non-visual images.  It's known that an unused visual cortex can be re-commissioned to aid in echolocation, so you may have that to your advantage.

I have indeed experienced them and it is an absolute thrill ride when I get a "moment of clarity".  Basically, this involves being aware of the big picture as opposed to thinking so hard about the mechanics of it.

So what does it look like?

I would describe the feeling of a non-visual image to be a thought.  If you picture a shape or shapes in your mind, that might be akin to a non-visual image.  In our mind's eye, we can manifest an infinite amount of thoughts, places, shapes and images.  When echolocating we can still receive or create this type of imagery, but it will be based on our sensory input as opposed to our imagination.  So in that case, I would imagine that it looks different for everyone.

For me these images are comprised of two things:
1. Edges of objects
2. Proximity

Remember, there will be no color or text information supplied by echolocation.  Objects are outlined because of the sensation that there is a difference between one point and the next.  Generally the closer objects have a sense of being more dense, or thicker.  Sometimes that translates to being "darker" for me, but like I said, I'm sure it will translate to something a little bit different for each of us.

Have you had any experiences like this during your training?  Let me know about your experience with non-visual images in the comment section.

Free 10-Minute Audio Lesson: Learn the Echolocation Click

Learn echolocation clicks with a free audio lesson
Learning how to click is one of the first steps to becoming an effective echoloator. This lesson provides clicking samples of a variety of different clicks and descriptions of when they might be most useful. This lesson has been used by O&M instructors all over the world.

Despite popular belief, it's easy to make your clicking quite subtle or unnoticeable even in quiet settings. There are many different clicks for different situations. I explain all of these in great detail and give examples of where, why and when they can and should be used.

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