The exercise recommended for people wishing to build up their visual 'mental musculature' is identical to the 'happiness' exercise described in the previous chapter, except that an image is placed in the centre, and on each of the ten branches surrounding the image, the first ten 'image associations' are drawn.
In an exercise like this, it is essential for people to overcome their inhibitions about drawing 'bad' images. No matter how 'bad' the initial images may seem, because of the trial and success (not error) nature of the human brain they will simply form the first experimental stage from which there will be continued and inevitable improvement.
Example of Mini-Mind Map image exercise (see pages 74-77).
A good, and recommended, central image to begin with is 'home' because it provides plenty of opportunities for easy associative image development.
Aims of the exercise
The aims of this visual association exercise are:
To unleash the enormous power of the visual cortex.
To enhance the memory's storing and recalling capabilities through the use of images for emphasis and association.
J To increase aesthetic pleasure - simple enjoyment of the images themselves.
To break down resistance to the use of images in learning.
To aid mental relaxation.
vJ To begin to develop the extraordinary powers of visualisation and perception utilised by great artists/thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci.
Image association in practice
Here is an entertaining and exhilarating example of how image association works in practice.
A number of adults were joined in a seminar by the five-year-old son of one of the participants. The little boy, Alexander, who was only able to write a few disjointed letters of the alphabet, valiantly and persistently insisted that he join in the exercise. Over the adult protestations, he was finally allowed to join in.
Alexander chose the human brain as his central image because he had heard it mentioned so many times during the preceding days. He then began to 'image aloud' in the following manner.
'Now, let's see, what does my brain do?... Ah yes, it asks questions!' So saying, he drew a rough image of a question mark and immediately continued: 'Now, what else does my brain do?... Ah yes, it has friends!' And so saying,
he quickly drew a little image of two hands holding each other, and proceeded: •What else does my brain do?..
'Ah yeSj it says "thank you"!' And so saying, he drew a tiny envelope and proceeded, with increasing joy and bouncing up and down in his seat with every realisation: 'What else does my brain do?..
'Ah yes, it loves Mummy and Daddy!' And so saying, he drew a little heart, making his ten visual associations without a moment's hesitation, and with a whoop of excitement on completion. This was a brain working totally naturally -radiantly flowing, open and elegantly associative.
Armed with all this information about your inbuilt capacity for image association, proceed exactly as you did with the word association exercise, creating your own central image for the concept of 'home' (or using the one on page 75) and adding the images that spring to mind.
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