I'm heading into the home stretch of the PhotoReading Deluxe Course, which I have been taking (and reviewing) for the past week now.  Disc Six of the course introduces mind mapping and a few different ways to mind map (which we implement first with Paul Scheele's book "PhotoReading", followed by Paul Scheele's "Natural Brilliance).  Then it presents a few more activation techniques (which I'll discuss below), and gets us psyched up for the next disc, which will be a guided walk through the entire PhotoReading Whole Mind system with a book of our choosing.

So the mind mapping seems to be a very useful technique.  I have to admit that mind mapping "PhotoReading" and "Natural Brilliance" seems like overkill to me for those books, so it was difficult to engage in the activity fully.  I basically followed through in the spirit of following through with the whole course, not wanting to lose my momentum by suddenly picking and choosing which exercises I was and wasn't going to do.  And I'm glad that I did do it, because now I know that I could mind map anything, and I will probably at least try to implement it for the next few books I PhotoRead, to see how it works for me. 

Now there's a bright side of this experience, of course - what it really means is that through my PhotoReading experience with the aforementioned two books I've gotten the material that I need - without mind mapping being necessary.  So that's overall "good testimony" to the effectiveness of the system, I think.

The other activation techniques that Paul Scheele mentions on Disc Six of the PhotoReading Course are:

  • Dreaming
  • Peripheral Recall
  • Group Discussion

I found the tracks on Peripheral Recall (how to positivitely handle the "tip-of-the-tongue" phenomenon for increased recall) and Group Discussion to be somewhat cursory.  I suppose that both of those two techniques would only come into play if you were going through the course with a group (or at least all reading the same material - like in a book/study group).  Paul Scheele suggests PhotoReading a book that you know a friend has recently read, and then engaging with them in a discussion about the book as a way of activating and testing your knowledge - which seems like a good idea, as long as your friends are open about that sort of thing!  Some people are just so secretive these days...

The Dreaming, on the other hand - well, that was interesting.  There are two steps necessary:  Step #1 is to have a pen and paper by your bed, so that you can write your dreams down (or mind map them) as SOON as you wake up (while they are fresh).  Paul Scheele talks a bit more in depth about the process of remembering your dreams, but this is something with which I have lots of experience (and if you're REALLY interested in Dreaming/Lucid Dreaming/Out-of-Body Experiences then there are some other methods for delving into that stuff more deeply, which we'll be addressing in later articles).  If you didn't have prior experience, you might find his discussion to be a bit light - but he probably does give you all the info you need to know for THIS purpose.

The second step (step #1 was pen-and-paper by the bed) is to give yourself the suggestion, just before you go to sleep, that you want to dream about a book that you just PhotoRead.  Something direct like "Tonight I will dream about the book "Natural Brilliance", and my other-than-conscious mind will present the ideas that will benefit me the most" will work well, or something like "I will dream about how I can apply the concepts in Natural Brilliance to my problem of...oh, let's say 'Getting the House Organized'" will work even better.  Then wait and see what happens.

So last night I had the most crazy dreams.  I woke up at about 5am and wrote down one of the dreams.  It was, pretty obviously, about photoreading - although I guess this stuff is always open to interpretation.  Note - if you're squeamish or thinking that I'm really cool, you might not want to read the following description of my dream.  In the dream I had just consumed a huge glass of water, and then, in the bathroom, I immediately pissed out the entire amount of water I had just drunk---all over the bathroom.  I was a little concerned, actually, that the water wasn't being processed by my body - it was just passing right through me (and I wanted to get every last drop out if I could).  Finally, some woman offered me a big stack of newspaper (or, really, just paper covered with text) with which I could soak up all of the pee.  That's about when I woke up - relieved to find that the bed was still dry - and quick to write down the contents of the dream.  Then I got up and used the bathroom - just to be safe.

Doesn't it all seem clear to you?  Paul Scheele even uses the analogy of PhotoReading being like drinking a vast amount of water at one point in the course.  My concern that the water isn't being processed - well, that's the point of doing this whole review - my concern over whether or not the system actually works!  And in the end, a reassuring woman comes and gives me the pages of text with which to soak up the water - which seems to suggest that I should start feeling confident that I am, in fact, soaking up the information.  Additional interpretations welcomed, of course.  Just keep it civil, please.

I went back to sleep, telling my subconscious mind "ok, please address Natural Brilliance now - this time without urination".  I had another great dream, full of wacky stuff - ultimately I was playing an interactive word game with a bunch of other people.  In the dream there were all of these stations where there were either jumbles of letters or piles of things.  We were each carrying around some magnetic alphabet letters with us, and the challenge was to either create a long word out of each anagram - OR, if you could spell out a word that accurately described the pile of things (a big pile of grey sweatshirts is coming to mind) you'd get points equal to the number of things in the pile.  Make sense to you?  Sure!

It was obvious that I was a late entry to the game - many people had been playing longer than I had, so they had a lot of points and WAY more magnetic letters to work with.  At one point someone tried to take one of my magnetic letters, but I got it back from them.  Suddenly I realized that I wasn't actually playing AGAINST anyone - it was up to me to build up points at my own pace, unscrambling the jumbles and checking out all of the stuff-piles.  And once I realized that, the whole game got to be a lot more fun.

Then it struck me how surreal the whole situation was...and I had the always-miraculous realization that I was DREAMING.  At first I did what I normally do - I started flying around all over the place.  Others were watching me, and some of them knew that I had figured out I was dreaming - they were really enjoying the spectacle.  Then I decided that I was going to try to have an Out-of-Body Experience (OBE).  I've been listening lately to the Monroe Institute's Gateway Experience CDs, and I had slight recall of the "Exploration of Sleep" exercise, where I was supposed to gain awareness of my physical body and then float up out of my body.  That's how I was remembering it, anyway.  So I focused in on my body-body (not my dream body), and I could feel it lying there (wherever there was), numb and stiff.  At this point I felt like I was engaged in a struggle to maintain the state - to not wake up (which is always the danger when I get too carried away in a lucid dream).

I started focusing on floating up, on rolling over and just jumping "out" of my body.  Which, miracle of miracles, I (seemingly) did!  I ran down the hallway, feeling sort of wobbly, convinced that I was experiencing my first OBE.  I was headed for the front door of the house, and I peeked into the kitchen as I approached, where I found my wife's parents staring back at me.  It also dawned on me that I was in my childhood home, not in the place where my wife and I currently live.  This time I was confused - I went outside, and it all seemed "real" enough - and I could no longer fly (generally an indicator of being in reality instead of my dreamworld).  The lines had blurred - I was back in a dream, and it was only moments before I woke up again.

Exciting stuff!

Not that lucid dreaming is a guarantee from listening to Disc Six of the PhotoReading Course by any means - but clearly the discussion of dreaming and lucid dreaming DID wield some influence over my dreamtime turns of events.  And both dreams that I remembered have offered me something pithy to chew on (and pissy - yuck!), so working in my dreams does contribute to activation.  Ultimately I'm not sure that I would want to spend much of my dreamtime on the books that I'm reading (it's much more fun to fly around and attempt OBEs) - but it'll definitely be useful as I try to integrate the vast amounts of information I intend to be...er, soaking up.

With that in mind, I have chosen "The Book" by Alan Watts as my first book to PhotoRead.  I've been carrying it around with me for years now, and it's subtitle - On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are - promises some more insight in the realm of inner discovery and outer balance (two favorite topics of mine).  At 150 pages, it would probably take me at least 3 or 4 hours to read (were I to just sit down and read it) - so I look forward to seeing what I'll be able to do in 52 minutes (the length of Disc Seven of the PhotoReading Course).

Stay tuned, and feel free to leave comments, questions, or dream interpretations in the comments below (or e-mail me: neil at neilsattin dot com).  Sweet dreams!