Developing A Photographic Memory

Without memory, there is no learning; but to have only a good memory of data
without utilizing the information is hardly worthwhile. Daniel McCartney was born
in Pennsylvania in 1817. His powers of memory were noticed at 5 or 6 years of age
and they became fully acute at the age of 16. From that age on, he forgot nothing for
the rest of his life! He learned nothing by reading, but only by hearing, for his
eyesight was poor. He could give the cube root of numbers up to the millions almost
instantly, and solve any other calculating problem given to him as well. He could give you the day of the week on any calendar date of the past. He knew 200 hymns and could sing 150 tunes. He remembered what he ate during each meal for over 50 years. When asked how he did it, he replied, "I just know it." Aside from a few demonstrations, McCartney never made much use of his memory for profit, and remained poor and obscure for most of his life. Andre Marie Ampere was born in 1775 and revealed a remarkable calculating ability at an early age. As soon as he could read, he devoured every book he could find. Soon he became obsessed with his father's 20 volume set of encyclopedias and eventually committed them to memory. Ampere went on to become a professor of mathematics, chemistry, writer on probabilities, poet, psychologist, metaphysician and a discoverer of fundamental truths of electrodynamics. Although these two individuals seemed to have had certain channels in their minds naturally open, others can nevertheless open up these same super memory channels through training. Both mental mathematics and mental chess require an inner visual acuity of extreme detail, but often in a "moving " or flexible fashion. A photographic memory is the observational recall often referred to as eidetic imagery in children (37% have the ability at an early age). The ability is rare in adults, and involves seeing an inner picture that lasts for varying intervals with each individual. Some yogis develop a 'super memory' after doing daily exercises in raja yoga (mental yoga) for about a year. Through exercises in visualization, concentration, breathing and altering your state of consciousness -- control of the memory triggering mechanism is achieved and a 'photographic' memory is developed. If we remember something under hypnosis that we didn't remember out of hypnosis, then there must be either something impeding the associative retrieval process in our conscious state or the retrieval cues are more efficiently organized during hypnosis or both. During hypnosis, there is a quieting of the busy conscious mind, and a searching of the subconscious storehouse for the needed information.

This exercise can help you to recall material you have 'forgotten' by stimulating associative patterns in your subconscious storehouse. Before beginning this exercise, you should have mastered and practiced for one full week "Exercise -- Concentration and Eidetic Imaging." Lie down and assume a relaxed, comfortable position. Take some deep, abdominal breaths, close your eyes and visualize a large blackboard in your mind's eye. Against the blackboard, imagine a white 12" X 12" square centered about one foot away from you. Hold this image steady and don't allow it to slide around in your mind. Now mentally put a small black circle about 2 inches in diameter in the center of the white square against the black background. Now vaporize the entire image to allow a void in your mind. Observe the images that appear. When this exercise is prefaced with a desire to recall a lost item, certain facts or old information, there is a freer flow of associations from the subconscious to the conscious mind. With lots of practice, your mental blackboard will always be able to bring up the information that you require in an almost 'photographic' way. Even though photographic implies visual, Mozart had the faculty of perfect pitch, where music is heard and indelibly imprinted in the brain after only one hearing of it. Others have the faculty of performing a kinesthetic action only once (as in a gymnastic or martial arts movement), and completely remembering it afterwards.