Visual, Audio, Kinesthetic
(VAK, coined trough Neuro Linguistic Programing or NLP)
These are the three main senses we use to determine if reality is real. If we can see it, hear it and feel it, we believe it’s real. Rarely do we use smell or taste for this, but of course it can be included. In other words, for making any visualizations more powerful, make sure to use those three, and instantly the visualization will become more powerful. So very often, when one cannot obtain some information, one of these three has been excluded. And most usually sound.
Out of these three, visual is the fastest. It is said that a picture tells more then a thousand words, because at a glance we can see the entire situation, while with sound, we have to wait for the sound wave to finish, and feelings come the slowest. So that’s why it’s been arranged as VAK. Doing the Visual first, then Audio, then Kinesthetic. There are many ways of doing this, but starting vague is often the simplest.
Visual: What color does it have, or what color would fit, or would you want to put on it?
What is it made of, what’s the consistency, texture etc.
Audio: What sounds would you put on it? It can be anything from an instrument to nature sounds, to something that does not exist.
Kinesthetic: How does it feel? Where do you feel it? In the body, or around the body? Outside the body?
Once you have all three, like a tree legged stool that can stand on its own, you have in effect turned on your entire antenna, your entire brain is activated, and you have much greater opportunity to get the information you are seeking.
Say for instance, you are exploring some body pain, and you want to figure out what it’s all about, but you don’t get any clear ideas about it. You could then simply use VAK to ask your body what it is. And you will find, once you have the visual, and are getting the sound, or putting a sound to it, the sound changes the visual, and you get an even clearer visual. In this for instance, you already have the kinesthetic, as you where exploring a body pain. But this can also be used for finding out things you have no information about. Any thread, even the slightest hint that there is something, is enough to start the unraveling of what that is.
Once you have all the components, you have made it real for your mind, you have caught it, and can now do something about it, like asking it questions, changing it. As with body pains, it can be viewed as if the body is giving you a status report. So many just give that back to the body as orders to follow. In my opinion, it would be much better to take that status report, change it to what you want it to be, and give it back to the body as new work orders. The body knows what to do, it has millions of years worth of DNA to access. The body has a vast wealth of information to handle anything you tell it. And the body is the most loyal friend you will ever find. Thanking the body, is one thing you would get an immediate response out of. So often people go about their entire lives without having ever thanked their body once for the great service it has done for us.
One can also ask the VAK other questions like, “What is the positive intent with this behavior?” or “What good do you mean for me with this?” Because, knowing it is all there for you, that you created it (consciously or unconsciously), it had to have had a positive intent and some way of serving you, even if it does not work very well, you can know, and thank it for wanting something good for you. And that thanking changes the whole energy, the whole approach, and you will find you suddenly have access to more information. You might even want to do the VAK again, and find that it has all changed.
Some other questions that might work very strongly to ask the VAK can be:
“What would I have to believe is true, in order to want to choose this?”
“How does it serve me to choose this experience?”
“is there more?”
“What is needed to transform this, or integrate this?”
This is all one way of using the idea of VAK.
Now a for a very different way of looking at it all..
People are usually primarily one of those three. (I have not found an exception to this yet, but I have not met everyone)
You are either mainly Visually oriented, Audio oriented or Kinesthetically oriented.
The idea is that as you grow up, one of these three senses of reality is the one you have most control over. It is the one you use most to determine if reality is real. For instance in fear; it’s the one you close or tighten, and can also then be a good way to find out which one a person is. A Visual oriented person (further in text: a Visual) would cover their eyes when frightened, to close the sense that is most real to them, an Auditory would cover their ears, and a Kinesthetic might tense up their body. Since this sense is the one you have most control over, and find it most real, this is also the one you have the most talent in, and the one that often develops the most hang-ups, or blocks. In other words, very often, the one sense you like the most, have the most talent in, and would make you feel the most fulfilled, is also often the one most painful to use, as it’s the one you close first in fear.
Figuring what this is, and start opening it up, expanding upon it, healing it etc, can be one of the most giving things you do in life, most fulfilling adventure. Other ways of finding this out could be to look at the eye movements, as Visuals tend to look up to access visual, Auditory people tend to look at the sides to access memory or create sounds, and Kinesthetically people tend to look down and to the right to access it.
You can also find it out by how people are speaking. Do they mostly speak about what the saw, or heard, or felt? And you might find some other things about people while you are at it. If you say “I hear what you are saying” to a Visual, they don’t feel that “you see their point”, until you perhaps say something like “I see what you mean”, or “I can see that” etc. (I’m a Kinesthetic by the way, so I tend to speak about how things feel)..
To illustrate this point, I can tell you a bit about how I grew up and my challenges with Kinesthetics being both my talent, and my block.
As a child, I was never really into sports, that is to say, I never liked competing. I did not understand how doing what I love (moving around) should be something that I would want to be better then anyone else at. I just thought that if I love it, I have it all, and there is no need to make others feel smaller by me doing what I love. Who cares who is better at it? Do they love it more? If so, why would I want to make them love it less, by pointing out that I’m better at it? Just never made sense to me. It still doesn’t.
Growing up, I started to develop a block of sorts with moving around, because doing what I loved the most, in any established system like sports, would mean hurting someone in the process, and I simply did not want that. But you know, if I could not be creative, I would turn destructive, because the energy wants to come out. So I started drawing, going to the Visual, and although I became very good at it and everyone started telling me that I should become an artist, or that this is what I was meant to do, I never felt fulfilled by doing it. It was never the thing. So later I started making music, playing instruments, and I kept switching between the two. Never really satisfied with one, so I switched to the other, until I could stand it no more, and switched again. I created volumes of art and music, yet never felt content.
Then one day I joined Tae Kwon Do. Never would I have believed that it could be so utterly fulfilling. We rarely (if ever) competed in that club, it was always more of a dance, a play with energy. I got to be the best of what I am, push my body to the peek and let it soar. For the first time in my life, I felt truly at home. Of course, I knew nothing about VAK at that time, and did not really understand why I liked it so much. All the anger I ever had in my life disappeared. It might look a bit paradoxical, but as I learned how to fight, the need to fight disappeared.
Now, it’s not really a happy ever after story, as life seldom is, there is always more to learn, and for me, after 5 years, it started to feel hollow, shallow. There was little to no training for what to do with the mind in Tae Kwon Do, so eventually I quit. And I tried many other styles of Martial Arts, to sort of reignite that wonderful feeling I had when I started. I tried Boxing, Kick boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga and a lot of others, but they where all shallow to me, so I’ve quit it all.. Many years later, I found out about Aikido, and again I had that magic feeling of life being utterly fulfilling. It had the depth I was seeking, it used the mind, used energy, Ki, it was based on love, it was a dance, it had it all.
Anyway, that’s part of my story.
Even though you usually have one major sense that might be the most fulfilling, and maybe the most painful to open, it can all be included into joy. Like dancing would include Audio and Kinesthetic. Painting would include Visual and Kinesthetic. Maybe not as much Kinesthetic as dancing, but one could paint as if dancing, and one could, of course, also listen to music at the same time. All can be included to make an even richer experience of joy.