I’ve conducted a bit of research on this myself, and based off what I found, it seems that mainstream “science” may be on to something this time – your ability to do this (or lack thereof) is the result of your cognitive functions. The best way to determine your cognitive function stack is taking the MBTI. There’s a lot of naysayers regarding the MBTI, but experience has been the exact opposite. I’ve used the MBTI to do some incredible things, like building teams that worked incredibly well together.
Anyway, it appears that the various cognitive stacks process their inner thoughts in incredibly different ways, even the stacks that SEEM similiar (such as INTP and INTJ). For example, I am an INTP, and I think in incredibly vivid images, sounds, etc. Not only that, but my thoughts have a cohesive “narrative,” for lack of a better way to describe it. If we were to have a conversation and you asked me, “what are you literally seeing in your mind’s eye right now,” my answer would probably leave you baffled, because the visuals are abstract, and rooted in a personal mythology. We could be talking about how to optimize a marketing funnel, and I’m seeing mountains with the sun gleaming over it – and to me, it makes PERFECT sense.
Meanwhile, those who score as “sensors,” (ESFP, for example) tells me that they don’t “see” anything. They “think in words,” which is completely alien and foreign to me. My ex-girlfriend was an ESFP and she told me that she literally sees nothing, but “hears” things instead. Because of that, she lives completely in the moment, since she’s not “processing images” and the such.
Mental Alchemy DOES involve visuals, but that’s probably because those with strong visualization abilities tend to be drawn to the art more than those without. There’s definitely a way for those without visualization skills to be a mental alchemist – it seems to involve more kinesthetic elements – like dancing, drumming, singing, all physical things that can send you into trance.
We’re including scripting to strengthen the mind’s eye in The Alchemist.