Does the term “remote viewing” conjure up covert government spy activity? Developed by the U.S. military during the Cold War (remember that thing?), remote viewing is actually a highly structured tool for opening our human apertures beyond the five physical senses, and it’s far more practical than you might expect. Imagine a course in “How To Become Psychic” designed and taught by engineers—I jumped at the chance to register.
Whether you think the information comes from your subconscious mind, God, invisible elfin-faery helpers or your dead Uncle Floyd, nearly everyone has experienced some sort of extrasensory weirdness in which they suddenly knew something they had no business knowing. We’re each equipped with the same faculties, and anyone can further cultivate their superpowers.
Controlled Remote Viewing (CRV) is the proper term for the program, since “remote viewing” has been co-opted to represent all manner of psychic things. It is, in fact, markedly different from your typical New Age woo-woo. With CRV, there is no meditation, no prayer, no altered states, no invocation and definitely no kumbaya-hand-holding-in-a-circle. There are no nebulous instructions to “be love” or “simply allow the flow” or “connect with the Great Spirit” in this curriculum.
Instead, we embarked humbly into CRV kindergarten, creating then analyzing various scribbles known as ideograms. Their simplicity and technical significance helped alleviate my anxiety around a lack of drawing ability. We were deciphering code, not creating masterpieces.
“Target practice” was done with photographs (consciously) unknown to the Viewers, who obtain and record descriptive information about the images. Initially, the goal is simply to master procedures, not to nail the target. In order to progress, I had to relinquish my ego’s desire to be right, which is not unlike coaxing a pit bull to drop a stick it’s been chewing on.
In the adjective-writing stage, we learned built-in processes for acknowledging and setting aside those premature, unfounded and usually incorrect conclusions that the conscious mind is bound to make. And that’s what I love most about remote viewing: mental challenges are anticipated and met with powerful solutions, rather than swept beneath the carpet. It’s a novel approach to handling my overactive (and yes, recovering-engineer) monkey mind. Over time, the monkey business dies down because it gets called out on the carpet.
Our instructor Vijay Ram posed an analogy of scale: the mind is like an iceberg—10% ego, 90% subconscious. We want to tap into that submerged block of know-how, but we need to get beyond the ego-gatekeeper. How can we do that? One tactic that works well for me is to distract the conscious mind by keeping it busy—in this case, doggedly filling out forms and following procedures—and CRV is elaborate enough to keep me on track. Sitting on a pillow and emptying the mind of thoughts might work for some people, but it’s a futile endeavor in my case.
Despite the procedural rigidity, there’s still room for creative license, and often specializations emerge. For instance, I lean toward conceptual verbiage, sometimes coming up with a theme or statement about the target such as “melancholy”, or “exploration” (the latter turned out to be Neil Armstrong on the moon). Some viewers have a knack for picking up emotion or thoughts, which is probably more useful when a target features biologicals and not just manmades. That’s another fun aspect of CRV—the use of military-speak that converts adjectives to nouns and employs geeky words like cognitrons.
Some viewers can sketch detailed depictions of a target, but sand play is a great tactile alternative for creating a three-dimensional portrayal of the information being received. During one exercise I was inspired to grab some little grey plastic lattice pieces and stick them in the sand diagonally. I was simply having fun, like any kid in a sand box well-stocked with toys, but apparently I was processing signals from the great unknown. The target? The Eiffel Tower. I know, it would have been way cooler had I literally identified the target as such but hey, it was only my second day on the job.
That’s not to imply that I’ve become a remote viewing superhero, because my data is a mixed bag. But therein lies the fuzzy part of Controlled Remote Viewing, at least in the introductory stages: there is so much that could possibly be said about a given target that it’s difficult to determine validity of the data. If the target includes people outdoors, one viewer might focus on a human face while another viewer picks up climatic conditions. They’ll get wildly different data, though neither is necessarily wrong. Even more interesting is the notion that a viewer may be accessing the target site, but in a different timeframe than was captured in the photo. These challenges are mostly alleviated with experience and advanced techniques to pinpoint the most relevant information.
The data delivery itself can be synesthetic, and often clever in circumventing the ego. When I used cueing tools to obtain more data, my answer to “smells like…?” was lavender, which turned out to be a prominent color in the photo.
Like anything else, practice makes CRV more fruitful. “The truth will emerge from the mess of data,” Vijay assured us. As I relaxed into the process, I started discerning between authentic versus fabricated information. I did this by becoming an unrelenting observer of my own mind.
As for the U.S. military, Ted Koppel blew the lid off their covert remote viewing program back in 1995, and since then the government has apparently denied its existence. Whether the program is still operating underground or dispelled as a once-curious relic is anyone’s guess, but the CRV tool itself is alive and well and available for ego-taming or other worthwhile Civilian pursuits.