Well do you, say, have conversations with beings there in npmr? I know these tend to be just "foci" - changes of focus. like the people in those "explorer" series conversations don't seem to be really "gone" from the room and even Robert Monroe is able to feel the blanket slip off or whatever when he's way out there.
Will, I think you have a tendency to think that things have to be only in a certain way. You can have "conversations" like in PMR but it is more common to know instantaneously when in contact with another being, then if you want more details about something you also get instantaneous answers. It can be weird and they don't come in one flavor. You can have strawberry, bananas, tutti fruti or a whole fruit salad and whole feelings or stories can come like in a movie, it can be like a weird multimedia information swimming experience.
Your body or PMR awareness can be tuned, you can feel more or less, depending on how much you tuned to it.
As far as other people - I'm sure they all do see sight dots. They may focus on them more or less. That's kind of what interests me about that. If everybody really looked, they'd see those swirling dots and patterns. There's even a fair amount of literature on that on the web. The lights and things you see are known as phosphenes.
What I posted is not originated by physics from PMR. I am talking about mental (consciousness) creations, but you can start from physically induced dots and turned to mental dots, but you don't need physical stimuli to start them. You may have combined them in the experiences you talked about. If you cannot get a good dark room to practice cover your eyes with something.
Anyway I guess I'll try some stuff myself or suggest experiemnts. I venture that the "set up" of the experiemnt, the tuning in methodology, plays some important part in the outcome. I really haven't put too much effort toward tuning in other data streams though I have been meditating a long time. It seems more like tuning in with my "inner self" etc.
That would be nice if you can write down a plan before you experiment. When you close your eyes stay for a while and try to imagine things. For me it was always easy to start with nature related objects (plants, trees, water, mountains, rocks, skies, clouds, etc.). You can also try just circles and play with circles, or squares, or dots, whatever. Eventually one day you may notice something different. Then get happy and you may find out more and more. It's like you start with one channel and then you use your remote control and find out more new channels. Good thing they don't charge for those extra channels :)
There are, of course, interesting possibilities for experimentation here, even some form of group experimentation. But it seems this, like any message board, can get kinda blah blah blah, a little scattered, info proliferations, etc. Could be, if focused, a good home base for group experiments of not only an individual but collective nature though.
Well, I suggest everybody to try for themselves, but we can help each other with questions or how to get out of certain things that keep us stuck and not moving forward. Take into account though that if you discovered orange trees that does not mean everybody that don't see orange trees don't see them because they can't. It's just one channel you access and the channels seem infinite.