Before You Begin…


In this introductory unit you will learn…

How to Approach Your Learning Experience

Healing, balancing, and transforming are exciting and fulfilling pursuits that give life new, deeper meaning, and direction.  Developing powerful and effective tools for helping others heal, balance, and transform is one of the most rewarding investments of your time and energy that you will ever make. We all have reasons why we stay stuck where we are. Meeting ourselves is rather like mountain climbing or other forms of adventuring: you want to know what challenges may arise, like weather, how to handle obstacles and naysayers you may meet along the way, and knowing your own limits.  You want to be prepared with proper clothes, supplies, maps, and protection, You need to be prepared to handle all of these challenges when undertaking a major adventure. Similarly, when undertaking a major transformational life study, you want to know what you’ll need and be able to assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you are realistic in how you proceed. In addition, major ventures into the unknown are best undertaken with capable companions and a skilled guide, and that’s how you will proceed with the Integral Deep Listening curriculum.

  • Are your goals for your training clear? What do you want to accomplish by studying the IDL Coaching Certification curriculum? Share your goals with a team supervisor when you register for the course here: click here
  • Are you ready to approach your learning experience as a yoga and integral life practice that you understand involves lifestyle change, patience, persistence, dealing with resistances as they come up, studying with a team, homework, and accountability?
  • You are able and willing to devote three hours a week to on line team meetings, emails, daily application, and interviewing?
  • If you have issues with confidentiality, know that it’s  not necessary to do on-line interviewing. You can do the program and never share interviews you do or share them with whom you wish.

Benefits of the IDL Curriculum


A very clear and concise overview of the benefits of Integral Deep Listening has been created by Heather. You can read her summary here

Become a Dream Yogan  Learn how to interpret your dreams and those of others from the perspective of the dream itself, to access an approach to life that is sacred and transformative.

Become an IDL Interviewer Learn how to interview the personifications of life issues important to you and to others in order to reframe challenges, conflicts, and goals that open up opportunities for greater growth and integration.

Become a certified coach   Embark on a six months to a year-long course of study that applies IDL interviewing to the healing, balancing, and transformation of your life and those of others.

After that, become a certified IDL Practitioner  Learn to take  your coaching skills to the next level by applying them to a specific target group of your choice: those challenged by loneliness, trauma, abuse, depression, gender, or physical health issues as you do in-depth reading and discussion regarding the assumptions and worldviews underlying IDL.

After that, become a certified IDL Trainer  Learn Dream Sociometry, the interviewing of multiple perspectives from your dreams, mystical experiences, and life issues. Design and publish research based on your application of IDL to groups of your choice as you supervise other students of IDL.

Create a support community    Friendships, a spiritual family, and a Sangha based on authenticity, intimacy, common intentions and a shared integral life practice.

Develop an internal support system   Relationships and loved ones come and go from our lives. However, your intrasocial Sangha will be there when others aren’t. 

Make a difference with your life   As you support others in overcoming obstacles to their healing, balancing, and transformation, you are supporting those aspects of yourself that they represent. You are helping others get clear so they can make the most of their lives. Can any life pursuit be more meaningful or important?

Learn effective therapeutic tools few therapists learn   IDL consists of the best approaches to mental-emotional healing, balancing, and transformation I have found in fifty years of practice. You will skills that are compatible with whatever other approaches you are working with – shamanism, cognitive behavioral therapy, Hatha yoga, gestalt, Jungian…

It’s practical   Healing, balancing, and transformation for yourself and others marketing yourself and creating income.

It’s interesting!   You never know what is going to turn up in an interview.

It’s different!   Interview mediated learning is something you won’t find in most courses of study.

It’s fun!   You will learn surprising things from crazy sources, like characters from your dreams, imagination, and shamanic experiences.

It’s free!   All that’s required is discipline, patience, and persistence

Grow by sharing what you know! Do you have skills you would like to barter that can enhance IDL and its outreach, in exchange for your education? If so, let us know!

Learn effective listening skills   Most people don’t listen; they are thinking about what they are going to say. They think they know what you are saying and so proceed in terms of their assumptions rather than actually listening. IDL teaches you to drop filters that keep you from hearing others and being in touch with who you really are.

Develop greater respect for just how amazing you really are   Was your self-esteem stomped by your family scripting? Both interviewing and the Curriculum are designed to increase your self-esteem.

Develop empathy    By taking the perspectives of many different dream characters and personifications of life issues you develop the habit of getting out of your own way and taking the perspectives of others. 

Generate healing   Helping others to access recommendations for addressing their life issues that are sensible and improve their lives is an extremely rewarding process.

Outgrow toxic family scripting   Reverse the internalization of toxic messages, “conscience,” beliefs

Surface and defend yourself against social and cultural scripting   We are all lost in groupthink based on shared assumptions of our families, culture, and society. These include nationalism, group exceptionalism, and a sense of who is “like us” and who is “different.” IDL accesses the common humanity of all people and the usefulness of all perspectives, even those we fear.

Outgrow toxic drama   Moving out of the roles of Persecutor, Victim, Rescuer in the Drama Triangle is imperative if we are to experience peace of mind. 

Learn to recognize and eliminate self-defeating thoughts   These include fear of failure; fear of rejection, emotional cognitive distortions, 

Recognize and avoid invitations into toxic drama   Learn to not Rescue Victims or to pursue thoughts and behaviors that Rescue yourself

Eliminate nightmares   …generally in one or two interviews

Eliminate repetitive dreams   …generally in one or two interviews

Eliminate PTSD, phobias, anxiety disorders   Generally in five or six interviews

Improve the destiny of children   Why not discover one’s own unique self and life path as a child rather than wandering and wondering for years? Why not escape from childhood scripting and toxic self-talk early?   Outgrow addiction to preferences

Generate life balance   Unbalanced lives are stressful. Increase your physical, mental, emotional, interpersonal, interior/exterior balance. As you learn and develop the components of balance your life will become more balanced.

Develop confidence and assertiveness   Do you need more confidence and assertiveness? As you access and internalize perspectives that possess confidence and assertiveness you will grow in those competencies. 

Learn superior problem solving   This is called “triangulation” by IDL because it accesses not only your intuition and personal experience, as well as objective sources of knowledge, such as experts and Google, but also interior and subjective sources of objectivity that know you and your need better than anyone else possibly could.

Learn effective approaches to meditation   Learn to name the contents of your awareness;  Learn to stop jumping between thoughts, feelings, sensations, imagery, and consciousness

Turn your breath into your best friend   Learn the six parts of every breath and seven different ways to use each breath for balance and transformation

Learn to clarify and set intent   Beneath your goals are the reasons you set your goals, why you are alive, where you derive meaning in your life. 

Align your priorities and goals with the priorities of your life compass   Your life has deep and lasting meaning and value. When you discover and align yourself with innate and authentic priorities that wish to express themselves to you, you bring healing, balance, and transformation into your life.  

Replace the pursuit of phony, superficial transformation with genuine transformation

Access creativity   Dreams are immensely creative: when you tap into them you tap into wellsprings of creativity

Access your authentic emerging potentials   Both dreams and IDL interviewing in general access and amplify your emerging potentials

What if I don’t remember my dreams?

Here are some bullet points to share with clients or interview subjects that bring up this concern:

1) You dream 2.5 hours every night, whether or not you remember them.
2) That means, over the totality of an average life, 5 years are spent dreaming. That’s a lot of time to ignore or waste.
3) Your dreams affect your physical and mental health – how fast you age, how you will feel tomorrow, and the quality of your problem solving throughout the day (like at school or with homework).
4) IDL focuses on quality over quantity. Thorough work on one dream is much better than superficial work on many.
5) Subjects don’t have to remember or work on dreams. They can interview personifications of life issues. However, doing both is superior, because while life issues are driven by your priorities, dream content is driven by priorities that transcend and include your own.

Tips for Remembering Your Dreams

  • Repeat as you are drifting off to sleep, “I will remember my dreams.” Visualize yourself waking up, reaching for a pen and paper (or keyboard or recording device) and capturing whatever feelings and images that come to mind.
  • Write or record whatever you are feeling or images you have, first thing when you wake up.
  • Set your alarm five minutes early. This is because we normally wake up just after our last REM (rapid eye movement) dream period, as brain chemistry changes from short-term to long-term memory storage. This means that if we don’t wake up when we are dreaming or immediately thereafter, it is more difficult to recall a dream. Setting your alarm a bit earlier compensates for our biology.
  • If all else fails, drink a lot of water before you go to bed. You will wake up to go to the bathroom right after a dream cycle, at a point where dream recall is most likely.
  • Remember, IDL emphasizes quality over quantity, meaning it is better to do an effective and thorough job with one dream every now and then than to remember many but rarely apply any recommendations from any interviews you do with dream characters.

Some Characteristics IDL Attempts to Cultivate in its Students

To have others feel energized after being with you. To have others experience you as: Celebrating their successes Remembering small things about you Respecting your boundaries Listening without being defensive Allowing them to be fully themselves Awakening their hopes and potentials Making them feel safe Supporting your goals Having empathy Being trustworthy Being accepting Reciprocating A partner in creative problem solving Pointing you toward the sacredness of life Supporting you in living in the present Lifting you up when you fall Respecting differences of opinion, worldview, and lifestyle Questioning and challenging assumptions to generate clarity.

Accessing varieties of transpersonal experience in order to enhance our awareness of the sacred dimension of life in the here-and-now

 In most units of the IDL curriculum you will be asked to consider how the material relates to the transpersonal dimension of development as well as to the enhancing of your awareness of the sacred, moment-to-moment, in the here-and-now.

TRANSpersonal experiences are contrasted with our PERSONAL experience, in which we, as the perceiver of our waking, dream, and mystical experiences, are the center of our awareness. The transpersonal is also contrasted with our PREpersonal experience, in which our bodies, sensory experiences, reactive emotions, and built-in cognitive processes act without our conscious participation. Transpersonal experiences include and then transcend both, providing experiences of oneness that are qualitatively different from prepersonal and personal experiences of oneness. 

What are the varieties of experiences of oneness?

In prepersonal, personal, and transpersonal experience, four basic varieties of experience of oneness have been identified. These are experiences of oneness with 1) nature, energy, or power, 2) deity or divinity, and a sense of devotion before it, 3) formless or empty awareness in which there is no experience of a perceiver or of anything perceived, and 4) non-dual integration of all dualities into transcendent wholes.

Energy or nature-based oneness

Energy or nature-based oneness emphasizes the interconnectedness and energy flow within the natural world. It often involves experiencing unity with nature, recognizing oneself as part of a larger ecological system, and feeling a deep sense of harmony with the Earth. Practices like eco-spirituality, shamanism and shamanic journeying, and nature-based rituals are common expressions of this variety of oneness.  

If you meditate in a forest, feeling the energy of the trees, the wind, and the earth merging with your own life force, experiencing a profound sense of oneness with the natural world, you are accessing this variety of oneness. Similarly, taking psychoactive substances can often produce this variety of oneness. Psychic dreams involving clairvoyance, precognition, and visitations are examples of accessing nature-based oneness of this variety. IDL Pranayama, particularly in its fundamental, sensory-centered practice, accesses this level of oneness.

Note that these experiences are not generally transpersonal, in that they can occur regardless of our level of development. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, these experiences of oneness are most likely to be prepersonal rather than transpersonal, no matter how awe inspiring and integrative they may be. They are reflections of how creativity and oneness are embedded in the intrinsic fabric of the universe and our consciousness, regardless of our age or level of development. 

Devotional oneness

The second variety, devotional oneness, involves a deep emotional connection with a divine or spiritual figure, such as a deity, guru, or saint. When you access this variety of oneness you are likely to feel overwhelming love, reverence, and surrender to the object of their devotion, transcending their individual identity and merging with the divine presence. Practices like bhakti yoga, prayer, and chanting are common pathways to devotional transpersonal experiences. Paramahamsa Yogananda largely represents devotional oneness. If you are a devotee of some divinity, immersed in prayer or meditation, feeling a profound sense of unity and love while communing with your chosen deity, and experiencing yourself as an expression of divine grace, you are experiencing this variety of oneness. You may have IDL interviews in which you experience this sort of devotional relationship and emergence with the subject of your interview.

Again, states of ecstatic devotional oneness can be achieved by most people, regardless of their level of personal, rational, or transpersonal development. They are reflections of how empathy, compassion, and interdependence are embedded in the intrinsic fabric of the universe and our consciousness, regardless of our age or level of development. Therefore, unless there is evidence to the contrary, experiences of devotional oneness are most likely to be prepersonal than transpersonal, even though they are so transcendent of our sense of self that we are convinced of their transpersonal nature. 

Formless experiences of oneness

The third variety, formless experiences of oneness, entail a direct encounter with the ineffable and boundless nature of reality beyond conceptual or perceptual frameworks. It involves transcending all forms, including mental constructs, and resting in pure awareness or emptiness. You will be in this state if you experience a sense of infinite spaciousness, timelessness, and profound peace. Practices like mindfulness meditation, Zen koan contemplation, and Advaita Vedanta inquiry can lead to formless transpersonal experiences. For example, if you practice mindfulness meditation, letting go of all thoughts and concepts, resting in pure awareness, and experiencing a profound sense of interconnectedness with the universe beyond any distinctions or boundaries, you are experiencing this variety of oneness. IDL Naming meditation accesses this variety of oneness. Nagarjuna, a sage and mystic of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, and Thich Nhat Hanh, of the Theravadin Buddhist lineage, provide examples of this variety of oneness. 

Notice that this practice and access to formless oneness can be taught to children and practiced by them, meaning that there is no intrinsic correlation between the experience of formless oneness and either personal or transpersonal levels of development. Therefore, like nature and devotional oneness, accounts of access to formless oneness, regardless of how mind-blowing they may be, are best assumed to be prepersonal until proven otherwise. 

Non-dual experiences of oneness

The fourth variety, non-dual experiences of oneness, involve the realization of the fundamental unity or oneness underlying all apparent dualities, such as self/other, subject/object, and good/evil. Non-dual oneness entails recognizing the essential nature of reality as the dissolution of all distinctions and separations. Experience, self, and the “other” are perceived as expressions of the same underlying essence. If you have a profound awakening to the realization that there is only one ultimate reality, beyond all dualities and distinctions, and experiencing yourself as inseparable from the totality of existence, you are accessing non-dual oneness. Practices like Advaita Vedanta, Dzogchen, and certain forms of mystical Christianity emphasize the direct realization of non-dual transpersonal oneness. The Hindu sage Shankara, lamas Surya Das and Alan Wallace are examples of this variety of oneness. 

Just about anyone at any level of development can have even non-dual experiences of oneness. For example, children can report near death experiences and report experiences of cosmic unity. Therefore, it is a mistake to assume that any reports of experience of oneness are indicators of high levels of development. Doing multiple IDL interviews of both dreams and life issues tend to break down normal prepersonal and personal distinctions between self and other, dreaming and waking, real and delusional, profane and spiritual, generating an awakening to the non-dual nature of everyday, ongoing experience.

What increases the likelihood of experiences of transpersonal oneness? 

Transpersonal experiences of any or all of these four varieties of oneness are different from prepersonal or personal experiences of oneness, in that they occur on a foundation of the objectification of prepersonal belief, emotion, sensation, accompanied by the presence of a mind that is rational and multi-perspectival. That is, it has not only grasped maps of different states and stages of consciousness but developed profound empathy with other people embracing worldviews radically different from their own. This is one of the reasons why the IDL curriculum deals with things like objectifying scripting, avoiding toxic drama and delusional thinking, goal setting, assertiveness, and problem solving. Although these topics may seem mundane and far removed from the transpersonal, they are necessary building blocks that are foundational to the realization of genuine transpersonal experiences of oneness and learning to experience life as sacred on a day-by-day, here-and now basis.

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