Integral Deep Listening provides three progressive free on-line certification programs as IDL Coach, IDL Practitioner, and IDL Trainer. The Coaching Certification focuses on self-development and learning interviewing skills as foundational for generating one’s own coaching practice. The Practitioner Certification focuses on mastering the knowledge base of IDL so as to help others heal, balance, and transform. In addition to using IDL with a particular target audience, Practitioners act as mentors to Coaches. The Trainer Certification is for those who want to teach IDL to students and act as mentors to Practitioners and Coaches. Practitioners learn Dream Sociometry and undertake published research to evaluate the effectiveness of IDL on different populations and conditions.
There are many varieties of yogas: Hatha is physical yoga, bhakti is devotional, karma is work-oriented, jnana is meditative, kundalini is energetic, and dream yoga is classically about lucid dreaming. All yogas are transpersonal disciplines or integral life practices designed to unify who you are with the sacred, however it is understood or defined. Disciplines require persistent personal investment as a long-term investment in acquiring and maintaining one or more skill set. Integral Deep Listening as a yoga is a life practice meant to be acquired as a daily, lifelong discipline.
As a “dream” yoga, IDL is a transpersonal discipline or integral life practice which views dreaming and the imaginal as real, authentic, and valuable as waking life while at the same time viewing waking and mystical experience as subjective, delusional, and opaque as the average dream. In both cases, its yoga is one of learning to listen, in a deep and integral way, to the “other,” regardless of its ontological status or our assumptions regarding its meaning or relative importance.
IDL uses this yoga of multi-perspectivalism to help us get over ourselves, to outgrow our infatuation with self-development and to instead learn that by supporting others and humanity as a whole we most effectively and profoundly advance our own development.
IDL dream yoga does not focus on learning to lucid dream, or wake up while dreaming, as does classical Hindu/Tibetan dream yogas. Instead, it focuses on waking up out of sleepwalking, groupthink, drama, and scripted living in both the waking and dream states.
Developed by Joseph Dillard in 1980, Dream Sociometry applies Moreno’s sociometric methodology to groups of “imaginary” characters and elements from dreams, waking life issues, history, fiction, mystical and near death experience. Dream Sociometry is the foundational methodology of IDL and is essentially a dream yoga and research tool. It has been found effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including phobias and PTSD, self-development, and relationship issues.
In Dream Sociometry, when multiple characters from one dream or life situation are interviewed, they may come to agreement on how they would change the dream or life situation. If so, it is rewritten as a consensus dream, called a “Dreamage.” If all interviewed characters agree that they don’t want to change the dream or life situation, then it serves as its own Dreamage. A Dreamage cannot be created if one or more interviewed characters resist changes desired by the others. In IDL, Dreamages are used as potent pre-sleep incubation tools to input a pattern of higher order functioning into the dream mind, in its own visual language.
For IDL, “Emerging potentials” are interviewed characters and elements, whether they are derived from dreams, nightmares, night terrors, waking fantasies, life issues, personal life events, world crises, historical events, fiction, synchronicities, mystical or near death experiences. They are referred to as “emerging” because as they are interviewed their perspectives and beingness emerges into our awareness and becomes incorporated into an expanded sense of who we are. They are referred to as “potentials” because they are mere possibilities that only take on the degree of healing, balancing, and transformational reality in our lives that we allow them to.
Integral Deep Listening teaches deep empathy and multi-perspectivalism through interviewing dream characters, the personifications of current life issues, life circumstances and relationships, current world events, fictional and historical events, synchronous, mystical, and near death experiences. Anything can be the object of an IDL interview.
The purposes of IDL interviewing are 1) to access potentials that are wanting to emerge into your waking awareness, 2) to provide creative and useful reframing of life issues and problems you wish to solve, or situations you wish to understand more fully, 3) access the priorities of your unique life compass; 4) provide cybernetic feedback on your progress through the IDL Certification programs, 5) help others to heal, balance, and transform, 6) create a support group of fellow students who share your interests and perspectives on life in important ways, 7) break down dualisms that keep us from seeing the interdependence of life. Examples are self/other, objective/subjective, dreaming/waking, real/illusory, useful/not useful, sacred and secular.
The prefix “intra” means “within,” while “inter” means “between.” While social behavior involves outer and objective interactions, intrasocial behavior involves inner and subjective interactions. The intrasocial is also intersocial, in that while social behaviors occur between objective others, intrasocial relationships are between subjective others. “Subjective” others include dream characters, images, such as the personifications of life issues, or visionary experiences, such as mystical and near death experiences. More broadly, subjective others include our interpretations of life, historical, fictional, and synchronous events.
IDL explores intrasocial relationships in order to bring into congruence and integrate the macrocosm of seemingly objective others and the microcosm of seemingly subjective others. The healing of this fundamental split or dualism is a pre-requisite for higher order personal and collective evolution.
IDL seeks to integrate the prepersonal, personal, and transpersonal dimensions of life, both individually and collectively, in order to heal, balance, and transform personal and societal scripting. An integral approach to life is multi-perspectival and respectful of both imaginary and “real” others.
IDL is also integral in that it is multi-perspectival, as demonstrated by the interviewing of multiple perspectives, by the ten different modalities or competencies of which it is comprised, and by its application of aspects of Ken Wilber’s Integral worldview, particularly his holonic approach based on a four-quadrant understanding of “things” as holons.
Integral Life Practice
This is terminology taken from Ken Wilber’s Integral framework. An integral life practice, or ILP, may be physical, emotional, mental, shadow work, or interpersonal. Each is a clearly structured approach to healing, balancing, or transformation. The difference between integral ILPs and IDL is that the former are typically chosen by you, as developmental goals to work toward. In IDL you learn to set life priorities in conjunction with the recommendations of interviewed emerging potentials that point you toward the priorities of your life compass. This is an important distinction, because it is common to look back at our lives and realize that goals we set, the decisions that we made, and the relationships that we formed with the best of intentions, turned out to be detours or dead ends. This is much less likely to occur when we align our priorities for our integral life practices with those of our own unique life compass.
An “Integral Salon” is an introduction to Integral Deep Listening that is held either in-person or in video chat format by students of IDL. Integral Salons generally include sharing by students, an exploration of some aspect of Integral Deep Listening, and a group interview.
You will find that interviewed emerging potentials repeat and emphasize underlying themes, priorities, and recommendations. One of these is to “wake up.” What you wake up to are the priorities of your own unique life compass. It is less a “thing,” like a soul, conscience, or even intuition, than a set of priorities or an orientation point, like the North Star, by which to navigate your life. The more that you access your life compass the more grounded and confident you will feel about yourself and your life, independent of your feelings, beliefs, or scripting. Your own personal goals and priorities will come to reflect those of your life compass.
When you are able to become, identify with, and empathize with many different viewpoints, as you do when you interview dream characters and the personifications of life issues important to you, you are developing a multi-perspectival identity that is not only empathetic, but flexible and highly adaptable. You are less likely to be caught up in your own subjectivity, scripting, drama, and cognitive distortions. You will set clearer, more useful and attainable goals, become more assertive and be better at solving the problems that come your way. You will be more open-minded and less judgmental, more grounded, creative, and in touch with the innate potentials of your own unique life compass.
This mouthful refers to the status of interviewed characters and elements. We normally divide experience into real and imaginary. Following Freud, Jung, and Moreno, it is common to view interviewed perspectives as “roles,” “self-aspects,” “parts,” symbols from our personal unconscious, archetypes from our collective unconscious, or “sub-personalities.” When we do so we are making an ontological determination. That is, we are saying what is real and what is not real, what is objective and what is subjective. We are saying that interviewed characters and elements are subjective and unreal. IDL does not make this assumption. Instead, it assumes that interviewed characters and elements exist somewhere on a continuum between total subjectivity, on the one hand, and total objectivity, as in a shamanic or Daemonic visitation. It assumes no interviewed character is completely one or the other but instead is interdependent, always partaking of some degree of both radical autonomy and subjectivity. That is, it is ontologically indeterminant.
A “perspective” is a viewpoint or way of looking at life. IDL often refers to interviewed dream characters or the personifications of life issues as “perspectives” or “emerging potentials.” This emphasizes what they do or the functions that they serve rather than what they are. It is a way of learning to look at life as changing processes rather than as stable, static things, as verbs rather than as nouns.
To view something as a perspective also emphasizes the reality of its own legitimate interests, priorities, purposes, functions, opinions, interpretations, assumptions, expectations, and beliefs, and that from its standpoint those may be as legitimate and relevant as our own. By learning about and taking into consideration alternative perspectives we expand and dilute our own. Our attachment to our own perspective is reduced while our understanding of why we do what we do, believe what we believe, and think we are who we are, is both clarified and reconsidered.
A perspective is not a symbol, like a dream symbol. That is, a perspective doesn’t stand for something else. It exists on its own, as itself. It is not a referent or inherently a part of some other identity, like your unconscious mind. It possesses what Buddhism calls bhava, or “own beingness.” When you do an interview and allow yourself to fully take the perspective of this or that element, regardless of what it is, you can feel the authenticity and autonomy of these perspectives.
IDL is a phenomenological approach to healing, balancing, and transformation. It attempts to surface and then “table” relevant assumptions during the interviewing process. For example, the reality status of an interviewed character is tabled. We don’t question whether an interviewed dream octopus is real or imaginary. Instead we practice listening to its perspective in a deep and integral way. That means we suspend our assumptions not only about its reality but its meaning and value. We can make those assumptions later, after the interview. But during the interview itself, IDL practices a phenomenological approach, because to do so demonstrates to the interviewed character the degree of respect that we want others to show toward ourselves.
Integral Deep Listening uses breath as a balancing and centering tool that functions on its own and also as a form of meditation. IDL Pranayama observes that there are six stages to every breath: abdominal and chest inhalation, the short pause after inhalation, chest and abdominal exhalation, and the longer pause after exhalation. Sensory observation of these six stages is the first of seven “octaves” of IDL Pranayama. The second is observation of fundamental life processes associated with each of these six stages of every breath. These are awakening, aliveness, balance, detachment, freedom, and clarity. The third is observation of observance of abundance and gratitude: “I am supported by my body and mind, others, life; I give thanks for my body and mind, others, life,” The fourth involves six core qualities: confidence, empathy, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing. The fifth addresses six forms of transformative affect: abundance, gratitude, joy, cosmic humor, polycentrism, and luminosity. The six is neti-neti, a Sanskrit term meaning “not this, not that;” “I am not my body, feelings, thoughts, intentions, sense of self, absence of my sense of self.” The seventh and final is oneness with life: “As life I awaken, grow, fulfill myself in you; As life I welcome you into me, embrace you, fulfill yourself in me.” These seven cycles can be covered in as little as seven breaths and used in any life situation or state.
In a Ptolemaic, geocentric universe, the sun, planets, and stars revolve around the earth. In psychological geocentrism, we are the center of our experience; reality revolves around who we think we are. This is often referred to as “egotism” or “narcissism,” but IDL sees those as hierarchical discounting judgments. In contrast, viewing our normal worldview and identity, whether awake or asleep, as orbiting around our sense of self, values this viewpoint as intrinsic to the natural order, to be valued in its own right rather than as something to be outgrown.
In a Copernican, sun-centered universe, the earth and planets revolve around the sun. In psychological heliocentrism, our identity, meaning, and life revolve around deity, divinity, consciousness, spirituality, the One, the ALL. Our self becomes merged with this sacred ALL as a non-dual, transcending Self. This is the common viewpoint of self-development, transpersonal approaches, and self-actualization. The problem with it is that when we have a mystical experience and become with Goodness, Truth, and Inner Peace, the experience is one of transcending all perspectives. We know what is Good, True, and Harmonious not only for ourselves but for everyone, since we have become one with ALL. This very real and authentic experience very easily leads to grandiosity and ego inflation that causes us to discount the perspectives of others. Instead of practicing listening in a deep and integral way we can easily practice preaching in an inspirational but self-validating way.
In the Einsteinian or cosmological universe, there is no center. Every point is the center of all time and space. In a polycentric identity, no self or Self is the center of existence. Instead, whatever perspective one takes and embodies is real and authentic on its own terms, in its own way. In that context, it has purpose and function as an emerging potential we can grow into or ignore. IDL interviewing thins our identification with any and all selves by practicing the development of a polycentric experience of life. As our definitions of ourselves become less rigid and filtering of experience, creativity and problem solving increase. Healing, balancing, and transformation are supported.
“Sangha” is a word from the Buddhist tradition meaning “spiritual community.” The concept of a community of those seeking awakening is important, not only because it indicates mutual support along our journey but also an awareness that as we help others to heal, balance, and transform we are at the same time helping to awaken those aspects of ourselves that they represent.
Integral Deep Listening recognizes an objective, social sangha, comprised of fellow students of IDL and also an interior, “intrasocial” sangha, composed of those dream characters and personifications of our life issues that we interview. Because others represent aspects of ourselves, when we interview others we are also healing, balancing, and transforming ourselves, represented both by their waking personality and the various perspectives that we interview.
Everyone and everything is potentially a sangha member. They become members of our spiritual community when we practice listening to it in a deep and integral way, which is respectful, reciprocating, trustworthy, and empathetic.
”Sociometry” refers to “the measurement of groups.” The term was coined and the accompanying methodology developed by Psychiatrist J.L. Moreno in the 1920’s. In sociometry, group members, such as students in a class, are asked who they would most/least like to study with. These preferences are collected in a table called a “sociomatrix” and the group relationships revealed by those choices can be depicted in a “sociogram.” These relationships depict which group members are the most preferred “stars,” group members who are most rejected, who is isolated, and any mutual choices, forming “cliques.” This information can be used to reorganize the group for greater integration and higher level functioning.
IDL teaches the naming of thoughts, feelings, and experiences as a way to objectify the contents of our mind, whatever they may be. The purpose for this practice is twofold. First, as long as we are unaware of the contents of our awareness our thoughts think us and our feelings define us. As soon as we name what is going on in our awareness those contents are objectified, that is, made objects of our awareness. When naming occurs, thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which are normally chained together in a “train of thought,” become “uncoupled,” and spaces begin to appear between them. These spaces, in which there is no content of awareness but rather degrees of relatively clear awareness, are experiences of meditative objectivity. In time these expand until that meditative awareness becomes the “figure” in our ongoing awareness rather than its subjective ground.
While “prepersonal” refers to the physical and emotional centered sense of ourselves which forms our core identity, beliefs, and worldview, and which is normal in childhood but which stays with us all our lives, “personal” refers to a family or group-centered sense of ourselves that learns to ask questions, reason, and extend to others the same benefits and opportunities that we wish for ourselves and our children. “Transpersonal” refers to a sense of self that changes with the perspectives that we take. Instead of there being a monolithic self or Self, a transpersonal identity is highly empathetic, in that it can incorporate and identify with a wide variety of other perspectives, even those which are foreign, feared, or imaginary.