How does Integral Deep Listening address chronic depression? While the lady interviewed here suffers from panic attacks, she has had an underlying depression for most of her life. Chronic problems have their own homeostasis, which means that they resist change. You can see the resistance in a number of forms in the interview: difficulty staying in role, a shallowness of character identification, a lack of many concrete recommendations, and an inability to remember many aspects of the interview. Notice also that although the transformed self-aspect, Balloon, is far from scoring high on all six core qualities, and therefore is experienced as a more attainable transitional state of health by the client, it is still experienced by her as unattainable as an accessible state of mind.
How to overcome such obstacles? Destructive homeostasis lessens over time with patient, persistent interviewing. Consequently, we have to return again and again to bathe our consciousness in the inner light of awakened emerging potentials. This is because identification is a state awareness that provides temporary healing, balancing and transformation. For an emerging potential to become an attribute of an authentic higher stage of development, bringing a higher level of lasting healing, balance, and transformation to our lives, we have to internalize or model the model. This takes practice. We have to practice remembering the perspectives that are intrinsic to our inner compass. We have to practice accessing our non-integrated potentials.
This was Uma’s third interview. Although her answers were slow, she was more in role and was able to access more practical information than before, indicating how identification with transformative self-aspects is a skill that is learned through repetition.
What physical pain are you dealing with now in your life?
My physical pain is closely connected to an emotional pain. The physical pain is frightening, tight now. It is the fear, “Will I make it or not?” “Will I be able to calm myself down and get back in balance?” Often I feel like my love is going out in vain, into a void of nothingness.
Could you describe the physical pain?
It is as if something is blocking my ability to breathe. I feel squeezed in. This pressure goes hand in hand with wanting to free myself, to get rid of something.
We can either interview the blocked feeling or turn it into a color and a shape. Which would you prefer, blocked feeling?
Change it into a shape.
If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?
Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.
Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?
It’s like a scale weight.
Weight, how many kilos are you?
Very heavy. TOO heavy for the body. I weigh too much to have the body be in balance.
Weight would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
My task is to always watch over Uma because she won’t watch over herself. I don’t leave her in peace. She is so small; she is such a light weight. She’ll never be able to balance out. Yes, I look after things. I bring some order into her life. If I’m heavy enough, if I cause her enough pressure, maybe she will learn how to cope herself and handle things herself.
Where are you in relationship to Uma?
I have settled down inside her heart and stomach.
(Client has a chronic heart condition.)
Do you like it down there?
Well, maybe it is not that great in the long run but I happen to be here, so…I haven’t had any resistance from Uma. You would think I would, since I am in the center of things. There’s never been many complaints.
What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
Actually nobody knows that I’m here. That’s what I like. I have great camouflage. I’m invisible! Sometimes I allow Uma to do things that she really likes and enjoys but she is not to allow anyone else to know that. She can only do this enjoyment for herself. She cannot let other people have a share in it.
What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
I don’t think it’s very nice and fair to treat Uma as I do and to keep her so under my control. I can see that Uma would enjoy doing things on her own. I have no compassion. When Uma starts fighting me I don’t let go.
You think that’s a weakness that you don’t let go?
Weight, you are in this person’s life experience, correct? They created you, right?Weight, what aspect of this person do you represent or most closely personify?
I represent a void, a paradox. I’m massive. So that couldn’t be the case!
What part of Uma is massive?
I somehow got stuck in this role of being a massive weight. I have been after her, there so long…
Weight, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I would love to be alive. I would really like to be a part of her. I feel like I am a strange object occupying her inside. I would like to be the part that is creative and capable of painting and expressing herself creatively.
You are in her heart and stomach correct?
If you could change into any shape, what form would you take?
I’d like to be a balloon. I would be very light. I can‘t tell you how great that feels! I am transparent. It’s air inside, air outside of me!
What do you like best about yourself, balloon?
That I am so free, flexible and I have no weight! That I can change my shape. Some people can see me, some cannot. I don’t want to be inside her! I am surrounding her. I am like a coat. I am encompassing her. I can take any shape. I can be very small and right in front of her. I can change!
(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
Balloon, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence: 10 I have so many possibilities for change. It’s a great freedom. I’m not afraid!
Compassion: 10 I’m always there for Uma.
Wisdom: 6 The other qualities are so much more important…
Inner Peace: 6 I easily get irritated. Just looking at people deal with each other, what’s important to them. General values that people are interested in get me confused or irritated.
What business is it of yours?
I can’t give Uma great inner peace because I lack it myself.
Witnessing: 6 I don’t get entangled in many problems, but still, I would only give myself a six.
Balloon if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
I would still be a balloon but…I would have a stronger influence on Uma…I can’t imagine being a ten in all…
How would Uma’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
She would be really cheerful. I would be very happy to be able to give her my scores so she could be cheerful.
If you could live Uma’s life for her, how would you live it differently?
Carried by this balloon feeling I would try to trust my body more, trust myself more, and tell myself that it is not all that terrible.
We’re not interested in hearing from Uma. We can hear from her any time. How would YOU live Uma’s life for her if you were in charge?
I would open my eyes and see what opportunities are there in life, recognize them and go for them. I would definitely get along better with Uma’s grandchildren because I have a far higher self-confidence than she does. I’m not so easily confused by remarks or accusations. Uma just doesn’t want to listen to me.
How do you feel about that, balloon?
There’s not much I can do!
If she doesn’t listen, what will the result be, balloon?
I will keep on talking to her. I will keep trying to be heard. Sometimes my energy shines through and she gets creative and paints. That is ME!
If you could live Uma’s waking life for her today, would you handle Uma’s constriction of breathing differently? If so, how?
I would move, I would soar up, I would ascend…Maybe I am too far away to give her advice on how to deal with such panic. I don’t have that.
I am almost without weight, without substance. There’s nothing that can be constricted. If she were me and lived her life that way she could do what she wants to do.
What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Uma’s life?
You can’t live with that kind of weight. She can follow me. I could talk to this weight. I could tell this weight to leave Uma.
So Balloon, what would you say to this weight?
I would say, “It’s time now to vanish. There are many possibilities of changing and dissolving.” I would have to have moments like this one more often and alive more moments of feeling successful, like now. So there would be many steps to this weight vanishing.
That’s why we interview emerging potentials. Balloon, do you think regular IDL would be good for Uma?
In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Uma to imagine that she is you and act as you would?
When she goes to see her grandchildren. She will be cheerful and feel what she needs. She will emanate this light and joy, not torture herself to go and see them.
Character, do you do drama? If not, why not?
Yes, I do. I feel that I am trying to rescue Uma.
Do you enjoy being in drama?
No. I am inside. I just do it. I don’t think about it. I think she needs rescuing.
Why do you think that you are in Uma’s life?
I am here. I am a part of her. She has to do something with me! I am lightness. I am physical lightness. It’s all connected. It’s also mental flexibility. Not just physical flexibility.
How is this person most likely to ignore what you are saying to them?
She usually pushes me aside and lets herself be imprisoned by her thoughts and by events.
What would you recommend that they do about that?
I will try my best to inspire her to know what to do differently.
Uma, what have you heard yourself say?
It’s up to me. I know what to do. The question is, why do I find it so difficult?
If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?
Maybe that’s my problem, that I can’t really grasp this…I did hear but…Everything is there and you have to see things from a different perspective.
Let’s hear what others have heard…
“The weight says, “I’m much bigger and heavier than you. You can’t outweigh me. I can squeeze you to death. The balloon says everything is very light.”
“I also heard the weight say that because Uma is so light that it has to be there, but that it cannot make up for her lightness. It definitely wanted to change. It was very happy with being a balloon. It was very freeing to be the balloon.”
“The balloon wanted to rescue Uma. It said it wouldn’t go away. It will always be there. I have talked to her so often but I very rarely get heard.”
“The balloon didn’t want to be inside her. It wanted to be outside and could change very easily.”
“Maybe the weight and the balloon appear to be so different but to me they have something in common. They’re opposites.”
“The balloon wants to inspire her to do creative, joyful things.”
“She is to become the balloon when she sees her grandchildren. She will have such self confidence that she will know what their needs are and be able to offer something joyful instead of dragging herself there out of duty. The balloon will not be stopped or irritated by the remarks others make.”
A chronic depression like this one requires daily interviews and many waking returns to recommended roles, such as balloon, until they become habitual life perspectives. This is because during the interview the sun will shine through, as it does in the above example, in the form of inspiration, insight, an uplifted spirit, and solutions that give hope, but the clouds immediately return and obscure that light. Over time, particularly if the lightness of the balloon is taken into sleep, with regular practice, depression often lifts. The problem is that there is rarely the motivation or the life structure available to provide the amount of interviews and support in application that chronically depressed people require.