How can we help our powerful spiritual transformations alive in our lives today? How do we cut through the whirl of mental and emotional confusion that keeps us from inner peace?  How can we best understand chronic pain? Why do we sometimes find ourselves inexplicably angry at others or life for no reason? What is the nature of the traumatic dissociation from our spiritual selves that we all experience, to one degree or another, as children?

One of our NDE research subjects, Cheryl, chose to continue to work with IDL dream yoga interviewing after her NDE research interview.

Cheryl’s courage shows us how we too can blow on the embers of our inner fire, reigniting them to fill our lives with meaning and joyful service. In this fascinating interview we find that the first challenge is to wake up to the fact that drama is not our friend. We are so addicted to our normal stream of mental and emotional trauma that it has become comfortable and familiar, even as it slowly kills us.  Once we have learned to listen to drama and distinguish it from the light we seek we can work our way back to the core of ourselves.  This is the hero’s journey. It is a process, often sparked by a glimpse of what awaits us, as NDEs provide.

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

1 My actual birth and how that is today. I get anxious whenever I have things to do. It’s hard for me to get started. I always do. It feels like I can’t go out the birth canal – it’s the same in my everyday life. I do, but there’s the anxiousness at the onset.

2  The right side of my body will have pain in specific places but it will move around from place to place. Where my back and my bottom meet, my calf, and a place at the base of my skull on the right side. I can get red spots above my brows.

3  It feels like “anxious anger.” The word “bitter” comes. It just doesn’t apply to my here and now, yet I’ll feel angry or bitter.  But it’s not related in the now.

What would you like to deeply listen to? One of these life issues? An aspect of your  two NDEs? A dream?

“…last night the most brutal night I’ve ever had.  I had sat down & cried for a long time before bedtime. Crying is very unusual for me and welcome. I have been feeling sad on and off for a month or so. All the crying/pain release last night was from, first, my mother tries to kill me twice, succeeds once and now she is feeding me. At the time I feel like I just stayed disassociated.

My husband was a blessing & was there for me. Then we went to sleep. After perhaps an hour I awoke & the rest of the night was BRUTAL. The most pronounced was the pain in my head. At my temples it was  SEVERE; (it) felt like a vice grip clamped down as hard as it would go. The pain was so great it was unbearable. This went on most of the night. I had been breathing into it and then I woke my husband and got dramatic, which I realized, then he reminded me again to breathe into it. This took me into a many hour journey. For awhile (it) felt like a literal birth that didn’t finish. Then it was more birth, death, I saw many skeletons… Never felt like I got to the rebirth.”

Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?

Pressure:

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?

It’s black.

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 a funnel shape

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Funnel, Vortex, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I am outside of Cheryl, I surround her. I am smaller at the bottom, spinning clockwise very quickly. I almost don’t know I’m spinning. I want to go the other way. I feel that I’m out of balance.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I like that I CAN spin. I know stuff – not the intellect, but knowing. I know what not to do!

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

That I only spin clockwise. I feel stuck. That I only go in one direction is a weakness.

Vortex, you are in Cheryl’s life experience, correct?  She created you, right? What aspect of Cheryl do you represent or most closely personify?

Her personality. She is afraid to trust God and live beyond the humanly way.

Vortex, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I want to change! It’s bizarre – I think I want to change but do I really want to change? I’ll change into the universe! I’m gigantic; I’m observing everything. I’m moving on an axis, slowly – it still feels I’m moving clockwise. It feels natural this time instead of feeling like I’m supposed to go the other way.  What’s difference is that there is nature’s way. How anything operates.

Try going counterclockwise for a moment and tell me what that is like for you, Universe…

Very difficult! Sluggish!  Why am I going this way?  It’s the wrong way.

Now go back to being the Vortex…

I’m not spinning any more. I feel planted in the ground. I can sway. It is a relief not to spin! It was so taxing to spin all the time!

Vortex, try spinning and then stopping and changing speeds. What’s that like for you?

It feels foreign and jerky!  On off On off… I would like to be open…

Be open Vortex and tell me what that’s like for you…

It’s like Nirvana!  It feels very good. No restrictions. Go with the flow. Go with nature…I’m purple, then white! My preference would be to be at peace. I wouldn’t be spinning. I would be going with the flow.  I don’t know how to do do that.  I feel resistance, afraid…

Ball, have you been listening to what Vortex has been saying?

Yes.

What is that resistance and fear about, Ball?

I’m laughing! Not at Cheryl!  It’s all a hoax!

What would you do if you were this vortex, Ball?

Get a grip! Stay one with God!  I’m one with God!  There isn’t any difference between me and God!  If the vortex was like me it would live from spiritual love.  It would be green!  It would be floating! Like an energy wave…

Vortex, I would like you to imagine that you are a green energy wave and tell me what that’s like…

Much better! That’s the truth of me, the seed of me, not the everyday basis personality self. But I easily forget about the energy wave. I’m in the ball. It feels new, promising.  I feel reluctance…I can’t get out of here…

So Vortex, since you are imaginary, imagine you are out of the Ball. What’s that like?

It’s strange.  I want to be in it, then I feel stuck and want to be out of it! Then when I am out of it I’m not content either!  I feel damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

Vortex, what if you allow yourself to be in the Ball when you want and out of it when you want to?

That would be lonely…It would be good to be in the Ball. But having the ability to be in or out of it feels scrambled, like I’m beating around the bush, like I’m keeping everything at bay.

Ball, what do you think of what Vortex just said?

Cheryl not intentionally keeps her life at bay. She came back to life but she left her spirit behind because she didn’t want it to be harmed.  It’s weird for her to live her day to day life without her spirit. She does the best that she can but there’s really something missing.

I have a question for Cheryl’s spirit. Can you be harmed, spirit?

No. There’s no way to destroy me. I’m energy that can’t die.

What do you think of Cheryl’s fear that you will get hurt that causes her to leave you behind, Spirit?

That it is unnecessary and backwards! She thinks she needs to protect me but I actually protect her!  With guidance! If she saw things as I do she would follow spiritual guidance, she wouldn’t have to be in charge, we would have more fun, she would face life in a much lighter way.

What do you think of this Vortex, spirit?

It’s a scrambler! I would eliminate it!

Vortex, what do you think of what Spirit just said?

I’m not of use to Cheryl.  It’s like scrambling a computer. She can’t live her thing, do her thing. If she does, she’s not very present. Without me, the Vortex, the scrambler, things will be straight forward. She won’t have all this push-pull.

What do you think of this green wave, Spirit?

It’s great!  To live from her heart!  To live from a loving energy, period, without thinking she has to do this or that or orchestrate everything. Much more go with the flow.

What do you think of this Ball, Spirit!

Play with it! Have fun with it! It’s totally hers. She acts like it’s not!

Spirit, do you have any color or shape?

White, like snow, and sparkly.  I’m all around her!

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Vortex, 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’m beautiful, I sparkle! I’m soft, like a nice, warm blanket!

Compassion: 10 Compassion is the best thing I can give. Compassion accepts! There is no judgment.

Wisdom: 10 What I need to know I know! I don’t have to keep figuring things out.

Acceptance: 10 I AM acceptance!

Inner Peace: 10 There’s nothing to get upset and disturbed about.

Witnessing: 10 That’s really all I do, observe.

How would Cheryl’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

Not much different than it is!

If you could live Cheryl’s life for her, how would you live it differently?

I would stop thinking that I am not there, not tens in all six of those qualities. She would experience herself as spirit, ten in all six of these qualities, that she hasn’t left me behind. She’s only thought she left me behind!

If you could liveCheryl’s waking life for her today, would you handle Cheryl’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

1 My actual birth and how that is today. I get anxious whenever I have things to do. It’s hard for me to get started. I always do. It feels like I can’t go out the birth canal – it’s the same in my everyday life. I do, but there’s the anxiousness at the onset.

Know that it’s safe for her to live her life, no matter what that is.

Why should she trust you, spirit?

Because I know!

2  The right side of my body will have pain in specific places but it will move around from place to place. Where my back and my bottom meet, my calf, and a place at the base of my skull on the right side. I can get red spots above my brows.

Let the pain go!

How would she do that?

Visualize it dissolved.

How would that make a difference?

Her body wouldn’t hurt. Now she gets too involved with the pain.  Pain will come when she’s ignoring me.

Why?

To get her to pay attention to me!  To take a break and be still and meditative!

 

3  It feels like “anxious anger.” The word “bitter” comes. It just doesn’t apply to my here and now, yet I’ll feel angry or bitter.  But it’s not related in the now.

Let that go too! She is already safe. She doesn’t need anger to back people away.

What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Cheryl’slife?

1. I’d play more, especially in the water! She lives in the water and she could do that any time! I would have more fun and stop being so serious all the time!

2. I would do LOTS of artwork!  Do it for the sake of doing art, not be serious about it.

3. Creating!

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Cheryl to imagine that she is you and act as you would?

In particular, when getting in motion, initiating, starting whatever she is about  to do. She won’t be afraid because I don’t have fear!  She will engage with herself and others without any fear!  There won’t be that anxiety when it’s time to engage! It would be nice! There wouldn’t be any resistance! She would go forth with what she wants!

Why do you think that you are in Cheryl’s life?

I would love Cheryl to allow me to be in control! She should trust me! She is working herself to the bone when I’m already there!

How is Cheryl most likely to ignore what you are saying to her?

She keeps studying and reading about me and ignores that I’m already here!

What would you recommend that she do about that?

She can study and read but she really needs to play and have fun!

Cheryl, what have you heard yourself say?

Spirit is already here! I feel really delighted! I don’t have to work so hard!  I get to play and have fun and do art and be free of taking life so seriously and working hard like I do 98% of the time!

If this experience were a wake-up call from the most central part of yourself, what do you think it would be saying to you?

LIVE!

Is there anything you want to take away from this interview to apply in your everyday life, between now and the next time we talk?

Remembering that I’m here to live, not figuring it out!  I can make little posters and put them around to remind me that I’m already living!

 

Notice that Cheryl’s physical pressure personified as the vortex we first interviewed. She is enveloped in an energy field that says it is out of balance because it can only spin in one direction. It personifies her personality and in particular her fear to trust. IDL dream yoga interviewing addresses this issue by building trust in one’s own inner compass. All of us are in touch with our inner compass but its guidance must compete with the guidance of many relatively exterior compasses: the voices inside our head of our parents, relatives, and teachers, those of our current family members, our society, and by various experts. What a vortex! IDL puts a priority on strengthening your contact with your own inner compass in the belief that doing so gives you a way to determine what is useful and what is not in all the other competing and conflicting messages that come from within and without.

While the vortex does not like or trust the direction that it is going, when it changes into the universe, from that perspective the direction it is moving in is “nature’s way,” how everything operates. She is being told that she can trust the direction, if not the speed, of the spinning of her vortex. It feels more grounded and a relief not to spin at all. It is peaceful, going with the flow.

The shift to the Ball was to view this experience from the perspective of the peace and bliss of her infant NDEs. Would it confirm what the Universe said? What comes up is surprising.  The ambivalence of the vortex and Cheryl’s mind is gone and the fear of doing the wrong thing or being wrong is gone.  Instead there is a perspective that is reminiscent of the Hindu concept of Lila: divine play.  The ball is laughing and sees it all as a hoax.  What keeps us in pain is a series of self-generated delusions.

What would you do if you were this vortex, Ball?

Get a grip! Stay one with God!  I’m one with God!  There isn’t any difference between me and God!  If the vortex was like me it would live from spiritual love.  It would be green!  It would be floating! Like an energy wave…

The ball would turn the vortex into a green floating energy wave, which personifies the core truth of who Cheryl is rather than her personality.

Much better! That’s the truth of me, the seed of me, not the everyday basis personality self. But I easily forget about the energy wave. I’m in the ball. It feels new, promising.  I feel reluctance…I can’t get out of here…

Our addiction to our habitual fears and waking perspective are so strong that we quickly kick ourselves out of heaven and back into purgatory at best, hell at worst:

It’s strange.  I want to be in it, then I feel stuck and want to be out of it! Then when I am out of it I’m not content either!  I feel damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

The Vortex is given the option of not being in the Ball, since it feels stuck inside it. However, the problem is not lack of freedom; it is a restless lack of trust in whatever state one is in.  Again, this returns us to the issue of finding one’s inner compass and trusting it as the arbiter of all offered choices.

Ball, what do you think of what Vortex just said?

Cheryl not intentionally keeps her life at bay. She came back to life but she left her spirit behind because she didn’t want it to be harmed.  It’s weird for her to live her day to day life without her spirit. She does the best that she can but there’s really something missing.

Here we have a very interesting insight into the genesis of our addiction to our own particular version of Cheryl’s vortex. The only tool a child often has available to them to cope with abuse is dissociation.  It provides a measure of protection at the expense of splitting identity. Personality deals with the world but access to spirit becomes inherently problematic. If dissociation becomes severe, personality itself fragments, compounding the problem. The decision to leave spirit behind, dissociated, in order to keep it from being harmed is both appropriate and realistic for a child. It represents a core script decision that all of us make to one degree or another in order to give the adult world what it mostly wants: our obedience, not our spirit.

However, this early script decision is based on the realities of childhood and need to be revisited from the perspective of years of subsequent development:

I have a question for Cheryl’s spirit. Can you be harmed, spirit?

No. There’s no way to destroy me. I’m energy that can’t die.

What do you think of Cheryl’s fear that you will get hurt that causes her to leave you behind, Spirit?

That it is unnecessary and backwards! She thinks she needs to protect me but I actually protect her!  With guidance! If she saw things as I do she would follow spiritual guidance, she wouldn’t have to be in charge, we would have more fun, she would face life in a much lighter way.

Cheryl’s basic life premise that she cannot be whole because she must protect the core of herself from harm is being refuted. Will she listen? To the extent that this is our basic life premise, that in order to succeed and survive in the world we must repress, ignore, and protect our spirit, are we listening?

Spirit would eliminate the vortex. To the extent that this is her personality, this is not realistic. Personality is a tool, to be made transparent and a vehicle for spirit; eliminating it is to negate all the work we have done to build life skills, to be in conflict with ourselves again. But to the extent that the vortex is the excruciatingly painful pressure, it serves as a wakeup call that can be eliminated – to the extent that it is listened to.

The remainder of the interview personifies the green wave and spirit in forms that Cheryl can visualize and experience more concretely.

She would experience herself as spirit, ten in all six of these qualities, that she hasn’t left me behind. She’s only thought she left me behind!

Cheryl is told to know that it is safe for her to live her life as spirit, to let her pain go by visualizing it dissolved. She is given more information about the etiology of her pain:

Pain will come when she’s ignoring me.

Why?

To get her to pay attention to me!

Cheryl learns that her anxious anger and bitterness is a tool that she learned long ago to back people away, a tool that she no longer needs. She is giving herself permission to let it go. Spirit recommends that she play, especially in the water, to be creative and to particularly remember to become it when she is initiating soem activity or contact with others.

The core principle of IDL dream yoga, that we heal, balance, and transform our lives when we listen to and trust our inner compass, is not an abstract theory. It comes from countless interviews. In this case, it comes from Cheryl’s spirit:

Why do you think that you are in Cheryl’s life?

I would love Cheryl to allow me to be in control! She should trust me! She is working herself to the bone when I’m already there!

How is Cheryl most likely to ignore what you are saying to her?

She keeps studying and reading about me and ignores that I’m already here!

 

This is the case for most of us. We do many things to find or discover spirit instead of listening to what is so close and so real that we overlook it.  It is like exploring the world for treasure when we have a diamond mine in our back yard!

Cheryl gets the message:

Spirit is already here! I feel really delighted! I don’t have to work so hard!  I get to play and have fun and do art and be free of taking life so seriously and working hard like I do 98% of the time!

The issue is whether she will remember it. And that is the purpose of learning to use IDL interviewing, or something like it, on a regular basis. We forget. We fall back into being the vortex. We can slowly break that addiction, but to do so we need to experience spirit as alive and relating to who we are today in practical ways, that address our particular problems in a way abstract spiritual principles or past spiritual experiences do not.