What is Integral Deep Listening?

What are the principles of IDL?  Here are several interviews with Joseph Dillard that explain what Integral Deep Listening is and why it is effective in so many different life applications.

founder of this remarkable discipline of transformation and insight, explains. While teaching and talking in Germany, Dr. Dillard did this interview with Micky Reman of Salve TV, Weimar.

Integral Deep Listening is referred to as “Dream Yoga” in this interview.

For a radio interview with Dr. Dillard describing Integral Deep Listening, clickhere.

Three Ways IDL Will Create Magic in Your Life

From the text, Integral Deep Listening

Would you like to have more magic in your life?  There are special times in our lives that feel miraculous or magical.  The word “serendipity” has been used to describe those times when events evolve in ways that feel amazing and beyond coincidence.  Carl Jung coined the term, “synchronicity” to describe events that are not connected in any rational or causal way but which are extremely unlikely to have happened by chance.  The old Christian word for this is “grace,” as opposed to the classical Hindu and Buddhist concept of karma.  Grace implies a divine intervention, an outpouring of spirit in a way that brings peace, love, acceptance, or some other virtue.  Whatever you want to call it, however you describe it, we all know the feeling.  Things come together in a way that is amazing, special, and transformative.  All of us want more of those experiences.  What do we need to do to have them?

What does such magic look like?  Perhaps you have received unexpected money at a time and in an amount that were exactly what was required.  Perhaps you have stumbled across words in a book or overheard a conversation that provided you with exactly the piece of the puzzle you were missing.  Perhaps you were traveling overseas and ran into someone you haven’t seen for years but you were only thinking about last night.

My own life has been full of such events.  When I was eighteen I was in a small group discussion following a lecture at a conference.  I leaned my lower back against a chair behind me and continued to listen and ask questions for some minutes.  Afterward a handsome, prematurely greying man came up to me, introduced himself, and said, “Half way through the discussion you pushed back in your chair and bumped up against my knee.  I began having thoughts and feelings that I feel I should share with you.”  This guy definitely had my attention.  He said, “You are on a road that involves a choice of direction for this coming fall.  If you choose one way, it will add four years to the amount of time that it will take you to start your career.  Your dreams have been trying to tell you, but you have been shutting them out.”  This immediately made complete sense to me.  My freshman year of college was spent at a small midwestern liberal arts college.  I was getting a good education but I didn’t feel like I had a spiritual family, and I wanted one.  So I had applied to a Texas Bible college that I had learned about on the radio, thinking that joining a community of true believers would be more inspirational than staying with a bunch of humanists.  At that point I did not know the difference between prepersonal, faith-based approaches to spirituality and transpersonal approaches, although my background was with the holism of the Edgar Cayce readings, which were decidedly not a fundamentalist approach to spirituality.  I also knew that if I went to that college that they would have me start over as a freshman so that they could properly educate (read “brainwash”) me.  I also knew immediately that I had been shutting out my dreams because I had made up my mind and didn’t want to hear any dissenting opinions, either from outside or from within myself.  To realize this was very embarrassing to me, because I had already been a student of my dreams for seven years.

Was this serendipity, synchronicity, grace, transpersonal trans-rational experience, or what?  In this case, it apparently came to me not because I was open, but because my waking intention was aligned with a strong inner priority that wanted to be born.  At the same time I was blocked to seeing how I was making a poor choice for myself.  What was it about myself and about the world that allowed things to align in such a way that I was given what I needed?  At that moment I knew I did not want to go to that college, and my life took an entirely different turn.  Instead of getting immersed in a world of literal interpretations of Biblical prophecies, I dove into philosophy, psychology of religion, and comparative religion, particularly the Madhyamika of the great Mahayana Buddhist philosopher and mystic, Nagarjuna.  It changed my life.

When such events happen in your life, it is difficult and precarious to tie them to a particular cause.  If reducing internal conflict increases the likelihood that good things will happen in your life, then increasing internal cooperation should make such events even more likely.   This is how IDL makes magic more likely in your life. When you interview your self-aspects you are not simply eliminating a negative; you are eliminating a negative and introducing a powerful, ongoing positive element that wasn’t there before.


Such experiences are trans-rational, in that they transcend and include both the pre-rational (faith-based) or irrational, and the rational.  They have a sense of wisdom and intentionality that pre-rational and irrational experiences do not have, yet they do not follow rational laws of causation.  Such trans-rational experiences provide for a realignment of the four quadrants of consciousness, values, actions, and interactions to produce a higher order tetra-mesh.  This is a reference to Wilber’s integral AQAL model.  When these integrate at a higher order, magic happens.  IDL refers to this magic as healing, balancing, and transformation.

When you create internal integration you invite higher order external, real world integration.  You are practicing what is known as autopoeisis, or self-creation, which is normally blocked by waking autocracy; doing things your way, no matter what inner promptings may arise.  When we become totalitarians to ourselves, as we generally are, we block autopoesis and magic.  When we practice consensual internal governance, we invite healing, balancing, and transformation.


Your Dreams Will Stop Reinforcing Drama and Begin Supporting Transformation


Drama and inner peace are mutually exclusive.  If you want more of one you have to reduce the other.  Your dreams normally create more drama in your life.  This is because the way you normally perceive your dreams while you are dreaming cause them to be regressive delusions.  Your first delusion is that you believe you are awake when you are dreaming. The second delusion is that you believe what you see is objective when it is subjectively created.  The third delusion is that you have no choice but to be stuck in drama while you are dreaming.  These delusions destroy your health and cut off your contact with spirit.  They destroy your physical health because your body does not differentiate between real and imagined stressors, as an old Hindu story exemplifies.  You see a snake in your path.  You jump back.  Your heart races.  Your pupils dilate.  Blood moves from your internal organs to your muscles to prepare you to fight or flee.  All this is propelled by powerful hormones such as adrenaline and norepinephrine which are released in a cascade into your bloodstream.  You look closely at the snake.  It doesn’t move.  You carefully approach until you can see that it isn’t a snake at all, but a rope.  What have you done?  You have activated the sympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system and created needless physiological stress for nothing.  Do this frequently enough and you will become a hypervigilant and anxious person who takes that hypervigilance into their dreams, where it is reinforced. The problem then is compounded, because in dreams you cannot work stress hormones out of your muscles and organs by running or fighting.  They simply sit there like battery acid, eating through your weakest systems first.  For one person that may be the cardio-vascular; for another the immune; for a third, the digestive.  Other people may have a genetic tendency toward alcoholism or depression pushed into full-blown waking expression.  This is how your misperceptions during your dreams destroy your physical and mental health while undoing whatever rehabilitation efforts you may make during your waking life.  They cut off your contact with spirit because drama is the antithesis of the six core qualities of confidence (fearlessness), compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing.  These qualities are the fuel for waking up, for generating enlightenment in your life.

In this way your dreams incubate your waking life.  If you are in drama for some two to two and a half hours every night for some eight years of your life, how likely is it that some of that drama bleeds into your waking life?  If you have been anxious all night in your dreams are you going to wake up more relaxed or more anxious?  If you have felt helpless, hopeless, and out of control in your dreams, are you more likely to wake up feeling depressed or confident and energetic?  You will take your waking moods, thoughts, and perspectives into your dreams tonight.  They will condition how you perceive your dream experiences, which will in turn either limit or support your development.  Which will it be?

There are specific things that you can do today that will tip the scales toward dreams that do not contribute to the toxic drama in your life.  You can learn to stay out of drama in your waking life.  IDL can teach you how to do that.  In addition, before you go to sleep you can visualize who and how you want to be tomorrow.  You can visualize yourself successfully accomplishing your life goals.  You can go over in your mind the many things you have to be thankful for.   All of these actions are considerably more important than making up your mind that you are going to wake up in your dreams.  That will happen soon enough as you move out of drama.  But if you are immersed in drama and become lucid, you will simply colonize your dream state with your current stage of waking dysfunction.  Instead of it helping you to grow, you will simply further infest it with your stuckness.  Is that wise?


Your Interviews Will Generate Life-Transforming Perspectives


When you interview your self-aspects, whether they are personifications of your waking life issues or dream characters, you create magic in your life by identifying with magical perspectives.  They are magical because the IDL interviewing process transforms these perspectives into the antithesis of delusion and drama.   Consequently, you are practicing becoming perspectives that are relatively enlightened.  An easy way to test this theory is to write down your life dream.  Who do you you want to be?  What would your dream life be?  Where would you live?  What would you do?  How would you live?  How would you feel?  How would you spend your time?  Take a moment to write out your life dream as if you were living it today.

When you have done so, imagine that you not only have not attained any of your hopes and dreams but your worst fears have come true.  Write out that scenario!  How does that feel?  What color or colors would those feelings have?  Fill the room in front of you with that color or colors.  Watch them swirl, congeal, and condense into some shape or form.  Is it an animal?  An object?  A person?  What?  Now imagine that you are that object and ask it the following questions.  There are no right answers.  The only way you can mess up the process is by getting in the way!  Get out of your own way now and let the character answer the following questions!

(Character,) would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?



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



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



(Character), you are in this person’s life experience, correct?  They created you, right?_____  (Character), what aspect of this person do you represent or most closely personify?



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



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

(Character), how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities:  confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?






Inner Peace:


(Character,) if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?



How would ______’s life be different if he/she naturally scored high in all six of these qualities all the time?



If you could live ______’s life for him/her, how would you live it differently?



If you could live this person’s waking life for him/her today, would you handle his/her three life issues differently?  If so, how?





What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of his/her life?





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




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



What have you heard yourself say?  Write a summary of what you have said to yourself….

Notice what you have done.  You have moved out of the drama of your worst fears into a perspective that is healing, balancing, and transformative.  This is an authentic perspective, because it was generated by you, as an antidote to your toxic drama.  You can choose to dismiss it as wishful thinking or another self-created delusion if you wish, but then you will be discounting your own inner potential.  Why would you want to do that?  You will snap back into your normal waking perspective and forget about it soon enough.  Do you want the magic to last?  To change a magical state into a higher, stable life stage you have to apply the recommendations that you have heard in your waking life.


Your Application of Self-Aspect Recommendations Will Speed Up Your Evolution

You are encouraged to follow the reasonable recommendations of your self-aspects because they produce such magic in your life.   When you act on the recommendations of one or more self-aspect that you interview you are demonstrating that you respect and trust yourself. The more you respect and trust yourself the more you get out of your own way.  The more that you are out of your own way the more likely you are to be in the right place at the right time to say and do and think those things that will awaken patterns of wholeness within yourself and others, particularly in regard to the life issue that you are focused on.  This allows magic to happen in your life.

Such application demonstrates trust and respect for yourself.  It indicates that you take your relationship with your potentials seriously.  You are past the spiritual window-shopping stage of your development. You want results.  To get them, you have to commit yourself to an ongoing relationship with yourself.  This is demonstrated not only by your willingness to practice deep listening regularly, but by applying those recommendations that you find practical, useful, and in congruence with others who are familiar both with you and Integral Deep Listening.  If you simply interview and do not apply the results you will eventually develop psychic indigestion and be unable to continue to interview.  The spiritual springs within you will dry up because you are not taking them seriously.  If you attempt to follow a recommendation and run into trouble, go back to the character you interviewed and ask why and what to do about it.  Backing off your application will slow down your awakening because you will simply be experiencing transformational states, one after the other, but not turning them into a stable higher stage of development.

Buddha said not to believe what he said.  Similarly, there is nothing here that you have to take on faith.  There is nothing here that you cannot test for yourself in your own life.  If you want more magic and good luck in your life, practice dream incubation, do interviews, and follow the recommendations you receive.

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