Copyright (C) 1997 by William Mistele. All rights reserved. 

Below is another piece on dialoguing from The Salamander Itumo

An Exercise in Transpersonal Psychology: Dialoguing

Wisdom, in addition to studying the energies underlying nature, also
studies how these energies are a 
part of ourselves.  For science, this makes no sense.  After all,  the
scientific study of the interconnections between mind and body is still in
its infancy.  Research in the areas of lucid dreaming, the use of imagery
in self-healing, and the relaxation response have run into a great deal of
resistance in the scientific community.  Scientists are uncomfortable with
any ideas which suggest that the quality of the observer's consciousness
influences the investigative process or alters experimental results. 
     By contrast, humanistic and transpersonal psychology take the
approach that the use of imagination heightens awareness and increases
perception.  For example, you learn more about yourself and the world
around you if you sustain your sense of wonder.  Consequently, it is not
necessary to pursue occult techniques or join an esoteric lodge if our
desire is to explore our inner connection to the universe.   By using a
method called dialoguing or "active imagination," we can speak with the
"spirit" of a thunderstorm.  Let us consider this.
    The technique is fairly simple.  Recall or imagine a thunderstorm or
better yet wait until a thunderstorm comes around.  Then observe it
closely.  A friend of mine and his wife sat in their car and watched a
thunderstorm pass by.  Because the electricity often goes off here in
Honolulu when there are storms, you either light candles or sit in the
dark anyway.  But this storm was impressive with lightning flashing
several times a second. 
     Whether by recollection or watching a storm, sense all that you
can--the humidity, the pressure, the temperature, the wind, the direction
and intensity of the rain.  Notice the clouds, their movements and shapes.
Notice the distance, strength, and sound of the lightning.  And if you
have the sensitivity, notice the polar charges building up in the earth,
in the clouds, and in the air. 
    Then, in a very relaxed state, calmly hold before your mind all that
you have observed about the storm.  If you like, you can now take a
further step.  By force of imagination, extend your mind into the clouds.
Imaginatively sense the moisture and the electricity building and
releasing.  Explore with your mind every aspect of lightning as it
     At this point, move back and forth several times in your mind between
what you can observe and the feeling you have of the storm.  That is,
being in the presence of a storm is quite different from being under a
clear sky.  Notice how your awareness is affected.  For myself,  I can
feel a sensation like electricity moving through the ground, the sky, and
also my body.  And it is easy for me to imagine the coldness in the clouds
at ten thousand feet and the winds changing directions suddenly in a wild
and violent way.  Perhaps this is from having flown through such storms in
a small plane. 
    Having a sense and feeling for the size of the clouds and imagining
the movement of electrical currents, use your imagination also to create a
life like being who embodies all of these feelings and sensations.  The
brain has the capacity to move freely between modes of perception.  The
structure of the brain and connecting synaptic tissue interlink sight,
smell, touch, sound, and taste with each other.   For example, sound can
be changed into taste or light into smell and so forth.  It also is
possible to take a feeling and express it as an idea, a picture, a tactile
sensation, a memory, or a dream.  Many psychological processes rely on
this ability to enable an individual to overcome  psychological
      Imagine that the electrical storm has intelligence and that this
intelligence takes on the form of a person appearing in front of you.  In
other words, if nature were aware of itself even as you are aware of it
but with greater sensitivity and power,  imagine that awareness can
interact and speak with you.  Any poet, playwright, or screenwriter can do
this in an instant if they bother to try though children will always have
the advantage in treating an imaginative image as real. 
     Carl Jung originated this procedure.  His idea was to take a
sensation, feeling, even an archetype, and imagine it to be a living being
with whom you can converse.  This procedure is effective to the extent
that you can translate your personal feelings and intuitions into a visual
image which you then see in front of you, hear, and/or sense. 
      This mental construct is real in the same way that feelings are
real.  But feelings and intuitions often have vast and unknown depths.
Part of their power is that they are in touch with things of which we are
barely conscious.  Therefore, the being we visualize is not artificial or
without power.  It has a voice which can speak from the depths within us.
Put another way, it resides in a part of our brain we hardly ever use.  At
the same time, the point is to use our conscious mind and our own
questions as we converse with it.  Dialoguing is an active exchange
between two different levels of consciousness. 
    A psychologist who engages in this process is, in a sense, acting as a
magician performing an evocation.  The only difference between the
psychologist and the magician is that the magician's concentration is
carefully developed.  With his eyes open, he can visualize anything he can
imagine or recall as if it is actually in front of him.  This is quite
easy because he has practiced visualization for decades.  And the magician
may also use, at his discretion, various ritual techniques which he has
discovered amplify his feeling of being connected.   
      If you like, here is an illustration of how this process works for
me.  As I imagine myself being in a thunderstorm, my first impression is
of the wildness of the elements.  There is the cold moistness of the air
as I breathe in.  There is the rain drenching my clothes and running down
my skin.   There is the sudden, unexpected flash.  There is the engulfing,
encompassing sound of thunder with its vibrant and rolling echo.  
   I open my mind to the thunderstorm as if my mind is the sky and the
storm a small presence within it.  And then I take this presence and
imagine it to be a person I can see in front of me.  This person embodies
the feeling of the storm. 
    Some might ask, "What is the point of this?"  Let me ask this being
who has appeared in front of me what he has to say.  He is tall, strong,
and incredibly engaging.  He has a powerful concentration.  You can tell
this from the sharpness of his facial features and the brilliant light in
his eyes.  He is detached and yet he listens carefully to any question put
to him.   I ask him, "What wisdom do you have to offer the human race?"
   He replies, "I reveal the mystery of electricity in your heartbeat, the
charges flowing between the synapses of your brain, and the electrical
pulses in your nerves--I am you yourself, a part of your own creativity,
when you shall take into your hands the powers of God."
   And then I ask, "What is lightning to you?"  
   He smiles as if he is about to laugh and says, "As you know already,
lightning is one of the sounds with which God's voice speaks.  It is in
the will, it is in the heart, and it expresses the desire of everyone who
would discover the truth of the universe.  Lightning for me is the play of
tension and pleasure, of intoxicating desire and penetrating clarity in
the eyes of vision.  Lightning is passion and power.  Lightning exists to
remind humanity of the enlightened mind and what it is to work side by
side with the divine."
     To answering  the question, then,  we can say this procedure enables
us to explore our own feelings.  It intensifies and sharpens our feelings
to the extent that we have the equivalent of a Steven Spielberg inside of
us whispering, "This is the power of your imagination to take something in
the external world and use it as a light to illuminate what is hidden in
    An additional step in this form of dialogue involves tantra--imagining
you are the being with whom you are speaking.  The being in front of me
wishes me to expand my mind and to feel I have become the thunderstorm.
But this I decline to do since my evocation of Itumo involves the same
   There is this difference between a salamander named Itumo and a
dialogue with an image in our mind which personifies a thunderstorm.  A
magician might think of Itumo as having an actual identity and existence
independent of his own mind.  It is like going and meeting a scientist who
researches lightning.  We all might have our own impressions of this
individual.  We may think him wise or a fool but we all consider him to be
independent of us.   For myself, I judge the value of a method by how well
it yields to me new information and challenges my mind.  Though I enjoy
methods in transpersonal psychology and consider them essential for
processing feelings, I often use evocation because I need the power that
underlies nature to fulfill my purposes.  

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