Appendix A

Twilight Imaging

Variation on a theme by Ira Progoff

This process borrows ideas from both Ira Progoff (1975) and St. Ignatius and is a form of guided imagery. It involves relaxing until one can quieten the mind and allow subconscious and unconscious material to surface. It is a way of accessing the Higher Self as well as some of the archetypes. Progoff says the psyche is like an underground river which knows our life purpose and everything we need to know to actualize it. He uses various inductions to lead people into this semi-conscious state that is somewhere between sleeping and waking. It is rather like that brief period before one drops into deep sleep at night. Unlike dreams, one is conscious and can remember what occurs. However, the discursive, evaluative mind is silenced, so material that is not usually accessible can come through.

Twilight imaging has four stages: induction, imaging or experiencing, return, and recording what was experienced. You may use the following induction or create your own. What is needed is some imagery that guides you underground and/or into the underground river. The imaging itself varies according to what you want to find out. Or it can be left open to whatever your psyche wants to tell you. It goes without saying that one is polite and respectful of aspects that are encountered in this phase. The return involves a gradual re-entry into your usual bodymind. And the recording takes place without speaking as soon as you are alert again, so nothing is forgotten. The material may then be processed like a dream, the images may be drawn, or people may want to share their experiences with others.

You may want to tape the following directions, so you can play them to yourself during the exercise. If you do this, leave plenty of time between each phase for your experience. Err on the side of too much time since your sense of time will slow down as the imaging begins. You may need to experiment to get this right.

Directions:

Lie down on the floor with your arms out to the side about half way down to your knees and palms up. Cover yourself because you will cool off as you relax. You may use an eye pillow if you have one. Take several deep breaths and release tension on the outbreaths. If there is any pain or cramping in your body, let it go as you breathe. Take a mental walk through your body and systematically relax each part of it beginning with your feet and not forgetting your face and scalp. Relax the mind. Bring your attention within to the heart center and breathe into that.

Induction. "Now see yourself walking along a path through a sunny meadow. It is springtime and the trees are leafing out. Flowers are beginning to bloom and the sky is a clear blue with puffy floating clouds in it. On your left is a gurgling stream with an occasional willow tree reaching out over it to test the water. . . You are alone and enjoying the day. . . Soon you see a small hill on your right. . . As you gaze at it, you notice a small blue door in the side of it and you are curious to know what it is. . . So you cross the meadow and walk toward it. . . When you get close to it, you see that it has brass hinges and a large brass bar that closes it. . . You try the bar, and it opens easily. The door swings open and you step inside and look around you. . . You find yourself in a large elegant hall with a dark red carpet and golden lamps on the wall that illuminate the whole space. . . There seems to be no one around, so you begin to walk down the hall. . . It feels comfortable and safe, somehow familiar though you cannot remember being there before. . . There are no doors, but soon you come to a staircase that is going down. . . The bannisters are walnut with a soft, fine sheen, and the red carpet descends, so you do too. The lamps continue with you, so there is plenty of light. . . You walk slowly down about twenty stairs sinking slowly into the coolness of underground. . . You are still comfortable and curious to see what is at the bottom. . . When you get there, there is another door. This one is heavy and made of the same walnut as the bannisters. It has golden hinges and a golden latch that is intricately carved. . . You notice its pattern. . . Trace it with your finger. . . Then you carefully open the door and, as you pull it toward you, radiant sunshine streams in and warms your face. . . As you step through the door, you find yourself in a formal garden full of flowers in every color imaginable. There are trees throughout and some have benches underneath them so one can sit to rest. . . A merry stream of water rushes out of a rock ledge and falls happily into the small pond beneath it. Ferns surround this pool and dip their fronds into the water. . . Birds are singing. . . and they hop about in the garden sampling nectar from the flowers. . . "

[Here you insert the action you have come to accomplish. For instance, you may wish to meet your Higher Self in which case you would visualize It approaching and talking to you, etc.

Allow plenty of time for this section. When you have allowed enough time, continue the guidance:]

"Now it is nearly time to leave, so you complete what you are doing. . . [leave a few minutes for this] Begin to come back into this time and place. . . Allow your senses to perceive the present. . . Feel the air on your face and hands. . . Hear the words of this guidance. . . Feel the floor under your body supporting your weight. . . And now, draw your legs up to your chest and turn over on your side. . . Take a minute to fix in your memory what has just occurred. . . Then open your eyes and look around the room. . . Supporting yourself with your arms, slowly sit up and come into the present moment. . . "

Now write down your experience in as much detail as you can remember along with your feelings during it, and now in the present as you look back into the imaging.

You may make a drawing of the imagery, sculpt it, share it, etc. if you wish. You may also treat the recorded material as if it were a dream making associations to the imagery that was experienced to try to decode its deeper meanings.


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