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
quiet 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.
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
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.]
When you are ready to return, 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
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.