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(Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street. I took it as a sign to start singing, falling up into the bowl of sky. The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere. Nothing else to do.

Here’s the new rule: break the wineglass, and fall toward the Glassblower’s breath.

(Translated by. Coleman Barks, The Illuminated Rumi)Translated by. Coleman Barks, The Illuminated Rumi)

Photo by Julia Volk


We now know that in order to communicate with animals, we need to be authentic, and we need to be able to take what animals present to us at face value.

Animal communication is intuitive and therefore takes place in the realm we call the imagination.

“Wait a minute,” you may exclaim. “If animal communication is real, how can you say it takes place in the imagination? Things in my imagination are not real!”

Yes, that’s what we’ve all been taught. And as I mentioned, we foist this little white lie on our children to help them get past bad dreams and worries.

The imagination is the unbordered realm of the possible. The matrix of innovation, it’s where we go to find inspiration. In this chapter we’re going to hang out in the imagination, and you’re going to surrender – for a while – linear thinking. You’re going to let yourself “fall toward the glassblower’s breath” and explore intuitive awareness.

Feeling at home in and yearning for the soft edges of the imagination is part of our true nature: we’re hard-wired to return to non-linear reality, into the numinous, unified field of being that is who we are before physical birth forces our individuation. We find ourselves on the existential train headed spontaneously home when we lose focus, and we call it day-dreaming, losing track of time, or zoning out when it happens without our conscious intention.

The helplessly ecstatic path of falling that Rumi advocated is not the only way to enter the numinous, of course. We can make a plan and plot a course, and that’s what we’re heading for here.

I was lucky enough to learn from a teacher who knew how to make a point, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, who asked us one evening, “How do you pray?” He scrunched his eyes tightly closed, held his arms close in next to his chin, and balled his hands into fists, and said, fervently, “Please, God, I really need your help. Please answer my prayer!”

It was funny, and we laughed quietly. Yes, that’s what we do. And?

He opened his eyes, smiled with understanding, and nodded his head. And then he said, “How is God going to give you what you want when you’re so closed up?”

He stepped back a bit from the lectern and spread his arms wide, his hands wide open. He stretched his neck up and back a bit and looked up, then back at us. “When you pray,” he said, “open up. Otherwise how can you receive what you want God to give you?”

So there’s a clue and a suggestion: as you practice surrendering linear absolutes to possibility, be aware of how you’re holding yourself. Loosen up. Uncurl your fingers, open your hands, let your arms be limp at your sides or on your lap. If your habit is to pray with head down and hands tightly clenched, notice, in this position, if it feels gentle. If it doesn’t, move into a gentler position of prayerfulness.

Intuition opens the door to deeper insights, invention, and compassion. Even if you don't believe you're intuitive, you’ve probably had a gut feeling about something, a hunch or suspicion, or maybe an inkling or insight. And that’s all you need to begin.

The next step in our preparation lays the groundwork to receive the impressions, words, sounds, feelings, and all the other impulses we may feel when we open to animals.

"My time here has ended; it is time for me to go. As you know, we are all here under contract with the unified Great Soul of all being. I came here to learn how to notice in detail all the elements of a life: the smell of the grass, the feel of the winds, the small and the great; to attend to the small sounds of insects' wings and to learn to withstand the mighty wind of noise coming from all corners. I have learned what I came here to learn. Thank you for loving me and being my partner in adventures.” Greg

If you’re wondering why we need to prepare to receive, ask yourself if hearing the above words from a cat would surprise you. Well, you being you, maybe it wouldn’t.

People who are unaccustomed to engaging in intuitive inquiry may need some support before stepping out beyond the borders of linear expectations. Our consciousness is a palace of chimerical rooms and passageways that shift moment by moment as our senses bring us an endlessly tumbling stream of information. It’s no wonder that we feel overwhelmed. We rely on what we’ve assembled as our structure of priorities so that we can function, and we count on our inner judge to remind us of those priorities.

Our inner judge protects our ego, that inner champion whose emission is our survival. The ego doesn’t just push us forward to the front of the line so we can get better seats. The ego also holds us back from dangerous situations. So there’s no need to vilify the judge, much less banish her or him for good. Guardian of the gate, the judge is ever vigilant, determined to keep us safe from falling upward into the glassblower’s breath, careening off into the wild and wooly unknown where there be dragons. If we want to go beyond that gate, we need to make sure the judge is not going to come rescue us from our own imagination, so we need to put her – or him – to bed for a little nap.

Two brief visualization exercises will help you prime your intuitive apparatus: the first will help you put that judge to sleep so you can open the doors your judge wants to keep closed by telling you either that there’s nothing there – it’s just your imagination – or it’s too dangerous. The second guided visualization will lead you into your own sacred space, where you have kept your treasures safe, hidden away from the judge. In this sacred space your judge’s tools – all the thoughts and habitual points of view which obstruct your untethered exploration of the possibilities that are your birthright – melt like the Wicked Witch of the West under Dorothy’s splash.

In order to get the most out of each exercise, I recommend either arranging for someone who supports your intuitive explorations – an ally – to read the visualization to you, or that you record each guided visualization first. Then, when you have the time to focus on the process without the probability of interruption, settle yourself comfortably in a favorite resting spot and tune in to your own inner awareness, using the recording as a guide.

It can also work if, without recording it first, you soften your gaze and keep your ears tuned to the frequency of your inner thoughts, and in that relaxed state, proceed with your eyes open enough only to read the words on the page.

As you go forward, please keep in mind that you may not be a visual imaginer; maybe you can more readily sense smells, feelings in your body, or sounds, or maybe you find that as you go with this flow, certain memories pop up. Those memories may be your clues, rather than sights, sounds, or feelings. Just be sure not to follow the emotions into another path. Let them come and go.

Before you enter into the visualization, write on a piece of paper, “I promise to return to my normal waking reality immediately after completing this exercise and I will do so with a clear memory and understanding of the inner journey from which I am returning. So be it.” This is your contract with yourself.

Before we continue with this work, I want to show you why it’s so important to loosen up your perceptive apparatus. When we think of communicating, the first mode that may come to mind is a verbal exchange. Indeed, most examples of animal communication are verbal exchanges between the animal and the intuitive communicator.

But there is another element to animal communication that came as a surprise to me when I first began. We may not only hear, or perceive words, as coming from the animal; we may also sense how the animal is feeling physically and emotionally, and the inner landscape where we perceive the animal’s being. This inner landscape may include not only a visual, but may also bring with it a strong sensation of smell, of movement, as if the air is moving. We may perceive the movement of energy. This is an awareness of the multidimensional quality of being.

Here’s part of my session with Cara, a cat: Cara is a very wise being. Wherever she goes, she oversees the flow and balance of energy in the space. It’s not that she is bossy or manipulative in the normal way we think of those qualities. Rather, the nature of her being is to effect the subtle shift of energy patterns as she moves around.

Stuey, a cat, told me what he saw, another example of multidimensionality. “I can see a line from her mind – a blue line tinged with violet, seeking that which she had with me as her companion. Another companion will come in response to that call, for that is what the blue seeking line is. I can see that the new connection will effect a new development in her processing, as if until now, she has processed in a certain way, receiving impressions and forming responses in one way, and the next companion will help her shift her perceptual abilities in a new way. All change is good for growth.”

As you work with the exercises in this chapter, you’ll be stretching your intuitive limbs so that you will be able to embrace the multidimensional aspects of intuitive communication.

Guided Visualization #1: Good night, dear judge

Close your eyes momentarily if you are reading, or keep them closed for the duration of this exercise if you’re listening. Take a few deep breaths, releasing them slowly. As you do so, be aware of the sound of your breathing, in …and out, in …and out, in… and out.

Becoming aware of the body in a quietly contemplative way is a way into the holy, into the sanctity of your sovereignty. You exist in your body, you, the limitless being who breathes in many dimensions.

Imagine that you are contemplating a lovely view in a beautiful, comfortable home. This home is your inner home, and in this journey, it may not look like the place you enter with the key on your keychain. It may not be a structure any person built. It may be a beautiful grove of trees, or a lovely, protected sweep of beach.

Somewhere in this beautiful, comfortable home, the part of you who is ever vigilant for what might be a danger to you – your inner judge – has a very restful bedroom with all desired comforts. Turn now, and see this judge, your best friend in some ways, and gently escort this judge to the bedroom perfectly suited to their tastes and needs. Invite the judge to get into the lovely bed and take a nap while you attend to something you will do alone, in perfect safety. As the judge gets under the covers—whether they are blankets, a cloud, palm fronds, or perhaps a light covering of tropical water – be aware of your appreciation for this being who never sleeps, who is always in service to your well-being. Assure your judge that you will be gone just a little while. Pull the covers up over the shoulders, maybe kiss the top of the head, and gently turn away, wishing your judge, “Sleep tight.” As you leave the space where your judge rests, imagine that you are turning off the light, causing a peaceful twilight to engulf the room where your judge now slumbers quietly.

This is the end of the first guided visualization.

OK, the judge is snuggling under the covers, the room-darkening drapery is drawn closed, and you’ve tiptoed out of the room, having promised the judge you’d come back as soon as you’re done with your voyage of discovery. Now you’re ready to open the door to see what there might be outside the limits of the laws that you use as the boundary of your conscious experience.

As with the previous visualization, I recommend recording it first, then, when you have the time to focus on the process without the probability of interruption, settle yourself comfortably in a favorite resting place again, perhaps even outside where your body can benefit from the blessings of the natural world, and then tune in to your own inner awareness, using the recording as a guide.

As you did before your first guided visualization, write on a piece of paper, “I promise to return to my normal waking reality immediately after completing this exercise and I will do so with a clear memory and understanding of the inner journey from which I am returning. So be it.” This is your contract with yourself.

I also recommend that you have by your side some paper and pen or other preferred media for recording what you might want to remember when you emerge from this journey.

Guided visualization #2: A journey into your sacred treasure

Close your eyes momentarily if you are reading, or keep them closed for the duration of this exercise if you’re listening. Take a few deep breaths, releasing them slowly. As you do so, be aware of the sound of your breathing, in and out, in and out, in and out.

Feel yourself relaxing. Feel your body grow increasingly heavy with each breath. Imagine that from the soles of your feet, translucent white tendrils, like the most delicate roots, extend down through the floor, and then down through all the layers of the Earth’s crust, deep into the heart of Mother Earth.

Mother Earth senses your beloved presence, and she lifts her arms to embrace every part of you: every memory, every old wound, every regret, every moment of hope and achievement, everything. And in her gentle embrace, you feel a rush of love such as you’ve never felt before, so unconditionally loving is her love and so complete her understanding of all you’ve been through.

You feel this love rise as a lovely white light through the beautiful white roots up through the soles of your feet, your heavy feet, past your open ankles, up your shins and calves, through your knees. Your knees open wider and wider to welcome this beautiful, healing love from the Earth, and it flows quickly and easily through your knees, bringing healing and relief.

The light rises into your buttocks, and you can feel yourself sinking even more into your comfortable seat. The light rises now up through your spine and through all your organs, cleansing, refreshing and enlightening as it flows. It pours into your shoulders and down your arms and into your hands and fingers like warm honey. Your arms, your wrists, and your hands relax completely, your fingers opening.

The light caresses your throat now, which opens in welcome. Your jaw drops a little. Your cheeks sag, your nose relaxes. Your eyelids are very heavy, lying over your eyes like a warm quilt. Your forehead smooths out like a baby’s as the light that is love strokes away every line.

And now you can feel the top of your head beginning to tingle as your higher awareness opens a little, then more and more, until you can feel yourself rising above your body, even as it sits or reclines, and you are now totally comfortable, safe, secure and relaxed.

As you continue to rise, you sense a beautiful, bright white light above you, and you feel this light moving gently toward you and pouring into the top of your head, your crown chakra, and flowing down into your being. It flows first to the third eye in the middle of your forehead, flooding your consciousness with the awareness of your great potential as a being of light.

It flows into the throat chakra so that you are aware of knowing and owning this light.

Now it flows into the heart chakra, where the light expands as palpable love, and you know yourself as a being of love, in whom love is an ever-blooming garden, a fountain overflowing into your own life, endlessly, generously nourishing you and broadcasting itself through you so that you are surrounded by beings who feel and honor the light in you.

Now feel the light as it pours into your belly, illuminating and fortifying your sense of security in your own self as a being of light.

Now feel the surge of energy as this light fills your well of creativity, your second chakra, ensuring that you have all the energy you need to create the wonderful life you want.

And finally, the light floods your first chakra, a flash of sudden light which resonates in the core of your most authentic being. You are anchored in your fundamental totality as a being of cosmic reach.

As a being of this purest light now, you see light pooling around your feet, and expanding. You feel an impulse to bend over and scoop up this inviting, clear white light, and you bring it up toward your face as if you were going to drink it, but as you bring it up, it fashions itself into a lens, which you bring gently to your eye.

Through this lens, you will always be able to see whatever you focus on in its highest, purest aspect, as a most powerful, blessing. You look through the lens. As you do so, the lens moves easily closer to you and becomes part of your eye. You are now seeing through the lens of divine light. The lens of divine light is now part of you.

Now what you see before you is clearer and brighter than ever before. You see immediately before you a gate, and above the gate is written, “You, bright one, you were born for this moment.”

You feel drawn toward and move through the gate. You immediately see yourself as the blessing you are in your world, see how you bring your beautiful being into the world and see how the blessing of your being flows forth. You see or sense your tools, your gift, your place.

This is the end of the second guided visualization.

Stay in this space of wonder and peace as long as you like. When you feel it’s time to resume your normal consciousness, allow yourself to come back slowly. Imagine yourself floating gently down toward the familiar resting place where your body waits for you, down through the clouds, the treetops, and into your body. Wiggle your fingers and toes first. Stretch. Wait to open your eyes fully until you’re really ready.

Now, please don’t rush off to crash back into normal awareness. Mine this experience. Go back into your memory of that last half hour, and invite yourself to recall a scent, a sight, an image or scene, a word or phrase, perhaps one or many phrases or paragraphs that are now flowing into your mind. These are all keys and clues for you in ways only you know. Write, draw, paint, sculpt, dance or sing what you recall, or what suddenly pours into your awareness.

Let yourself record as much as there seems to be. If you find yourself in a lull, ask yourself, “What else have I brought back?” Or you might try writing this phrase and finishing the sentence, allowing it to become a paragraph or several pages, whatever comes: “My beautiful soul showed me that…”

When you are fully back from your journey, comfortably aware of your relaxed body in the space in which you’ve been resting, aware of the difference between your consciousness during the journey and what you find beginning to trickle into your consciousness as ordinary reality, give a little thought to your inner judge, to whom you made a promise.

Briefly imagine that you’re back in that dim bedroom where the judge has been resting, giving you an opportunity to have an adventure without worrying about whether it made sense. Imagine that you’re standing in your calmness near where the judge is resting, and say, quietly, “Thank you. I’m back safe and sound. Thank you for your service.”

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