If I may, I'd like to expand on this idea with wild speculation that is more poetic than Dharmic:
When it comes to this I think it may be a mistake to think of the connection as external.
I'd like to both agree and disagree. I believe that it is correct to think
of the connection as external, but then experience the result as intimate. My teacher wrote about it being like a light switch on the wall, only when you flip the switch it turns out that you are the light bulb. My take is that the external deity is analogous to the light switch, and effect on yourself as being the light. You aren't going to find the light switch inside your head, so it is appropriate to see the deity as external. But the light that comes on is never anywhere but in your heart, mind and experience.
I saw a YouTube video where Sogyal R. said that he was never aware of the deity directly, but he was aware of the effect of the deity upon his mind. I think he was saying something like what I just posted.
I see it more as something internal, so deep it goes beyond the personal.
My take on the teachings of no-self is to prepare the practitioner with the understanding that our personality is not the basis for our being. Our emotions, habits, ingrained opinions and such are our superficial
, experience of life. The Dharma works from the authentic depths of our being and bubbles up to the level where our superficial awareness finally experiences the change, kind of like a burp. "…so deep it goes beyond the personal
." This might include episodes of what we call magical thinking in this thread, but I don't know that for sure.
I don't' stand by any of this. Sometimes I post on what the Dharma actually says, and then there are times like this where I'm just allowing my imagination to run free. This post is all imagination, (except the part where I reference my old teacher's writings).