On an Enlightenment Intensive, participants practice a unique combination of contemplation and communication, which leads to dramatically increased consciousness, personal growth and helping indivudals explore reality and come into concious union with truth.
It is a higly focused structured enviroment where participants continually contemplate one of five questions: "Who am I?", "What am I?", What is life?", "What is Love?" or "What is another?".
Intensives are tremendously powerful. They bring participants into the actuality of the present moment and enable them to hold their attentionon on what is truly so for them as experiences unfolds, hour after hour, day after day. Over the course of an Intensive concentration, energy, and awarness steadily increase enabling participants to go ever more deeply into the reality their questions point them toward.
Most importantly, Enlightenment Intensives are an environment where communicationa and contact between individuals gives rise to high levels of understandig, compassion and support. As time goes by an atmospehere of affinity natures a sense of trust and safety. Participants become willing to relax, to let familiar identities dissolve and to allow the experience of what lies outside their known perimeters.
Enlightenment Intensives are open to all people, regardless of age, cred, orientatione or life experiences becuase, truth is available to each ande everyone of us.
The value of directly experiencing and communicating the truth is that it enables you to live more consciously, and in closer contact with others. Discovering who you are dissolves a huge segment of life's uncertainty and pain and awakens you to the living reality of truth. You know wahat the poets and mystics were talking about becuase you have made yourself one with them; you see with the same eyes they saw with; hear withe the same ears. Suddenly, it's a wonderful life, and you are so grateful it was given to you!
For three, seven or 14 days you work in dyads with other participants. You contemplate the truth of who you are and communicate the results of your contemplation to a partner; then you listen while your partner contemplates and communicates to you. (Partners do not comment on one another’s communications.) Over the course of the Intensive there are thirty-one, 45 minute Dyads (in a 3-days). Dyads are balanced with meals, walks, rest, instruction and silent contemplation in a sequence designed to hold you facing your self with maximum concentration.
The work is subtle and at times seems very difficult. But as the Intensive progresses you spontaneously experience increasingly high levels of personal contact and understanding with your partners. And this atmosphere of openness and mutual acceptance is what gives Intensives their power. The compassion and openness which are generated profoundly deepen contemplation; they melt away unconscious pretense and protective barriers until you come forth as you are. You enter the land of truth. What will you find there? That is up to you. No one will interfere with your discovery process by telling you what the truth is. The staff will simply support you to keep contemplating and presenting yourself as you are, no matter what you find yourself to be; from moment to moment, from beginning to end.
Contemplation practice aims at the direct experience of the truth of who you are. Direct experiences have many levels, but each one precipitates an unexpected and fundamental shift in consciousness. This is hard to understand because it involves a different order of experience from what we know in life; it has nothing to do with thinking, feeling, believing, or being in an attitude or state. Direct experience resolves your question in a way you can never anticipate or imagine. Subject and object disappear; or rather they collapse into a union. Truth is suddenly luminous and self-evident. There is a sense of bottomless fulfillment and utter satisfaction. This is not the end of the road however. The door is open to explore this new truth and to deepen your consciousness of it by coming out and presenting your true self to your partner. Doing this will increase your ability to live from the truth you have realized when the Intensive is over.
"EI is a shortcut to how enjoyable and easy life can be beyond mind and body."
"There are many ways to fix our selves. EI is not about fixing or changing. It has one purpose only. To fond out the truth about ourself, life or another.
"The EI is an enlightenment express. Or a bullet train to the truth. When this train arrived for me fear disappeared, the ever-present background of mind disappeared; what was left was the brilliant and breathtaking beauty of the world as it is."
In 1968, I had four or five hours one afternoon with nothing to do. I was in the Santa Cruz mountains in California, staring at the trees in a nice quiet area. I had been pondering a problem related to my teaching experience. I had noticed people who didn’t know who they were had a hard time making progress and people who made rapid progress knew who they were. I was just musing, “How is it that we could help people to accelerate this process of self discovery?”
I was familiar with zazen, and the yogic reflective approaches. But I knew how long they took and I was somewhat discouraged by the prospect of having people spending years to get to the place where they woke up to who they are.
Suddenly the whole idea of the Enlightenment Exercise occurred to me and moments later it occurred to me to use the format of a Zen sesshin, but to call it an intensive. So essentially the basic outline of both the Enlightenment Technique and the Enlightenment Intensive came to me at that time. And what source it came from I know not but it wasn’t a process of sitting down and figuring it out. It occurred to me in one moment. I was just reflecting on this problem on this beautiful spring afternoon and suddenly it came to me: why don’t we take the age-old question of ‘Who am I?” which is at least 7,000 years old, and combine it with the communication techniques that I had learned? And thus was born the Enlightenment Intensive.
Soon after, I told some of my students that we were going to have an intensive. I didn’t tell them much about what was going to happen, I just said we were going to work on finding out who we are and that it was going to be intense. I had just acquired a piece of property with no improvements on it out in the Southern California high desert, and I had about thirty dollars in my pocket. I bought some four-by-fours, set them right into the ground, nailed plywood sheets on top, and bought one day’s food; that was all the food we could afford until the people started to show up and made some payments for the intensive. And sure enough, they came; twenty-six of them. I put some mosquito netting around the outside and rolled out some rugs on the bare ground and said, “Well, here we are.” And still all I had in my head was this flash of an idea of what an Enlightenment Intensive would be.
We got up in the morning and went at it. They paid their money and my wife Ava rushed downtown during the lunch break, bought some more food and brought it back up. And, son of a gun, if on the second day people didn’t start having some direct experiences of Truth.
I had expected it would take five, ten Enlightenment Intensives for some enlightenments to start showing up. But to my amazement, people were having these experiences and it blew me out as much as it did them. In fact, about forty percent of the people who attended had a direct experience by the end of the intensive.
The enthusiasm was riding high, so we scheduled another intensive about three months later. I gave more and more of them and year after year I was doing an average of ten Enlightenment Intensives a year.