Note: this could be difficult to understand if you haven’t read the article on what an enlightenment experience is.
An Enlightenment Intensive (EI) is a three day retreat with the purpose of having an enlightenment experience>. The enlightenment technique is Zen meditation coupled with communication that moves people toward enlightenment at an unprecedented rate. You can learn more about the enlightenment technique here.>
The Intensive starts the evening before the scheduled three days. Tea is served and people usually hang out getting to know each other a little. At some point each participant (usually) has a meeting with the person giving the intensive, the enlightenment master. A general talk is given and then it’s time for bed, usually by 10 or so.
The next day starts with an opening lecture where the enlightenment technique is taught. After a short break the first dyad is started.
A dyad is done with two people sitting across from each other to do the enlightenment technique. The dyad is the main process that is done during the EI with 11 or 12 of them happening each day. They last 40 minutes each.
In the dyad each person gets a turn as the speaking partner for five minutes while the other partner listens and receives their communication. After five minutes they switch roles. The process is pretty simple, but over the three days things get pretty intense as you’ll see.
There are other activities throughout the day to break it up and give people a chance to meditate while doing other activities. There are meal breaks, snack breaks, a rest break, two walks, and lectures where the technique is taught and refined. A very full day spent in contemplation.
The power of the EI is doing the contemplation in the dyad. Working with someone has two main benefits. First is that there is someone to listen you communicate what comes up as a result of your contemplation. This is what speeds the process and makes it possible for such a high percentage of people to have an enlightenment experience in just three days. Communicating what is in the way of enlightenment clears it moving the practitioner closer to the core of who they are.
The second main benefit is your partner’s attention, their energy. Your mind has exactly the same power as you, so there is a stalemate. You want to know the Truth while your mind will do anything to keep you from it! The added energy of your partner and the staff gives you the power to move through your mind, to break its power so you can experience the absolute.
Most first timers, and many experienced people, spend the first day dumping the major ideas they have about themselves. When they contemplate these ideas come up fast, so they spend more time talking than contemplating. This is perfect! The mind is mostly full of ideas that aren’t the Truth, and that is what is in the way of a direct experience.
By the middle of the second day the majority of these ideas have been cleared out and people go deeper in their contemplation with far less communicating. They are still clearing the falsehoods that are in the way of Truth, but it is mind stuff that is at a deeper level.
By the third day most people are spending long periods of time contemplating. Their meditation become deep. This is when they are primed to have a breakthrough experience.
It is the empty mind that can be filled with Truth. This process is perfect for emptying the mind, at least part of it. It isn’t a complete clearing of the mind, but rather the part that is in the way of directly experiencing the Truth of who or what you are, whichever question you are working on. In effect, it is like drilling a deep hole into the mind, clearing the path to that area of enlightenment.
The power of this is impossible to describe. You really need to experience it to fully understand the depth and power of an EI.
The process exhausts the mind to the point that it will give in to the Truth. In a way the mind breaks and shuts off leaving space for Truth to come in.
You are given ample time to sleep and rest, but still exhaustion takes over. This is mainly mental exhaustion. The barriers between you and the Truth are torn down as the mind is torn down.
This exhaustion is immediately relieved at the end of the intensive. As the last dyad is finished everyone becomes energized. They let go of the process and the lid of the pressure cooker is removed. Interestingly, this is one of the times when a lot of people have a direct experience. The pressure is off and they let go and Truth floods in.
It takes letting go to have an enlightenment experience, the leap into the abyss of Truth. It can happen any time, even days or weeks later. The opening is there, all it takes is giving up. In fact, it could happen for you now! All it takes is intention and being open as described in this article and video on the enlightenment technique.
One thing to know about an EI is that there will be a crisis. A crisis is feeling or thinking that you can’t get through, that you can’t go on. You will want to give up because it seems impossible. This is when you celebrate! This is the mind near the end of itself, the point where it knows it is going to end, and so it fights back as hard as it can with everything it has left.
But, you can get through. All you have to do is continue with the technique. The staff is there to let you know that, to keep you on track and encourage you to the end. They have all been through it and know that you can and will get through if you continue. An old adage says; the only way to get out is to go through, and this is very true of experiencing enlightenment.
The EI was my first deep experience of meditation, and I simply fell in love with it. I have been involved in well over a hundred of them, giving, staffing and taking. They have been amazing for me and the thousand or so others I’ve seen go through the process. It is probably the hardest thing you will ever do if you decide to take one. And, I highly recommend you take at least one in your life. You won’t be sorry!
There are Enlightenment Intensives given all over the world. You can contact me to find out more about them, or to find out about upcoming EIs.