What is Enlightenment?
The Aha! Experience
It is the conscious direct
knowing of the SELF. You could also say it is the direct experience
of the absolute truth.
People awakened to direct knowing of the SELF exclaim, "Aha!"
or "This is It!," or "Oh my god!," or "It's
me! It's always been me!" It's often described
as the experience of union or oneness.
If you ask 1000 people to describe their enlightenment experience, you'd get 1000 different responses ranging from ignorance, uncertainty, preconceived ideas to presentations filled with clarity, truth and direct knowing.
Pointing at the Moon
Zen masters say that 'pointing at the moon isn't the moon,' which is to say that the idea or words of enlightenment shouldn't be confused with the thing itself. To know what enlightenment is, you have to directly experience or know it for yourself. The Western Zen Buddhist meditation teacher, Philip Kapleau, translates the Japanese word 'satori' into the English word enlightenment. Satori means 'Instantaneous Awakening'. It is the elevated state of self realization that Zen meditators and Enlightenment Intensive participants aim for. Zen Masters poetically describe it as 'Opening the Minds Eye' or 'Awakening to your True Nature.'
Direct Experience is Enlightenment
Words are always inadequate to convey
the meaning of enlightenment.
Enlightenment is the conscious direct knowing of the Self.
Self enlightenment is the direct experience of the truth of you.
Direct knowing does not come about through any process such as
by seeing, thinking, believing, deciding, reasoning, feeling
or by any other way. It is direct, raw, genuine and authentic.
If you're hungry, why eat the menu?
Reading the menu in a restaurant NEVER fulfills your hunger. To satisfy your hunger you have to eat the Real Food. At the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat the enlightenment experience or direct knowing is always the main feast on the menu. Why eat the menu when you can eat the Real Food?
What are the common attributes of the enlightenment experience?
Silly question, isn't it?
Being enlightened or knowing your self is its own
is its own self contained benefit.
The Enlightenment Intensive process has been used
by thousands of people the world over since its origination in
the California high desert over 37 years ago. The state of enlightenment
that people experience is the same that Buddha experienced centuries
ago or that anyone has ever experienced through any spiritual or
personal growth system.
What accelerates the process of enlightenment?
The key principle that accelerates the process of enlightenment is relating or communicating yourself to another.
There are several advantages of working with a partner.
The live interaction helps keep you at the task of trying to experience yourself.
Communicating the things that you are identified with but that
are not actually you, vanish to the degree that they are understood
by another. Untruth vanishes by presenting it to another
and Truth remains. Presenting to your partner whatever occurs
to you as a result of pondering who you are clears mental confusions.
Consciousness of yourself grows by presenting yourself to another.
The enlightenment experience stabilizes to the degree that you can present yourself to another. Thus the process of enlightenment is accelerated by relating.
What are the stages to enlightenment?
Stage One: Giving AnswersThe initial reaction to the 'Who am I?' contemplation is one of giving answers. The enigma is that there are no right or wrong answers. But in this first stage the hero thinks success can be gained by giving a 'right' answer. And so begins a steady flow of ideas about who one is that are drawn from one's memory previously learned from parents, teachers, clergy, friends, books, TV, media and ideas that you figured out in the past. By presenting these ideas and answers to a partner in the enlightenment dyad process they are dissolved from your mind.
Stage Two: IntellectualizingLogical thinking, reasoning and trying to figure out the answer are of the hallmarks to this stage. Sometimes one even succeeds at arriving at a correct answer; but answers, correct or not, is not an enlightenment experience. When you let go of trying to answer a question and set out to directly experience the object of your enlightenment, then the intellectualizing dissolves and you move into the next stages of the hero's journey.
Stage Three: PhenomenaPhenomena is experienced when one stops intellectualizing and attempts to experience them self, life or others directly. Because one is still using their brain, a variety of hallucinations and bodily phenomena begin to occur. A young women may turn into an old man. The body may have hot and cold flashes or waves of emotion. One may mistake these phenomena for enlightenment; but enlightenment comes only from a direct conscious experience, not from seeing, feeling or perceiving.
Stage Four: A Blank or VoidWhen the field of consciousness has been emptied but the meditator continues to 'look' for him or her self, a void is created. In this void or blankness nothing is seen or heard, no thought occurs and progress appears to be at a stand still. But its at his stage that your journey of enlightenment progresses more rapidly if instead of 'looking' you refine your contemplation and seek to experience yourself directly. This stage has been called the quiet mind and for some schools of meditation is an end in itself.
Stage Five: The Barriers of Emotion, Pain and DeathSurging up next, the hero of the journey of enlightenment encounters emotions, pain and the fear of death. Feelings of grief and anger, apathy and serenity come up and are sometimes confused with the truth of who you are. But as these raw emotions rise up, you de-identify from these states of being and let them go by fully communicating to your partner what you become conscious of.
Stage Six: The Enlightenment ExperienceThere are two aspects to the enlightenment experience that occur simultaneously. One aspect is the direct conscious experience of your True Self. The second is the release of energy and other side effects such as laughing, crying, screaming and ecstatic feelings. The direct knowing of Self is a definite breakthrough experience and occurs in a timeless instant.
Stage Seven: The GlowRadiating yourself as truth is what happens to the hero on the journey of enlightenment during this glowing stage. The hero feels totally in contact with the Absolute Truth and unselfconsciously radiates his or her presence. This stage continues until the hero fully presents him or herself to others.
Stage Eight: The Pure & Steady StateFully presenting yourself to others discharges the energy of the glowing stage. The pure, steady state remains and continues into your life to the degree that you are able to present your true self to others. The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat and the enlightenment dyad process insures the maximum opportunity to gain this ability as you communicate your true self to a broad range of people attending the retreat.
Short AnswerIt is a residential retreat for awakening the expanded state of consciousness called enlightenment or direct knowing of the self. The Retreat combines a 10,000 year old self inquiry yoga meditation, 'who am I' with a modern, western listening and communication technique. The increased consciousness and understanding that results from the combination of meditation and communication accelerates the process of enlightenment and brings it into the immediacy of one's life. The Retreat is a safe, supportive environment that encourages honesty, authenticity, contact, understanding and deep meditative self reflection.
Longer AnswerThe caterpillar, in the book, Alice in Wonderland, asks Alice, "Who are you?"
hesitantly replied, "I......I hardly know."
must one do to obtain the treasure of an unshakable certainty
of who or what one really is? Must one sit in meditation under
tree twenty hours a day for seven years, as did Gautama
the Buddha? Must one leave one's friends and society and
live in a cave? Is enlightenment unattainable except
by a person with vast amounts of both self-discipline and spare
It has been universally assumed that enlightenment is necessarily preceded by a long, hard struggle, and available only to a dedicated few. But that has now changed. The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat offers you a way based upon a new western technology that has a record of getting people enlightened within a week-end! The depth of enlightenment may not match that of the Buddha, but the direct experience of self is the same. And those who don't attain the enlightenment experience do make substantial progress and can see that the goal is within reach. It may sound hard to believe even in this age of 'Instant Everything' because the contrast between seven years and three days is startling. But it is true.
Intensive Retreat is a period of concentrated effort.
The key to its success is a western developed technique called
the 'enlightenment dyad technique.' You begin
the process by sitting opposite a partner who says to you, "Tell
me who you are."
After you receive the instruction you 'hold' it. 'Holding
the instruction' is a process of contemplating or keeping it in
Other thoughts and phenomena will occur as you attempt to
hold your contemplation. When this happens, you communicate
to your partner what you become conscious of. Your
When you've finished telling him/her what has occurred, you
continue contemplating your question: "Who am
I? Who? Who?
Who?" Whenever you notice something, you articulate
it to your partner, trying to get the other to understand
what it is. At the end of five minutes a
bell rings and your partner says, "Thank you." The
roles now reverse.
In an Enlightenment Intensive Retreat you work single-pointedly. Everything is arranged to make that possible for you. Your day is spent doing Enlightenment Dyad Exercises, walking and movement meditations, sitting meditations, breath awareness meditations, physical exercises, massage meditations, three light vegetarian meals and two snacks, lectures on enlightenment, etc. The schedule is rigorous but varied to minimise body stress and keep you alert so you can aim at enlightenment. Interviews with the Master Facilitator are available at any time so that you can discuss any problems you are having. If he/she verifies that you have had an enlightenment experience, you may change your contemplation from 'Who am I?" to one of the other contemplations: "What am I?", "What is Life? or What is another?"
The entire Retreat is spent actively contemplating on the nature or yourself, others or life or getting another to understand what is happening for you. Conversation about anything but enlightenment is considered "gossip" and is not permitted during the Retreat.
It's exciting to communicate your insights and increased consciousness to the others. Within a day you become very conscious of other people and what they are experiencing. You can see, feel and experience the increased openness building between you and your partners. It is this contact, communication and understanding that accelerates the process of enlightenment. This single principle of involvement through understanding is the missing link in the field of enlightenment. And it works for everyone. It's effectiveness has been proven in thousands of Retreats in over 25 countries around the world in the last 35 years.
What are the origins of the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat?
was inspired by three unique self improvement practices
fused together by Charles Berner in 1968. Two of them are
ancient and Eastern ways and the third is a newer Western approach.
Zen SesshinA Zen sesshin is a self awareness retreat that has been practised for over 3000 years. It originally came from China before it migrated to Japan where it became popular in the 12th Century. Today, it is still used and practised in Japan and around the world. The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat borrowed certain elements from the ancient sesshin, notably the use of a ‘koan.’ A ‘koan’ is a riddle-like question to help a meditator focus and penetrate into the absolute truths of life. Hundreds have been developed over the years. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” and “What was your face before you were born,” are two well known koans. The practise of contemplating on a ‘koan isn’t concerned with philosophy, ideas or religion, but with direct experiencing.
Ramana MaharshiThe Enlightenment Intensive Retreat also makes use of the koan, ‘Tell me who you are.” This riddle like question is a yoga meditation that dates back 10,000 years. Its modern proponent, Ramana Maharshi, lived a simple life in India. He taught during the first part of the 20th Century inspiring a constant stream of local and international visitors who sought his company and spiritual guidance. His guidance was always the same. “Seek to know yourself. Practise self inquiry by asking yourself, ‘who am I’ then you will know everything.
Relating DyadsDyad is a Greek word that means ‘two’. A relating dyad is two people who work together to bring about understanding through effective communication and focused listening. It is this element of relating that accelerates the process of enlightenment.
Those who say don't know.
I discovered many treasured facets of my total being.
I feel so fortunate and blessed to be the one to ask, ‘who am I?’
I increased my power to open up and to love others without feeling embarrassed about it.
I am conscious of the following results from my having been on this intensive:
* I have direct knowing of the Truth of love as everything, as joy, as Myself.
* My presence and pursuit of the Truth inspired and supported the others on the.
* The poet in me has been awakened!
* I have a greater ability to love unconditionally, to be present in the moment, to express the love that I am, to express my joy more immediately.
* My ability to have compassion for others and treat others well has increased.
I'm celebrating life.
fueled by curiosity
and I left
on a high
fueled by the wonder
and simplicity of it all.
Because my mind
would not open,
my body did it for me
through pain and vomit
and tears and embarrassment
to clarity and openness
and awareness and then
back the simplicity of it all......
It was completely unexpected......... The whole thing took me by surprise.
And I had one of these experiences that people often have.... which is,
I know what I've just experienced ..….. I just didn't know that I knew
I directly experienced myself - me looking at the little yellow flowers.
I realized my ability and need to connect with another and that what I am
needs to be allowed to express that. I never realized before that I had this capacity or need.
It was hidden or buried under who I am not. I realized that I have to live life true to who I am.
I realized that my sense of self is always constant and present ….
I realized that who I am (that constant presence) does not have a name and
cannot be judged, measured or described and that it is always there.
I realized that to be is to be present as a constant sense of or power of love.
I realized that who I really am is love seeking expression in action, in being,
in interacting with another........... and all that in 72 hours. Amazing!!!!
I am the sound of the bells
And the wind that moves through them
I am the journey and the destination
I am the breath
And the body that breathes it
I am the foot and the earth that touches it
I am the lover and the beloved
I am the cat crying
And the one who comforts it.
Ageless, faceless, timeless, nameless,
Unborn and undying,
Constant yet ever-changing,
I was before the earth began
I will be after it is gone.
I am not ever going to forget
Who I am.
Never has my experiences taken on such biblical like expressions.
The Lord Himself invited me to eat and drink at his table. And what a feast it was. For many years the Lord has invited me to his Home to eat at His table, but I’d never eaten and drunk and stayed so long before.
Most times in my life I’d get to the front door and call out, “Excuse me Lord, but I’ve got appointments and some other things to do, I’ll be back.....” Or I’d call out from the front porch in fear and trepidation, “Thanks for the invite, but I've got to watch the Simpons on TV and then go get a pizza”....or some other such silly avoidance. That is what humans are doing all the time. Our Father Himself is making an invitation and we making excuses for not visiting and staying awhile. Just like grown children who don’t have time to visit their Mother and Father.
Well I was invited and I stayed for awhile. Drinking deep from the dripping waters at their Source. I’m changed. I feel very normal now compared to the unbridled ecstasy of only a few hours ago. But don’t let that fool you. I only have to step back inside my Father house and sip the wine from His table for you to witness a drunkard and a fool who knows not his name nor his place of birth, but knows only happiness, joy and unending union with his Beloved.
Let me tell you what happened in my Fathers House!
After days of ecstatic laughter and mirth, hilariousness at being witness to the cosmic joke, after days of sexual-like foreplay and delight with my Beloved, I experienced directly what I'm calling the “G spot…… the God spot.”
It is a point that is not a point and that appeared to be located at a place in the center of the brain. But that point is not a point or place in space and time. That point is located at a place of pure Self conscious awareness, where the Witness lies. That point is the God spot, The place where Shiva and Shakti come together.
I sat at my Fathers table as the ‘Honored’ guest. Previously I sat at His table but not as the honored guest, but one of the many. This moment I was honored with the gift of the ‘God spot”. This God point is not in the brain it is in the subtle body that overlies the brain. I'm profoundly moved by this. Deeply moved by this clarification and distinction. By this direct experience. The God point is not in the body but the body is overlaid upon it. And oh my sweet scented flower of yoga, the amrit that flows from the God spot profoundly affects the body, dear sweet one whose kisses bring immortal flowing delight.
Take away the ecstasy, the endless cries of delight, the sounds like lovers in ecstatic embrace, the panting breaths, the swooning heart, the drunkard babbling of an intoxicated fool, and All that is remains is You. You are my sweet Eternal All. There is nowhere to look that You are not found. What I thought was I, was You. How silly, how foolish. You are All there is. Your bed chambers are open to me. Your table set with a feast of foods to fulfill all of my Divine Hunger. And Your wine, oh, sweet Heavenly Maiden. Your wine that You lovingly crush with Your dancing bare feet delight all who are lucky enough to come with an empty cup and a beggers heart and that You adoringly fill to overflowing abundance.
Today my Sweet, I shall drink and eat again if I am a lucky man. And I shall beg Your Kiss upon my forehead to open all my hearts for pleasure is Yours.
When two come together in Conscious Presence, as THIS, there is One, which
Love is a burning prayer.
I am able to respond to Love.
I am available to Love.
I am love's agent, love's messenger.
The Source of existence is delivered through Me as Love.
I, as Love in this Divine feminine form, dance in worship for all of creation.
I, as the embodiment of Love in this feminine form, long for the masculine,
To serve and worship.
Everything is God.
It avoids picking and choosing.
Only when you stop liking and disliking
Will all be clearly understood.
A split hairs difference,
And Heaven and Earth are set apart.
If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind.
but still it is called a teaching.
It cannot be taught, but it can be shown, indicated.
There is no way to say it directly,
but there are millions of ways to indicate it indirectly.
Lao Tzu says that the Truth cannot be said,
and the moment you say it, you have already falsified it.
The words, the language, the mind,
are utterly incapable.
Truth defies reason; it defies the head-oriented personality;
It defies the ego.
It cannot be manipulated.
It is utterly impossible for reason to encounter it.
This is the first thing to be understood,
and the more deeply you understand it
the more possibility will be available to me
to indicate toward it.
Self knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical.
Abandon the search for God, the creation and other matters of a similar
'What is Enlightenment?'
Charles Berner, Osha Reader, Jeff Love, Edrid, Lawrence Noyes and many others talk about enlightenment, enlightenment experiences and the Enlightenment Intensive.
'What is the Enlightenment Intensive?'
Part Two explores the origins and history of the Enlightenment Intensive and reveals the key principle that accelerates enlightenment experiences.
Written, directed and produced by Yoah Wexler, PhD
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