Enlightenment & the Enlightenment Intensive

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Journal of Enlightenment 3

 THE JOURNAL OF enlightenment
Volume 3      SELF Foundation,  Inc. Association         email: yoah@selffoundation.com    www.selffoundation.com
Part 2

What is the 
Enlightenment Intensive?

The short answer is that the Enlightenment Intensive is a residential retreat that accelerates the process of enlightenment or self realization. 

The retreat  combines a 10,000 year old  yoga self inquiry 'who am I' meditation,  with a modern, western technique called a ‘relating dyad’.  Relating dyads increase effective  communication,  focused listening and understanding thus  accelerating the process of enlightenment or self realization.  The retreat includes a variety of self reflective meditation activities including: the Enlightenment Dyad technique; sitting, walking, movement and silent meditations; lectures and wholesome vegetarian food. The retreat is a safe, supportive environment that encourages honesty, authenticity, understanding and deep meditative self reflection. 
   Three Paths Converge
The Enlightenment Intensive  was inspired by bringing together three unique self improvement practices.  Two of them are ancient traditional Eastern methods and the third was a  modern Western approach. 

The first  path is a 10,000 year old yoga meditation technique that focuses on the contemplation:  ‘who am I’ 

The  second of these ancient ways is a Buddhist meditation retreat developed in Japan around the 12th Century.  It's called a  Zen Sesshin.  Zen is the Japanese word for meditation and sesshin is a Japanese word that means an intensive retreat. 

And the third approach is  a  modern, western self help  process that increases communication,  understanding  and awareness between two people.  This process is called the relating dyad communication process. 

This tripartite synthesis was developed in 1968 by Charles Berner, a spiritual teacher and self improvement guru in the emerging human potential movement of the late 1950’s and 60’s.   Berner  had spent several years  helping  people to improve their  abilities to live life and noticed that some people made more self improvement progress than others.  A scientist by nature, he wondered why. He observed that  people who were engaged in personal growth activities made the most progress if  it was their self, as an individual, and not their ego or personality,  that was engaged in the growth activity.   He noticed that, “..... if a personality does a technique and not the actual individual whose personality it is then they don't make any progress.  That is to say they didn't know who or what they were.  They weren't living from themselves.  They were living from a personality.” 

Inspired by the new insight that people who knew who they were made the most progress in self improvement techniques, Berner continued pondering   what could be done to help people know  who they are. 

Berner experimented with several techniques aimed at helping people find out who  they are.   He  even tried telling people who they are but found  that  telling people didn't work because it was just an indirect experience.   It was one more piece of information  that was mentally superimposed  and confused with who  they really are. 

“Therefore, Berner said, “ I decided that what was needed was for a person to experience the truth of themselves for themselves.   It would have to be a direct ‘experience’ of the actual who that one is. This led me to the question used in ancient yogic methods, "Who am I?". 
      The “Who am I” Guru
As a teenager in Southern California, Berner had watched Ramana Maharshi in news reels at the local movie theater.  Ramana Maharshi,  known as the ‘who am I’ guru, was famous throughout India.  He had a constant stream of  local and international visitors who sought his spiritual guidance.   His advice was always the same:  “Seek to know your Self.   Practice self inquiry by asking yourself,   Who am I?  Then you will know everything.” 

Ramana Maharshi,  born in South India in 1879,  had a near death experience at the age of 17 that transformed his life.    “From that moment onwards,” he recalled, “the Self focused  on itself and absorption in the Self continued unbroken. God is none other than the Self.  To see the self is to see God; all else is but a vision of the mind.   There is no moment when the Self is not.  The Self is ever present.    You are always that. “ 
   Zen Sesshin 
Many years after Berner was initially influenced by Ramana Maharshi, he was was wondering what could be done to help people know who they are.  It was  a warm, sunny spring afternoon and Berner was lying down and looking up at some pine trees  when the realization of the Enlightenment Intensive structure came to him.    “Suddenly, I went blank and it occurred to me.  It could be just like or similar to a Japanese Zen sesshin in which people work intensely on who they are, but instead of working alone,  it would be in the context of a dyad.  And the koan I was going to use was the direct focusing question, ‘who am I.’” 

Zen is the Japanese word that means meditation.  Sesshin is the Japanese word that means an extended and intense meditation retreat.  Buddhist monasteries traditionally engage in zen sesshins or extended meditation retreats during the winter months when gardening and other outdoor activities such were curtailed by the cold and wet weather.  Berner knew about this tradition. 

Berner  was familiar with Zen sesshins and  the Japanese school of Buddhist meditation called Renzai Zen.  Renzai zen  is over 3000 years old and originally came from China  before it became popular in  Japan around the 12th Century.  The meditation practices of Renzai Zen  aren't concerned with philosophy, ideas  or religion but with direct experiencing of reality.  One of its practices is the use of  a riddle like question called a koan to help the meditator penetrate into the absolute truths of life.  The koan or riddle can never be solved by  reasoning or ideas.  The riddle can't be figured out.  It's resolution is the enlightenment experience,  always direct,  spontaneous  and immediate. 
   ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’
There are about seventeen hundred riddle like koans that have been been systematized and used by zen masters over the centuries.  All koans point  directly to our True nature. 

‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ is a koan that has become well known in the west.   It is attributed to the Zen Master Hakuin, a renowned painter, poet and sculptor who lived in 16th Century Japan. 

Hakuin emphasized that a koan can lead to enlightenment only after  tremendous power and effort arouse the Great Doubt.    “If you take up one koan and investigate it without ceasing, your thoughts will die and your ego demands will be destroyed.  It is as though a vast abyss opens up in front of you, with no place to put your hands and feet.  You face death, and your heart feels as though it were fire.  Then suddenly you are one with the koan, and body and mind are let go.....This is known as seeing into one's own nature.  You must push forward relentlessly, and with the help of this great concentration you will penetrate without fail to the infinite source of your own nature.” 

‘What did your original face look like before your father and mother were born?’ 
This koan, also well know today in the west, had its origins in China  around 700 AD.  It is credited to Hui Neng.   “If you want the truth cease running after things.  Stop thinking about what is right and what is wrong,  but just see, at this moment, what your original face was like before your father and mother were born.” 

Hui Neng's koan points one to their original nature that cannot be understood by logic, spoken by words, explained in writing or measured by reason.  “When you hear me speak of emptiness,” he said, “don't become attached to it, especially don't become attached to any idea of it.  Merely “sitting” still with your mind vacant, you fall into notional emptiness.  The boundless emptiness of the sky embraces the ‘ten thousand things’ of every shape and form....the sun, moon and stars; mountains and rivers; bushes and trees; bad people and good; good teachings and bad; heaven and hells.  All these are included in emptiness.  The emptiness of your original nature is just like this.  It too embraces everything.  To this aspect the word great applies.  All and everything is included in your own original nature.” 

Berner understood the transformative power  koans and decided to use the ancient yoga meditation, ‘who am I’ as the koan or riddle for the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat. 
   The Relating Dyad Process
By the late 1960’s, Berner had  created and experimented with a newly developed communication technique he called, ‘relating dyads’. 

‘Dyad’ is a Greek word and it means the number two, as in two people.   A   relating dyad is a formal contemplation and communication  exercise for two people.   It is a tool for developing self knowledge and improving relating skills.   The exercise increases your abilities to relate yourself to others and improves your communication, listening and understanding. 

The  relating dyad exercise  begins with two people sitting opposite each other taking five minute turns at being a listening and then a communicating partner.  Roles are switched every five minutes and the exercise lasts for a total of forty minutes.  The listening partner  remains silent, receptive and open after giving the communicating or active partner a self reflective ‘question.’   They listen without evaluation or interruption while their  communicating partner reflects or meditates  on who they are and then communicates what they are aware of. 

The ‘question’ that is given is not actually a ‘question.’  It is a command or instruction telling  the communicating partner to do something.    It is always given in the ‘Tell me’ form.   Given this way, the statement is actually not a question but an activity, something that has to be done.   This is more than a simple matter of semantics, but a fundamental distinction.  The fact that it is not a question implies that there can be no right or wrong answers.  Your response to your partners instruction is not an answer but what you become conscious of as a result of your self reflection. 

Berner developed scores of different dyad instructions to deal with a variety of important issues in life such as, relationships (Tell me your goals for our relationship. Tell me what sex is.);  understanding (Tell me what understanding is.  Tell me something about yourself you want me to know.);  guilt (Tell me something you've done that you think you shouldn't have done.); communication (Tell me what communication is.  Tell me how you want to be communicated with.); goal setting (Tell me your goals for life.); etc. 

It was in the late 1960’s that Berner began to experiment with the enlightenment dyad instruction, “Tell me who you are.”    It was Berner's belief that  if we open up to each other and at the same time not hurt each other as we deeply self reflect on ourselves, we create a situation in which a direct absolute experience of our True Nature can spontaneously occur. 

It was on the second of July, 1968, that Berner tested his ideas for the Enlightenment Intensive.  There were 26 people at that first experimental  Enlightenment Intensive held  at The Institute of Ability near Lucerne Valley, California.  The  Institute sat at  the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, 125 miles north east of Los Angeles with a commanding view of the empty high desert floor.  The retreat was a surprising success with many participants becoming self enlightened in little more than a weekend. 

Berner, ever the scientist, asked himself  a new question.  Why did so many people experience enlightenment in such a short period of time, when most traditional techniques took several years of intense effort to bear similar fruit? 

Berner  soon answered that fundamental question.   He discovered  that understanding  was the key factor that  accelerated  enlightenment experiences.  When two people worked together on the project of enlightenment with  intense self reflection or meditation and combined this effort with deep contact and honest communication to another the process of enlightenment was accelerated. 

This was a unique enlightenment technique, because up to this point,  the majority of traditional methods used for enlightenment were based  upon isolation, solitude and withdrawal from life and society.  This consciousness expanding  technique was different because it was  balance of solitary introspection combined with presentation and honest communication to another. 

 “Tell me who you are.” 
 “I'm feeling tension in my head and a nervous excitement  in my belly.   The kind of nervousness I feel when I've met someone new that I like or am attracted to.” 
   Consciousness Results From Interchange
One of the principles behind of this dramatic acceleration of enlightenment experiences was the idea that  “consciousness is that state which results from the interchange between individuals.”    Increase the interchange or contact between yourself and another and you expand your consciousness. 

When you choose to communicate your true self to another you become conscious of your  true self.   If you relate or communicate something other than your true self, such as a personality, a thought, an emotional state of being or something you are identified with  you will become conscious of that.   If you relate anger to another you become conscious of  that.  Relate kindness or confusion or generosity and you become more conscious of those aspects of yourself. 
   Identifications are the Barrier
When you intend to experience or relate the truth of yourself to another,  the barrier to knowing  your true self is the identifications you have with who you think you are.  The identifications begin  when you are only an infant and doing typical baby like activities like sucking your thumb, crawling around the floor, crying when you want something.    You innocently begin to notice yourself in a baby body and you identify it with being you.   Your parents and others reinforce this identification by cooing, “Oh what a cute little girl you are.  Are you my cute little baby.”   As you grow  from infancy into adulthood you ignorantly and innocently take on other identifications such as personality traits (always happy; ignoring conflict; angry at the world), ways of being (being kind; being strong; being sexy) and other ideas about life (life is hard; no one cares). 

Identification begins by not being conscious of what and who you really are.  You mistakenly think or feel yourself to to be a  body, a mind, or other things that you were taught by parents and society or that you thought you were in order to relate to others. 

The principle behind the enlightenment dyad technique is that  as your contemplation uncovers things about yourself and you communicate those things to another, the process of de-identification from who you think you are  rapidly takes place.   If  what you become conscious of  is basically untrue, that which you have identified yourself with will separate and vanish to the degree it is understood by another.  By continually  presenting what comes into your consciousness de-identification occurs to the degree it is understood by another. As you present  idea after idea (I'm not a nice person; life is hard and cruel) , of feeling after feeling (I feel bad I've hurt others; I loved her with all my heart), of sensation after sensation (I've got this tingling in my stomach that tells me I've done something I'll regret), of things you have mistaken yourself for (I've always thought I was a generous person; I didn't think she really liked me but I was wrong),  de-identification  from all things  occur.      As you relate what you are aware of to a non judgmental listening partner,  your mental confusions, preconceived ideas, fears and fantasies begin to dissolve and that which is untrue about yourself vanishes,  that which is truth remains. 

Consciousness is the interchange between you and another.   Consciousness of self expands  to the degree that you  let others experience your self as you are.    The magic that occurs from working with partners is the the basis of the enlightenment dyad process.  Working with a partner keeps you focused.   The live interaction with others and their genuine open invitation for you to present the truth of yourself keeps you to the task of self discovery inspite of your inclinations to become distracted by thoughts in the mind, sensations in the body or events in the environment and ultimately  produces enlightenment experiences in as little as a weekend, instead of years. 


Love Is A Burning Prayer
by Cynthia Spillman 

Enlightenment Intensive 
San Diego, California

As Love I come willingly to the present, 
to another, to meet in communion. 

When two come together in Conscious Presence, 
as THIS, there is One, which is Love. 

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

Enlightenment Masters Teacher Training Course 
Is This Course  For You? 
YES!  If you want to ......
  • ... Master the Enlightenment Intensive Technique 
  • ... Promote and facilitate Enlightenment Intensive Retreats
  • ... Guide others through the barriers to Enlightenment
  • ... Learn the psychology and metaphysics of Enlightenment 
  • ... Create a livelihood in harmony with your Highest Self
  • ... Empower your Knowingness and Wisdom 
  • ... Live in harmony with your True Self.
You will learn how to ......
  • ... Promote, organize & facilitate the Enlightenment Intensive
  • ... Be an Enlightenment Master
  • ... Train Enlightenment Intensive monitors and staff
  • ... Help others experience Enlightenment
  • ... Recognize the Enlightened State
  • ... Teach the Enlightenment Technique
  • ... Correct Enlightenment Technique errors
  • ... Overcome the obstacles to Enlightenment 
  • ... Give Enlightenment lectures
  • ... Conduct Interviews
If you are inspired by the Enlightenment Intensive and want to facilitate this empowering process with others ..... 
And if you want more knowledge of the Enlightenment Intensive process for your own evolution ..... 
Contact me to see if this Teacher Training program is for you.
The Relating Dyad Process
Jesus said, If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.     The Gospel of Thomas quoted from The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
Holistic Yoga 
Chapter 5 


The following chapter is from the Holistic Yoga Mandala Book
The 32 chapters are a personal and spiritual development well being program. 
For more information on the program  or to get a copy of this book send me an email .

The aspect of people's interaction with each other which brings a person out in life and causes him to shine is acknowledgment.  When you are acknowledged for something you have done or for a quality you have, underlying this is a recognition and an acknowledgment of you.  Acknowledgment does not only mean a compliment for something nice you have done or for an achievement you have accomplished.  Acknowledgment in its most essential form is the acknowledged recognition by another of you as an individual. 

If a person goes through life unacknowledged for anything he does, good or bad, he will tend to be withdrawn, held back, and afraid in life.  He will not shine as an individual.  Yet he is an individual, capable of shining in life and presenting his inherent capacity and uniqueness.  Acknowledgment is what brings out this inherent capacity and uniqueness. 

People hold themselves in because of the fear of consequences.  They feel that there will be consequences put on them if they really let themselves out.  Much of this pattern, this tendency to hold back, is instilled during childhood.  Once set, the pattern of holding back tends to regenerate itself.  Even apart from holding back due to consequences, if there is never much attention given an individual at all, that person will not so much tend to hold back, he will never really start to come out in the first place. 

Most of the time, people start to come out and then encounter a world of subtle consequences and acknowledgments.  Suppose a child is being brought up and is only genuinely acknowledged by others when he plays the piano well.  There will be a natural tendency for him to pour himself into playing the piano well and to shine as a pianist.  In psychology, this is the well known principle of positive reinforcement.  This is fine from the point of view of his accomplishment as a pianist.  But what about the rest of his abilities and natural interests?  What about who he is as an individual, apart from his playing the piano or doing anything?  These other inherent qualities will all tend to be held back because the key problem in this example is that the acknowledgment comes only under a certain condition: playing the piano well. 

Acknowledgment, when it is conditional, tends to have some good effect and some negative effect.  Whenever this person played the piano well, people would say, “How beautiful.  What you have done is marvelous.  You are so good that you bring tears to people's eyes.  Please play some more.”  So he would go back to the piano and shine, pouring his heart into the music.  In itself, this is fine.  But later on he thinks,  “You know, the truth is that what I really want to do is build model boats.  But that is out of the question for me because every time I bring up my interest in boats, people go silent and look worried.”  So he holds back.  The acknowledgment of him as an individual is conditional on his piano playing, at an implicit level.  Others acknowledge him only as a piano player, not for who he is in all his aspects and interests, and not for his inherent worth as an individual. 

The acknowledgment that I am talking about is simply a communicated recognition by others of the truth.  The truth is that you are uniquely you, and you are a divine, conscious entity who has choice.  So the first acknowledgment of an individual which can be made regardless of the circumstances is that one.  This acknowledgment is not a conditional expression of gratitude, it is an unconditional recognition and acknowledgment of a living truth, the truth of you. 

A child who has been brought up by parents who have the capacity to be aware of the child's uniqueness as a conscious individual, and who acknowledge that living truth in all their interactions, such a child will naturally shine in life.  He will know who he is, naturally.  Who he actually is will be self evident fact of life for him and as a result he will shine. 

The shining, the radiance, the pouring out of ability, comes from you, who you actually are.  All of these qualities, along with enthusiasm, intelligence, and the flow of life energy, come out to the degree that you have been received and acknowledged by others, unconditionally.  This kind of acknowledgment is a recognition of the truth and is a major key to success in life.  All successful people who are not only wealthy and accomplished but happy and without guilt, are good acknowledges, either verbally or nonverbal.  They acknowledge the qualities of others and the fundamental worth of each individual.  They can even acknowledge a person's weak points without causing him to suppress or hold back.  People naturally like to work for such individuals because then they can make mistakes and still keep coming out and shining.  They can release their hidden talents and be successful throughout all of life because they have been received and acknowledged by another. 

Suppose a person has murdered three people.  Is that worth acknowledging?  Yes, it is, because it is the truth.  It may not be worthy of a compliment but it is worthy of acknowledgment of the fact, in an unconditional spirit.  This is the mechanism of confession, and it works powerfully when done properly.  A person comes in and says,  “I murdered two people,” and the other person says, “OK.  What else did you do?”  The guy thinks, “What?  He's not going to react?  He's not going to have me executed?  He's not going to put a consequence on what I've done?  I guess I'll come out and tell it all.”  So he says, “Well, I actually murdered three people.”  The person says, “OK.  What else did you do?” 

Done properly, this procedure works miracles in relieving guilt and bringing a person out so that he can go on in life in good fashion, even though he has made mistakes and has weaknesses.  I am using a simplistic example here but the mechanism I am describing is that simple and powerful.  This kind of acknowledgment loses its power when consequences are put upon what is confessed.  If consequences are put upon him, the person thinks, Forget it, I shouldn't have told him I murdered  two people.  I'll never tell him about that third guy, ever.”  So he holds himself back in all of life as a result. 

Acknowledgment acts as a form of positive reinforcement for the individual.  To the degree that it is done as a matter of truth rather than evaluation, it brings out the individual,.  This is because at the core the individual is the truth, a divine, conscious entity which is not ultimately subject to evaluation.  You are not dependent in any way upon acknowledgment.  You are you in any case, under any circumstances.  However, acknowledgment provides that contact with another in truth, and as result you come out. 

How to a be a good acknowledger is not specifically the subject of this lesson.  However, the first step is to be acknowledged yourself, what you have done and have not done, what your strong points and weak points are, and what your views are.  This is the subject and purpose of this lesson.  Having been received by one other individual, and acknowledged, will bring you out, and in such a condition all other personal improvement work that you do will go more easily and quickly.  Even if you feel that you have been received and acknowledged by others in life, doing this lesson will bring you out even more. 

1.  Write your thoughts and feelings in your spiritual journal.  Write down whatever experiences you have had during the day with regard to your spiritual life. 
2.  If you have a coach for the Holistic Yoga Mandala Program, arrange a  private interview. 
3.  Listen to an other or others that you don't know and after listening to them, acknowledge them. 
4.  Listen to someone you know and after listening, acknowledge them. 
5.  Write down what your strong points and your weak points are.  Let your coach or someone you know read this list.  Let this list be acknowledged. 
6.  Write down what you've done and what you've failed to do.  Let your coach or someone you know read this list.

Book Store
Knowing Your Self 
by Yoah Wexler, PhD 

Book and CD 
$25.00 + $5.00 p/h 

The book has over 100 self awareness topics and a chapter describing how to do dyads.   The CD has two tracks. 
Track 1 teaches how to do the Relating Dyad Exercise. 
Track 2 is a used for the Relating Dyad Exercises.  It is a gong sound that chimes a bell every five minutes signifying whose turn it is to self reflect and communicate and whose turn it is to listen. 

to order contact me by email:   info@selffoundation.com

8 Talks on Enlightenment & the Enlightenment Intensive
by Charles Berner 

Audio CD or tape (6 hours) 

Eight lectures by the originator of the Enlightenment Intensive from the original Enlightenment Masters Teacher Training Course:
What Enlightenment Is and Is Not (30 minutes);  On the Object of Enlightenment  (30 minutes)The Enlightenment Technique  (60 minutes);  Contemplation Explained  (60 minutes);  The Enlightened State  (60 minutes);  Levels of Enlightenment  (60 minutes);  The Energy Flow of an Intensive  (30 minutes);  Energy and Enlightenment  (30 minutes)

to order contact me by email:   info@selffoundation.com

Who Am I
Enlightenment Intensive 
Ball Cap 

$15.00 + $5.00 p/h

embroidered logo
black cotton cap/red trim
adjustable size buckle

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