How the Enlightenment Intensive process works
A contemplation technique
A communication exercise
Intensity of and immersion in the process
The constant attention of the staff
At the start of the Intensive, you are taught a simple contemplation technique using the question: Who am I?
(For more experienced participants, the question may be What am I? or a different question.)
You will be contemplating this one question virtually every waking moment for three days. This is part of what makes the process so intense and well-focused.
As the lectures make clear, the aim is not for you to come up with a ‘rational’ or ‘cognitive’ answer to the question. Rather, your intention is to experience for yourself, within yourself, the actual truth of who you are … whatever that may be.
Steady contemplation builds up an intensity of focus and energy. Instead of just holding you in continuous silent meditation, the Enlightenment Intensive technique combines this with communication exercises.
These 40-minute exercises are the main feature of the Intensive.
During the communication exercises, or “dyads”, you pair up with another participant (a different one each time). Then, you and your partner take turns to express what you are experiencing as you contemplate.
So, while you ask yourself “Who am I?” and then describe whatever you experience, your partner simply looks and listens in silence.
After five minutes, you switch roles: you become the listening partner while your partner contemplates their question and tells you about their experiences.
A typical day of an Enlightenment Intensive
The Enlightenment Intensive has a full daily schedule from early morning to late evening.
Your time is spent alternating between the communication exercises and periods of silent contemplation.
There are walking periods, meals, a working period and a rest period. These periods are silent, though you may ask for guidance from the staff.
The schedule is designed to build up a focus of attention and energy on contemplating your question.