When this technique began in the late 1960’s, it was given on a stand-alone basis. People from many different backgrounds attended this 3-day event and simply went home when it was over. Some people stayed in touch of course, but for most, the person had whatever experience they had and had to continue their work alone in whatever way they could. There was no way to process the issues that might have come up during or after the Intensive and, for many, there was nowhere to go now.
One of the reasons why I began to give these Intensives is because, from the beginning, I wanted to create programs for those who wanted to continue their inner work after the Intensive ended. Also, I felt it was necessary as many people suffered as they re-entered the world after an Intensive and didn’t know what to do with or how to apply the experiences they had during the 3 days.
In order to do the 3-Day intensive one must be a student of the meditation/contemplation courses, see links below.
In the 3-Day Intensive we use the dyad technique which asks each person to communicate to their partner what comes up for them as a result of their contemplation. We therefore must look clearly at what is meant by communication. It is not what passes for communication in most everyday types of relating, which can be characterized more as people talking at each other, rather than with each other. Normally, there is often no sense of recognition of ‘otherness.’
Real communication, as used in the 3-Day Intensive is defined in a specific way. It is made up of three components: attention, intention, and receiving exactly what is expressed and without judgment, so that the person expressing feels completely heard. Non-judgmentalness is two-fold. When we are expressing to our partner, we are asked to express with intention whatever comes up without censoring oneself. This requires a willingness to let go of all judgments about what is coming up. And when we are receiving communication from our partner, we are asked to listen with intention and without judgment, evaluation, affectation, consolation, etc. This is what creates the conditions where release can occur. When this communication process takes place, phenomenal effects can occur. Not only do we feel heard which is very helpful, but we may feel that we are either completely done with something or are on the way to a sense of completion. It is helpful to consider that the mind is composed in large part of uncompleted communication cycles, caused by many things including not being heard or understood, being judged unfairly, and invalidation. These uncompleted cycles create the internal dialogue and keep it going. Because the “dyad” technique brings about the completion of many communication cycles, we can literally watch the mind wind down, which increasingly makes contemplation of our ‘essence’ question possible.
The Theory of Release of Obstacles
We must work on more than just our conscious mind. In fact, if this were all we had to face, the process of quieting the mind would not be difficult at all. The intensive takes us into the realm of our own unconscious. To demonstrate this, have you ever noticed that if you deal with one thought and let it go, that another soon replaces it? Why? The reason is that our mind is driven by the contents of our unconscious with all of its material lying dormant within us and it is this part that we must face. This is what the alchemists, transpersonal psychologists, and mystics have called the ‘descent into hell.’
Although there is no way to avoid this challenge, the “dyad” creates a safe way to engage in this process. Also, it provides a natural, organic flow for the surfacing of this material. As the conscious contents of our mind are released, space for the deeper material is then created. This, in turn, allows for even deeper material to surface so that it too can be released. What isn’t released will come up later on its own. No force is necessary or even helpful. Through this process of contemplation, conditions are created where the mind quiets and contemplation deepens. It now becomes possible to receive answers to the question we are contemplating. We become able to experience directly the truth of ‘Who’ we are.
Specifics on Contemplation
We come to see that we learn to contemplate simply by doing it. And that by doing so, we become more able to contemplate in a deeper and concentrated way. Here are some specific things to be aware of as we pursue our contemplation:
1. Patience and persistence: the intensive process has helped thousands of people, but there is no shortcut. We must be willing to just do the technique. At times it may be tedious, while at other times it can be emotionally turbulent. There is great value in developing an attitude of just doing the Work.
2. Willingness to work without expectation of reward: There is no way to know when or if one will make a breakthrough. Expectations are a big part of our internal life and therefore are a part of what will arise in the intensive. They are to be worked with in the same way as any thoughts or emotions, i.e., they are to be expressed to one’s partner. At some point, we learn to just do the technique for its own sake.
3. Realizing what our job is and isn’t: Our job is actually quite simple. It is to contemplate the question and express what comes up as a result of that contemplation. That’s it. We may have all sorts of ideas of other things we must do, but all those things are just in the way of real contemplation. Fortunately that isn’t a problem for us as the technique will handle all of that.
4. Developing trust in the process. As we just do the technique, faith grows.
How Enlightenment Happens
Let’s be specific. We cannot accomplish our task by demanding, commanding, or forcing our way to enlightenment. In fact, even our hard work is no guarantee that anything will happen. Our effort is far more about letting go of those things that are in the way than anything else. Expectations, belief systems, worry, trying to force things, etc. are what we must deal with, and with which the technique is concerned. That’s all we can do. Perhaps the rest is up to Grace.
Enlightenment comes when it will. It arises when we least expect it and it does so on its own terms. Martin Heidegger wrote that it’s not about our ‘getting’ anything. ‘Getting’ is too aggressive of an approach. It is a grasping that often masks desperation. The inner condition we are in as we contemplate and inquire into our question is very important. Answers arise only when we ask in a certain way. We do our part, make our effort, and then – “It” gives. The modern mind doesn’t think in these terms. We want results. We want a reward for our efforts. We do not consider that maybe there is something on the other side that awaits us and can respond to our asking.
There is another way of looking at this as well. Some say that the moment you truly ASK the question, you will receive the answer. If that is true, them it means all of our efforts are really concerned with getting to a place where we actually are able to ASK. Here again we see that the inner state we are in influences our ability to receive an answer to our inquiry.
What our efforts do is to prepare the way for an experience to arise. But this occurs in a counter-intuitive way. With enough effort, we discover that no effort on our part will ever be enough. WE must become aware of this and then simultaneously see that we must do the technique and engage in the process of asking and contemplating. We then begin to just do it, and this brings us increasingly into the Present moment, or into Present time. This is the doorway we can create, a kind of portal that can take us to where we want to go. We find ourselves moving into a state where we are simply contemplating and this allows for a dissolving of ego and a merging with the question itself. We are becoming the question. It is then that we may see that we are the One who is Asking.
There is a story of a Sufi master who was recognized as such by the residents of his village. He was known to be odd, but being a wise man, his behavior was often excused. One day at noon, the master rode his donkey into the village square, yelling at the top of his lungs – “Where is my donkey, where is my donkey?” He rode around and around and then rode out of town back to where he lived. Everyone was bewildered. They wondered if their master had lost his mind. Couldn’t he see that he was riding on the very donkey he was in panic trying to find? He then did this everyday for one week at exactly the same time of day, getting all the villagers attention. Was he teaching them something?
Perhaps, each of us must become like that Master, trying with enormous effort and sometimes panic to find the donkey on which we are riding. That is in essence what the Enlightenment Intensive is. Crazy? That’s for you to find out.