It is important to remember that no one’s experiences can or will be like anyone else. To compare oneself with another is just another obstacle on the path to the awakened state. With that in mind, it can be helpful to read of another person’s description of their process and experience. Here are a few of these:
Something different happened on the third day when I was so clear and focused that I noticed I was holding the question WHILE I was reporting what was coming up for me. I had been doing it for quite some time without noticing, but now it became powerful. My mind seemed capable of much more that anything I ever believed. I decided to focus even more intensely and passionately on my question. It became like knocking on a door, louder and louder.
The ‘stuff’ that was coming up was no longer a distraction, but a kind of ‘food’ for Me. I was discovering how I could use it to help me go over the top. The technique was now creating an accelerating dynamo of release. I began to cease putting any inhibition on expressing what was coming up. The very desire of wanting to inhibit was proof that it needed to be expressed and released. I no longer monitored what was coming up. I was dedicated to doing whatever I could to release anything that was blocking my experience of the question. The more I dropped all censoring, the more accelerated the process of release became.
Pressure was building up tremendously, and the ‘walking’ meditation and meals became a necessary ‘cooling off.’ I could feel that this pressure wasn’t coming from within me only, but also from the immense pressure building up for each person in the GROUP. I recalled when Carl Jung wrote about the purpose of the cauldron in ‘alchemy’, he was describing something very similar to what was happening now. Without our even knowing, we were both individually and as a group, becoming like a cauldron, or even more accurate, a pressure cooker, so that sooner or later, something had to happen, had to blow, where there had to be a release of the accumulated pressure that the entire group was creating. And what is that release? I didn’t know where it would lead, but sensed that it was a necessary part of the process and that it was going to be fine.
An Experience of Alchemy
As this continued, I gradually began to understand what Jung and the alchemists meant when they spoke of “reconciliation of opposites.” My mind could see that every thought immediately was evoking its opposite. If I thought I was a good person, the thought that I was bad immediately emerged. I could see it happening, right in front of my minds’ eye. It must have been happening all the time, but I had never noticed it like this before. The pressure to see more and more increased, and my mind began to be something I could see working. But who was watching all of this?
Now the question of “Who am I?” became incredibly real. I needed to know more than ever. It was all and everything to me. This set the stage for the final duality. The final duality I was experiencing was “What is the stuff I am expressing” vs. “Who is watching.” It’s harder to say, than to experience when one is being actually cooked. What was happening was that by not censoring while holding the question, the stuff from very deep in my unconscious was beginning to come up. Every time I expressed something, all I did was to create more ‘space’ for something else to come up. And what was the nature of that stuff? It was stuff I didn’t even know was there. Stuff that I had either forgotten or things I never knew consciously because I refused to admit them to myself. The technique was creating a pump that was forcing stuff up from the depths of the unconscious. This was itself very powerful and healing, but since it always came up through the lens of the question, something else happened too.
When it always comes through the lens of the question, the stuff coming up becomes ‘food for the ‘Being’, so to speak. “I” was eating, digesting, and excreting everything that was coming up. I was regarding everything that was coming up as simply ‘stuff that was in the way of Me being able to experience ME. I just wanted to disperse the clouds in the way. All the ‘stuff’ had no more significance that that. Then, I realized thatI was witnessing the stuff AS stuff and since it was just stuff, I increasingly knew it wasn’t ME. This knowing was accelerating and becoming more and more real. My velocity of seeing was somehow growing so that the question changed slightly in form. I began to ask the question – “What is left when all the false stuff is gone?” The Sun is all that’s left, and we see that it’s been shining all the time. I began to see that “I” was that Sun.
I now realized fully that as “I” was able to see more and more clearly what was coming up, that it could only be Me that is seeing. “Who am I?” was suddenly answered as the one who is seeing/experiencing all this stuff. All this sounds logical, but that isn’t the way I experienced it. It was more like a nuclear explosion that propelled me out of ignorance into a clear knowing of Who I am. I saw that “I” have been here all the time. This made me laugh and laugh. This was the biggest joke of all. I have been looking for “Me” all of my life.
In that moment, all of the ‘stuff’ fell away. I felt free for the first time in my life. I wasn’t all that stuff, those thoughts, the stories I always told myself. I was outside all of that. LIFE was coursing through me, filling me up, loving and caressing me like nothing I ever imagined. My mind was quiet, still, but I no longer felt empty. I wasn’t searching any longer for I had found. I did the best I could to express to my partner what was happening and she understood for she was also experiencing some of what I was describing. Even my way of perceiving changed. It was as if I had been looking at a two-dimensional world all of my life. Now, everything was 3-D, more full and rich, and definitely totally Alive. Life was all-around me, vibrant and there were more colors too. How strange and wonderful to be so quiet and empty inside while feeling so full, complete, and unified. I was Me.
Confronting One’s Shadow
Asking fundamental questions regarding my existence has always been in me, such as “What am I here do to?” and “How did I get here?” I look back and wonder if the day dreaming I was admonished for when I was in kindergarten might really have been a form of contemplation of these fundamental questions. I also was taken over by this profound Love I felt inside and didn’t understand from what I saw around me how others didn’t feel what I felt. How could I share it in such a way that others would feel it too? I may not have known it then, but I was asking these questions at a very early age. Perhaps this was what led me to a deep experience of God in my teens. Even then I knew enough not to speak those words as they would be considered outrageous and blasphemous. I experienced Love/God as Me. I didn’t know what to do with it and I didn’t know how to express or share That. This more than anything else would cause me much sadness throughout a good part of my life.
As I got older some of these early experiences diminished as I had to focus on my career and earning a living. The C.I. helped change that. What I learned through the C.I. is to contemplate and arrive at an answer where I felt done and complete in that moment. Before this, receiving answers seemed like an exercise in futility for it was hit and miss at best and I was often left feeling incomplete or unsatisfied.
Through the C.I. I was able to contemplate those fundamental questions and I noticed a phenomenon occurring in that I could arrive at and receive an answer through direct experience. I began experiencing states of total clarity and absolute knowing through every fiber of my being, an arrival at an unshakeable Truth. In that experience there is nothing more to be said and there is a big period (.) at the end of it. There are many stages of this contemplating/arriving process throughout the Intensive. It ultimately led me to a direct experience of Who/What I really Am.
But it isn’t always easy. The most difficult aspect of the C.I. was in confronting my dark side that I personally tried to deny ever existed because it seemed too ugly. You know what I’m talking about, the judgmentalness, anger, deep sadness, bad thoughts about people, etc. After all I’m a loving, good and caring person, aren’t I? How do I reconcile those two opposing considerations, all the ‘good’ stuff and all the ‘bad’ stuff? During the Intensive I came face to face with those “demons” that resided in me, including shame, blame, and doubt. And I watched others do the same thing. As I sat across from my partner, I realized that I could be completely non-judgmental as I received all that they expressed. It was a poignant moment for as I discovered this I knew that I might be able to empty my own trash without being judged. Over time I could see that not only could I be the witness for another, but I could be my own witness. In the evolution of this unfolding process a lightening up, if you will, came over me and the despair and shame and blame I felt before lifted like an albatross around my neck. Over time it is the process of acceptance that I came to know and Be Who I AM unequivocally. It takes guts and courage to sit across from another person whether you know them or not (it is debatable as to which is preferable) and empty your trash. But, to do so, believe it or not, can be a magical experience that words cannot fully convey. It truly is a process and journey of alchemy, turning lead into gold.
Loving and Discovering Oneself
Before the Intensive I was uncertain of many things. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and more importantly I wasn’t sure how I would experience it. I was worried that I would “close-up” and that it wouldn’t work on me. On the other hand I felt if it worked there was a chance that I wouldn’t recognize who I was after the weekend. Either way I was eager to put myself through the experience and find out.
What I’ve learned since the Intensive is a stronger awareness now of what actually makes me tick and I feel like I’ve gotten closer to the real Nick. I had the misconception before the Intensive that it would be a one-stop fix. I had this idea that I would be in a euphoric state and everything would be happy and wonderful afterwards. What I wasn’t counting on was the continued struggle. I hoped and thought that I would feel less conflicted in life and that I would not be so confused.
The very next day after the intensive when I “re-entered” society I was thrown for a loop. I started my day feeling good and energized. Around mid-afternoon I began to notice some feelings surface that I didn’t like. It lasted a couple of hours and I started thinking that all of the work I had done over the weekend was insignificant. I tried reminding myself of what I had learned but it was hard to focus and think clearly and I began to panic.
It wasn’t until I spoke to my twin sister that I pulled myself out of the swirl of anxiety and negative thoughts. In speaking to her about my weekend and explaining my breakthroughs- the strength returned. I felt that I pulled myself out of the vortex of bad energy and fear- but was angry that I had gone there. But as quickly as I felt anger over the episode it became easier to diffuse the anger and remind myself of the fundamentals I had learned over the weekend.
I feel that the cornerstone of my work during the Intensive was that it’s imperative to love myself and appreciate who I am. I feel that I’m just beginning to heal myself and it’s going to take time. I’ve felt the deep desire for love to be in my life and feel that I finally understand that until I truly love and appreciate myself, I won’t allow others to love and appreciate me.
A week after the Intensive I feel that I’ve developed a mini-mantra that I nurture myself with. When I feel the rollercoaster of emotions start and see myself beginning to fear anything and everything, I immediately remind myself to love and appreciate who I am and not to doubt or attach to the negative thoughts. I also keep that mantra in mind as I communicate every day with others.
Another breakthrough I feel from the Intensive relates to my interaction with people. Again struggle is involved, but I feel that I give more attention and affection to those around me since the weekend. I’ve been trying not to dismiss or make snap-judgments about people and to appreciate others. Over the past couple years especially I feel that I’ve become clouded in regards to how I see people. I felt in general that I had very little patience for anyone and mostly felt the need to interact as little as possible.
Since the Intensive I’ve felt a stronger compassion for those around me. However I still feel the old feelings surface sometimes of impatience and frustration, but again try to keep myself in check and bring love and acceptance to the situation. In general I have a stronger sense of self and feel ease in making the distinction between who I am and the fears that follow me.
I feel that I’m starting a new chapter in my life that will bring me closer to the person I’ve always felt I really am. No longer will I let fear and insecurity damage me the way it has in the past. I’m realistic and aware that thoughts of fear will return, but I feel like my stronger sense of self now helps me to distinguish them between the real me and just the fears that pop in my head.