"Seeing others taking risks to say what was really going on for them was, for me, incredibly inspiring, and I began to feel very close to several in the group, despite the formalities. That second day was the noisiest - there was screaming, shouting, hysterical laughter, yet all the time we remained sitting respectfully in our neat rows!

being in the world

choosing a path

Someone who is seriously committed to the Absolute Truth has two paths to choose from. They may take the Renunciate Path, which involves leaving the world, giving up relationships and instead entering into a profound inner relationship with the Truth. This can involve entering a closed spiritual community such as a monastery, convent or hermitage. An alternative choice is the Householder Path, which involves pursuing a spiritual discipline and inner commitment to Truth whilst remaining part of society. This might include engaging in work, parenting, relationships and the community.

The majority of people on Enlightenment Intensives fall into the category of Householders and there are several ways in which Enlightenment Intensives can support those on this path:

learning through the power of interpersonal contact

The majority of traditional spiritual retreats are conducted in silence. This means participants seeking and experiencing Truth in these settings go through their spiritual journey apart from other people in a quite fundamental way, an emphasis more in line with the Renunciate Path. On Enlightenment Intensives a large part of the schedule is taken up with dyad enlightenment exercises. Rather than just becoming aware of the contents of their consciousness, as they would do in most spiritual meditative practices, during these enlightenment exercises participants must also convey this content honestly and clearly to others. Meditating whilst in communication with others is particularly powerful and useful for Householders because it anchors spirituality and direct experiences of Truth in the world in a way that traditional meditative practices and retreats do not. Absolute Reality is not a topic much discussed in most people's everyday life and so the opportunity to express and communicate an enlightenment experience fully to other participants during the Enlightenment Intensive itself can help a person enormously in acknowledging and integrating what has happened.

If a person is to succeed at the Householder role of honouring Truth whilst engaging with the world, then allowing openness and deep contact with others while owning the truth in their presence is essential, no matter how demanding. Participating in an Enlightenment Intensive can vastly improve an individual's capacity to be authentic and present in all areas of their lives. Those who attend Enlightenment Intensives regularly often become adept at communicating with unusual candidness and in letting difficult internal experiences be seen by other people. The experience during the enlightenment exercises of being seen, heard, accepted and not judged in any way, no matter what they are going through, also gives participants on an Enlightenment Intensive a trust in others they may never have encountered to that degree before and a preparedness to develop those qualities in their relationships after the retreat.

the courage to communicate absolute truth to others

The ability and willingness to bring Truth into the world and act from it are key duties of the Householder Path - yet can be very difficult to honour in practice. Many participants feel extremely shy when they have just had an enlightenment experience and find it very difficult to communicate to others what has happened. Yet the dyad format on which Enlightenment Intensives are based requires participants to communicate any direct experiences of Truth that occur, fully and openly to their partners in the dyad exercises, in spite of any reluctance. In this way, Enlightenment Intensives effectively require participants to take responsibility for their enlightenment and own it outwardly as much as possible, in keeping with the focus of the Householder Path.