"What a difference it made to articulate, to actually say in spoken words, thoughts and feelings I had stewed over for years. And to be listened to! To grope for the fragile framework of an insight and not have it demolished by a dismissive remark such as "All you need to do is..." To reveal a hesitancy or vulnerability and not have it ignored with simplistic value judgements such as "There's nothing to stop you....""

the technique

The technique used and taught in detail on an Enlightenment Intensive is simple and straightforward, yet often challenging in practice. Part of the time participants use the technique to contemplate silently on their own, but during the enlightenment exercises there is an added step of communicating the results of their contemplation to others. This has the effect of taking their contemplation to a deeper level:

focus

The first step in the contemplation technique is for the participant to focus on what it is they want to get enlightened about. Although there is only one Truth to be experienced, traditional meditation schools have long recognised that selecting and working on a small aspect of reality acts as a focusing device which leads to enlightenment experiences in a much shorter space of time. Participants on an Enlightenment Intensive use one of four questions as a focusing tool: "Who am I?", "What am I?", "What is Life?" or "What is Another?".

intention

Next, participants will align themselves with their intention to directly experience the Truth of what they have put their attention on. This is an important step as many powerful and compelling feelings, beliefs and insights unfold as a person contemplates. Participants need to remain committed to their goal of experiencing the Truth in order to avoid becoming distracted or discouraged.

openness

For this step, a person must simply surrender. They must just be open to anything at all occurring in their consciousness, be it the Truth or not, and just notice what is there.

communication

If the person is in one of the partnered enlightenment exercises which make up a large part of the schedule, then they will include the step of communicating to their dyad partner what occurred in their consciousness as they contemplated. They should try to get across clearly and honestly what it is they noticed so that their partner understands it.

Their dyad partner will simply listen silently and receive what they communicate without responding or reacting in any way, either through comments or body language such as frowning or nodding. In this way the silent listening partner creates a completely safe space, giving their partner the freedom to communicate whatever has come up for them without a fear of being judged.

To the degree that a person succeeds in conveying the results of their contemplation to their dyad partner, then their consciousness becomes temporarily free of the material. Difficult issues are likely to surface as a person's contemplation deepens and they run into entrenched aspects of their mind. While the contemplation process does not resolve these issues, it does become easier for the participant to put them aside and keep going for a direct experience of Truth. By communicating what arises, they increasingly dis-identify from the contents of their mind and go deeply into an open state which is conducive to direct experience occurring.

completing the cycle

Once the person has finished communicating, the contemplation cycle is complete. They then go back to the first step of the technique, putting their attention on themselves, life or others and continue through the rest of the technique. This cycling though the steps of the technique continues until it is time to swap roles and the person contemplating and communicating becomes the silent listening partner.