"From when I was 16 I had ached to know who I was. I just knew that I was more than the baggage of my life experiences, my personality & my culture. The problem was I had no idea how to find myself. I went on my first Intensive, contemplated steadily for three days and on the last afternoon, at some seemingly random moment I met ME. The years of wondering, aching to know were over. My gratitude to Intensives was and remains immeasurable."

about enlightenment intensives

Enlightenment Intensives are a three day residential group retreat. Their purpose is to help the highest possible number of people have a genuine spiritual awakening within a short space of time.

unique format

Enlightenment Intensives have a unique format which blends longstanding elements of Eastern meditation practices with contemporary personal growth techniques, resulting in a dynamic new style of spiritual retreat. The phenomenal success of the Enlightenment Intensive format has enabled tens of thousands of people worldwide with no prior spiritual experience to have direct experiences of the Absolute Truth within a matter of days.

The founder of Enlightenment Intensives was an American called Charles Berner. He spent years investigating the efficacy of different personal growth techniques and methods of attaining enlightenment before devising the Enlightenment Intensive retreat in the 1960s. Berner experimented extensively with the format of Enlightenment Intensives until he was satisfied he had evolved a model which maximised the chances of participants having enlightenment experiences. This model has proved very robust and is still broadly the one used today by Enlightenment Intensive Masters throughout the world.

The Enlightenment Intensive format requires participants to work on a specific question throughout the retreat. This draws on the wisdom of Zen Buddhism, which uses a focusing tool, or "koan" to speed up the process of seeking Truth, Those who are taking an Enlightenment Intensive for the first time work on "Who am I?" All other participants can choose from the questions "Who am I?", "What am I?", "What is Life?" or "What is Another?" Using one of these questions as a focus for the whole three days, participants are taught a simple yet powerful contemplation technique designed to increase their chances of having a breakthrough shift of consciousness.

dyad communication exercises

Enlightenment Intensives make use of partnered communication exercises called "dyads". Dyads introduce open communication and contact with others into the traditionally silent process of deep inner contemplation. Dyads are 40 minute structured exercises between participants working in pairs and are a recent personal growth technique also used as the model for co-counselling. During a dyad exercise, one person contemplates their question and then communicates to their partner what has arisen for them whilst the other person silently listens. The roles swap round every five minutes until the exercise ends, giving each person equal time in the two roles. Dyad communication exercises are a key innovation which has speeded up the contemplation process enormously and contributed to the high percentage of people having enlightenment experiences on Intensives.

is enlightenment guaranteed?

On average one third of the group will have an enlightenment experience on the retreat, but there may be more experiences than this and sometimes there are none at all.

The rate of enlightenment experiences on Intensives is unusually high compared to that achieved by other spiritual methods, which may require years of effort before enlightenment occurs. Nevertheless there will be participants who put in a lot of work and effort only to come away without achieving their goal. This is a genuine issue which those who take Enlightenment Intensives have to face. A person should go on an Enlightenment Intensive because they sincerely want the Truth; they must put all their energy and commitment into doing the contemplation technique and into their intention to have a direct experience of the Truth. Yet they must also accept from the outset that there is no guarantee of success.

This is actually how it is. In some sense there is no way to make this easier. A person's full intention, effort and commitment are required to engage in the pursuit of enlightenment whether they attain their goal or not. But nothing can ever be done to guarantee enlightenment. It arises from an individual's personal surrender to the Truth and the reasons why some people reach enlightenment and others do not, is ultimately mysterious.