"It was one hell of a shock. The daily schedule ran from about six in the morning to nearly eleven at night, and it was "Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?" virtually all the way. No social chat, no alcohol or coffee, no wristwatch, no shaving or cosmetics - and nothing to do but contemplate a question. Worse still, I was a dedicated carnivore, and they had me on a meat-free diet. I didn't know how I was going to make it!"

the enlightenment intensive format

preparation

Contemplating on an Enlightenment Intensive can be arduous at times so before it starts, a person should make sure they are well rested and ready to devote all their attention and energy towards seeking the Truth.

It is advisable to cut out everyday toxins such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes two weeks beforehand. Those who do not do so usually spend an uncomfortable first day enduring withdrawal headaches and physical discomfort.

However, the most important step to take in preparation for an Enlightenment Intensive is to make a firm commitment to go for a direct experience of Truth, no matter what it takes.

the schedule

The schedule on an Enlightenment Intensive provides a supportive framework within which participants are able to put all other concerns aside and focus deeply on their contemplation. The days start early at 6.00am and end late at around 11.00pm with an earlier finish on the third day. The main bulk of the schedule is taken up with dyad enlightenment exercises and the rest of the day consists of silent walks, lectures, rest, work and exercise periods. As the retreat progresses, participants develop their ability to contemplate steadily and deeply throughout all the activities of the day. The result is a progressive build up of energy which is essential in order for breakthrough shifts of consciousness to occur.

the rules

Participants are required to follow basic ground rules for the duration of the Intensive. These rules are designed to minimise any distractions from contemplating and to improve each participant's chance of directly experiencing the Truth. The rules include no smoking, alcohol, coffee or any other drugs, no sex and no gossiping. Certain rules play an important role in safeguarding the freedom of each participant to follow their own process. These include no touching and no commenting in any way on any of the other participants. In addition, participants must agree to follow the schedule and to put aside other meditations and techniques for the duration of the retreat in order to focus their energy on the contemplation method taught on the Enlightenment Intensive.

the staff

The staff team on an Enlightenment Intensive is made up of a Master and Monitors, assisted by a Cook. The Master leads the group and takes overall responsibility for the Intensive. He or she guides each participant as they go through their process and helps them face whatever they have to go through in order to have an enlightenment experience. The Monitors play a support role, looking after the physical environment and carrying out whatever tasks are required to help the retreat run smoothly. Enlightenment Intensive Masters are not gurus or enlightened beings, just ordinary individuals, often with families and jobs, who have taken Enlightenment Intensives themselves and have complete faith that the process works. They will usually have had a number of enlightenment experiences of their own and have a sincere desire to help others discover the Truth for themselves. They will all have completed the Masters Training Course.

the food

Contemplating steadily for three days can be a demanding task which is made much more difficult if a person is struggling to digest a heavy or excessive food intake. To counteract this problem, all the meals served on an Enlightenment Intensive are deliberately kept light, simple and vegetarian. Vitamin supplements are offered to help with the process of concentrating for long periods and light refreshments are also served at regular intervals throughout the retreat.

location

Enlightenment Intensives have been historically been held at a wide range of venues including retreat centres, ashrams, inner city venues, hotels, tents and suburban homes. Accommodation is generally in shared, single-sex rooms. Each Master running an Intensive will provide further details about the venue and accommodation being offered.