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Frequently Asked Questions
Enlightenment Intensive Retreat
FAQ ... Enlightenment & the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat
& the
Enlightenment Intensive

1What is Enlightenment?

Can I get enlightened in a weekend?

What is Enlightenment?

are you

The Aha! Experience

It is the conscious direct knowing of the SELF.  You could also say it is the direct experience of the absolute truth.  People awakened to direct knowing of the SELF exclaim, "Aha!" or "This is It!," or "Oh my god!," or "It's me!  It's always been me!"   It's often described as the experience of union or oneness.
If you ask 1000 people to describe their enlightenment experience, you'd get 1000 different responses ranging from ignorance, uncertainty, preconceived ideas to presentations filled with clarity, truth and direct knowing. 

point at moon    Pointing at the Moon

Zen masters say that 'pointing at the moon isn't the moon,' which is to say that the idea or words of enlightenment shouldn't be confused with the thing itself.  To know what enlightenment is, you have to directly experience or know it for yourself.  The Western Zen Buddhist meditation teacher, Philip Kapleau, translates the Japanese word 'satori' into the English word enlightenment.  Satori means 'Instantaneous Awakening'.  It is the elevated state of self realization that Zen meditators and Enlightenment Intensive participants aim for.  Zen Masters poetically describe it as 'Opening the Minds Eye' or 'Awakening to your True Nature.'

    Direct Experience is Enlightenment

Words are always inadequate to convey the meaning of enlightenment.   Enlightenment is the conscious direct knowing of the Self.   Self enlightenment is the direct experience of the truth of you.   Direct knowing does not come about through any process such as by seeing, thinking, believing, deciding, reasoning, feeling or by any other way.  It is direct, raw, genuine and authentic.

McEnlight    If you're hungry, why eat the menu?

Reading the menu in a restaurant NEVER fulfills your hunger. To satisfy your hunger you have to eat the Real Food. At the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat the enlightenment experience or direct knowing is always the main feast on the menu.  Why eat the menu when you can eat the Real Food?


What are the common attributes of the enlightenment experience?


  • 1.  There is a sense of union or oneness.
  • 2.  It is often described as instantaneous and sudden. This is the definition of the Japanese word, satori.
  • 3.  It is often very ordinary and so obvious, that when you experience 'It', you realize that you knew it all the time, but didn't know you knew.
  • 4.  It is experienced as timeless and imbued with a sense of universal love.
  • 5.  And it can be very funny. A cosmic joke and you're often the punch line.
  • 6.  And every enlightenment experience is unique and is uniquely expressed by each individual.
What are the benifits of being enlightened?

Silly question, isn't it?

Being enlightened or knowing your self is its own reward.  It is its own self contained benefit. 

Being enlightened is a major factor in determining whether or not you are happy.  Happiness is knowing the purpose of your life and consciously overcoming the barriers to fulfill that purpose.  The key is that YOU, yourself, must be doing the overcoming of the barriers.  If it is a personality or a fake state of beingness or anything else you are confused with, YOU will not be genuinely happy and fulfilled.  Doing anything, or nothing, is a great joy, if it is the actual true YOU, who is doing it.  If you are conscious, by direct knowing, of who and what you are, you can act directly from YOU. You speak with honest authority and are not just relaying learned information or ideas.   It is a subjective state that is beyond doubt and beyond certainty.


Road to E


The Enlightenment Intensive process has been used by thousands of people the world over since its origination in the California high desert over 37 years ago. The state of enlightenment that people experience is the same that Buddha experienced centuries ago or that anyone has ever experienced through any spiritual or personal growth system. 

The focus of concentration on self combined with deep and honest communication accelerates the enlightenment process.  Many people have conscious direct knowing of the SELF in three days or less, though some people need more time.  Hundreds of thousands of people have taken an Enlightenment Intensive in over 40 countries around the world.  It is a powerful personal and spiritual growth process.



The key principle that accelerates the process of enlightenment is relating or communicating yourself to another.

There are several advantages of working with a partner.
The live interaction helps keep you at the task of trying to experience yourself.  

Communicating the things that you are identified with but that are not actually you, vanish to the degree that they are understood by another. Untruth vanishes by presenting it to another and Truth remains. Presenting to your partner whatever occurs to you as a result of pondering who you are clears mental confusions.

Consciousness of yourself grows by presenting yourself to another.  

The enlightenment experience stabilizes to the degree that you can present yourself to another. Thus the process of enlightenment is accelerated by relating. 


What are the stages to enlightenment?

who am I

Stage One: Giving Answers
The initial reaction to the 'Who am I?' contemplation is one of giving answers. The enigma is that there are no right or wrong answers. But in this first stage the hero thinks success can be gained by giving a 'right' answer. And so begins a steady flow of ideas about who one is that are drawn from one's memory previously learned from parents, teachers, clergy, friends, books, TV, media and ideas that you figured out in the past. By presenting these ideas and answers to a partner in the enlightenment dyad process they are dissolved from your mind.
Stage Two: Intellectualizing
Logical thinking, reasoning and trying to figure out the answer are of the hallmarks to this stage. Sometimes one even succeeds at arriving at a correct answer; but answers, correct or not, is not an enlightenment experience. When you let go of trying to answer a question and set out to directly experience the object of your enlightenment, then the intellectualizing dissolves and you move into the next stages of the hero's journey.
Stage Three: Phenomena
Phenomena is experienced when one stops intellectualizing and attempts to experience them self, life or others directly. Because one is still using their brain, a variety of hallucinations and bodily phenomena begin to occur. A young women may turn into an old man. The body may have hot and cold flashes or waves of emotion. One may mistake these phenomena for enlightenment; but enlightenment comes only from a direct conscious experience, not from seeing, feeling or perceiving.
Stage Four: A Blank or Void
When the field of consciousness has been emptied but the meditator continues to 'look' for him or her self, a void is created. In this void or blankness nothing is seen or heard, no thought occurs and progress appears to be at a stand still. But its at his stage that your journey of enlightenment progresses more rapidly if instead of 'looking' you refine your contemplation and seek to experience yourself directly. This stage has been called the quiet mind and for some schools of meditation is an end in itself.
Stage Five: The Barriers of Emotion, Pain and Death
Surging up next, the hero of the journey of enlightenment encounters emotions, pain and the fear of death. Feelings of grief and anger, apathy and serenity come up and are sometimes confused with the truth of who you are. But as these raw emotions rise up, you de-identify from these states of being and let them go by fully communicating to your partner what you become conscious of.
Stage Six: The Enlightenment Experience
There are two aspects to the enlightenment experience that occur simultaneously. One aspect is the direct conscious experience of your True Self. The second is the release of energy and other side effects such as laughing, crying, screaming and ecstatic feelings. The direct knowing of Self is a definite breakthrough experience and occurs in a timeless instant.
Stage Seven: The Glow
Radiating yourself as truth is what happens to the hero on the journey of enlightenment during this glowing stage. The hero feels totally in contact with the Absolute Truth and unselfconsciously radiates his or her presence. This stage continues until the hero fully presents him or herself to others.
Stage Eight: The Pure & Steady State
Fully presenting yourself to others discharges the energy of the glowing stage. The pure, steady state remains and continues into your life to the degree that you are able to present your true self to others. The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat and the enlightenment dyad process insures the maximum opportunity to gain this ability as you communicate your true self to a broad range of people attending the retreat.


What is the

Enlightenment Intensive Retreat?

rainbo dyad

Short Answer
It is a residential retreat for awakening the expanded state of consciousness called enlightenment or direct knowing of the self.  The Retreat combines a 10,000 year old  self inquiry yoga meditation, 'who am I' with a modern, western listening and communication technique. The increased consciousness and understanding that results from the combination of meditation and communication accelerates the process of enlightenment and brings it into the immediacy of one's life.  The Retreat is a safe, supportive environment that encourages honesty, authenticity, contact, understanding and deep meditative self  reflection. 

Longer Answer
The caterpillar, in the book, Alice in Wonderland, asks Alice,  "Who are you?" 

Alice hesitantly replied, "I......I hardly know." 
Most people share her uncertainty.  People  may speculate,  think, and theorize an answer to the question, "who am I".   They may accept the answers of some psychologist, philosopher or religious leader.   They may come to a conclusion or reach a decision or glean an insight.  But few individuals  have directly experienced  their own true nature even though it's been sought after by countless  millions of people throughout the centuries.   The experience,  known as self realization  or enlightenment has been a most elusive goal.

What must one do to obtain the treasure of an unshakable certainty of who or what one really is?   Must one sit in meditation  under a  tree  twenty hours a day  for seven years, as did Gautama the Buddha?   Must one leave one's friends and society  and live in a cave?  Is enlightenment unattainable  except  by a person with vast amounts of both self-discipline and spare time?
Instant Enlightenment in a Week-end

It has been universally assumed that enlightenment is necessarily  preceded  by a long, hard struggle, and available only to a dedicated few.  But that has now changed.   The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat offers you a way  based upon a new western technology that has a record of getting people enlightened within a week-end!   The depth  of enlightenment may not match that of the Buddha,  but the direct experience of self is the same.    And those who don't  attain  the enlightenment experience do make substantial progress and can see that the goal is within reach.   It may sound hard to believe even in this age of 'Instant Everything' because the contrast between seven years and three days is startling.  But it is true.

The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat is a period of concentrated effort.    The key  to its success is a western developed technique  called the 'enlightenment  dyad technique.'   You begin the process by sitting opposite a partner who says to you, "Tell me who you are."  After you  receive the instruction you 'hold' it.  'Holding the instruction' is a process of contemplating or keeping it in your consciousness.  Other thoughts and phenomena will occur as you attempt  to hold your contemplation.  When this happens, you communicate to your partner what you become conscious of.   Your partner listens.  When you've finished telling him/her what has occurred,  you continue contemplating your question:  "Who  am I?  Who? Who?  Who?"  Whenever you notice something,  you articulate it to your partner,  trying to get the other  to understand what it is.    At the end  of five minutes  a bell rings and  your partner says, "Thank you."  The roles now reverse. 
You say to your partner, "Tell me who you are."   While your partner is alternately  meditating and speaking, you put your full attention on him/her and try to understand what he/she is going through as well as you can.  At the end of five minutes you say, "thank you",  and once again it is your turn to contemplate and express yourself.  At the end of forty-five minutes you've completed one cycle and the exercise ends.
The one essential factor that has been lacking in all previous enlightenment methods is communication and relating.   Enlightenment itself takes but a shattering timeless instant.   But what keeps you from that 'instantaneous awakening' are barriers of uncompleted communications. When you succeed in communicating  your barriers to another,  the barriers vanish.  The thoughts, emotions and body-sensations that catch your attention when you meditate, and so distract you, tend to disappear  precisely  to  the  extent that you get them understood  by another person.   It is for this reason, I use meditation plus communication in the form of the Enlightenment Dyad Exercise.

In an Enlightenment Intensive Retreat you work single-pointedly.  Everything is arranged to make that possible for you.  Your day is spent doing Enlightenment Dyad Exercises, walking and movement meditations, sitting meditations,  breath awareness meditations,  physical exercises, massage meditations, three light vegetarian meals and two snacks,  lectures on enlightenment, etc. The schedule is rigorous but varied to  minimise body stress and keep you alert so you can  aim  at  enlightenment.    Interviews with the Master Facilitator are  available at any time so that you can discuss any problems you are having.  If he/she verifies  that you have had an enlightenment experience,  you may change your contemplation from  'Who am I?"  to  one of the other contemplations:  "What am I?", "What is Life? or What is another?"

The entire Retreat is spent  actively contemplating on the nature or yourself, others or life or getting another to understand what is happening for you.  Conversation about anything but enlightenment is considered "gossip" and is not permitted during the Retreat.

It's exciting to communicate your insights and increased consciousness to the others.  Within a day you become very conscious of other people and what they are experiencing.  You  can  see, feel and experience the increased openness building between you and your partners.   It is this  contact, communication and understanding  that  accelerates the process of enlightenment.    This  single principle of  involvement  through understanding is the missing link in  the field of enlightenment.   And it works for everyone.  It's effectiveness has been proven in thousands of Retreats in over 25 countries around the world in the last 35 years.


What are the origins of the

Enlightenment Intensive Retreat?

tri circle

The Retreat was inspired by three unique self improvement practices fused together by Charles Berner in 1968. Two of them are ancient and Eastern ways and the third is a newer Western approach.

Zen Sesshin
A Zen sesshin is a self awareness retreat that has been practised for over 3000 years. It originally came from China before it migrated to Japan where it became popular in  the 12th Century.  Today, it is still used and practised in Japan and around the world.  The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat borrowed certain elements from the ancient sesshin, notably the use of a ‘koan.’  A ‘koan’ is a riddle-like question to help a meditator focus and penetrate into the absolute truths of life.  Hundreds have been developed over the years.     “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  and “What  was your face before you were born,” are two well known koans.   The  practise of contemplating on a ‘koan isn’t  concerned with philosophy, ideas or religion, but with direct experiencing.
Ramana Maharshi 
The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat also makes use of  the koan, ‘Tell me who you are.”  This riddle like question is a yoga meditation that dates back 10,000 years.  Its modern proponent, Ramana Maharshi, lived a simple life in India. He taught during the first part of the 20th Century inspiring a constant stream of local and international visitors who sought his company and spiritual guidance.  His guidance was always the same.  “Seek to know yourself.  Practise self inquiry by asking yourself, ‘who am I’  then you will know everything.  
Relating Dyads 

Dyad is a Greek word that means ‘two’.  A relating dyad is two people who work together to bring about understanding through effective communication and focused listening.  It is this element of relating that accelerates the process of enlightenment.


What Do Others Say About Enlightenment and the Enlightenment Intensive?

nothing happens next

  • Lao Tsu
Those who know don't say.
Those who say don't know.
  • Mary 
Contemplation of the question ‘who am I’ led me a long and full way to realizing who I am.   
I discovered many treasured facets of my total being.  
I feel so fortunate and blessed to be the one to ask, ‘who am I?’   
I increased my power to open up and to love others without feeling embarrassed about it.
  • Amrita 
I am not the doer.  Any achievements are god's alone.  
I am conscious of the following results from my having been on this intensive:
* I have direct knowing of the Truth of love as everything, as joy, as Myself.
* My presence and pursuit of the Truth inspired and supported the others on the.
* The poet in me has been awakened!
* I  have a greater ability to love unconditionally, to be present in the moment, to express the love that I am, to express my joy more immediately.
* My ability to have compassion for others and treat others well has increased.
  • Wynita
I'm leaving here completely whole and full with a sense of who I really am.  
I'm celebrating life.
  • Ella
I came on impulse
fueled by curiosity
and I left 
on a high
fueled by the wonder
and simplicity of it all.
Because my mind 
would not open,
my body did it for me
through pain and vomit
and tears and embarrassment
to clarity and openness
and awareness and then
back the simplicity of it all......
  • Lawrence 
I was in a dyad and I directly experienced who I am.   It was like I stumbled onto it.  
It was completely unexpected......... The whole thing took me by surprise. 
 And I had one of these experiences that people often have.... which is, 
I know what I've just experienced ..….. I just didn't know that I knew
  • John 
Its me.   Yes, it's me!
I directly experienced myself - me looking at the little yellow flowers.  
I realized my ability and need to connect with another and that what I am 
needs to be allowed to express that.  I never realized before that I had this capacity or need. 
It was hidden or buried under who I am not.  I realized that I have to live life true to who I am.  
I realized that my sense of self is always constant and present ….   
I realized that who I am (that constant presence) does not have a name and 
cannot be judged, measured or described and that it is always there.  
I realized that to be is to be present as a constant sense of or power of love.   
I realized that who I really am is love seeking expression in action, in being, 
in interacting with another........... and all that in 72 hours. Amazing!!!!
  • Osha   
I am not ever going to forget 
I am the sound of the bells
And the wind that moves through them
I am the journey and the destination
I am the breath
And the body that breathes it
I am the foot and the earth that touches it
I am the lover and the beloved
I am the cat crying
And the one who comforts it.
Ageless, faceless, timeless, nameless,
Unborn and undying, 
Constant yet ever-changing,
I was before the earth began
I will be after it is gone.
God willing,
I am not ever going to forget
Who  I am.
  • Frank 
It is only a few hours since the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat ended.   It was 6 1/2 days.  The first 3 1/2 days were typical.    Oh, but the following three days were days were of such sublime happiness for me.    I lost my head.  Each dyad and contemplation was a prayer made without ceasing.  I revealed my soul shamelessly before all others.
Never has my experiences taken on such biblical like expressions.
The Lord Himself invited me to eat and drink at his table.  And what a feast it was.  For  many years the Lord has invited me to his Home to eat at His table, but I’d never eaten and drunk and stayed so long before.  
Most times in my life I’d get to the front door and call out,  “Excuse me Lord, but I’ve got appointments and some other things to do, I’ll be back.....”  Or I’d call out from the front porch in fear and trepidation, “Thanks for the invite, but I've  got to watch the Simpons on TV and then go get a pizza”....or some other such silly avoidance.  That is what humans are doing all the time.  Our Father Himself is making an invitation  and we making excuses for not visiting and staying awhile.  Just like grown children who don’t have time to visit their Mother and Father.  
Well I was invited and I stayed for awhile.  Drinking deep from the dripping waters at their Source.  I’m changed.  I feel very normal now compared to the unbridled ecstasy of only a few hours ago.  But don’t let that fool you.  I only have to step back inside my Father house and sip the wine from His table for you to witness a drunkard and a fool who knows not his name nor his place of birth, but knows only happiness, joy and unending union with his Beloved.
Let me tell you what happened in my Fathers House!
After days of ecstatic laughter and mirth, hilariousness at  being witness to the cosmic joke, after days of sexual-like foreplay and delight with my Beloved, I experienced directly what I'm calling the “G spot…… the God spot.”
It is a point that is not a point and  that appeared to be located at a place in the center of the brain.  But that point is not a point or place in space and time.    That point is located at a place of  pure Self  conscious awareness, where the Witness lies. That point is the God spot, The place where Shiva and Shakti come together. 
I sat at my Fathers table as the ‘Honored’ guest.  Previously I sat at His table but not as the honored guest, but one of the many.  This moment I was honored with the gift of the ‘God spot”.  This God point is not in the brain it is in the subtle body that overlies the brain.  I'm profoundly moved by this.  Deeply moved by this clarification and distinction.  By this direct experience.    The God point is not in the body but the body is overlaid upon it.   And oh my sweet scented flower of yoga, the amrit that flows from the God spot profoundly affects the body, dear sweet one whose kisses bring  immortal flowing delight.
Take away the ecstasy, the endless cries of delight, the sounds like lovers in ecstatic embrace, the panting breaths, the swooning heart, the drunkard babbling of an intoxicated fool, and All that is remains is You.  You are my sweet Eternal All.  There is nowhere to look that You are not found.  What I thought was I, was You.  How silly, how foolish.  You are All there is.  Your bed chambers are open to me.  Your table set with a feast of foods to fulfill all of my Divine Hunger.  And Your wine, oh, sweet Heavenly Maiden.   Your wine that You lovingly crush with Your dancing bare feet delight all who are lucky enough to come with an empty cup and a beggers heart and that You adoringly fill to overflowing abundance.
Today my Sweet,  I shall drink and eat again if I am a lucky man.  And I shall beg Your Kiss upon my forehead to open all my hearts for pleasure is Yours. 
  •  Cynthia
As Love I come willingly to the present, to another, to meet in communion.
When two come together in Conscious Presence, as THIS, there is One, which
Is Love.
Love is a burning prayer.
I am able to respond to Love.
I am available to Love.
I am love's agent, love's messenger.
The Source of existence is delivered through Me as Love.
I, as Love in this Divine feminine form, dance in worship for all of creation.
I, as the embodiment of Love in this feminine form, long for the masculine,
To serve and worship.
Everything is God.
  • Seng ts'an 
The perfect Way (Tao) is without difficulty.
It avoids picking and choosing.
Only when you stop liking and disliking 
Will all be clearly understood.
A split hairs difference,
And Heaven and Earth are set apart.
If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong 
Is the sickness of the mind.
  • Rajneesh (Osho)
The real teaching cannot be taught,
but still it is called a teaching.
It cannot be taught, but it can be shown, indicated.
There is no way to say it directly,
but there are millions of ways to indicate it indirectly.
Lao Tzu says that the Truth cannot be said,
and the moment you say it, you have already falsified it.
The words, the language, the mind,
are utterly incapable.
Truth defies reason; it defies the head-oriented personality;
It defies the ego.
It cannot be manipulated.
It is utterly impossible for reason to encounter it.
This is the first thing to be understood,
and the more deeply you understand it
the more possibility will be available to me
to indicate toward it.
  • Chuang-tzu
"Were language adequate, it would take but a day fully to set forth Tao.  Not being adequate, it takes that time to explain material existence.  Tao is something beyond material existences.  It cannot be conveyed either by words or by silence."  
  • Anomymous Gnosistic author
To know oneself at the deepest level, is simultaneously to know god.
Self knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical.
  • Gnostic Monoimus

Abandon the search for God,  the creation and other matters of a similar sort.          
Look for him by taking yourself as the starting point.  
Learn who it is within you who makes everything His own and says: 
‘My god, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body.’  
Learn the sources of sorrow, joy, love, hate.  
If you carefully investigate these matters you will find Him in Yourself."


What is the Enlightenment Video / DVD?

DVD / Video
This is a DVD / video documentary about enlightenment and the Enlightenment Intensive.

Written, directed and produced by Jack Wexler, PhD

"I highly recommend this video survey of enlightenment....... It shows what Enlightenment is and what Enlightenment Intensives are.  It is excellent and accurate."
Charles Berner,   Originator of the Enlightenment Intensive
"... a beautifully clear, absorbing and a complete video presentation of enlightenment and Enlightenment Intensives.  Takes us very close to the enlightenment experience itself.  I was uplifted watching it."
Sati Sosna, Enlightenment Master
It's great.... Multi-dimensional, reasoned, good balance of context and method, and 'it'. Not too long and not too short. I will certainly recommend it.
Lawrence Noyes, 
Enlightenment Master

Jack's video is the most effective introduction to enlightenment and enlightenment intensives I have seen.  If I had never participated in one, I would sign up based on having seen it. I recommend it highly to anyone who is promoting EI's or who just wants to share the experience with others.
Jeremiah Jeff Love, 
Enlightenment Master

"A journey into the experiential phenomenon of self realization.  This video  is a complete success." 
Jim Kambouridis, Enlightenment Master
"... visually moving, entertaining and informative...  It's great!"
Charlene Jones, Enlightenment Intensive participant
Part One: 
'What is Enlightenment?'
Part One explains what enlightenment is and explores what different people and different traditions have said about the experience. 

Charles Berner, Osha Reader, Jeff Love, Edrid, Lawrence Noyes and many others talk about enlightenment, enlightenment experiences and the Enlightenment Intensive.

Part Two: 
'What is the Enlightenment Intensive?'

Part Two explores the origins and history of the Enlightenment Intensive and reveals the key principle that accelerates enlightenment experiences.

Written, directed and produced by zYoah Wexler, PhD

How to Order
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