“The mind is like our shadow. Wherever we go, we take our mind with us.”
“Dear Friends of Enlightenment,
I hope you found value in your participation at the 2016 Winter Enlightenment Intensive. This is a rather long Post-Enlightenment Intensive Teaching but within it I believe you’ll find some useful and valuable information about enlightenment and the Enlightenment Intensive. In fact, I’d suggest you read it more than once if you find it of value.
I’ve said many times, the Enlightenment Intensive is no different to your ordinary life in respect to the mind and it’s mental impressions that you bring to the retreat. In daily life the mind you have is the obstacle to your self realisation. And at the Enlightenment Intensive retreat you bring that same mind with you. It’s the mind and it’s mental impressions that troubles you and keeps you separate from Absolute Reality, God Consciousness, Enlightenment or whatever word you use to refer to the Numinous. The essential difference is that at the Enlightenment Intensive there is a structure that keeps your attention focused on self inspection of who you are while also encouraging openness and honesty in relating to others what you discover about yourself.
Ordinary daily life doesn’t generally hold you to such high standards of relating, communication and self reflection. Ordinary daily life doesn’t consistently remind you to not blame, criticise, evaluate or gossip about others and to take responsibility for what is arising in your consciousness. In this respect it is unique as compared to your daily life.
The Enlightenment Intensive structure is designed to facilitate a crisis, a healing crisis. The crisis comes about as a result of your endeavour to consciously, directly know your Self. A crisis is something you think you can’t get through. During the course of an Enlightenment Intensive you will many times encounter various mental and emotional impressions and phenomenas where you think you can’t succeed in your goal of knowing your true self. You may feel confused, bored, blank, fearful, uncertain, emotionally upset or overly sensitive, etc. Your mind, which you are identified with thinks the cause of this problem or crisis is outside of itself and not the source. The mind problem solves and thinks it could be the environment and ‘looks’ for an answer. You have thoughts like: “it’s not warm enough or it’s raining too much or the facility isn’t adequate or I don’t like the food or the bed isn’t comfortable.” You look for something in the environment as to the cause of your problem of not knowing who you are. If it’s not the environment then it could be the enlightenment dyad technique or the other participants or the retreat facilitator. You have opinions like they’re not spiritual enough or they talk too loud or cry too much or a thousand other excuses in order to justify your error of blaming and criticising of others for your feelings.
But blaming others will not work to relieve you of the distress you feel nor will running away remedy the existential crisis of no knowing who you really are.
The key to getting through a healing crisis of this sort is to keep doing what got you into the crisis and that is the enlightenment dyad practice and your courageous self reflection combined with honest communication. Facing yourself honestly and telling the truth to another is what precipitated the crisis and that is what will bring you through the crisis into liberation. Not everyone recognises this because the mental impressions arising in the mind tries to solve the enigma of identity that has no answers or tends to make others the source of the difficulty or tries to change the environment in order to relieve itself of the conundrum of self enquiry. You could call that approach the typical strategy of an ego centered universe.
The Enlightenment Intensive is structured to facilitate the revelation of your true self which is at odds with your ego’s inhibition for telling the truth. This confrontation brings on a healing crisis. In actual fact the crisis of identity in respect to who you are is already active and in play when you come to the Enlightenment Intensive.
The crisis of identity and authentic relating began when you originally made a decision to not be or live from who you truly are. It was made innocently enough but continues to remain with you throughout life even if it is buried and unconscious. And it’s with you when you arrive at the Enlightenment Intensive. It’s a crisis of denying your true self and takes place at a primal moment of trauma when you feel it is not safe to be in a body, to express yourself and to be who you are. At that primal moment of fear toward another you become alienated from the Homeland of your being and wander in a spiritual and psychological diaspora leaving the abode of innocence and unconditional loving acceptance that is your birthright. The author and psychologist, Arthur Janov, offers a psychological origination for this split and describes the crisis that one suffers from this mind/body/spirit fracture in his book, The Primal Scream, first published in the 1970. Charles Berner, the originator of the Enlightenment Intensive describes this same denial of self and offers a metaphysical explanation of it’s origins in his soon to be published book, You, God, Love, Life: Self Transformation Principles. It will be available from Amazon in late July, 2016.
Charles Berner, the originator of the Enlightenment Intensive describes the denial of self and offers a metaphysical explanation of it’s origins in his book, You, God, Love, Life: Self Transformation Principles, available from Amazon in late July, 2016
The author and psychologist, Arthur Janov, offers a psychological origination for this split and describes the crisis that one suffers from this mind/body/spirit fracture in his book, The Primal Scream, first published in 1970.
From the time of this fracture forward you do not relate and live from conscious, direct knowing. Instead of relating and communicating yourself directly, you relate yourself indirectly using attitudes, personalities and various states of being. States of being like, “I’m not good enough.” Or “Life is a struggle.” Or “I’m not safe with those I love.” You will use states of being or attitudes to communicate what it is about yourself that you want another to know. The personalities are communication devices because there is a fear in demonstrating your true self and being direct. You fear being made wrong, being criticised, being denied. You fear not existing?
From the time of this fracture forward you do not relate and live from conscious, direct knowing. Instead of relating and communicating yourself directly, you relate yourself indirectly using attitudes, personalities and various states of being. States of being like, “I’m not good enough.” Or “Life is a struggle.” Or “I’m not safe with those I love.”
You will use states of being or attitudes to communicate what it is about yourself that you want another to know. The personalities are communication devices because there is a fear in demonstrating your true self and being direct. You fear being made wrong, being criticised, being denied. You fear not existing.
During the retreat you are encouraged to ‘continue contemplating’ on the object of your enlightenment and to take full responsibility, to the best of your ability, for what arises in your consciousness. This is what creates the intensity at the Enlightenment Intensive retreat. Ramana Maharshi, the Twentieth Century’s non-duality teacher and advocate of contemplating ‘Who Am I’ was one of the inspirations that inspired the creation of the Enlightenment Intensive. He often said that the mind is like our shadow. Wherever we go, we take our mind with us. He said that the mind is the obstacle to knowing the truth of yourself and wherever you go your mind will be with you and so you should always take the remedy of self enquiry with you.
The Enlightenment Intensive is always a valuable growth experience because of the power and value of contemplation combined with communication. Initially not everyone recognises this because they are distracted by the mental and emotional disturbances that arises from one pointedly focusing on direct experience of self combined with honest communication to others.
Some people can’t wait to leave and get back to the ordinary life they have become accustomed and habituated to. I'm the first one to admit, from my own experience, that holding one's attention, one pointedly on the Self is not an easy thing to do especially with a mind that is scattered, confused, noisy and intolerant. Though it's not easy, it is worth the effort. In principle, if not in practice, I think most of you would agree with me.
I ask a hypothetical question. Why do you and others hide the truth? What are you afraid of? I propose that the resistance is the fear of ‘letting go and letting God’, as the saying goes. You want to stay in control. Western psychology calls that control mechanism the ego. Christian theology would call it the devil. I call it ignorance. It’s this ignorance that sets the stage for a battle or conflict between surrendering, opening or accepting what is and the resistance or opposition to what is. And what is, is the way you find yourself in any given moment.
At the Enlightenment Intensive, your partners says to you, “Tell me who you are.” If your surrender to that command was total and with no resistance you would follow that instruction and demonstrate or present the truth of your Self. Many times after a day or two of contemplation I’ve heard a particular phrase spoken as a joke and it always gets a laugh. “I’m ME. Now I can go home!” That phrase delivered with humour has the effect of trying to defuse the intensity of the moment. “I’m ME. Now I can go home” holds an element of truth but only if spoken from the truth and nothing but the truth. But the ‘joke’ reveals the fiction of the statement. In fact, if it was the truth that you spoke, you would also recognise that there is no place to go home to. YOU ARE THE Truth and you are Home. It’s here and now. It’s only the ego or resistance that says, “Now I can go home.” As if there is some other place to go to other than here and now. In other words, the Truth is only in the present moment and when you live and speak and present the truth from the truth of who you are, you are you and you are HOME. It’s only the ego that views separation. It’s just the ignorance of the mind. It’s not evil or wrong.
Tell me who you are.