Perfect and pure understanding between you and another has been called enlightenment and love. It is the state of affairs where the thought of who and what you are is perfectly duplicated in another.
In Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, the term he used and coined for perfect understanding is “groking.” In James Cameron’s movie, Avatar, the term he uses is, ‘I see you.’
In the Enlightenment Intensive community it’s the state where you are in absolute ‘knowing’ of yourself and another. It is union. It’s the state where there is no separation between you and another. Where you and another are in union, oneness and in complete communication and love. Perfect duplication.
Here’s a few words that Lynn wrote following just such an experience.
“I began seeing my own face, somehow, sitting across from me. It was not exactly a physical representation of my own face, but some kind of energetic experience. It was unmistakable. This experience deepened until I saw the face of God across from me. Again, it was an energetic kind of thing. It was mainly the light in the woman’s eyes that showed me God. I was so surprised by this experience! I had always expected to experience oneness via the Truth of who we are, which is that Divine energy that comprises everything that exists. But here I was seeing it through the muck, the drama, and struggle of who we all are! It seemed like another one of God’s cosmic jokes on me! It’s never what I expect!
"The experience of oneness kept building throughout this four-day retreat. I’d be having a thought in a dyad and my partner would express the exact thought, or my eye would itch. I’d be trying to refrain from rubbing my eye, but then my partner would rub their eye. Once at the dining table, some soup dribbled down my chin. The guy sitting next to me wiped his chin at that moment. It seemed like we were all so very much on the same page, receiving the same experiences at the same time! All the various questions that participants were contemplating seemed to lead to the same Truth.”
This is a excerpt from an essay on enlightenment that I wrote many years ago.
Enlightenment is unlike any other form of experience. In fact, it isn't really an "experience." No words can actually describe it. The words can only point to IT. The Enlightenment "Experience" takes place in a timeless moment that is beyond time, it’s YOU and the Truth of what actually is. Sound confusing. Don't try and figure it out or logically understand it. You'll never get IT that way. Even if you correctly and logically understand it, you won't be satisfied, you won't be fulfilled. That would be like a hungry and starving person seeing & eating a picture of a large and sumptuous dinner. Not quite the real thing and doesn't satisfy the hunger. Remember Enlightenment is a DIRECT EXPERIENCE. That DIRECTNESS is what is satisfying and fulfilling.
I often read the following words during an Enlightenment Intensive lecture. It is a verse taken from the Chinese text called the Hsin-hsin Ming. It's sage counsel that is applicable to the Enlightenment Dyad process and of course, all of life. It’s essentially a road map for those walking on the Path of Great Awakening that is credited to the 6th Century Zen Master Seng-ts’an.
The Hsin-hsin Ming has been translated by scores of individuals over the last several hundred years. The title, Hsin-hsin Ming has a variety of possible translations. I like these three variations: Song of the Trusting Heart; The Perfect Way and Treatise on Faith in the Mind.
Follow your nature and flow with the Tao.
Enjoy yourself and stop worrying.
If your thoughts are tied you spoil what is genuine.
Don’t be antagonistic to the world of the senses, for when you are not antagonistic,
They turn out to be the same as complete Awakening.
The wise person does not strive.
The ignorant person ties their self up.
If you work on your mind with your mind,
You cannot avoid an immense confusion.
"Just because you have reached one depth of enlightenment doesn’t mean that there aren’t more. You can go deeper and deeper to more and purer levels of consciousness. A direct consciousness of the Truth is itself. There’s nothing more to be done with it than that. It’s an absolute state and there’s no maybe about it. However, there are deeper levels where there is greater consciousness of other aspects of the Absolute. It is not that the deeper levels are any more absolute. They just include more of the Absolute itself. For example, even though you may have had a direct experience of who you are, well then what are you? Were you created by something? How long do you last? How old are you? What colour are you? How much do you weigh? Do you shine? Do you have a structure, form, pattern, shape? It is one thing to come up with intellectual answers to those questions and another thing to actually experience directly what it is that you are."
Charles Berner; Enlightenment and the Enlightenment Intensive, Volume 2; Chapter 5, Levels of Enlightenment;
Available from Amazon Books; http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IFQKSQW
Since I began facilitating Enlightenment Intensives in1980 many people have walked through those welcoming Gates of the Enlightenment Intensive to explore and discover who and what they and others are in the light of Truth, Love and Reality. Two dear friends, Warren and Greg, walked through those Gates of Enlightenment and then continued their journey venturing beyond the horizon of this life. Warren, whom I knew since my teenage years, was the inspiration for my venture into the land of Enlightenment Intensives. Greg, a man of deep compassion and love brought the values of enlightenment into his daily life. I offer this Prayer of Transition video as a prayer of peace for them and an Awakening to all sentient beings. Peace Peace Peace.
Every time I read the words of Charles Berner describing enlightenment or how to do the enlightenment dyad technique I’m amazed, excited and inspired by the clarity of the counsel in his words. I’ve read all of his enlightenment related essays and listened to the original Enlightenment Masters Course audio lectures dozens of times throughout the years and each time I read a document or listen to an audio file I learn more. That amazes me. There is always something new and something more profound in my understanding. I'm always finding more nuances and subtleties that I hadn’t recognised in my previous encounter with the material. It brings me much pleasure to always find something new and awakening in the words that though I had read them before I hadn’t seen what I now see. It helps to define and frame my own evolution of understanding. It’s like watching a sunrise or the birds or the ocean or someone you love. There is always something new to appreciate.
In this collection of essays and articles from the archive of Charles Berner you may find your own evolution of understanding as well as the evolution of Charles Berner’s understanding. I heard him say many times that his own understanding evolves over time through his meditation experiences and that one should look to his latest writing and reflections, not his earliest if they want to understand what he understands, now. I’ve placed Berner’s essays on enlightenment in a roughly chronological order so you may appreciate the evolution of his understanding.
The Forward to this book was written by Edrid (Edward Riddle). Edrid began his studies with Berner in the early 1960's and has been a leader in the extended Enlightenment Intensive community since it began to take form in the 1970's. I've always respected and admired Edrid for his heart-felt dedication to Truth and his ability to explain in 'simple to understand' language what enlightenment is and how to do the Enlightenment Intensive contemplative technique. Edrid's first-hand recollections of Berner's universe and the beginning formulation of the Enlightenment Intensive is insightful and revealing. "Why would I bother with this history…" writes Edrid, "Well, to understand the Enlightenment Intensive, to get below the surface and really understand it, you’d want to see where it came from." Edrid helps us that understanding.
The first chapter of this book begins with an article that first appeared as the feature in the typewritten and mimeographed pages of the Newsletter of The Institute of Ability (circa 1969). The front cover of Issue 10 read: 'Enlightenment: Self and Life; New Technique Shortens Time Factor of 100; Self Enlightenment.'
That was quite a bold claim by Charles Berner and in the pages that followed he proceeded to explain, in quite some detail, what the findings of his research and personal discoveries were in the area of personal development. This is one of his earliest and thorough writings on the subject of self enlightenment and the retreat that came to be known as the Enlightenment Intensive. When this article was written in 1968 the Enlightenment Intensive probably hadn't even been christened with the name Enlightenment Intensive yet. The previous newsletter of the Institute of Ability, Issue 9 didn't use the term Enlightenment Intensive. Instead it called the retreat a Practice Session.
Chapter 2, entitled, What Is and Is Not Enlightenment was the first chapter of The Transmission of Truth. It originally was a lecture that Charles Berner gave at the first Enlightenment Masters Training Course in 1977. His lectures at the training course for future Enlightenment Intensive facilitators were transcribed and edited to became the basis of the book, The Transmission of Truth. It was first published in 1977 and later revised in 1981. It was edited by Lawrence Noyes.
In 2005 a new edition of those lectures was published by Mona Sosna under the title, Consciousness of Truth, a Manual for the Enlightenment Intensive. The chapter entitled, Enlightenment, is excerpted and re-printed as Chapter Nine from that book. The 2005 edition has a few differences with the 1977 and the 1981 edition. One difference is that Mona Sosna is co-credited along side Charles Berner as the co-author of the 2005 edition. Other distinctions in Berner's evolving understanding and refinement of what enlightenment is can be seen by reading Chapter Two and Nine of this book. Chapter Two is from the 1981 edition and Chapter Nine is the opening pages of the 2005 edition.
In the Foreword to the 2005 edition, Charles Berner writes, "It has been thirty-six years since the ﬁrst Enlightenment Intensive was held in the San Bernardino mountains of Southern California. Many participants in the thousands of Enlightenment Intensives held since then have attained some level of conscious, direct knowledge of their true selves. Even so, it is difﬁcult to estimate whether or not Enlightenment Intensives and the Enlightenment Technique will endure down the ages. This is because there are two major threats to Enlightenment Intensives and the Enlightenment Technique: wandering away from the Enlightenment Technique and schedules, and confusing insight about oneself with conscious, direct knowledge of oneself. This edition of the master’s manual has been designed to forestall these threats.
I have responded to Mona Sosna’s extensive questioning as she was rewriting this manual. She has correctly presented in the best manner my convictions about what enlightenment is and how Enlightenment Intensives and the Enlightenment Technique should now be conducted. This book has been Mona’s labor of love for all who seek the realization of the Truth of themselves."
Chapter 3 is entitled Enlightenment. It was written by Berner under the pseudonym of Alan B. Dow and appeared as an article in Berner's ashram newspaper, the Vishvamitra. The article, written in the mid 1970’s is a first person account of the experiences of a fictitious individual, Alan B. Dow, who attends an Enlightenment Intensive for the first time.
Chapter 4 is an essay called Charles in Enlightenment Land. It was originally a lecture given at an Enlightenment Intensive in the 1970's. In this lecture Berner talks about his experiences as a participant on a five day Enlightenment Intensive. He counsels that one must have a high degree of discipline and devotion to the task of enlightenment if one is going to make progress past the beginning levels of self awareness. The chapter ends with Berner advising, "I have shared all this with you so that you will stand a decent chance in a reasonable period of time of getting deeply enlightened, so you will know what it takes to get there."
Chapter 5, Levels of Enlightenment and Advice On How To Do The Enlightenment Technique, was a lecture that Berner gave during a long Enlightenment Intensive in the early 1970's. I think it gives profound and helpful advice to participants of the Intensive on how to do the enlightenment technique. I've often read a few paragraphs from this lecture during the Intensives that I facilitate.
Enlightenment is the title of Chapter 6 and the last essay of this book. It is excerpted from the first chapter of Consciousness of Truth. Mona Sosna wrote this chapter which is based upon Berner's 1977 Enlightenment Intensive master training course lectures and originally appeared, as I said above, in the 1981 Enlightenment Masters Manual, Transmission of Truth as the first chapter, What Is and Is Not Enlightenment.
Bill Savoie wrote the chapter entitled, About Charles Berner. It is excerpted from Bill's unpublished book, The Bridge to One. Bill was a participant of the first Enlightenment Intensive in July, 1968 and has continued to be involved with the Enlightenment Intensive both as a participant and facilitator to this very day. In his essay he shares his experience and insights about Charles Berner and those early days from which the Enlightenment Intensive was formed.
I uploaded this video to YouTube in July of 2008. It is a video that I took of Charles Berner giving a talk in 1993 on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Enlightenment Intensive. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people around the world have benefited from their participation in the Enlightenment Intensive since it began in July, 1968. And many more continue to benefit today and will in the future as new generations of Enlightenment Masters facilitate the Enlightenment Intensive in countries around the world. This is the YouTube URL for the video: http://youtu.be/QQHW7AkrLc4
I recently published a book titled, Enlightenment and the Enlightenment Intensive, Volume 1.
It is a book of essays by Charles Berner on the subject of enlightenment, the Enlightenment Intensive and the Enlightenment Dyad Technique. If you have an interest in Enlightenment in general and the Enlightenment Intensive in particular reflecting and understanding what Berner is trying to convey will yield a treasure of insight and revelation.
The book can be ordered from Amazon as a paperback or Kindle.
Below is the Introduction from the book.
Enlightenment and the Enlightenment Intensive, Volume 1
In a 1974 newspaper article Charles Berner wrote about the first Enlightenment Intensive and how it all began.
"I thought that I had something that people could and would do, so I set a date over the fourth of July weekend, 1968 for a five day Enlightenment Intensive and announced it to my students. Twenty-six people attended. Besides myself I had one assistant, Drew Renner, and Ava Berner was the cook. In a ply wood tent at Crystal Valley in the high desert of southern California, much to my continued amazement, on the third day several people experienced directly their own self. I acted very matter of act, but I had actually expected that one would have to attend many intensives in order to have a satori-like experience. Before the intensive was over, eleven of the twenty-six had direct experiences of Truth."
In this book I've included three documents by Charles Berner that deserve your study and attention if you have an interest in Enlightenment in general and the Enlightenment Intensive in particular. Reading and reflecting over and over again what Berner is trying to convey will yield a treasure of insight and revelation.
Chapter One is the 1970's booklet entitled, Enlightenment by Charles Berner. The cover of the booklet was a colorful painting by the artist Peter Max. The information and inspiration in this small but potent book is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago when it was first printed or thousands of years ago when such knowledge was only passed by word of mouth from teacher to student.
Chapter Two and Three is taken from Charles Berner's book, The Transmission of Truth. This book is the primary manual used to train new Enlightenment Masters. The two chapters I've included are entitled, The Enlightenment Technique Part 1 and The Enlightenment Technique Part 2.
Chapter Four is the one page summary of how to do the Enlightenment Dyad Technique.
Chapter Five is the edited transcript of Charles Berner's 1993 Talk commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Enlightenment Intensive. You can also watch an excerpt of this talk on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQHW7AkrLc4
Appendix 1 gives a brief biography of Charles Berner.
Appendix 2 is a brief biography of Yoah Wexler who edited this edition.
Appendix 3 lists some of the books, audio, video and courses to support your education and training.
If you want more information on retreats and training programs go to:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Web site: http://www.enlightenmentintensive.com.au
Who Am I
The self reflection, ‘Who am I?’ is a 10,000 year old yogic meditation. And though it has a long Yogic tradition it’s also a universal contemplation on the meaning and purpose of life found in cultures and spiritual traditions spreading across our planet. Reflecting and wondering ‘who am I’ seems to be a universal part of human consciousness and is no doubt encoded in our dna.
Carl Rogers, the 20th Century renowned clinical psychologist and the father of modern humanistic psychology said that the fundamental question beneath all the problems that people brought to him was “who am I and what’s the purpose of my life.”
Ramana Maharshi, the ‘who am I’ Indian guru who lived in the first half of the 20th Century said that to “know your self, you know everything.’
During our Yoga Camel Trek retreat we experienced the two person exercise called a ‘relating exercise’ to support the self reflection, ‘who am I.’ The listening partner said to their contemplating and communicating partner, “Tell me who you are.” After five minutes the roles reversed and the listening partner became the contemplating partner and vice versa. This is a powerful process that teaches and supports good communication habits of non judgemental listening, honest communication within an interpersonal environment of non interruption.
Of course you can do this ‘who am I’ meditation on your own by staying open to the consciousness of who you are right here and right now. You can do this during your day by finding a moment (in fact, find many moments during your day) when you can take a little time to be open to directly knowing your self. It may be while you are walking down the street, or waiting in a queue or driving to work, exercising or washing the dishes. Just stay open as you reflect ‘who am I.’ It’s a meditation that can be like waking up from a dream.
The notion or metaphor of waking from a dream is not an uncommon way of expressing the reality of enlightenment. David Hawkins, a psychiatrist and modern spiritual adventurer has written several books on consciousness. In his book, The Eye of the I, he writes:
“It is as though one had forgotten and now awakened from a dream. All fears are revealed to be groundless; all sorrows are foolish imaginings. There is no future to fear nor past to regret. There is no errant ego self to admonish or correct. There is nothing that needs changing or bettering. there is nothing about which to feel ashamed or guilty. There is no 'other' from which one can be separated. No loss is possible. Nothing needs to be done, no effort is required, and one ifs free from the endless tug of desire and want."
The experience of a participant at an Enlightenment Intensive retreat that Gitesha and I regularly facilitate related this to us:
“Its slippery, this sense of myself. I chased it like a cat chasing a ball on a string. And when I grabbed it I realised that I AM HERE! I am here and there is no better company than my self! I had to giggle. My body moved automatically to show its gratitude to the world. My eyes widened. My mouth slipped into a smile. My muscles relaxed and I felt light. I felt a desire to give my love to others. To bring light to them. I felt like I could connect with any soul on the planet. And connect so deeply, that others would be injected with my wonderment and joy.”
And here’s another person describing their contemplation on ‘who am I’ during another Enlightenment Intensive:
“It’s like I’ve awoken from a dream. My life changed dramatically. I met ME, the true me, for the first time. Now I just enjoy every moment that I have and I am grateful to share the truth of me with all living things. And my relationships have improved, especially with my family.”
You can see by the words written above that awakening to ‘who you are’ or the state of enlightenment is a profound experience that puts you firmly on a path toward changing your life for the better. It inspires you to improve your life and the way you relate to the world and those around you.
The final step of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga is Samadhi or Enlightenment. This is the ultimate goal of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. It’s a state that sages, mystics and pursuers of Truth all agree can’t be described in words because it is beyond words. Zen Masters say, ‘Pointing at the moon is not the moon.’ Describing the ineffable is only pointing at It.