The Enlightenment Intensive
The Enlightenment Intensive (EI) is a fusion of the Rinzai Zen sesshin with the dyad form developed by Charles and Ava Berner. The first EI took place in 1968 in the Californian desert and was an instant success, swiftly taken up by other groups such as the Rajneesh/Osho movement and most recently, it has been taken back into the Zen fold by Julian Daizan Skinner and his Zenways organization in the UK.
Based on the ancient method of question-asking or koans, the EI offers participants the chance to directly experience Truth in a moment of samadhi. It is not religious, nor a cult, in fact it does not require you to believe anything. The meditation and communication invites you to look inside and open to the truth of how things are, right now, beyond ideas of how that might be.
The classic EI is a three day workshop and has a monastic feel; there is no social interaction and the days are carefully scheduled to free you from distractions and look after your basic needs. You are given a koan/question such as ‘who am I?’ and a meditation technique for contemplating; other questions are: ‘what am I?’, ‘what is life?’ and ‘what is another?’. You communicate the results of your contemplation to a partner, choosing a new partner for each 40 minute contemplation period. The day includes walks, rests, meals and a talk. The combination of contemplation and communication brings healing and regeneration on its own, and for many people over the years it has also opened the door to a deep knowing of the Truth, experienced directly.
When some Truth is experienced, we finally have the certainty we crave, from ourselves rather than from something read or told to us.