Enlightenment Intensive is the course that lasts two or more days and offers contemporary human beings unique opportunity to consciously achieve self comprehension, enlightenment, mystical experience or - as we nowadays define it - direct experience of self, life, another and God.
Experiences that participants of Intensive have are identical to descriptions of mystical experiences presented by people who achieved enlightenment after many years of practice, using different spiritual techniques. Enlightenment achieved on Intensive is experience of the same kind as the ones that Jesus, Buddha, St. John of Cross, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Sai Baba, Baba Ji and others spoke about. Today, enlightenment is not some distant esoteric knowledge, veiled in mystery, that can be achieved only by few chosen or lucky ones, or ascetics in mountain caves and monasteries. It is definitely not conditioned by religion or nationality, special merits or any kind of fore-knowledge. The only condition is that people really want such experience and that they do not suffer from mental illness or some heavy physical problems.
Although enlightenment surpasses all possible definition, there still exists consensus on its character - it is neither insight nor conclusion, belief nor perception, intuitive experience or anything else served by either mind or body. In direct experience of truth there is only Oneness – the difference between the one who is experiencing, the process of experiencing and what is being experienced is gone. Enlightenment is a state characterized by absolute timelessness – it is unspeakable, and at the same time the most obvious and natural thing.
Direct experience of Truth is one sole life experience that brings human beings complete fulfillment. It also provides answers to eternal questions about self, life, others and God. With enlightenment our consciousness strongly evolves because we fulfil the primal goal of human existence. It is of crucial importance for human beings to know themselves, to break the illusion, chaos and alienation, and to gain certain amount of influence on their own Ego. Enlightenment is also a necessary precondition for natural spiritual life, because every religion is based on such experience. When Jesus says – “Me and my Father are One”, then it is easy to conclude that he is presenting his own experience of Oneness with the Absolute.
Intensive was created by an American scientist Charles Berner (1922 - 2007) who begun his career as a physicist, but latter started working on spiritual science. His top achievement is this technique. Berner simply brought together Zen meditations on koans or enigmatic questions with Western communication techniques and ended up with fruitful combination – the method of great simplicity and efficiency.
Soon after it was created, Intensive became known as an extremely strenuous course. It has definitely evolved since then – it now lasts 2 and not 3 days, working hours are not 18 but 14 hours per day, and technology is advanced in the way that every person who wants to achieve enlightenment and is ready to commit themselves fully, can achieve it. New form that old Enlightenment Intensive nowadays has is not much different, it only uses an advanced version of enlightenment technique and lasts a little bit shorter. So, the experience that took months and years of hard work in the past, today can be reached in only two days, in an intense but relaxed working atmosphere, with continuous meditation and application of efficient technology.
THE STRUCTURE OF INTENSIVE
Intensive consists of so called "communication exercises" where participants sit in dyads (pairs), facing each other and alternately using Intensive technique. Each communication lasts approximately forty minutes, and is separated into 5-minute periods. Each of the two participants is four times active partner (does the technique) and four times passive partner (gives attention and energy support to active partner). For every new communication exercise participants choose new partners. In lunch breaks or resting periods participants continue to practice the technique, but this time on their own and in a slightly different form. Reason for continuous attention to the technique is that, once we establish prerequisite conditions, it is possible to have direct experience at any moment.
Intensive is named for it’s condensed working hours, complete retreat from everyday life during the course, and certain rules of behavior whose purpose is exclusively to conserve energy and to focus attention towards the goal of Intensive – direct experience of Truth. Here is the daily schedule of activities for short Intensive.
Schedule for 2-day Intensive
19.00 - 20.00 - introductory lecture
20.00 - 20.45 - communication
20.45 - 21.00 - rest
21.00 - 21.45 - communication
21.45 - 22.00 - snack
22.00 - sleep
6.15 - 7.00 - getting up
7.00 - 7.15 - lecture
7.15 - 8.00 - communication
8.00 - 8.45 - communication
8.45 - 9.15 - breakfast
9.15 - 10.00 - communication
10.00 - 10.45 - communication
10.45 - 11.15 - physical exercise
11.15 - 12.00 - communication
12.00 - 12.45 - lunch
12.45 - 13.30 - communication
13.30 - 13.45 - rest
13.45 - 14.30 - lecture
14.30 - 15.00 - individual meditation
15.00 - 15.45 - communication
15.45 - 16.00 - snack
16.00 - 16.45 - meditation in work
16.45 - 17.45 - rest
17.45 - 18.00 - getting up
18.00 - 18.45 - communication
18.45 - 19.30 - communication
19.30 - 20.15 - dinner
20.15 - 21.00 - communication
21.00 - 21.15 - physical exercise
21.15 - 22.00 - communication
22.00 - snack and sleep
6.00 - 6.45 - getting up
6.45 - 7.30 - communication
7.30 - 8.15 - communication
8.15 - 8.45 - breakfast
8.45 - 9.30 - communication
9.30 - 10.15 - communication
10.15 - 10.45 - physical exercise
10.45 - 11.30 - communication
11.30 - 12.15 - communication
12.15 - 12.45 - lunch
12.45 - 13.30 - communication
13.30 - 13.45 - rest
13.45 - 14.15 - lecture
14.15 - 14.45 - individual meditation
14.45 - 15.30 - communication
15.30 - closing speech and celebration
From this kind of schedule it is obvious that regime on Intensive resembles life in a monastery. Participants are not supposed to talk to each other in the breaks between communication exercises and they don’t deal with their everyday activities. They focus their attention and energy exclusively to the technique. The master and assistants help them in every way. Together with constant support and help that enables participants to practice technique correctly in order to reach direct experience, master and the assistants take care of all the logistics, such as food and lodgings. Food is vegetarian, and it is made with a special instruction to the assistants to prepare it with love and fill it with positive energy. Meals made in such spirit are very different from the usual ones, and they very much contribute to the atmosphere of unselfish love and support. Such atmosphere allows participants to relax and open up, and to achieve the deepest possible direct experience of truth in the shortest time possible.
THE TECHNIQUE OF ENLIGHTENMENT INTENSIVE
It really is possible to reach enlightenment in two days on this course. Together with special kind of regime, main contributor is also the technique used on the Intensive. Technique of Intensive is the simplest and most efficient way to directly experience spiritual reality. It’s essence lies in meditation focused on object. This kind of meditation has originated from many traditional systems of spiritual development, such as some schools of Zen Buddhism, where meditation is focused on koans or enigmatic questions. There are also some similarities between Intensive technique and the system of spiritual exercises by St. Ignatius Loyola where monks primarily meditate on scenes from Jesus’ life. The spiritual system by Indian saint Sri Ramana Maharishi, whose underlying question for meditation was “who am I”, also preceded Intensive technique.
Charles Berner came to an intelligent conclusion – if someone wants to have a spiritual experience, one should focus on experiencing it directly. Berner compared such work with activities of business people whose goal was to earn money. If someone wants to earn a lot of money, the best way is to trade with money. That is why the most direct way to perceive spiritual reality lies in the immediate experience of such reality. Another important thing that comes up when we aspire towards spiritual experience directly is knowing how to achieve it, in other words – what are the technical means that we can use. Berner has discovered the shortest and the most direct technical means for achieving mystical experience. Therefore, the technique used on Intensive is still the clearest and the most natural means that leads to direct experience in relatively short time. Berner’s model was improved by Ž. M. Slavinski, and I brought in energy work. On the basis of the Intensive, I have also created Energy Intensive that presents even more advanced version of the technique that Berner discovered.
So, together with the precise model that allows us to express the essence of spiritual experience (see article Criteria of physical, mental and spiritual health), today we also have highly precise technical model that we can use as means of achieving mystical experience. Such experience cannot be achieved through mental or intellectual activity. We cannot comprehend the experience which surpasses mind as dimension, with an effort of our mind. Using the power of our mind we can only prepare the terrain for such experience, and the preparation is done in the following way.
First, we have to choose the object of our meditation. Object can be anything - content of our mind or some material things. Material objects would be, for example, other people, plants, planet Earth or universe. Abstract objects could be energy centers, spiritual beings like Jesus or Buddha, or God – however we may imagine them. Then we have to identify with the chosen object, enter in the state of visual oneness with it and feel it completely. So, the first phase of meditation on object is emotional identification with an object.
Second phase consists of the intention to experience the object directly, without process. There is not much that can be said about this phase, because there is no way of wording how to have an intention to experience the object directly. The only thing that can be said about intention is that it is different from the wish, because intention is an active state, and wish is passive. We can wish for something from here to eternity. Intention, on the other hand, is not wishing. Intention actively moves our energy towards the outcome, and inner state that has to accompany intention is the feeling that we have already achieved our goal. To have an intention means to do something without stalling, in other words – enter the state of mind where it is already done. That is way an agile and capable person says to their boss: “No problem, boss, consider it done”. That shows what does it mean to have an intention to experience the object directly.
After the emotional identification and intention, we should enter the state of openness for direct experience. If that experience happens, great. If not, then we should be aware of the contents of our mind that appear as a consequence of the intention to experience our object directly. What follows is the phase of detailed communication about mental content that appears as a consequence of emotional identification with the object and intention to experience the object directly. If we are performing this meditation on the course or in the pair with other person, we have to communicate contents of our mind to our partner. Then we have to identify again with the object, have the intention to experience it directly, be in the state of openness and communicate contents of our mind to our partner. This process is repeated over and over, until direct experience happens. If we perform this technique on our own, we have to recognize contents of mind that appears as the consequence of intention and then continue with the first and second phase. When we work on our own, then we cannot communicate, which will not prevent direct experience from happening - it can only make the period of meditation longer.
If we prepare terrain for direct experience in this way, chances are great that it will happen in a relatively short period or time. However, since this technique can only prepare terrain, there are no guarantees that mystical experience will happen. That is why, together with using this technique, we need to have a noble cause for such experience. State of unselfish love towards another human being can be such a cause. Then, with the mercy of God, we may enter the state of oneness with our object. When direct experience happens, when it’s recognized an accepted, we have to work on it’s grounding and presenting in our every day life.
Many people that have experienced spiritual experiences using other means usually weren’t aware of the essence of such experience. They experienced it spontaneously, using prayer or energy work. However, if their experience is legitimate, it has happened in the exact moment of entering into state of complete oneness with the object of their meditation, whatever it was – God, almighty spirit, spiritual Teacher or some spiritual symbol. All other experiences are indirect - they can be very subtle and abstract states of awareness, but that doesn’t mean they are direct. Unusual states of mind like fascinating inner visions, psychic powers or emotional high-strung states sometimes can be mistaken for spiritual experience. However, in such cases we are talking only about unusual or abstract states of mind, and not necessarily about spiritual experience. True spiritual experience is only the state in which there is no process - there is only oneness between the subject and the object of meditation.
Therefore, it is obvious that the essence of meditation on object lies in emotional identification with the object, intention to experience the object directly and the state of inner openness. For example, if somebody wants to find out who or what Jesus was and what state of mind he represented, then it is not enough to read about Jesus, think about him or pray. It is better to have personal, immediate or direct experience of Jesus. Direct experience is the prerequisite condition for true knowledge. To experience Jesus directly we must visualize Jesus in our mind. Then we have to identify with him, enter the state of visual oneness with our vision of Jesus. After that we have to open up and feel Jesus completely. In that state we need to have the intention to experience Jesus directly, without any process. If our intention is pure and strong, and our mind clear from prejudice and opened for new experience, we will, in one timeless moment and not even knowing how, experience Jesus directly. What will that experience look like depends on the person experiencing it. That is the reason why direct experience cannot be discussed. It simply has to be experienced.