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  • Enlightenment Intensives
Chronology of the Annual    Intensive
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  Osha and Edrid  

The Enlightenment Intensive is a three-day residential retreat which offers you an opportunity to come into conscious union with the truth of yourself, life, others and love.

The Intensive format was developed in 1968 by Charles Berner after years of research into methods for improving communication skills and deepening relationships. Combining contemplation of the questions, "Who am I?," "What am I?," "What is life?" and "What is another?" with one-to-one communication, he discovered that within periods of a few days, his students were having enlightenment experiences identical to those produced by years of silent meditation. Since 1968, the Enlightenment Intensive has helped thousands of people accelerate their awakening, enhance their communication skills and improve the quality of their lives.

The Enlightenment Intensive promotes no belief system or philosophy of life. It offers an opportunity to go beyond mental constructs and bring your full awareness into direct contact with the truth. The Intensive format combines contemplation of a question with communication to a partner. Half the time is spent contemplating and communicating and the other half receiving your partner's communication, working with a new partner every forty-five minutes. These dyad periods are balanced with meals, walks, physical exercise, rest, inspirational talks and silent contemplation. Vegetarian meals, snacks, vitamins and sleeping space are provided.

Enlightenment is not a far-away, esoteric experience attainable by only a few individuals willing to give up home, family and possessions and spend their lives in caves meditating. It is available to everyone. Though enlightenment transcends definitions and has many levels, enlightened people agree that it is a direct experience of truth. Unlike insights, conclusions and beliefs, it involves a fundamental shift in consciousness which is distinct from thinking, feeling, believing or reasoning. There is no way to make enlightenment happen, but you can put yourself in an environment that makes it possible for it to happen. The Enlightenment Intensive provides such an environment. It is by no means the only way for you to come into conscious union with the truth, but it is a proven and powerful way, a unique opportunity. The value of directly experiencing and communicating the truth is that it helps you live life more effectively, in closer contact with others and in harmony with the way things actually are. It facilitates your progress toward personal and spiritual goals, enhances any discipline or work you may be involved in, improves your relationships and empowers you as an individual.

The Love Intensive follows the same format as the Enlightenment Intensive except that everyone works on the question, "What is love?"

The Dyad Meditation Retreat is an advanced form of the Enlightenment Intensive recommended for experienced meditators who wish to deepen their moment to moment awareness and who benefit from additional contemplation periods and physical exercise.

For more information or for dates of Intensives happening in your area, see the Schedule of Events below or
send e-mail to origin@highsierra.org. You can also refer to the websites Self and Other, Barry's EI Page,
Murray Kennedy Enlightenment Intensives, and Living Our True Nature for intensives and retreats happening globally.

Graphic by Celestine Star


"The Enlightenment Intensive was the highest spiritual experience of my life." ~ Peter Max, Artist "The Enlightenment Intensive format does more to help one towards wholeness than anything else I know. "
~ Hilary Sinclair, Self and Society

"I have tested this technique and I have compared it to other methods of enlightenment. This technique is about 50-100 times more rapid in producing enlightenment experiences than the classical techniques."
~ Charles Berner, Originator of the Enlightenment Intensive

"Enlightenment Intensives are a very effective way to accelerate one's spiritual evolution."
~ Raj Esteva, Ethnic Studies Instructor, Artist

"Enlightenment Intensives allowed me to experience the essence of who I am. Charles Berner has developed the finest I-Thou communication method for experiencing one's being that I know of. I highly recommend Enlightenment Intensives to anyone on the quest for self-understanding." ~ Arnie Frieman, Ph D

"Few of us make the jump beyond our beliefs. Most of us do not even believe that this is possible. We remain in a world where belief is substituted for the truth...For me the path leading out of mental construct and into the world of direct experience has been the Enlightenment Intensive." ~ Jeff Love, Author

"Enlightenment Intensives are very pure and very powerful. The value they had for me I can't say enough about. Enlightenment made apparent to me what my mind is and what I am, and I became conscious of what others actually are. As a result, my approach to martial arts completely transformed and my ability improved dramatically. I highly recommend Enlightenment Intensives to all students of martial arts, and to anyone." ~ Peter Ralston, Martial Artist

"Though the Enlightenment Intensive is founded in Zen, for me it is an acutely Christian experience. I believe I discovered
for the first time the meaning of St. Paul's words, "I live, now not I but Christ lives in me." That momentary flash was the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit..." ~ V.K., Catholic Priest

"I dared not actually believe that Satori could be achieved in three days. I am amazed at the whole impact and its implications. I have read and thought about Zen for years, struggled with it indeed, but only now do I see without any doubts its essential point..." ~ John Crook PhD, D. Sc.