I am reeling having just returned from my 5th enlightenment intensive. I worked on two questions this time – first “what is life?” and then “what is God?”. It was by far the most profound experience I have had durning and intensive albiet not a direct experience.
For those who are unfamiliar with an EI, it is a retreat designed to achieve enlightenment or a direct experience of The Truth. You sit in dyads taking turns being a speaker or a listener. So someone will sit across from you and give you your direction, in my case this weekend “Tell me what God is”. Then as the speaker it is your job to contemplate the question and communicate absolutely everything that comes up for you during your contemplation in that five minutes. This goes on for 18 hours a day with the enlightenment exercises being broken up by meal, snack, walking, work, lecture and sitting contemplations. There is often social silence imposed during the intensive so you are not communicating with others outside of the dyads.
It does not usually take long for people to fall apart during an EI. At any various times people may be laughing, sobbing hysterically, screaming. Its not hard to lose your mind during and intensive. But that seems to be part of the process to me – losing the mind to directly experience The Truth.
For the first time in my EI experiences, I did in fact completely let go into the technique taught for contemplating and communicating to the point where I was sobbing out for God for several enlightenment exercises spanning 4 or 5 hours. I was able to get out of my own way to fully feel the painfully sweet longing for God. I did not have a direct experience which is always somewhat disappointing but it was beautiful nonetheless. In the agony is the ecstasy.
But coming home and integrating that experience is always a little challenging. I tend to process things through my body and it affects my sleep and how well I interact in the world. The process of settling back down into daily life.
And I really must have lost my mind as I have already signed up to do this again in 6 weeks. It is with fear and excitement that I say – I can’t wait!