Over the years I have received a good number of wonderful letters describing various experiences that have come about on or after Enlightenment Intensives. I have always felt these are far too good not to share, so I have copied some of them out below. Hopefully the pieces will speak for themselves and give the reader as much pleasure as they did me.
“During the first day, I found myself apart from everyone else thinking thoughts about my uniqueness. Then, one after one, people sat in front of me and spoke of exactly my thoughts. I felt like leaving and one would say that she wanted to leave. I thought that this would be my last e.i., and then one would sit before me and say that this would be his last intensive. I felt sorry for myself .. being an addict, and then one would sit before me and describe her serious addictions. My heart started to ache and then one would sit before me and describe her aching heart. I would believe that I was special for some reason and then before me would be one who felt special for that very same reason. This was all too humbling. My Ego did not appreciate this awareness. On the other hand, it was rather relaxing to know that I was not alone – not at all. At one point I felt my breath connected to my intake of love and I heard the person beside me say that his breath was connected to his intake of love. In front of me, beside me, we were all the same and my Ego gradually dissolved until I was so grateful to be a part of rather than separate. I want to stay connected to the whole.
This process gives G-d our total attention and I think that she rewards us for our undivided attention. She really does.”
“The seventh day. The first dyad I am still feeling heavy and slow. It is so unusual as I am normally quite fast and like to be fast, especially mentally and get impatient with people who seem to be slow in their thinking. Well now I am really slow in my head. During the physical exercise period I do Qi Gong. Extremely slowly. I have never done it this slowly in my life. I close my eyes and feel my body moving with the heaviness, as if floating in it, respecting its pace. Afterwards comes breakfast. I sit down with my porridge. I am mixing it with my spoon and see that the mass moves in a similar way as the heavy honey I am drowning in. I am fascinated and keep mixing the porridge for a while before I start eating. At one point I look up and suddenly everything seems to have shifted. I am aware of seeing my surroundings with extreme clarity, as if someone has switched on the lights.
As I start to contemplate and communicate in the next dyad, I realize that things have indeed shifted. Now I am the goddess, the centre, the universe, the stars and the moon and the darkness in which they float. I feel the contraction and the release, the pulse of the universe, its breathing is my breathing. I feel that I am giving birth to the universe in every moment and it is such a loving act. I feel my potential for creation and destruction. Destruction is a loving act in the same way as creation is. What I withdraw back from life in contraction I release again as something new and different. I realize this is creativity: taking in, combining, mixing, sifting and then releasing something, a piece of art that is unique and different. I am the source and every manifestation is just a different aspect of me, there is no separation. So fear, resistance, anger, anxiety, despair, greed are the goddess as are joy, flow, compassion, hope, ecstasy, generosity and they really are all one, even when appearing as opposites. I cannot really say where pain ends and pleasure begins, it’s all coming from the one source, the Divine. Even the idea of reincarnation makes sense to me but not as a rebirth of the same ‘I’ although it is constant rebirthing of the one Source. I am that Source, I arise from it and go back to it and arise again in a different form through the creativity of the Source. Even arising and going back to the Source is an illusion in that I am never away from it because I am it. I am the creator and the creation. I am every bird and leaf and flower and bee and I am their breath and song and dance and death.
In the following dyads I am communicating the different aspects of the goddess. I am melting more and pleasure is filling my being. After talking to Murray and his encouragement to present fully I am trying to do so: to speak with a stronger voice, pronounce the words clearly and get across the power of the goddess. Her tender but also ruthless love. As I do this, I discover the power of the word. I know now deep in my being and in my bones what that means, how powerful the word is as a carrier of the Truth. I also rediscover the pleasure of singing. Why don’t I sing more often? What happened? I remember as a small child I used to sing all the time. I had this one special song which I used to sing to lure the sun out when it the sky was overcast, having absolutely no doubt that singing had that power. Now I feel that the stars and the night sky are holding me, rocking me, protecting me. I feel like it is my body that is arching above the Earth and at the same time I am the Earth.
Every little thing seems to be filled with pleasure and joy. As I am collecting the weeds and covering tree roots with them, smoothing the surface with my feet, I sense the pleasure of trees at having their roots touched. Their pleasure is my pleasure. As a branch touches my hair, I feel a gentle caress of a lover. Eagles’ flight is part of my being as are the moving clouds and the waves of the ocean and the seagull. I am a vast ocean and I am held by that ocean. There is a sense of moving like a whale, turning slowly in the water, enjoying its caresses and its holding, moving gently.
During the evening walk I stop to listen to trees. I can hear their whisper in the breeze and sense how the leaves touch each other lovingly, the joy of that contact. The eagles are having their evening soiree and the sky is colored by the setting sun.”
12 November, 2002
Beyond contact, to union with another
A choice for absolute vulnerability
And surrender to the moment
Trusting truth and bathing in it
Dispassionately I am in.
Not good or bad or ecstasy or passion
I am just in – not in it – just in.
I know who you are because you are inside me
I want you to see yourself in me
I want you to use me as a mirror – just come on in
And see that who you are is yourself, you always have been
You are truth, completely and absolutely.
Why can’t you see it?
But you are so beautiful in your eagerness and effort to see,
And everything is OK just as it is.
The beautiful irony of walking around immersed in truth
And yet innocently blind to it, we cannot see what we are swimming in!
Life just keeps on presenting itself, and just is.
We can choose to be in, or not –
It doesn’t matter to life what we choose
Because we are truth anyway.
Everything is truth; nothing matters.
It’s all me
it’s all breathing
the bigness of it
there’s not limit
I knew it was ok to just know this much right now
the mind was scared
I was it looking at mind with a gentleness I’ve never known
With my first experience I knew my mind would never let me know.
It was only because I was asleep that it happened
Now I am fearless. I am not afraid.
The reality of what is was coming in.
There was the coming apart or breaking down of this experience, the illusion of it.
Being in the experience and knowing it
I chose this and I am creating it
What I never had was this gentleness patience and compassion about all of it.
Lifting my hand
there is no limit.
I feel this humility like bowing down
There is a sense of reverence for how much it is
It is more than I can know
Standing in it and knowing it all
but not swimming in it
There was a choice I was making to keep me the vessel
to have some boundaries
It was moving through me
but it was my choice not to go to the depths of the experience.
Just loving and knowing I didn’t need to know it all.
I needed to know a little bit right now.
It felt that it would be very difficult; more than I was able to do.
Gentleness and compassion my Divine Wisdom
I am the Divine allowing self to be
And the humility
it was so welcome
And not having any fear
Sense of love for everything
Not needing to be understood. It’s so welcome.
Don’t need them to know me.
I’m doing it; all of it. I’m all of it
It’s my choice to be here
I’m not coerced
I’m choosing to know this corner and I know the availability of the rest of it
Right now there is gentleness; it’s nice and easy
This was addressed to the Monitor of a 7 Day:
“I’m still feeling the glow from the intensive and want to say again how your presence made such a difference. I don’t think I’ve actually told you that YOU are what ignited the direct experience that I had on the seventh day. When I heard your voice reading off the jobs, I suddenly cracked. Your voice was the hammer against the clear bell of Truth and it shattered me into pieces. Each time you spoke another word, the bell sounded again all through me and all I could do was laugh, cry, and gasp.
Afterwards, I had no idea what I had become aware of. All I could say was, “Life is amazing.” Then you assigned me the job of raking and clearing the pathway to the Point. What a glorious gift. I felt I had been given pure gold and I walked out into the cool morning with my rake to meet the sacred.
When I looked at the path, at first I wasn’t sure what I was to do. It all looked so perfect already. Then I pulled the rake over the ground and saw that the movement was perfect. I wasn’t sure what to do with the pile I had raked and then thought I could toss it off to the side of the path and as I did so, I saw how perfectly it all flew through the air, gliding gracefully and landing in a perfect new arrangement.
Then I began to realize the truth that had been revealed. Life is perfect! Every moment, in every way. It was fine to keep on raking because each new arrangement was also perfect and it was fun. The eagle was perched on the tall tree and that too was perfect.
I wish I could convey how profound and clear and sweet your presence always is and it’s not dependent upon your mood or state or anything. It just is so. I’m remembering, too, that I’ve had three or four direct experiences as a result of contact with you, including my very first one on that first two week EI on Cortez Island. All have been shattering and life altering.”
Lawrence Noyes and Devarshi who Trained me to give Intensives 1982
On the 4th morning; my tears turned to anger! There is so much power in anger. I’ve learned the hard way, that unexpressed anger, for me – becomes depression.
I was talking about my dad (a lot) and feeling overwhelmed by the impact he had, on my life.
I was also feeling really safe and loved by S. (my dyad partner). I had this overwhelming feeling of fear. It was now or never and S. was the right person for me to do this with – right then!! An inside feeling was pushing me to DO it!! I wasn’t sure what the DO IT meant, or how it would manifest itself if I let go but I felt like by back was up against the wall, or, that I was backed in a corner and had to get out – OR DIE!
I remember feeling angry and so desperate to bust out – I remember saying that I had no choice – it had to be now and that S’s being there was crucial.
I was talking about the influence my father has had on my life. I made some comment about THE IMPACT of the hurtful things he said and did. Suddenly my eyes got really huge because this big light bulb went off in my head – a complete shift in my thinking, and I said, “OR NOT!!” (I saw I could let the experiences of my dad impact on me or not).
That was what did it! It was a huge shift – suddenly I could see myself completely separate from my father… and his influence. I could feel a sense of detachment from him – suddenly (and for always) I saw I had a choice to either accept or detach (or deflect) his impact. That’s what I felt when I said, “I GOT IT”.
Yes, lots of bad things were said to me, etc – yes, it influenced me, BUT, I can choose to let it impact on me, or not. The power of that realization was overwhelming. I could see my PAST LIFE and all of its experiences, encapsulated in the palm of my hand – held out to the side of me. It was like I could see dads influences …….over there….. but they were not actually a part of me! The freedom of that feeling was incredible … all of a sudden…..I started to shake and shudder . My hands and the lower part of my face was went numb.
I felt this incredible force in my body trying to push out!! There was no holding back. It was like deciding not to push any more when a baby’s head is coming….it was like giving birth …. only I was giving birth to a bulldozer! The force inside me was huge and unstoppable, and I yelled in an angry voice GET OUT OFF MY WAY!!! – AND SUDDENLY… I BECAME THE BULLDOZER.
I BECAME this force of ENERGY – I started getting very dizzy and my upper body was swaying around in a big circle. I could feel my arms lifting up from under my armpits as if someone was lifting me up – but, of course it was just me. The energy was trying to lift me up, or at least get out of my body! I could feel myself almost lifting out of the chair.
Suddenly, the force of energy left my body and starting flying around the walls of the room just below the level of the ceiling. It was going so, so, so fast – like it was the wind. Then I realized it was ME up there flying around the room – IT WAS ME and I WAS THE WIND – I WAS THE ENERGY SOURCE!! – AND I WAS FREE!
I was sitting in the chair, and I felt out of my head or something, and I was watching myself just fly around those walls. I had to keep turning my head around and around so I could watch myself. I couldn’t really see me, (as one might think), but rather – the energy itself. Thank goodness I was contained within that room, or I would have had all the trees blowing outside.
Actually, that’s not right. The energy was free, but contained in a way. It was extremely fast and powerful – but, not actually windy like it felt and looked. It was just me in an energy form. That sounds so funny. It sounds so normal to refer to myself as an energy form – WOW imagine ….I was pure energy and that moment.
I had bust out and was free!! I had been held in there (inside myself) for so, so, so, long, it was like blowing the cork of a bottle of champagne. I felt like an explosion and then became the explosion and set myself free. I became the cork that exploded from the bottle or, I became the bulldozer that was re-born… with the power to blow that cork off!!!
I’m not up against the wall anymore – I’m out! I busted out – and I didn’t land on my head – I landed on my feet!
Right after that dyad, it was time for walk. It was very strange. I was just sort of floating – the ground met each of my footsteps with a gentle sound that said. “Thank-you.”
I walked very slowly with no sense of direction of where I was going. All the colours were crystal clear and bright.
It was like I didn’t need glasses – everything was so clear. I could see a sense of depth of field. My sense of hearing was acute. The trees seemed to sense my coming near and relish my company. Naaah! – but, Yes! I remember these gorgeous huge ferns growing in the forest and it was like I could hear them (and see them) breathing
The bark on the trunk of a tree felt so different. It felt alive – like skin. It was like touching another person. It just felt alive and so comforting to touch and lean against.
Everything was in slow motion. I couldn’t move very fast and was quite unsteady on my feet. I kept stumbling. I had this sense of being really small in this big world (forest) and felt far, far, far away from the dyad hall. I knew I had better start getting back before waiting to hear Teresa’s ring of the gong, because, it was going to take me a long time to get there – my steps were so small and slow. So I headed slowly back to the hall with absolutely no sense of anything but me, in each moment of my stepping. I felt like a 1 year old child learning to walk. My feet would come straight up and then straight down again. – no heel, then ball of the foot motion, like usual. Just up and down, up and down, padding along rather gingerly.
Then, I just proceeded into a mellow glow of bliss, and joy, and love. I felt so peaceful the rest of the day, energized but calm. I was very teary. Everything seemed so beautiful and simple. I cried with joy all day.
The remaining dyads of that day were just expressions of joy about everything – utter disbelief at the beauty of things. Watching the ballerinas made me cry, with sheer delight – I could feel myself in, or as one, with those dancers. I could feel their muscles move in MY body by just watching them. I could actually feel their joy of movement, because, it was mine, too.
I spent several dyads aware of what people in pairs next to me were saying. Not the details, just the gist. I kept hearing them talk, and talk, and, it felt like I was in a very different place. I wanted all of them to come with me so badly! It was like I wanted to say “Stop talking and just JUMP IN!!! – do whatever it takes – you can do it!! – JUST JUMP!”
It was like I had escaped out of a box, or some place like that, and, I was now on the other side of that wall – looking back. I could see others struggling on the other side of the wall (it was clear) where I had come from. I now stood on the freedom side.
The breaking through a wall, or being re-born; gave me the freedom to see who I AM – ALL BY MYSELF – not in relationship to anything or anyone else! – It was just ME.
I am my own person!
I have my own direction, path and purpose!!
No one else can tell me what those are! It is only for me – this one unique, special person! I am innocence, joy, gentleness, love, forgiveness, sorrow, pain, mistakes, triumphs, – all of it.
I’m the exact person that God intended me to be – there is no mistake or question about that!! No little bit to the left – or little bit to the right, about it!! I am me, and God knows it.
The truth about me doesn’t waiver. I am distinct and different from everyone else, because “in truth”: I can only be me. I know now, that we are all separate beings with our own path and story and, also: we are one and the same in this life. The joy, is in knowing the difference between the two.
In another dyad, I began to sense how big Life is. It can’t be contained. It’s bigger than any container could ever be. I felt the energy of my own life force pulsing through me and it was enormous — far bigger than the way I had been carrying myself. I had been walking around in life, pretending to be smaller than I am — in some container I had concocted that was less than who I really am and I wanted to stretch out of that tiny container.
At first I whimpered and took deep breaths, stretching my body in any way I could. Then louder sounds came out; shrieks, sobs, laughter. My arms reached overhead as far as they could. After a few shrieks, I thought, “well, that should do it, now let me get on with contemplating.” But not so. Something beyond my will was stretching me wider, bigger, further and it wasn’t done with me. I felt like an eagle, spreading her wings, rising into the wide-open sky, swept into the air on a wild current of wind. It was exhilarating, beyond anything I could control or even want to control.
That was day four dyad with J. You probably remember it since it filled up the whole room for a few moments, right up to the change-over bell. Afterwards, everything seemed bigger and all of Life, more spacious. I felt deep appreciation for the big expressions in life, for example: opera singers — those big beautiful resonant voices, the bold fullness of human expression.
Day five. Morning dyad after breakfast. My object of enlightenment had grown fuzzy. I had been experiencing so much Life in so many forms with such richness, ever present, compelling and obvious and now, suddenly, I found myself without a clear object to contemplate. Life? What’s that? Where to focus? Where to put my attention? I was in a dyad with S and his intensity prevented me from just coasting along and not caring if I had an object to contemplate. So I kept at it. I communicated that I couldn’t find Life at the moment and I contemplated some more.
Then, all at once, a perfectly clear object presented itself. — surprising me from out of nowhere. “Oh,” I said. “I just found Life. It’s me.” And with that, everything shifted. I got myself as Life. This changed everything, though, I couldn’t say much more about it other than, “I am Life.”
Then during morning walk, I got it: I am not separate from Life. That’s what had shifted. I dissolved into whoops and shouts and tears and laughter. Even though I had previously (on another intensive) gotten that I was not separate from others, I had still somehow managed to hold myself as separate (ever so subtlety) from life itself. Life had been something I was studying, observing, inquiring into, and participating in. I knew I was “in” life and “moved by” life and a “part of” life, but until now, hadn’t gotten that I am Life. This “non-separateness” from Life was a whole new realization. I burst into the hall, collapsing in laughter as I blurted this out to Patsy.
I realized this is why Life is so enjoyable; why it delights me so — because we are all the same Life. The eagle is the Life that I am, being “eagleness.” The wind, the sky, the ocean, the trees — are all the Life that I am, manifesting in various forms.
This is different than “identifying with” these life forms, it is instead, the humble falling away of separateness that allows me to experience pure delight in the full beingness that I am as Life. Birds singing in the forest resounded inside my chest. A raccoon, slinking along a high branch in a tall tree, filled me with the thrill of his accomplished climb. Eagles diving off tree tops, swooping in the sky, carried me on the wind with them. They are all beingness in various forms of the Life that I am, of the Life that we all are.
Day six: Dyad with D. I went through the entire dyad in total presence with very few words. In spite of my passionate love of verbal expression, there was suddenly no need for it. My dyad partner’s presence, so clear and sparkling, intensified my own presence and I surrendered to the pure beingness of that moment, that contact, that life.
Then one word finally emerged, “this.” It felt so sufficient, so completely satisfying that there was nothing more to say. But a few moments later, another word arose, “is.” I laughed out loud with that and it, too, was so full and rich that there was no need for anything more. But then another came forth, “love” and then a whole phrase, “Life loving itself.”
I JUST NEVER KNEW
I just never knew that I could find myself, here, in this sweet aftermath of Love’s embrace.
I just never knew that what it took was a surrender of all I thought I wanted for love to bring me here, bring me home to this, the heart’s boudoir – where no touch goes unnoticed and each kiss multiplies.
I just never knew that my longing had a face that Love would recognize. Not until it showed – until I let beauty fill my eyes. Then, flush with a fresh desire, I saw a secret garden in each others’ face.
There is no picking in this garden – no possession. No postures here but those of utter adoration.
I was so, so shy at first, amidst such beauty. I was sure each scar, each blemish would be seen. I just never knew I had a face I had not made up, put on, protected. Not til tears and beauty washed it clear, washed it til it glistened – washed it til there was no shame in shining.
Love will overlook a multitude of imperfections – if they are not held up as shields. It will thread through countless complications to reach a heart that can be stitched.
I just never knew that Love could find me until it did.
Thich Nhat Hanh
I wanted to work on Who am I? I was convinced that if I have a direct experience on Who, I might know what is particular about this who me, and that it would give me the clue about the purpose of my life/ vocation or special mission here
The first day morning I was quite sleepy. During the lecture in the afternoon I was really sleepy, and was thinking that the sitting contemplation will allow me to nap a little. But as it started, and I started to contemplate, something shifted for me. I felt lots of energy in my body and as if I had suddenly woken up. At the same time everything just became very easy and obvious. I knew that I am me, and it was very simple. I thought, could this be it? It was so subtle! But this seemed just too simple to me, then it didn’t answer my question about my vocation. But in all my dyads after the sitting contemplation I was in the same space: of peace, joy, contentment, expansion, opening, relief that I don’t have to search anymore. The sense of release and relaxing into who I am, rather then grabbing for something out there, trying to be someone else, different, more something and less something. Just being, now, myself, in every moment. Not working towards being more perfect but dropping into who I am. I realized how often in my life as if I was in a state of permanent muscle contraction, trying to be a certain way rather than just simple being me.
I was looking for something big and here I was, ‘stuck’ with my old me. And it seemed silly and comic that I started with the preconceived idea that I will somehow find out my ‘mission’ on this Earth when I have a direct experience of me. I had thought I could go deeper and somehow get to a different level of who. And there was also another thing: How could I have a direct experience so soon, right in the first day afternoon? It seemed somehow – embarrassing.
But as I was communicating further, it was all the same, I knew who I am.
So in the afternoon, after the first dyad I changed my question to What is life. And I felt that direct experience on who made it in a way easier to work on life.
I was very centered and could communicate from that place of centredness and full presence. But I was also aware that somehow at the back of my head there was this idea, well maybe the question of life is it, I mean the answer to my life. Funny but true.
From the moment that I started to work with life, I had very strong energy running through me. In my first two dyads I had the feeling like I’m being burnt up, it was like heat waves passing through my body, and I felt I was shaking inside. At times it felt really violent, and I was like in fever. I was also aware of very strong flow of sexual energy, and it stayed there as I was working on life.
I had a problem with the question of What is life. I wasn’t sure what to put my attention on. Life is everywhere around! How can I choose? Shall I focus on one representation of life or shall I switch?
I had a couple of very good dyads afterwards. Some things came up. How much guilt I feel around love. How I feel like there is something giving and wanting to share with others in my nature, and how guilty I feel because I feel like I cannot love one person exclusively, how I feel guilty then that I don’t love enough or that I love more than I should and too many people. How I feel ‘morally defective’ because of that reason. How my heart often just rushes towards the people. And the sorrow from living most of my life holding myself back, holding my love back. I suddenly realised that I actually do have a good sense of who I am, it didn’t somehow disappear. However, I am scared to live this truth, there is so much fear that my life as I know it would disintegrate. There was also anger coming up, anger about life being ‘unfair’. It is a very persistent idea. I can get really outraged each time I feel there is an ‘unfairness’ happening, although I am not sure against what I actually measure this.
Then I went to the dinner and something shifted. I don’t know when exactly or how, it was very subtle. This was the first eating contemplation period when I managed to stay with my question. But then it didn’t seem to be a question anymore. I sat down with my meal, looked at it and there was life. I looked at the table and there was life. I looked at others and saw so much love around, and life. I communicated this in the EE after the dinner. There was a profound sense of joy and ease and not having to worry anymore. Gratefulness for everything and every moment. I realized that life is being in this moment, and that if I live who I am in every moment, there is no sense in worrying about how to live. Living is the simple act of being myself in every moment.
And then there are no right or good choices because if I live from who I am, there is nothing I can loose and one path is as good as the other. Because myself is really the only thing that stays with me as I live, it cannot be taken away and living it is life.
The last walk was an amazing experience. I walked outside the house, my feet barely touching the ground. I felt like I could fly. I was walking and looking around. But instead of me putting my attention on life in a tree and trying to ‘squeeze out’ the sense of life from it, life was just rushing towards me even before I could contemplate. I looked at my legs walking, and there was life. My knees and there was life. Life was everywhere. Everything was very sharp and very intense but it wasn’t intensity as I like to think about it, heart gripping passion and drama. It was the intensity of being in here right now, and the tree was, the lake was, the stones. I knew the life just is, and that’s it. It felt so simple. And there was a sense of joy and freedom. And a very strong sexual energy flow. I felt like I am having a love affair with life now and every moment, like I’m in sexual union with it.
I communicated this in the last EI. Somehow it seemed so absurd that it is so simple. I had this idea that life should be something grand, and yet it seemed so simple in its pure being. Simplicity was something which was coming up a lot in this intensive. The simplicity of being who I am, and the simplicity of life.
When we drove back with Magdalena through that amazing landscape. seemed like the mountains are breathing and moving and are part of me.
I think this intensive gave me an experience how subtle a direct experience can be. Nothing big and extraordinary. And how easy it is to miss it, and how important is full communication and presentation of oneself. I still feel very centered, and a little high in my energy state. I find that I am not so attached to this state anymore, preserving it like a fragile plant and watching with horror its withering away. Because who I am will not go away, it stays.