The experience of the Enlightenment Intensive process is very individual. What I will be sharing here cannot be generalised, as each person is unique.. What I am absolutely sure about,… everyone will find exactly what he is suppose to and ready for. If you want to first have a look what actually is this mysterious process I went thru, here is a video:
My story is beginning…
First at all, please note, that I am a critical and sarcastic beast, especially when it comes to anything which could distantly stink of “airy fairy” stuff. Feet on the ground, head held straight, this is how us Czech girls play it out. So, I was a bit suspicious about this whole “thing” right from… the title. 🙂
I did not have many expectations. I wanted to know, what is the process about, as I work with Peter on projects and sometimes people ask me about this retreat. So, here I was.
When one of the assistants asked me at the first evening interview “If you start, you have to stay no matter what. Can you make it? It might be tough!” I was thinking to myself with a wise smile: I am a retreats buster, sweet boy, one more cannot surprise me anymore…
Well, fool, FOOL ME!
A tootbrush at least!
No phone. No laptop. No outside communication. Not even looking at other people outside of the dyads. Sorry, where are we? A spiritual bootcamp?… and… no mirrors!!! “…at least, they left us a toothbrush, probably just because of their self preservation instinct,” I was grizzling to myself.
“Nobody can do it for you”, Peter said, “… there is a structure to follow no matter what. We’ll be here to support you in your process, but the rest is up to you.” That’s nice. I like structures, they keep my chaotic Self focused. I like even more when nobody is telling me what am I suppose to feel or experience. Let’s give it a chance…
And my personal rollercoaster has departed…
So early next morning it all started. I will not bother you with the details of the process, you can read about it here. Basically you are spending the whole day asking and answering the question: ”who am I”. One after another, always with a different partner, in so called “dyad”. Again, and again… and bloody again. In between, there are meal breaks and movement exercises or walking contemplations. Not chance to get bored!
At the beginning the dyads were quite easy for me. I was just spitting out the learned phrases about my job, family, whatever. After a couple hours I can tell you it was not fun anymore and by the afternoon I started to be pissed off with everything and everybody. My mind, emotions even my body was loudly reporting, that something is going on.
The second day was even worse! Just thinking now If this is suppose to be a PR article, I am not sure if Peter asked the right person, really :-). But wait, dear reader, patience. Stay with me!
This is actually the only reason why I did not pack my bags with a “Bye bye!” the second day. “Stay with it, I know it’s not easy, trust the process”. This is what Peter was repeating to us. This and my stuburn proudness (I said at the beginning I will stay, no matter what, did I not?)…
Now seriously, Peter and his assistants were the most supportive, calm and not afraid even of the strongest emotions which were sometimes jumping out of us (well, from me definitely). I felt super safe and protected and absolutely accepted whatsoever I was going through. On reflection, I think this was actually essential to feel during my process. But now back to my “ride”…
What is there, when there is nothing?
The early afternoon the second day I reached a peak of my inner battle. Trying to get some rest between sessions, my head in pain, my thoughts spinning around a 1000 thoughts/sec. Awful.
At the same time, I felt like there was something arising in me. Something… something… unknown. And this something was gently, silently but without compromise taking over. But there was still resistance in the way, my desperate emotions and especially my mind.
I can tell you, the mind. My poor mind. She was fighting so bravely to keep the situation under the control… And the thing was I felt that if I surrender to the process, I will loose control and then … there will be silence, nothing… and then… WHATTA HELL IS THERE WHEN THERE IS NOTHING?!
I felt like standing at the cliff before I jump and the only safety equipment was “trust the process” sentence.
This was a moment when I was seriously about to quit, but at the end I decided to give it one last chance.
So I went back to the room, sat in front of the partner and while being in the listening role, too tired to judge, too destroyed to fight… something clicked. The resistance was gone, and then, like when the clouds open and reveal the sun and a blue sky… everything cleared up and I felt a full awareness. My heartbeat slowed down, my stress disappeared, my headache was diminishing. I felt a sudden calm, the stillest and sweetest peace. At the same time I was fully aware of what the second person was saying, aware of the others in the room, but somehow the quality of the perception was so much better and clearer!
And I was aware of my mind… which did not dissapear, as I was afraid before. Was still there, ready to be used if I would like to, but not anymore hammering me… it was a good and gentle servant, not a freaking boss anymore. And then… there was a space in me. An incredibly pleasant spaciousness, lightness and aliveness.
After few seconds the peak had passed, but some part of it reminded with me. And then, with each dyad, the feeling was coming back and forth, unexpectedly, gently, like a butterfly which time to time arrives and sits on your hand. I instinctively knew I cannot grab it, make it stay longer… Just give it space to happen.
The heartbeat of the bird
During the very last dyad on the third day, my experience reached it’s highest peak. I am aware that the description of that should be also logically the crown of this article, but I cannot find the words. Trying to explain simply does not feel right. So, forgive me, dear reader, that I will not go into the details.
What I can share is that it was an overwhelming experience (which actually lasted in its full effect for a couple days). It was like life itself just rushed into me, filled each cell of my body and then just… IT WAS THERE.
When they asked me what am I feeling, I was just able to say: “… I can even hear the heartbeat of a small birdie sitting outside on a tree. “
I was everything. And everything was me.
Even if this retreat becomes just a memory over time, the faces of the people I talked to will fade away, the busy life will take over and I’ll turn into a freaking speeding horse again, I know, that there is something in me, it is what I am and at the same time I am part of it. … has always been … will always be here… I just needed to create a space in me to see it.
This is, what the Enlightenment Intensive does. It helps you to create the space, so “it” can happen.
Sooo… a summary? If you have “the balls” to look inside yourself in your raw nakedness (without all the silt you’ve collected along the way) even to the dustiest and tiniest corners of you, if you sense that there might be something more to life and this “something” is silently calling your attention… then … well, you decide. 🙂
And was this a life-changing experience? It was, but in a completely different way than I’d expect. My life did not go away, I still do my job, live with my partner, I fight, I reach, I fall… and get emotional and pissed off… I can still dislike somebody or feel miserable when I get hurt or turn into silly laughter or marvel when I see a spectacular sunset.
It’s just that the thorns of life that I feel maybe a bit less spiky and my personal rollercoaster does not jump to such extreme ups or downs as before… because underneath of it all in my very deepest essence, I Know, there is… there is…
Nothing – Everything!
Let me finish with some beautiful words from Maggie, one of the participants:
I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world. (Walt Whitman)
I now get it.
It doesn’t mean you have to shout out loud, it means you set yourself free to spread out your inner voice, intention, your essence over the world.
Barbaric is the pure inner self, raw and unpolished.
To sound a Yawp is to show it, live it and do it.