Origin of the Enlightenment Intensive

Charles Berner


The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat was inspired by three unique self awareness practices fused together by Charles Berner in 1968. Two of them originated from ancient and Eastern practices and the third is a newer Western approach.

The Three Unique Self Awareness Practices

Zen Sesshin

1st Eastern Practice


A Zen sesshin is a self awareness retreat that has been practiced for over 3000 years. It originally came from China before it migrated to Japan where it became popular in the 12th Century. Today, it is still used and practiced in Japan and around the world. The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat borrowed certain elements from the zen sesshin, notably the use of a 'koan.' A koan is a riddle-like question that helps a meditator focus and directly experience into the fundamental truths of life. Hundreds have been developed over the years. "What is the sound of one hand" and "What was your face before you were born," are two well known koans. The practice of contemplating on a 'koan isn't concerned with philosophy, ideas or religion, but with first hand direct seeing into the nature of one's own being .


Ramana Maharshi

2nd Eastern Practice


The Enlightenment Intensive Retreat makes use of the koan, 'who am I.' This riddle like question is a yoga meditation that dates back 10,000 years. Its modern proponent, Ramana Maharshi, lived a simple life in India. He taught during the first part of the 20th Century inspiring a constant stream of local and international visitors who sought his company and spiritual guidance. His guidance was always the same. "Seek to know yourself. Practice self inquiry by asking yourself, 'who am I' then you will know everything."


Relating Dyads

Western Approach


Dyad is a Greek word that means 'two'. A relating dyad is two people who work together to bring about a complete communication through openness and focused listening. This powerful process of relating is the fuel that accelerates the effects of these ancient enlightenment practices.

Upcoming Opening Enlightenment Intensives

"The Enlightenment Intensive is a process that may highlight one's own habitual mental obstacles to peace and self-realization - and so may be challenging. The process supports a natural, gentle insight and surrender of these obstacles that allows a radical, joyful transformation of consciousness."
~Paul Weiss, Enlightenment Master


This is a residential monastic style retreat. For this long weekend prepare to leave the outside world behind and delve into yourself.

Embellishment Reverse


Limited Amount of Partial Scholarships Available.

To apply for scholarship funds we require that the participant send us a formal request by email or US mail with the following information. Please let us know what is drawing you to the Opening Enlightenment Intensive and how you think the retreat might serve you. Also, please include the details of your current situation that is causing you to request the scholarship along with the dollar amount you are able to contribute to the intensive.

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