Enlightenment Intensives podcast: “What is direct experience?”

One of the greatest tools for spiritual awakening at this time, especially for those not wedded to any long-term spiritual path, is the Enlightenment Intensive. This is a three-day retreat process which immerses you in a full-on inner search for the ‘direct experience’ of truth. In other words, an experience of one’s true nature or being that is not manufactured or processed by the mind, but is absolutely direct. Since its development in the 1960s, the Enlightenment Intensive process has enabled thousands of ordinary individuals to experience a moment of true awakening or enlightenment.

Forest Dalton is a hugely experienced Enlightenment Intensive master who leads Intensives at his home in Ben Lomon, California. In this 10-minute podcast, Forest talks to writer Tony Levelle about the meaning of direct experience and beautifully describes the lifelong impact of one of his own experiences. I heartily recommend it.

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Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: the neuroscientist who had a stroke and discovered Nirvana

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist who specializes in the postmortem investigation of the human brain. What that means is, she cuts up the brains of dead people to look for the neurological causes of severe mental illness.

On the morning of December 10, 1996, a blood vessel exploded in 37-year-old Jill’s brain. She woke up to discover that she was having a massive stroke — a severe hemorrhage of blood into her brain.

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The most important conversation of our time!

INTRODUCTION

I used to be a great fan of Ken Wilber‘s. His synthesis of multiple perspectives on psychology, spirituality and consciousness was right up my street.

A number of things, however, have given me reason to adopt a slightly more critical stance to his work. I could and maybe should write a whole article explaining what I mean, but for now let me just point out a few things.

First, the fact that someone once referred to him as “the Einstein of consciousness theory” — this was going way too far and possibly it went to Wilber’s head. I think it would be more appropriate to call him the David Bowie of consciousness theory — someone who (as Bowie himself puts it) cleverly puts together other people’s ideas.

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My first Enlightenment Intensive – by Isis the psychic

Isis2

I just came across this wonderful article, “Isis Speaks”, by Isis Coble (above).

Isis, also known as Meerkat or TarotMama, is an inuitive/psychic counsellor who does online tarot readings via her tarotmama.com website.

The article was published in Sojourn magazine (Vol 2, Issue 2), in 1998. Sojourn was a magazine for spiritually-minded women writers and artists based in Northern California. In the article—described as an “interview” although there are no questions—Isis tells her life story. The bit I want to relay is about Isis’s first encounter with an Enlightenment Intensive in the ealy 1970s.

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Spiritual experiences in the movies

- who am i? -

It recently occurred to me that there aren’t that many movies that are explicitly about, or which explicitly portray, enlightenment, awakening, or other breakthrough spiritual experiences.

There are plenty of films about religion, religious people and their religious ways. But these rarely include scenes that reveal any genuine sense of spirituality. As if to illustrate the point, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is little more than torture flick.

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The Personality’s Place in Spiritual Practice (a review)

The websites Channel Higher Self and Satsang with the Self feature videos by a young spiritual teacher from Sedona, Arizona, called Lincoln. The videos are channelled teachings, and what Lincoln channels he refers to simply as Higher Self.

- Channel Higher Self -
- Channel Higher Self -

I haven’t even begun to go through all 199 videos. I was struck, however, by the title of this particular session: The Personality’s Place in Spiritual Practice. The synopsis poses a number of questions:

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My first enlightenment experience

Eyes

When I first saw an ad for an Enlightenment Intensive back in 1991, I was pretty sceptical. “An opportunity to experience the change in state of consciousness traditionally known as enlightenment” it said—and in just three days? There had to be a catch! I thought it was supposed to take decades, lifetimes even, to reach such a state.

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Self and no-self: the personality crisis of a Zen master

- New York Times Mag article 26.04.09 -
- New York Times Mag article 26.04.09 -

Someone pointed me to this fascinating article in the New York Times Magazine (23 April). It’s about a 63-year old academic who has spent much of his life as a dedicated Zen practitioner – now a Zen master – but who has in recent years undergone a personality crisis. He went into therapy with Jeffrey Rubin, author of Psychotherapy and Buddhism: Toward an Integration, and had a breakthrough.

Basically, he realised that he had used the Buddhist concept of no-self to evade his inner process and unconscious traumas. All his ‘stuff’ came back to him, and with his owning it came a joyful rediscovery of self.

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