What is an EI Retreat

Enlightenment Intensive (EI) Retreats combine an ancient ‘who-am-I?’ contemplation with honest, authentic communication and a finely-tuned schedule, all designed to assist participants in an accelerated process of self-discovery. These highly-focused, modern, residential retreats are designed to enable individuals to breakthrough into non-dualistic consciousness – that which is traditionally known as kensho, satori, samadhi, moksha or enlightenment.

retreat peopleThe typical Intensive is just three days long, although longer ones can be offered where the aim is to go for deeper enlightenment but still using essentially the same format and structure of three day retreats.  During the EI, participants are asked to set aside life’s many distractions and engage in a monastic lifestyle in order to direct their energy and attention to the practice at hand.  The schedule, technique and staff support and guide the participants in this.

The enlightenment experience sought during an EI is described as a momentary change in the individual’s state of consciousness in which the individual consciously, directly knows that which is absolute reality or ultimate truth – the self in its essence.

The overriding orientation is self-discovery, so religious teachings and philosophical concepts are generally avoided. EIs are open to all people, regardless of age, creed, orientation, ability to meditate, spiritual know-how, or life experience.

Furthermore, there is no teacher or guru on these retreats to tell you ‘the truth’. While an excellent technique is taught, and invaluable support is given, the contemplative process is yours alone. That way, when an enlightenment experience is had, there is no doubt about its origination.

An EI is residential and completely dedicated to supporting individuals explore reality and come into conscious union with Truth. The structure of the retreat supports a highly focused environment where continual, uninterrupted contemplation takes place. The unique combination of contemplation and communication in a dyad leads to a dramatically increased consciousness, personal growth and the resolution of the inquiry through direct knowledge.

EIs are very pure. They are laboratories for the unrestricted inquiry into the Truth as each individual experiences it. No belief system or view of life is taught or implied. Participants get to examine their own experience, make their own inquiry and discover their own results.

zen meditation

The environment brings participants into the actuality of the present moment and enables them to hold their attention on what is truly so for them as experience unfolds, hour after hour, day after day. Over the course of an Intensive, concentration, energy and awareness steadily increase, enabling participants to go ever more deeply into the reality their instruction points them toward.

Most importantly, EIs are an environment where communication and contact between individuals gives rise to high levels of understanding, compassion and support. As days go by, an atmosphere of affinity nurtures a sense of trust and safety. Participants become willing to relax, to let familiar identities dissolve and to allow the experience of what lies outside their limited belief structures.


There are many people who have concerns about group work and residential retreats because they are afraid that
they may be ‘cults’ or run by people whose intention is to manipulate or control them. This could not be further
from the truth when it comes to an EI. It is true that the schedule can be grueling and participants can get tired,
but at no time on an intensive are you ever told who you are or what the truth is by the master or their staff.
EIs are not affiliated with any group or particular belief system. All are welcome regardless of culture or
spiritual background.

An EI is also not psychotherapy. Although EIs can and do have powerful psychotherapeutic effects on
people, and facilitate enormous growth and lasting change in a very short time, the purpose of the retreat is to
experience directly the truth of yourself, another or life. For a participant to get the most out of this experience,
this should be their primary goal.