Communication and Relationship Workshop

(Fall Retreat, Opening Week)

Created by Peter Ralston and facilitated by Brendan Lea

The Communication and Relationship Workshop is focused on clarifying and transforming your experience of communicating and relating effectively.

Do you currently have an experience of being accurately heard, known, and respected by others?


Communication is essential to our ability to live in the world with others effectively. Yet, despite its critical role, most of us don’t know what communication is; or that much of what we call communication, isn’t.

Communication fundamentally is not an exchange of symbols or information. It is not a collection of skillful conversation techniques. It’s not persuasion or intimidation. It’s not simply “saying what you really think.” Effective communication is not an accident.

True communication is creative, and generates an experience in others.

Communication is the ability to really experience what is going on with another, as well as to get across your own experience so that you feel you are fully understood.

Communication empowers and enlivens both listener and speaker.

We’ve all had moments of real communication, when we were truly heard and “known” by another while at the same time we fully experienced their presence and consciousness. But such moments are generally rare and almost accidental. Learning about communication enables us to create it on purpose at any time.

It could be said that the quality of our lives and relationships is a direct result of our ability to communicate.

This workshop isn’t about learning some handy techniques or just improving our current modes of relating. Instead, we’ll expand our understanding by delving deeply into the source of the miraculous possibility that is real communication.

Effective communication and relating depends on making a shift from a reactive state of mind to a creative one. This in turn transforms your experience of relationship.

Are your relationships with others empowering and alive?


Rather than just learning to better manipulate others, we learn to empower relationships, particularly those whose purpose is some form of partnership, of working together toward life goals. This domain of relationship includes marriage, friendships, family, and so forth. We also deal with those interactions that incidentally support or conflict with life our goals – acquaintances, adversaries, and all those who constitute our social sphere.

Rather than assume that we know what relationship is or how best to communicate, we come at it freshly and study what these are. Through lecture, dialogue, and exercises, we look into what we currently believe and experience communication and relationship to be. By isolating the major blocks to effective communication, we can recognize to what degree we engage in ineffectively getting our ideas and feelings across to others. We probe commonly shared but overlooked assumptions about relationship, and learn to identify and contemplate the unconscious forces that dominate our behavior. This clarifies how we really think of ourselves and others. In this way we become better able to recognize the building blocks of our experience and free ourselves from old patterns. We can then recreate these building blocks, experiencing relationship in a new light, and create for ourselves new and more powerful ways of thinking and so more effective ways of relating.


The purpose of the Communication and Relationship workshop is to clarify our experience and understanding of the nature of relationship and communication, as well as to identify what stands in the way of relating effectively. As the workshop builds, you will become more and more in touch with how you unconsciously approach relationships — clearing up personal programs and learning to recognize cultural assumptions that dominate your experience. As we progress, you will become increasingly clear with your communications; you will be empowered to create new ways of thinking and new ways of relating, thus completely transforming your experience of relationship.

About the Cheng Hsin Ontological work

If you look in the dictionary, you’ll read that ontology is the study of being, of existence. It is a deep and complex field, with various aspects frequently under debate by philosophers, scientists, and theologians.

The Cheng Hsin approach to ontology is not intellectual deliberation, but an experiential inquiry. We explore the way perception creates our experience of self, other, and the world. We seek to move beyond the habits of perception and mind that limit us in our abilities, our relationships, and our lives.

Many of you may not realize it, but the core of Peter’s work is ontological rather than martial. Openly investigating the questions of Being led him to an increase in martial ability, but it’s clear that this work extends far beyond the martial arts. Ontology work is not about acquiring knowledge, it is about having personal insights and transformation.


The work becomes real out of your willingness to engage in a deeply honest level of questioning and communication. The workshop will run from morning until evening.

We gather in a room free from distraction and sit facing a facilitator. The workshop consists of communications from and dialogues with the facilitator, models and diagrams to help us understand the material, diads with a partner (two people facing each other following an instruction), writing exercises, guided meditation, and more.

As a participant, you will be listening to powerful communications by the facilitator and considering deeply what is presented.

There will be:

  • Dialogues with the facilitator
  • Contemplation and communication with a partner
  • Guided meditations
  • Communication with the group
  • Solo contemplation
  • Readings, lectures, and other exercises

We’ve all tried to change something in ourselves and fallen short, or after some time, reverted back to old ways. Come to the workshop. Together we’ll discover what communication and relationship is all about in such a way that will transform your whole experience of relationship.

As a participant you will:

  • Learn to make a distinction between conceptualization and actual experience.
  • Discover that you can remove concepts and beliefs from anything — from yourself, another person, an object, a situation — resulting in a much more genuine and authentic experience of what’s there.
  • Learn to get your experience clearly across to another, and be able to experience their experience.
  • Look into emotions: how they are created, and how they affect your experience of relationship.
  • Realize how changing from a dynamic of reactivity to one of free responsiveness can create alternatives to manipulating or being manipulated by others.
  • Create new and empowering ways of thinking, perceiving, and relating.

Who should do this work?

This workshop is non-physical. It is not martial work, although it is highly recommended for serious students of any interactive study. Others who have benefited profoundly from this work include:

  • creative people such as dancers, actors, artists, and writers.
  • psychotherapists, physicians, healers of all kinds.
  • serious students of philosophy, spirituality, metaphysics, or cognitive sciences who are ready to actually experience what’s true within their own awareness.
  • athletes, executives, entrepreneurs
  • anyone willing to go beyond his or her current perception and create empowering relationships.

If you’re up for a mind-blowing adventure, consider yourself invited to this powerful event.

To enroll yourself in this workshop is to take action that speaks louder than words about your commitment to empower your relationships.

If you’re familiar with Peter’s work, you know how powerful it is. Old hands are welcome, and also those who have never done this kind of work. The more wider the range of participants, the more dynamic and transformative the experience is for all.

About Brendan Lea:

Brendan has steadily studied with and has virtually lived with Peter Ralston for the last 16 years. He has done every apprenticeship program (going on eight), and lives at the Center and still studies. He has been training in facilitation and assisting Ralston as a facilitator in his consciousness workshops for years. He also runs his own workshops in cities in the US and other countries.


It might be useful for you to read through:

The Book of Not Knowing

Reflections of Being

and try to work through as much as you can of

Ancient Wisdom New Spirit