Contemplation Intensive

(Fall Retreat, Week Four)

Consciousness is at the source of everything we do and are. It is the first and most essential aspect of being, and yet we seldom venture to look into the source of consciousness itself.

This week-long live-in workshop begins with a day and a half devoted to preparing you to get the most out of your contemplation. The middle four days will be an intense Zen-style Contemplation Intensive where you will set out to personally and directly become conscious of who you are at the deepest level.

After such intense work you will be in an altered state–highly sensitive and open. Because of this, the last day of the intensive will include integration work to help you get ready to meet the demands of normal life once again, and take your new experiences and insights into your daily life.

What is Zen Consciousness Preparation Work?

Much of our work will focus on self-awareness and mind consciousness. We will do diads (two-person exercises involving introspection and communication), guided meditations, dialogues with the facilitator, and several other exercises to probe into the nature of consciousness and discipline the mind.

We will delve into who you are as a conscious being, searching out the self that you are, and bringing it to the fore of your consciousness. As a side-effect of this work, you will come away with a greater ability to communicate and make real contact with others.

These activities help prepare you for the Contemplation Intensive.

Participants will engage in: diads, dialogues, solo exercises, various games, paired exercises, meditation, and contemplation

Consciousness Preparation Format:

You can attend an informal Q&A in the early evening of the arrival day, if you are here by then. The first day and a half of the workshop will begin at 8:30am, and end around 9:30pm. Vegetarian meals will be provided. Whatever degree you increase your conscious experience of self or life is the degree to which you become able to transform your abilities, relationships, and the quality of your life. The first days of this intensive aren’t so intense. We will ease into the transition from the mind-numbing demands of our busy lives to a more present state, engaging in a carefully orchestrated series of exercises and meditations designed to open us up to a greater awareness of our own mind, self, and existence.

And then it becomes intense.


A Contemplation Intensive is similar in some ways to an intense Zen retreat. Throughout the workshop, the participants ask or hold a question, such as Who am I? for the purpose of directly experiencing who they are. In Zen terminology, such a breakthrough is called an enlightenment experience.

There is no data in this intensive, nothing to memorize, no formula to live by, nothing to understand. New distinctions and breakthroughs are likely to occur, yet they occur solely out of the participants own work in contemplation.

While this kind of intensive is highly structured and requires discipline, the actual technique used is extremely straightforward and simple. The main exercise we do throughout the week is called a Contemplation and Communication Exercise (CCE).

The Contemplation and Communication Exercise

This is a 40 minute period in which two people sit facing each other, with one person acting as a listening partner and the other as the contemplating and communicating partner. Every five minutes the roles are reversed and the listening partner becomes the contemplating and communicating partner, and the contemplating partner becomes the listening partner. This continues back and forth for 40 minutes.

The fundamental endeavor in a CCE is repeatedly setting out to directly experience who you are (other questions include: What is another? What is life? or What am I?). As a result of such immediate contemplation, in which you are opening up in this very moment to experience yourself directly, something will come up. By come up I mean that some thought, feeling, idea, sensation, memory, or some sort of experience will fill the space of that openness. Or you will directly experience who you are.

Whatever comes up for you when you set out to directly experience yourself no matter what it is is communicated to your partner. You get it across to that person honestly, exactly as it is. The listening partner receives it without comment, without judgment, without any kind of feedback at all, subtle or gross. This gives you the freedom and space to communicate anything, without concern about its correctness, how good or bad it looks, or whether or not it will be judged.

When the communication has occurred, you once again set out to experience who you are contemplating and then communicating what comes up as a result, repeating this process until your five minutes are up.

At that time a bell will chime and you will be instructed to reverse roles; you will then become a non-judgmental, open, and silent listening partner for five minutes.


A day begins at 6 AM. Throughout the day you will do about 14 CCEs. There will also be 2 to 3 walking or solo contemplations (30-40 minutes), a lecture period, and a few other short exercises during the day.

The meals will be light, but relatively frequent. Vegetarian meals are provided. You will be cared for so that your focus can be total.

Everything will be a contemplation. For example, meals are eating contemplation and bedtime is sleeping contemplation. The participant is instructed to hold the question every minute of the entire day. Sleeping contemplation occurs close to midnight.

In such an intense environment, where you have no concerns but to directly experience yourself, you will move through a tremendous amount of stuff. Mental, emotional, or physical barriers can come up. This is to be expected. Consider it part of the process and keep your intent on directly experiencing who you are no matter what comes up or gets in the way.

The purpose of the intensive is to have an enlightenment experience, which is to say, to directly and authentically experience the true nature of Being. Even if this doesnt occur at this time, however, your efforts can have a lasting effect on your life and well-being – especially if you repeatedly participate in the ENB (Experiencing the Nature of Being) Workshop.

This Contemplation Intensive is the perfect complement to other Ontological Workshops. As with any of the ontological work we do, what we are after is an experience of the truth. If you are interested in such an undertaking sign up now, space is limited.


Will depend on how early you send in your deposit. An early deposit will secure a space in the workshop at the least cost. See the information below for exact costs and deposit dates.

We live within our every thought and action, but rarely do we investigate the very processes by which we are able to think and act.

What’s Included:

For those with the courage to participate in the ontology work, the cost includes room and board plus a guided tour of your own consciousness by one of the most riveting and focused teachers you will ever encounter.

Signing Up:

It is important for us to know in advance the number of people who intend to come. Please let us know as soon as possible that you are interested. To secure the most inexpensive fee available, a nonrefundable deposit is due far in advance.

It is difficult to convey the real scope and depth of this retreat. If you have any questions after reading this material, please feel free to Contact Us.