Experiencing the Nature of Being

(Fall Retreat, Week Two; Spring Retreat Week One)

This work was designed by Peter as a concentrated experiential inquiry into the nature of Being. Make no mistake about it, this work aims for you to have a direct experience of the Nature of Being. Everyone is welcome to do this work.

Here’s an outline of some of the essential considerations in the Cheng Hsin ontological work.

  • Investigating Mind
  • Uncovering the Roots of Emotion
  • Transcending Limitations
  • Awakening Insight
  • Expanding Perceptive Abilities
  • Becoming Powerfully Present
  • Discovering True Self-Awareness

The following is a general outline of the retreat. More detailed information is provided in separate brochures.

Cheng Hsin Consciousness Work

Ten hours per day will be devoted to the transformative Cheng Hsin Consciousness work. Together, we will meticulously uncover the very structures of mind that determine our perception of self and reality. As we break through habits of thinking and being, we’ll discover still greater levels of questioning, contemplation and understanding. Amazing new possibilities will begin to emerge in our awareness as we approach new domains of perception and ability. Don’t miss this great work!

Too often, the work of understanding ourselves amounts to little more than exchanging one set of beliefs and opinions for another. Many give up, thinking that they have exhausted all possibilities of encountering a truly powerful, transformative event. This workshop is such a possibility.

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 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.

Where your understanding ends is where you start asking questions, and where Peter can begin to help you experience beyond what you know. It is at this point – within the framework of his unique experiential confrontation – that the fascinating ideas of ontology start to become real.

The first step in this workshop is learning how to approach our work – both individually and as a group – so if you are unclear about how to begin, that’s just fine. Peter will work with you step by step to understand the nature of your self, thought, awareness, and being.

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 well discover what this is all about in such a way that you will never be the same.

Transform Your Experience of Being

You live your life as if you know what it’s all about, and yet something at the core of your being remains threatened by the possibility that your sense of reality and sense of self are somehow fabrications.

Its true, they ARE.

From infancy, the human mind struggles for certainty, continually drawing conclusions in an attempt to establish a sense of self. What we don’t realize is that we have become entrenched in these beliefs at such a deep level that they appear to us now as reality.

This workshop is a unique opportunity to confront these beliefs and concepts, and transform the very mechanisms that determine your experience, your actions, your relationships, and your abilities.

As a participant you will: 

Learn to make a distinction between conceptualiza- tion 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. Open up to experience your most authentic self – beyond your history, self-image, ego, intellect, emotion, or any other aberrating factors. look into emotions: what they are, 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. investigate the very foundations of mind, being, and reality.

You will experience with increasing depth and clarity the real make-up of your existence, and move toward an understanding that surpasses the limits of thought. Here, you will discover a possibility of freedom and creativity that was, literally, inconceivable before.

Who should do this work?

This part of the month is non-physical. It is not martial work, although it is highly recommended for serious students of martial arts. Others who have benefted 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 of self and reality.

Like a smack from the stick of a Zen master, this work is one of the most powerful ways to get to that central experience of Being that has been sought after for centuries. This is not a study group, a spiritual retreat, a system of beliefs, or a new philosophy. It is a whole-hearted investigation into the nature of mind, perception, self, and experience, for the purpose of becoming conscious of the dynamics and forces that make up your BEING. The goal is simply to know the truth. And yet, your experience of being alive will be deeply transformed.

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

If you are familiar with Peter’s work, you know how powerful it is. Old hands are welcome, as well as anyone who has never done this kind of work before. The more broad the range of participants, the more dynamic and transformative the experience is for all.


The work becomes real out of your willingness to engage in a deeply honest level of questioning and communication. The workshop will run from early morning until late at night. You will be sitting for long periods with few breaks.

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

Cheng Hsin Consciousness work is INTENSE and DEMANDS your attention, energy, and commitment. The only other requirement is to be there. If you’re up for a mind-blowing adventure, consider yourself invited to this powerful event. We question not for an answer, but to experience the truth.

About Peter Ralston

Peter has been pursuing this work with passionate determination for more than 40 years. During periods of intense contemplation, he has had many enlightenment experiences which have profoundly influenced his study.

To demonstrate the effectiveness and opening power of a direct experience of Being, in 1978 he entered the World Championship full contact martial arts tournament held in China. He was the first non-Asian ever to win the tournament.

Peter has trained staff and done workshops for many organizations, such as Lifesprings, Institute of Self Actualization (ISA), Robbins Research Institute (NLP), Actualizations, Institute for Empowerment, and many others. He is a highly trained and insightful facilitator.

Books: It’s best if you study:The Book of Not Knowing.

It may also be useful for you to read through:

Reflections of Being and try to work through as much as you can of

Ancient Wisdom, New Spirit.

You can read also more about the new home study version of the course or see some clips from the 26 disc home study course.