For over 20 years Greg Branson has developed a powerful, structured workshop process, involving three days of focussed contemplation leading to that state of no-separation generally referred to by mystics and masters throughout the ages as enlightenment. This requires a leap of consciousness by participants into a direct experience of how they really are. Though only a momentary respite from the world of sensual perception it can provide the impulse for a whole new direction in life and self-understanding. The change of state in these moments is the same for all people. The only difference is the degree to which each person is ready to blend this absolute truth into an earthly existence.
If we discover that we are 100% responsible for our lives, then we will no longer be able to blame others for our misfortune, We will no longer wish to live as pawns in someone else's plan. We will need to follow the path inspired by our own deep convictions, but the thought of the absolute nature of this undertaking can be deeply unsettling to the ego, so it normally keeps away from such thinking, We will also no longer want to change our loved ones to what we think they should be. We will be compelled to let them be who they are, too. However, for most people, steeped in the ways of separation and conflict, this is much too radical.
Many traditions deal thoroughly with these experiences, but mostly as teachings by one who has been there, rather than a process where anyone have the master's experience. It seems incredible that the vast majority of people go through life without directly experiencing who they are. We think, we reason, we feel but we do not know.
The 'Enlightenment For All' process requires the participants to devote themselves to three very full days of exploring the path to truth. Participants are requested to be themselves as they essentially are, and to be open for others to experience this. The word 'I' which we use countless times each day to define ourselves, to project and sustain our ways and our beliefs, is encrusted with meaning, all of it ultimately pointless. Indeed, participants often laugh uproariously at the sheer idiocy of much of their supposedly civilised behaviour as they gradually bare their souls and inch closer to the truth.
It will need a lot of persistence, and even a little courage. Anyone in reasonable mental and physical health can use this technique, regardless of beliefs, outlook, problems or previous experience. A large part of the time is spent sitting in pairs with one partner contemplating and then communicating whatever is arising in their contemplation, the other listening without comment or judgement of any kind. The result can be profound.
Age-old aspects of Zen Buddhist meditation are drawn on but for the more impatient Western temperament by fully communicating ourselves to others the direct experience of enlightenment can more easily be attained and more readily assimilated into our daily lives.
There is a schedule, lasting from 6am till 10.30pm and rules of conduct which help the participants to put aside all distractions. Along the way, you will be given extensive explanation as to why each aspect of the process is there and what it is expected to achieve. The ego's participation is essential and the more the ego understands and accepts the reasons for proceeding, the more likely it will eventually surrender to the truth.
This form of contemplation carries most people rapidly through highs and lows, through changing physical, mental and emotional states, until at some point there is real resistance to going further. You have come up against what's presently between you and truth. Obstacles, such as preconceived ideas, feelings of unworthiness, waves of guilt and shame, fear of failure and the stress of trying to keep one's image intact often appear to waylay you. This is where you may need to be encouraged and guided and supported through to where you can freely decide whether to release the blocked karmic energies. Trust and openness develop through real contact and by seeing others go through their barriers.
Truth does not change, it just is. Time and space have no effect on it. Each individual comes upon it in their own way and has their own personal expression of it. Exuberant laughter, and copious tears, may be experienced, along with all kinds of altered states of perception including bliss and vast expansiveness, but none of these are enlightenment. Indeed, the big bursts of openness are merely an indicator as to how overwhelmed the ego is by the truth. The actual experience is always of the utmost simplicity, though it's implications are always profound. There may be quiet amazement but more often it is recognised as something one has always known. There can be an immense relief that the burden of having to carry such a big human load is over. Feelings of love are present after enlightenment, and the realisation as to how immensely powerful we are. Complete humility, too, but whether this will last depends of the willingness of the ego to continue to progressively surrender the remaining earthly limitations.
The path to enlightenment can, in the main, be very affirmative, with soaring energy, gratitude, incredible honesty and open heartedness but it can also be a very rough ride for some. Although many people give a valid answer on the first day, answers are not the experience, and one may have to go through periods of doubt, despair and rage before the ego lets go and the true self is experienced directly. Some people experience bursts of overwhelming fear, or deep shame or get bogged down in abject frustration. And then, as enlightenment is approached, something rises up about themselves that they may not want to face. Yet it must eventually be addressed and this process gives people a very potent tool to face and resolve these hidden obstructions.
It does not require any belief structure to participate, indeed preconceived ideas are a barrier to enlightenment. All you have to do is to be willing to open up to the truth, to experience yourself without all the mental and emotional baggage that you usually carry around with you. The experience leads to a state that is clear, powerful and usually obvious. Moments of direct experience are incomparable. The effects will remain there to guide and inspire even decades later, for the truth is always the truth and is always available.
By staying true to yourself, you can safely go through whatever you have to experience in order to glimpse the ultimate. It is a journey well worth taking and you will be fully supported by our workshop facilitators as you plumb the depths on your path of inner discovery.
Regularly held by Greg Branson and colleagues.
Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org