In 2006 I got in touch with the Satori process. This process originated from the Enlightenment Intensive created by Charles Berner. It’s fundamentally different though. Here’s why I think that the Satori is the most powerful process out there. Actually, it’s so powerful, it shouldn’t be used on its own. A thorough follow up is a must.
In a Satori seminar you spend 5 days with 20-40 others working on the question “Who am I?” Dependent on the facilitator, there might be other questions which aim at the same goal from a different angle. The work is done in dyads, meaning in couples. You sit opposite of one another and work 30-40mins before changing partners. Of course there are breaks in between all dyads. One partner begins by saying: “Tell me who you are.” and the other starts observing and then communicating what comes up. After roughly 5 mins you’ll hear a gong and change the roles. No feedback whatsoever is being given. You sit there as natural as you can without having or trying to confirm or visibly evaluate what the other says. That’s it. There is a few nuances to this kind of work which don’t really matter at this point.
It’s worth noting that there is no teaching or belief system involved. The facilitator’s job is simply to enable you to fully focus on your question by organising everything around you like e.g. food, accomodation, troubleshooting and a bit of technical guidance. Whether you like the facilitator or not doesn’t matter at all.
In my experience, the Satori is a neutral space and a powerful tool. Depending on who uses it, the outcome varies greatly. One could participate in a hundred Satoris and not get anywhere or anything. But one can also get to the core of things which might shake up one’s life heavily.
My Satori journey was one of growing my sensitive side. I come from a mindset that believed that I need to crack myself open with a sledge hammer in order to change things. It took me many years to come to the conclusion that there’s nothing I need to do and that this desire to crack myself open was nothing but a game I played to avoid being who I truly was.
After roughly 15 Satoris I’m now beginning to explore the Enlightenment Intensives. The reason is that these two processes differ significantly from each other in their intention.
In my experience and understanding, a Satori is a psychological journey. It’s an opportunity to take an honest look at yourself, your preferences, dislikes, alleged shortcomings, struggles etc. There’s an immense potential in this kind of work and it requires thorough after care which is rather vaguely offered and in my perception often rather undervalued by both, participants and facilitator. Therefore I can only recommend a Satori to you if you have a stable and supportive environment and/or are in a sincere, long-term therapy of some sort.
A Satori can open doors that you have kept closed for good reasons. It can be important to open these doors and walk through them but it isn’t done in a day or a week or a month. At times it will take years to process what is behind those doors. And the gentler you are with yourself the higher your chance to get through this without too much pain and without harming anybody. The same applies to the use of psychedelics in my experience by the way.
The question “Who am I?” can be tackled on many different levels. It’s not an easy undertaking but it’s definitely one worth the effort.
The Enlightenment Intensive on the other side, I can currently only speak about from theoretical understanding. An EI facilitator once put the difference between Satori and EI into a very nice image:
The Satori is a horizontal movement while the EI is a vertical one. While elements of both types of seminars overlap, they differ significantly in their intention. A Satori is about clearing out one’s mess so that there’s space for the direct experience of who you are. If you have an experience of enlightenment, that’s great. I haven’t seen nor had any such experience in my Satoris. I’ve only seen and had deep and life-changing insights that got me deeper in touch with myself and the life around me.
I had enlightenment experiences on psychedelics (thank you Netherlands) which is why the difference is clear to me.
An EI is heading straight for the experience of enlightenment. Psychological issues might come up but they are not being encouraged or supported in any way. They just are there and therefore are part of the EI process but they are understood as irrelevant for enlightenment.
There might be many that would oppose my understanding of the two processes and I might be wrong in parts of the above and that’s fine. My understanding will change and evolve as I go. I have many more observations on the Satori process(es) that I took part in, that would emphasize my points but I think we should discuss them in person after your fifth Satori 😉
Be aware here are also different facilitators. Some of which try to do their own thing, making the process more personal or bringing in a hidden teaching which is the case with those that are facilitating Satori processes based on Osho’s philosophy. I personally don’t like that at all as it waters down the main process unnecessarily.
But even with those facilitators the process will do its work. It’s best to ignore anything but the work on your question “Who am I?”
For me the Satori feels like an incessant and powerful stream of consciousness pouring through time and space, not letting you behind untouched. All you got to do is to put your little toe into the water and see where that will lead you.
Keep in mind that the above is solely describing my very personal experience with the Satori. If you have no grave trauma to deal with, you might just give it a shot and see what happens for yourself. IF you are traumatized or have a serious addiction problem, I recommend to do some solid ground work first before attending any of the two kinds of seminars.
Tell me who you are.