Jonathan Foust

December 15, 2008

What The Bleep Am I?

Filed under: Dharma — jonathanfoust @ 8:44 am


What Are You Really?

What Are You Really?

Ramana Maharshi, the great sage of India, once said we could understand our true nature by asking two questions.  “Who Am I?” and “What do I really really want?”

All spiritual practices come down to this question.  As the mind settles, awareness turns to itself.

I’m excited to be offering a daylong retreat dedicated to delving into this inquiry. 


The process we’ll be doing comes from the tradition of the ‘Enlightenment Intensive,’ developed by Charles Berner, who is part of the lineage of the ashram where I lived for many years.  Thousands of Enlightenment Intensives have taken place since the 80’s when Charles introduced them to the public.  I led a variation of this form for years, but the classic Enlightenment Intensive uses dyads, or partners to go deeper and deeper into this transformational exploration.

In the inquiry process itself, you sit across from a partner in the spirit of what I call ‘interpersonal meditation.’  When your partner asks you, ‘Please Tell Me What You Are,’ you invoke a true sincere and authentic quality of inquiry as you open to the question. You reflect internally and pay intimate attention to what arises.  Then, to the best of your ability, you articulate what is present.

I’ve done a number of the classic three-day retreats and find them sometimes excruciating but always rewarding.   First I tend to get bored with myself, which eventually inspires a deeper listening … and at some point I start to sense who I am beyond the mind and my collection of stories.  It’s quite magical.  A deep sense of intimacy builds as I find myself touched and inspired by those around me who authentically seek to know their true nature.  I’m always inspired and moved by those around me as a sense of who we are – transcendent of our stories – grows, deepens and expands.

This retreat will be one full day with breaks for movement, meditation, rest and rejuvenation.

 I deeply love this level of exploring and sharing with a group of like-minded people.  This is rarified air.


The daylong retreat is January 10th at the Carderock Swim Club.  Enrollment is limited, so you might like to reserve early if you are interested.  If you’d like to download an application, you can click here.


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