A Spiritual Guide
Houghton Library Blog 2015-07-23
This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.
Charles Berner offers his road to spiritual freedom in the short, pamphlet-like book, Enlightenment. Illustrated by Peter Max, this book has detailed instructions, including a sample schedule for a day of Enlightenment Intensive at the Institute of Ability, for how most people can achieve enlightenment. Although Berner mentions different ways to gain spiritual fulfillment, his specific path to enlightenment involves “presentation” or the technique of continual interaction with other people. This is a rather different approach than the more common personal spiritual journeys that are often espoused by gurus. This guide uses the question “Who Am I?” as the basis for the journey. The participants work with a partner or a group to pursue self-inquiry.
Charles Berner was the founder of the Enlightenment Intensive program, a specific technique for achieving enlightenment that he taught participants at the Institute of Ability. On his website he explains, “For three days 18 hours a day the participants are focused on contemplating the Truth of themselves. Each aspect of the intensive is designed to support the process. A unique technique, a structured, non-distracting environment, regular nourishing meals, and experienced staff all add to the ability to experience the Truth of oneself. This is a powerful technique. Charles Berner said, ‘I have tested this technique and I have compared it to other methods of enlightenment. This technique is about 50-100 times more rapid in producing enlightenment experiences than the classical techniques.’” This program is taught with an enlightenment master who is there to help inspire, guide and can discern when the participants have achieved their goal. Berner outlines the 8 stages of enlightenment, and explains that although there are different degrees of enlightenment, there is only one kind.
Enlightenment, part of the Santo Domingo Collection, can be found in Widener Library’s collection.
Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.