If you like the basic dyad format used in the Enlightenment Intensive and you want to know about other ways they can be used, then you have a big adventure in relating waiting for you. A lot of great dyads have been worked out over the years for purposes other than working on an Enlightenment Intensive.
I’m going to explain here the ones I’ve liked and seen work the best. Most are for two people not trying to work out their relationship. Some are for couples. They each have unique little keys to getting the most value from them and I will briefly explain these. Some were developed by Charles Berner, some by others, some by me.
There are two basic formats to doing dyads, the five-minute changeover and cycle change-over. I’m going to assume you are familiar with at least one of these. These dyads can be used with either style but I’ve noted it wherever one style is much better.
For the five-minute changeover you’ll need a device to let you know when five minutes are up. If you know someone who has taken the Masters Training then you can ask to copy their Gong CD, or make your own arrangement.
- Work out an agreed-upon length of dyad. I advise forty minutes although some dyads below are better done for twenty minutes. I’ve noted where this is the case.
- As much as you can, create a distraction-free environment;
- Give the instructions exactly as given so your partner doesn’t have to hear something new each time;
- Listen without speaking or nodding;
- Communicate without reference to your partner unless it is specifically part of the dyad as with some couples dyads instructions.
To support fuller understanding between experienced dyad partners, I let the listeners give one of three instructions under three different circumstances:
- If the speaker says something the listener doesn’t understand, the listener may say, ‘Clarify ____.’ The listener acknowledges when it is understood by saying ‘Thank you’ and the dyad continues.
- If the listener spaces out or for any reason misses something the speaker says, the listener says, ‘Say it again.’
- If the speaker is wide-ranging in an answer, the listener may say, ‘Summarize that.’
- It really makes a difference to intend to understand your partner when you are listening and to intend to get yourself across when it is your turn;
- It really makes a difference to mean it when you give your ‘Thank you’s.’
Ok, off we go!
Enlightenment Intensive Dyads
Tell me who you are.
Tell me what you are.
Tell me what life is.
Tell me what another is.
You can do these at home to good effect. Any progress you make at home with them will make a difference, especially if you have an upcoming Enlightenment Intensive to take. Use the same technique as on an Enlightenment Intensive:
- get a sense of yourself , life or another (depending on the question you are using);
- intend to experience it directly;
- be open to what occurs,
- and get that across to your partner.
With this technique you can also try:
Dyad for Clearing Current Problems
For clearing current problems and revealing hidden insights into them, this dyad is a great one:
Tell me a problem you are currently having.
Tell me what I need to know in order to understand that problem completely.
Your partner gives you the instruction. You briefly say the nature of the problem (‘I have an upset with Bill’). Your partner says ‘Thank you’ and gives you the second instruction.
Here is a key: don’t try to solve your problem. Get across to your partner everything you think he or she should know in order to understand the problem. If you concentrate on doing that the current problem will clear faster.
Explain the problem and also get across how you feel about the problem;
The nature of the problem can change as you go. Restate it as you see it now when your partner gives you the first instruction at the start of each five minutes.
Keep in mind that a current problem can dissolve to nothing at any point in the dyad. If it does, change to a new problem immediately even if it is in the middle of your turn. Just say something to the effect of, ‘I’m going to work on a new problem, give me the first instruction again.’
The five-minute changeover style of dyads works better with this one. You’ll get interrupted by the five-minute bell but when it is your turn again just restate the problem as you see it now and continue when you get the second instruction.
Good General Dyads
Tell me something about yourself you think others don’t understand.
Alternative version: What don’t others get about you?
One key here is it should be mainly about you, not others.
Another is that it should also be a ‘something’ rather than a long story. Look for something about yourself.
Tell me a goal you have for life.
What could you take responsibility for with regard to this goal?
Take some time to explain the goal and get it across to your partner. You may indicate by a nod that you are complete. Your partner then says, ‘Thank you’ and gives the second part.
The following five dyads are self-explanatory and are good introductory dyads for someone to do who has never done dyads. Do one or two five minute changeovers for each. For those familiar with dyads you can go longer on each.
Tell me something important to you.
Tell me about someone who’s been important to you.
Tell me about a time you felt loved.
Tell me something you like about life.
Tell me something you’ve done in life that you felt good about.
The following two dyads can go very deep. They don’t have to be used together, either one by itself is powerful. You can get into very good or even ecstatic states doing these.
Feel into your body and tell me what you become aware of.
Accept yourself as you are and tell me what you become aware of.
Post-Enlightenment Intensive Dyads
Tell me an experience you had on an Enlightenment Intensive.
Tell me how you are inspired to live from that experience.
The experience doesn’t have to have been direct, it could have been any experience important to you. Get it across to your partner, not just the story of it but the actual insight or direct consciousness you experienced. Indicate that you are complete by nodding and let the partner give you the second instruction.
The integration for direct experiences is essentially to open to the actuality that was experienced and to relate from that, letting it influence one’s life. These dyads are good practice. If done years after the direct experiences, the experiences can return immediately with new insights. Very powerful for Enlightenment Intensive veterans who have had genuine awakenings. You can also try,
The term ‘present’ means more than just talking or reporting what comes up. Try to present yourself not through the mind but directly and in contact with your partner.
Sometimes people bog down on these questions if they go too long. One way to deal with this is to allow people, within the forty-minute period, to change instructions when they feel complete with one.
This one is simple, powerful. Speak about yourself, not your partner.
Karma Clearing Dyads
The power of honest self-inspection and admitting to transgressions in one’s own estimation is well-known. Dyads offer a simple format:
Tell me something you did you think you shouldn’t have done in your own estimation.
Tell me something you failed to do you think you should have done in your own estimation.
The keys with this dyad are to find your own estimation and allowing your attention to go into any category of your history as it will.
The response to the second instruction may or may not relate to the response to the first instruction, it doesn’t matter.
Barriers arise in this dyad as the mind presents different forms of resistance to looking deeper. It is common to get nothing coming up at first. Just keep looking. It is also common to have a run of responses going and then to run out, having the feeling of, ‘That’s it, there isn’t any more.’ If you keep looking you will find new veins.
Core Conflict Dyads
A core conflict is a conflict experienced at the core, in the soul. It’s there every moment of every day, anytime the person looks. It feels like it has always been there, buried, and that one can’t do anything about it.
A fairly common example is, ‘I never agreed to be here in life.’ Years ago I would sometimes ask groups, ‘How many of you feel that basically you never agreed to be here in life?’ Routinely, 40-50% of the group would raise their hand. This is a core conflict.
Other examples: ‘No one would ever love me as I am’ or ‘I don’t like me.’ Let people feel into their core and describe their core conflict. The better they can articulate it clearly, the better the dyad will go.
Don’t insist that everyone have a core conflict because not everyone does.
Others, you’ll see their ears perk up when you mention the words ‘core conflict.’ They’ve never heard the term before but they know exactly what it means when they hear it and they know they have one. These dyads are good for these folks.
Tell me about a core conflict you have.
Feel into your core conflict and express to me what comes up.
These are two separate dyads, you can run them in different ways though, either 40 minutes for each one or, if the dyad partners are experienced, they can run the first one until it is clear what the core conflict is and then switch over to #21 and go into it experientially.
For core conflict dyads you will need a place where people can make noise and feel safe to do so.
Core Conflict Dyads help relieve the pressure of keeping the conflict in the dark, never feeling into it, only trying to cope with life over the top of it. People can get some release, insight and relief from these dyads. To release the area more deeply usually requires Clearing sessions, both Mind Clearing and Emotion Clearing. But a surprising amount of progress can be made in Core Conflict Dyads.
To succeed with these dyads both partners must understand how to use dyads and be able to follow the ground rules self-responsibly. On that basis, these dyads can be very enriching to a couple. By following the format you can move past upset and into real communication. You can go even deeper in your relationship together when there is no upset to begin with.
It’s always best to do these when both of you are in agreement to do them, neither is exhausted, and you won’t be interrupted.
These four dyads are good to do for twenty minutes each:
Tell me a way you experience yourself contributing to our relationship.
Tell me a way you experience me contributing to our relationship.
Tell me a goal you have for life.
Tell me a goal you have for our relationship.
Tell me something that really works for you in our relationship.
Tell me something you like about me.
Tell me something you like about yourself.
This dyad is a good general couples dyad:
Tell me something you like about me.
Tell me something you think we agree on.
Tell me something about yourself you think I should know.
I suggest you use cycle changeover on this. Let one partner answer all three instructions and then changeover.
With ‘Tell me something you like about me,’ be specific. And it should be about the person. It doesn’t work to say, ‘I like your shirt.’ Say something about the person such as, ‘I like your taste in clothes.’ And don’t send critical judgments along with your answer such as, ‘I like that you are finally communicating to me like a human being.’ Just get across something you genuinely like about the person without any negative judgment or added message.
As the listener, it is not required that you agree. Just get that he/she likes that about you and acknowledge.
With ‘Tell me something you think we agree on,’ it can be any little or big thing. ‘I think we agree we have a beautiful child’ or, ‘I think we agree we like our neighbors.’ Again, don’t send any judgments here. Don’t say, ‘I think we agree that if you don’t start shaping up, we’re through.’ Look honestly for what you think the two of you agree on.
The listener should just see how the answer is something the partner thinks they agree on.
With ‘Tell me something about yourself you think I should know,’ the key is that it be about yourself. Instead of saying, ‘I hate it when you leave your socks on the floor,’ look deeper into what it is about you: ‘Something I think you should know about me is that I feel the best when our space is tidy, I feel I can relax,’ etc. The emphasis here should be on communication, not trying to change the other person, get agreement or score points. If there is any intent to change the partner, the partner will feel it and not want to hear it. Communicate what it is about you. Sometimes this takes quite deep contemplation.
As the listener, seek to understand this other. You don’t have to agree to anything here, you are just trying to understand your partner and get how their reality is for them. Actively seek for that and give a good ‘Thank you’ when you’ve understood.
After the dyad it’s a good practice to honor the communications that have taken place by not remarking about them judgmentally or in any way creating an unsafe condition. When the two of you as a couple can maintain good boundaries about this, you create a condition in which both can benefit from couple dyads and feel safe in them.
Freestyle Couples Dyads
This is for working out problem areas. It’s called ‘freestyle’ because you speak freely, going back and forth when it is natural to. This is almost like normal relating except you have the boundaries of the dyad ground rules in place to support you.
To get these dyads to work, discriminate between understanding and agreement. The first dyad generates understanding. The second generates agreement. Go for understanding in the first dyad; go for agreement in the second.
Step 1: Understanding
One partner picks a topic to work on. You agree on a length of time to go, I suggest at least 40 minutes. You agree to:
- Stay on the topic
- Speak mainly about yourself
- Not interrupt the other
- Make no critical judgments of the other
- Acknowledge when you have understood something
- Seek understanding rather than agreement or being right.
This dyad is fairly advanced. Both people need to be self-responsible communicators. For example, many partners will withhold acknowledging a communication they don’t like, believing that if they acknowledge understanding it then it will be taken to mean they agree. Since acknowledgment of understanding is withheld, the other assumes they should keep repeating, going on and on. So communication breaks down.
Acknowledging you have understood something in this dyad doesn’t mean you agree or disagree, it just means you got what the other said.
If someone slips into speaking too much about the other, the other can ask, ‘What is it about yourself that you think I should know?’ The other takes this instruction and looks deeper into what it is about him or her.
Both partners need to be honestly intending to understand the other and getting themselves across without trying to change the other. When the intent to change the other is present, understanding cannot really be achieved.
Allow intensity of expression in this dyad if intensity is there but don’t aim the charge at the other person. If you feel frustrated or deeply about something, express it. Just make it about yourself, without attacking the other. This is the great art of the Couples Freestyle Dyad.
The listener helps this process by being willing to receive intense expressions, seeking for the understanding, taking responsibility for holding good personal boundaries in the dyad, and not shrinking from the real relating.
The ending point of this dyad is when both people feel they’ve gotten themselves across and they actually understand the other’s point of view. If either partner feels this point has been reached, he or she can mention it at any time in the dyad. If they both agree, they can go on to the next step. If not, continue until understanding is achieved.
Step 2: Agreement
Once understanding has been reached, now look at what the two of you can agree on. Be creative and offer up solutions. Be open to some new solution coming from the two of you that neither one could think up alone. It is amazing what solutions can come from this. Let go of trying to be right and look for the solution that really works for both of you.
One main principle here is to only agree to things you can agree to and don’t agree to anything you don’t really agree to. You honor your partner and yourself by taking this approach. If you just say ‘No, no, no,’ the other will give up after a while. You need to be working actively to find a solution, together, leveraging the ability of the two of you to fight for the relationship as hard as you fight for your point of view.
Sometimes you find something you both can agree on. Other times, it works for one person to give in to the other because something is more important to the other, or the other is bearing more burden of responsibility in an area of the relationship and holds more sway in it. This works fine as long as it is by choice and one feels supported in other areas of the relationship. In fact this is one of the secrets to successful couples relating, to have a give and take this way in the different areas of your life together.
If you both want, you can write down the agreements you make, understanding that they might need to be worked on again in the future if the current agreement turns out not to work for someone. Have an understanding that any topic can be revisited if it starts to not work for someone.
When one topic is resolved, the other person gets to choose the next topic.
Not reaching a resolution: Sometimes you may do a Freestyle Dyad and not reach a resolution on the topic in the time you’ve set. Just acknowledge that it isn’t complete and schedule another time to work on it. Actually, for some problems, it helps that there is a break. Both can think about the new information they have from the other and look at the problem differently. Then, when you work on it again in the next dyad, things have shifted and a resolution more possible.
Tell your partner which instruction from this list to give you; then respond for as many five-minute cycles as you wish before selecting another.
- Tell me about idolizing a famous person when you were younger.
- Tell me about your favorite holiday place while growing up.
- Tell me about one of your best-loved relatives.
- Tell me about a favorite pet you had.
- Tell me about a movie that made you cry when you were young.
- Tell me about one of the biggest pleasant surprises of your life.
- Tell me about your first time falling in love.
- Tell me about a time you drank too much.
- Tell me about your first kiss.
- Tell me about one of your all-time favorite people.
- Tell me about a time you did something that made someone very happy.
- Tell me about a game or prize you won.
- Tell me about something you used to do when you were young that was really fun.
- Tell me about something someone did that made you very happy.