The Dyad Process

Dyads start with two people and a desire for the truth. They sit down on pillows or chairs facing each other. They make the distance comfortable at the same physical level. It is open, simple, and without social spin. They will focus together on a question.


Before the 40-minute dyad starts, each partner tells the other which question he or she has chosen to contemplate: "Who am I?", "What am I?", "What is another?", "What is life?". "What is love?" Unless you have been to many Intensives, only these questions are used.

The communication cycle:

One individual is "active" and the other is "receptive". Partners take turns being active and receptive. The process is built on a communication cycle as shown below;

Starting the Dyad: The facilitator will create a convention which indicates who will be the active partner. This is usually something simple that everyone understands and it does not change during the intensive. When it is time to start the dyad they will say something like "Those with your backs to the 'door' find your partners question and begin." This starts the dyad.

Receptive Role:

Receptive partner puts their attention on the active partner. Next, the receptive partner gets the other's instruction clear in his or her own mind. They translate the question into "tell me" form:

The receptive partner should not change the wording of the instruction, give it sloppily, or put his own emotional content on the instruction to lead the active partner. The instruction (see 1) is given clearly and cleanly. The receptive partner holds an expectation that the other can comply with the request. The receptive partner then continues to keep their attention on the active partner and attempts to be as open to a response as possible. They do not call attention to themselves or otherwise distract the active partner. The receptive partner listens without becoming attached or drawn in to the speakerís drama, they just focus on pure understanding.

Active Role:

The Active partner listens to receptive partner and receives the instruction. The instruction is something from the receptive partner, not from a sheet of paper or part of the receptive partnerís memory storage in his brain. It is a live inquiry. The Active partner then complies with the instruction to the best of their ability (see 2). This can be done in three stages so any automatic response can be fully experienced and reviewed for accuracy. Often these automatic beliefs get in the way of deeper experiences. It is therefore useful to approach contemplation carefully.


Starts by finding the object of your contemplation. This is the aspect, quality, or thing that seems most real and connected with the question in the moment you find yourself in. Next intend to directly experience the truth of that object. The quality of intention is important here. One canít expect to get deep truth from halfhearted or mental efforts. Direct experience is not one that can be figured out by the mind, it requires participation. The final stage of contemplation is opening up to the truth. It is surrender to the way things are. Typical blocks to this final stage are expectations of how things should be.

Contemplation may not automatically bring anything up into consciousness. Another aspect to this is grace. Grace is in part the recognition that everything is not clearly under your control. Hopefully you have grace and something does come up as a result of your contemplation. If not you may be "in the void." When that happens, hold yourself on your question. Don't get distracted. Stay focused. If nothing comes up after a few minutes then tell your partner "nothing is coming up".

Communicate what occurs as a result of your contemplation. It may not seem "important" but communicate it fully. Hold nothing back and adding nothing new. In this process you are complying with your partners instruction (see 3). You are closing a cycle of communication. Each cycle builds shared understanding and improves the possibility of a break through.

Cycle change-over: When the active partner communicates what happened as a result of their contemplation, and they fully complete that communication, the receptive partner says "Thank you" and the roles reverse. The active partner acknowledges by switching over and becoming the receptive partner. If not yet finished, just continue on with the communication until itís all out. Again, the receptive partner says "Thank you". If now correct, they do a cycle change-over. In this process of communicating it is easy to fall into the trap of contemplating what was just said and communicating on about what then comes up. I call this activity "walking the dog" because it can go on and on. It avoids the deeper three-part contemplation. Try to resist "walking the dog". It has a tendency to isolate and confuse your partner. We are trying for a partner-assisted meditation. When the dyad is done right the illusion of isolation disappears. This is the power of the dyad.

The Teflon finish:

When listening in a dyad, avoid coming to conclusions or forming opinions. Leave the subject belonging to the active partner. Don't let what was said stick to you in any way. Develop in yourself a quality of attention that does not speculate or believe or disbelieve. Most of what is said during a dyad comes right out of the mind. As such, it is something the active partner is getting rid of. Your job is to take out the garbage, not to collect it around you. You can best demonstrate this process by not reacting to what the other said. Try to minimize the effect of your personality by not nodding your head and going into agreement or disagreement when the other is talking.

When the dyad is over allow yourself to move on. Don't try to remember what your partner said. If you meet them in another dyad on another day, allow everything to be fresh and new. Don't hold an attitude that they then have to deal with.

Help: If either partner has a problem with dyad technology raise your hand to get help. The job of the staff is to help. We provide that help if you can get to your deepest truth. Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked from your question. Develop and trust your own path.

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